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The Dark Vineyard

(Bruno, Chief of Police #2)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  7,530 ratings  ·  691 reviews
Just before dawn one late-summer morning, Bruno is pulled from sleep by the wail of the town siren atop the Mairie, summoning the volunteer firemen of St Denis. A large barn and the fields surrounding it are ablaze. When Bruno arrives at the scene, the smell of petrol leaves no doubt - it was arson.
Hardcover, 309 pages
Published 2009 by Quercus
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Sandy Anderson You will be missing part of the back story of the characters (relationships, memories of past feasts or rugby matches, pêople moving away or coming ba…moreYou will be missing part of the back story of the characters (relationships, memories of past feasts or rugby matches, pêople moving away or coming back, etc.) but the plotline of each book is different. (less)
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Anne well J explains that she was facing out of the vat, with her head up and outside, unlike Max I think she was cunning and selfish, so tend to believe s…morewell J explains that she was facing out of the vat, with her head up and outside, unlike Max I think she was cunning and selfish, so tend to believe she finagled things.(less)

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Richard Derus
Jul 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 02, 2015 rated it liked it

3.5 stars

In this 2nd book in the 'Bruno, Chief of Police' series, the French police detective investigates arson and murder. The book can be read as a standalone.


Police Chief Bruno Correges of Saint-Denis, France is on the spot when a fire destroys a field of genetically modified crops (GMOs) and a nearby barn - which unexpectedly contains a batch of office equipment.

Bruno becomes suspicious of the local ecolos (green party members), who vehemently oppose GMOs.

He questions Alphonse, the el
It is hard not to grab the next book in the Bruno, Chief of Police series after finishing the current read. Once again, the reader is swooped up in the holistic experience of the fictional small town of Saint-Denis (situated loosely in the region of Périgord in France).

Police Chief, Captain Bruno Courrèges, is taking care of his beloved town as usual. His love life is tick-tocking between everlasting and heartbreaking, and 'his people' is thrown into the mystery of a GMO-research facility, the A
Oct 10, 2010 rated it really liked it

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
Tim The Enchanter
I have decided that I will no longer provide in-depth reviews of the middle books of a series UNLESS they make a special impact on me or it is the first or most current book of the series.

This second book in the Bruno, Chief of Police Series, is as enchanting as the first. The book delves into French Wine Trade, French Inheritance Law, French Politics and GMO's while leaving behind a few dead bodies and an intriguing mystery.

This series provides adult characters, mature writing, crime while maki
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
It is so easy to be drawn into this series! . Walker writes with knowledge and obvious love for the Dordognes, the area in which Bruno lives. The contemporary issues and politics, part of the fabric of this series, ring true. Here the story revolves around wine production in the region. A big American wine conglomerate wants to buy up land and start producing in and around the town of St Denis. And someone is experimenting surreptitiously with GMO crops in the area. Both of these lead to lots of ...more
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
The delightful second installment of a series featuring Bruno, the chief of police in a quiet French village, this book centers around the destruction by arson of an illegal GMO project. Of course, murder is added to the mix as the story develops, along with other nefarious deeds. But again the best part of the book is the series of wonderful wines, spirits, and delectable foods that Walker describes in minute detail. Be careful with these books--you'll be hungry after reading them! ...more
Aug 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 26, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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
Nov 12, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm drawn to these mannered mysteries, in large part for the evocative descriptions of life in the Dordogne (AKA Périgord) region of France—its idyllic villages and exquisite wines, and cuisine. It is the region of France that most warms my heart. However, this book focuses so much the village (St. Denis), the townspeople, the wine, and the food that the mystery seems an afterthought. Toward the end, it suddenly takes shape and is resolved. As much as I loved the ambience, the story needed more ...more
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Bruno Courrèges is chief of the police municipale, and the one and only officer on the local force, in the town of St Denis (in the Périgord region of the Dordogne, France) where he reports to the Mayor. 'The Dark Vineyard' by Martin Walker is the second of (at the time of writing) nine novels about Bruno Courrèges. I was keen to continue with the series having really enjoyed the first book, 'Bruno, Chief of Police'.

Once again, a large part of the pleasure of this novel is in the evocation of li
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love Martin Walker's books. They are intelligent,informative, and descriptive of the French countryside.

Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, mysteries

This second book in the Chief Bruno series again entranced me with the life in the small town of Saint-Denis in the Perigord region of France - I can understand why Bruno refuses to leave Saint-Denis even to be with his lover in Paris! I found the mystery intriguing but thought that parts of the solution were obvious long before Bruno did, hence my rating.
Aug 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Quite a fast read. I had slight problems keeping a few similar-sounding characters apart, but all in all a nice story with lots of local colour. Bruno, our cop, is a likeable "hero". I also have a strong suspicion about who could become the central romantic interest - although it does not take centre stage at all, which is a good thing.

This time it's mainly about wine. We are in France, after all. And a fire. And suspicious deaths.

And a lot of good food. Really, a lot. Non-French authors writing
I definitely did not realize this was the second book in a series when I started this. I don't think I missed out too much from not having read the first book, but I guess I was a little disappointed to learn that. While I was initially interested in the plot (wine country, different wine makers), the point of the book wasn't quite as the summary described. I also thought the writing was a little amature-ish. I did like the main characters, but to the characters, some of the twists didn't seem o ...more
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another charming romp through the French countryside to solve arson and, zut alors! murder. What I like about this series in the touchstone cultural references, In the first book the clash of EU standards for food to the local historical traditions ,and in this one controversial GMO crops. But mostly to enjoy the bonhomie that is Bruno-the biggest mystery to this series is how he remains single!
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book in the series featuring Bruno, the police chief in a small French town in the Dordogne region of France. The mystery is interesting and the story enlivened by the way the author brings in the regional foods, wines, and manners of the people who live there.

Having visited the ancient caves in that region many, many years ago, I am finding this series to be fascinating. I look forward to #3.
This series reminds me of a cross between Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series and Lilian Jackson Braun's The Cat Who series. The crimes in Walker's books are motivated by larger societal forces (so far: racism, GMO crops) like Penny's books, but the setting is a small, slightly wacky town where everyone knows everyone, and the wackiness makes up much of the charm of the stories, like Jackson Braun's books.

These are definitely cozy mysteries, with lots of French food and wine, and picturesque
I'm really enjoying this mystery series set in rural France! ...more
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
A most enjoyable trip into wine country.
Roddy Williams
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: murder-mystery
Bruno is another of my favourite detectives. St Denis, in the Dardogne, is a French kind of Midsomer, and St Denis happens to be the domain of Bruno, Chief of Police, a fit young police chief who, between hunting, raising hens, making omelettes and training the local rugby team, somehow finds time to solve crimes and have a complicated love life.
It must be the French air.
An arson attack on an unsanctioned experimental GMO farm generates an investigation by a Brigadier as it appears there was gov
May 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who would enjoy a countryside setting in France.
"The Dark Vineyard" opens with the quote
Wine is bottled poetry. – Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
welcoming the reader to the possibilities of wine and for those familiar to the series thinking of savoring wine in the countryside of France. However the opening sentence brings the realism that danger and/or crime can interrupt or change even the most idyllic of settings.
“The distant howl of the siren atop the mairie (town hall) broke the stillness of the French summer night.”
Bruno (formall
Sep 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Once again we visit the tranquil life of Grance in the little city of Saint Denis where a policeman Bruno gets woken up because there has been a reported fire in an abandoned shed. It turns out that this shed was far less than abandoned it was a laboratory of genetic crops that got torched. And so Bruno has to find out who did it and is spurred on by a special investigative team form Paris send by the ministry who does not want any information about this genetic crop to get out and of course in ...more
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
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
This is only the second in this series and I am loving it. It has the small-town feel of a cozy, but the murders are more "real" with more twists and difficulty in solving than a cozy. The main character is Chief of Police, Bruno, of the small town St. Denis in the Dordogne region of France. There's lots of talk about food and wine as Chief Bruno is a bit of an amateur chef and a wine connoisseur. He knows everyone and everyone knows him. He owns a nice house which he mostly built himself with a ...more
May 29, 2016 rated it liked it
A detective take, with a likeable Chief of Police and an assortment of interesting characters.
These novels are set in modern day, small town in rural France. Never lots of action, the story runs at a pace befitting it's location. So, want to know who did what to whom in the vineyard? Then give this book a read.
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Carey Combe
I don't think I will try another one... ...more
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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 their two daughters.


Other books in the series

Bruno, Chief of Police (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • 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)
  • Children of War (Bruno, Chief of Police #7)
  • The Patriarch (Bruno, Chief of Police, #8)
  • Fatal Pursuit (Bruno, Chief of Police, #9)
  • The Templars' Last Secret (Bruno, Chief of Police, #10)
  • A Taste for Vengeance (Bruno, Chief of Police, #11)

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