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The Dark Vineyard: A Novel of the French Countryside (Bruno, Chief of Police #2)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  1,406 ratings  ·  187 reviews
When a bevy of winemakers descend on Saint-Denis, competing for its land and spurring resentment among the villagers, the idyllic town—where Benoit “Bruno” Courreges is the town’s only policeman—finds itself the center of an intense drama, with suspicious fires at the agricultural research station that is working on genetically-modified crops.

Two young men—Max, an enviro
Paperback, 303 pages
Published July 26th 2011 by Vintage (first published 2009)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: In this riveting sequel to Martin Walker's internationally acclaimed novel Bruno, Chief of Police, some of France's great pleasures--wine, passion and intrigue--converge in a dark chain of events that threaten the peaceful village of Saint-Denis.

Benoît (Bruno) Courrèges, devoted friend, cuisinier extraordinaire and the town's only municipal policeman, rushes to the scene when a research station for genetically modified crops is burned down outside Saint-Deni

I’d been skeptical of the idea of police procedurals set in the Dordogne, especially since the first book in this series, 'Bruno, Chief of Police,' opened with some hullaballoo about the illegal sale of raw cheese in the small village of St. Denis. I jumped to the conclusion that here was another ‘cozy mystery’, populated with clichéd and overwritten local characters, its plot revolving around quaint but hardly riveting local issues. After a year of reading the brilliant Scandinavian crime write
It is always a great pleasure for me to find a new mystery series and I was lucky enough to become acquainted with Bruno the chief of police in a tiny community in Dordogne, France by reading Martin Walker’s The Dark Vineyard.

Walker has deftly created an interesting series which combines an attractive main character with a wonderful setting, a tasting of food and wine and an exciting mystery. This is not a wham, bam, thank you mam mystery nor is it hard boiled, even though it is exciting from p
First Sentence: The distant howl of the siren atop the Marie broke the stillness of the French summer night.

The alarm on the top of the Mairie (city hall) of St. Denis calls Police Chief Bruno Courrèges and the volunteer squad out to a fire of a field and large barn. Upon investigation, Bruno learns the fire was arson and the property being used to develop GMO (genetically modified organisms) crops; specifically drought-resistant grape vines. The Californians are coming, wanting to buy a large p
A friend passed this book on to me and I found it to be a very pleasurable read. Set in the wine country of the Dordogne in France, this detective series features a village policeman who prefers the rural life to promotion to a higher rank in the city. In this novel, he must find out who burned down a secret research station which is followed by several murders. The policeman must tread carefully as his friends and neighbours come under suspicion, outsiders arrive threatening to buy out the loca ...more
The first book in the series was in the box of books at one of my bookclubs when I first joined it. It was a favourite but I'd forgotten about it until it was mentioned at a recent meeting. So it was with delight that I discovered a couple more in the series at the local library. Some of the nostalgic glow came of when I read this, the second book, but it was still a good read.

If you enjoy the gentle antics of Guido Brunetti in Venice, you will enjoy Bruno in the French countryside. Both are ge
Jan Schindler
enjoyed it a lot.Great setting, great writing. Wonderful portrayal of small village life in France as well as a mystery to solve. He mentions wines I've never heard of. Looking forward to the next book in the series and highly recommend them.
Deale Hutton
Another great read from Martin Walker. On to the next one....
This satisfying sequel to the very fine Bruno, Chief of Police returns us to the Dordogne region of France, where the residents of fictional St-Denis sit uncomfortably between trying to hold on to their traditions and surviving in an age of rapidly advancing technology and a globalized economy. While the first story turned on issues of race and history and what it meant to be French, this time the focus is on the evolving wine industry and the raging debate over genetically modified crops.

As wit
The second in this book is as charming as the first but my problems with the first have not been resolved. Bruno, the Chief of Police, is again too perfect. He makes all the right decisions, keeps others from making mistakes, knows everyone he should know and everyone loves him. It's all admirable but I think characters are at their best when they're not perfect.

Also the life he leads in his rural path of France is perfect. He has dinners with his friends that are always happy occasions. The vi
Mary Miller
I found "The Dark Vineyard" to be a slow-starter, even though it started with a suspicious fire. I had not read the first book in the series, "Bruno, Chief of Police" so it took a bit of sorting to figure out who all the village characters were. Since it didn't grab me at first, I set it down frequently, which only increased the trouble of keeping the story fresh in my mind. I finally decided to finish the book and finished it over a weekend.
One of the problems and strengths of the book is that
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
As L. Bob Rife says, I grew up and got old specifically to get away from this adolescent banter. And more importantly, angst. (Somewhat hilariously, this isn't the first time I've alluded to this comment. Hilarious because the contexts are so different. Anyway.)

More seriously, part of the benefit of reading books with older main characters is that there's less adolescent relationship angst and social drama. Theoretically. In this book Bruno angsts a lot about women. It's annoying. Plus, the myst
The 2nd in the Bruno series and set in Saint-Denis, what I consider the French version of the Three Pines, this was the perfect read for me during this past week. It gave me a wonderful escape into a charming French village where everyone knows one another and where food and wine are as important to living as the deep friendships that bind them.

So when a fire burns a research center out in the woods and activists against GMOs are suspected, Chief of Police Bruno steps in to investigate. But whe
Uwe Taechl
German Edition:

Ein amerikanischer Weinproduzent plant Weinberge rund um Saint-Denis aufzukaufen, um die industrielle Herstellung im Périgord voranzutreiben. Die Meinungen im Ort sind gespalten, die Auswirkungen unklar und als schließlich noch eine Leiche in einem Weinfass gefunden wird, bleibt Bruno nichts anderes übrig, als sich höchstpersönlich um die Angelegenheit zu kümmern.

Setting und Stil:
Genau wie im ersten Teil merkt man jeder Seite an, dass Martin Walker mit Herz und Seele das Bu
Carey Combe
I don't think I will try another one...
After 80 pages I thought it seemed to give a good impression of normal life in the French countryside.
The story brought in several possible new loves for the rather classically French policeman, Inspector Bruno, but I won't spoil the story for you by saying how successful he was with how many!
The plot was nicely mysterious but I felt the "false leads" weren't fleshed out enough to convince me in a short number of pages. However, it was interesting how the plight of the French wine industry in th
Bruno, the chief of police returns in this mystery to solve the case of a murder that seems destined to upset the Mayor's plans for improving the economic situation of the lovely small town in the Perigord region of France. The story begins innocently enough with a deliberately set, very destructive fire at a local experimental agricultural station that had been operating quietly under the radar for some time. A potential scandal and the suggestion of a terroristic attack by green activists vie ...more
Very interesting book about a small village policeman who is very good at his job and has no interest in leaving the small village in France were he resides. Bruno is very good at reading people and dealing with politics of all types - whether dealing with the mayor of the village or the internal politics, especially with his superiors, in the law enforcement community. Then there is his love life, which seems to be taking a turn for the better by the end of the book.

Ah, the American's are the b
Jun 30, 2012 Alan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cozy mystery fiction fans, foodie/wine fans
I discovered Martin Walker's charming Bruno Courrèges series only this summer. "The Dark Vineyard" is the 2nd book of the series and follows the first, called "Bruno, Chief of Police". The title of 'Chief of Police' is a bit of a misnomer as Bruno is actually the only policeman in the fictitious village of Saint-Denis which is situated where the Vézère River flows into the Dordogne River (approximately where, in real life, the village of Limeuil is located) in the heart of the Périgord region of ...more
In The Dark Vineyard, Bruno, the Chief of Police in Saint-Denis gets called in when there's a fire at a research station for genetically modified crops. Bruno suspects that some local environmentalists are to blame and begins looking at that angle. Meanwhile, winemakers are interested in the land around Saint-Denis and Bruno is concerned that his small town is about to get very crowded. He has his hands full with suspicious characters and two mysterious deaths, but still finds time for romance, ...more
Summary –

Charming, picturesque town of St. Denis is an unlikely place for murder. And so is Bruno, as unlikely a policeman as there can be from his high handed colleagues of urban cities. Bruno loves his town, his little cottage and his food and wine (he is especially well known for his delicacy of truffle omelettes). But when a sudden fire turns into an arson case that brings national publicity, Bruno has to apply his wits to solve the crime as well as to
Cathy Cole
First Line: The distant howl of the siren atop the mairie broke the stillness of the French summer night.

The fire could have been a disaster for everyone in the area, but fortunately the fire crew performed their jobs quickly and well. With the ruins still smoking, Bruno-- the Chief of Police of the small village of St. Denis in southern France-- is left with a mystery. You see... officially the building that burned down does not exist. When Bruno begins investigating, he learns that it is an ag
Once again, Bruno's peaceful country life is interrupted by several murders and hints of espionage. Beginning with the burning of an illegal research facility, and ending with murder, Bruno has his hands full as investigators from Paris come down to his little town of Saint-Denis. Add to this the uncertainty he feels about his relationship with Isabelle, and throw in the usual fantastically attractive descriptions of food, wine and the bucolic lifestyle of rural France, and you have another exce ...more
Foster Winter
Even though I happened to read this second in the series out of order, I think it may be the best -- so far -- of those I've read. It was, as always, a nice mixture of who-doneit with local rural French charm and political/historical enhancement.

Rumor has it that this series has been optioned by BBC producers. If it becomes one of those series that appears on PBS, I would look forward to seeing this - in spite of the normal reluctance to see a movie or TV representation of characters who have co
3.5 stars. A charming cosy sequel to "Bruno, Chef de Police". This time, the interest focuses on the wines and wine growing in the Dordogne, and includes a bit of international commercial espionage. A light but very enjoyable read for anyone who likes France and wines but isn't expecting a literary masterpiece. I certainly wouldn't go so far as to compare Bruno, the municipal policeman, with Louise Penny's absolutely incredible Inspecteur Gamache or even Donna Leon's Guido Brunetti!
I wasn't as taken with this book as I wanted to be. There was enough to it that I would like to read more in the series but it was surprisingly uncaptivating given the setting. I felt I was having to work just that bit too hard to picture it. By contrast some of the delicious Périgord foodie elements whilst appealingly vivid seemed self-conscious and staged, although the frankly mini-lectures on various aspects of local geography and economics (lots about wine making) which reminded me of Stephe ...more
Margaret Sankey
Second in a strong series--Bruno Courreges, who left the French army after service in Sarajevo to live quietly with his basset hound and become police chief (of a force of one) in the little town of Saint-Denis in the wine country of the Dorgogne, protected by the politically connected mayor and handling local problems amongst the dueling French Resistance commemorations (Gaullist and Communist), the population of local Algerian Muslims, teenage hooligans, EU cheese inspectors and the interferin ...more
This is a decent mystery, but I did not enjoy its pervasive misogyny. I don't expect every author to share my politics, but I have a hard time looking at Bruno as a hero when every woman he meets is reduced to her balance of decorum and sex appeal, or when he twists the arm of an assault victim so that she won't press charges and upset the tranquillity of his little kingdom.
Adam Shields
Book Review: The Dark Vineyard by Martin Walker (Bruno Chief of Police #2) - another very good mystery set in the French countryside. This is a mystery that is as much about French life as the mystery, but it is very good at rich characterization and really makes the setting come alive. I am going to read the rest of this series straight through. It is excellent.

Click through for the full review on my blog at
A few interesting twists and turns in this novel. I certainly enjoyed the main character, Bruno. This was a book club selection. I will probably seek out other books by this author. I have not visited France, and the countryside and people represented by this book made me start thinking about a vacation to France. I'll need to review my grade school French!
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Goodreads Librari...: Page number 3 19 Oct 08, 2012 02:10AM  
  • Season of Darkness (Detective Tom Tyler #1)
  • Death of an Englishman (Marshal Guarnaccia Mystery, #1)
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  • Beastly Things (Commissario Brunetti, #21)
  • The Track of Sand (Inspector Montalbano, #12)
  • Night Rounds (Inspector Huss #2)
  • A Lack of Temperance (Hattie Davish Mystery, #1)
  • Murder in the Sentier (Aimee Leduc Investigations, #3)
  • Extraordinary People (Enzo Files, #1)
  • The Messenger of Athens
  • Pagan Spring (A Max Tudor Mystery, #3)
  • Silent Voices (Vera Stanhope, #4)
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.
See this thread for more information.

Martin Walker is the U.S. bureau chief for The Guardian (London), a regular commentator for CNN, and a columnist for newspapers in the United States, Europe, and Moscow. A published novelist and poet, he lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, the novelist Julia Watson, and
More about Martin Walker...
Bruno, Chief Of Police (Bruno, Chief of Police #1) Black Diamond (Bruno, Chief of Police #3) The Crowded Grave (Bruno, Chief of Police #4) The Devil's Cave (Bruno, Chief of Police, #5) The Resistance Man (Bruno, Chief of Police #6)

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