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Bruno, Chief of Police

(Bruno, Chief of Police #1)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  12,566 ratings  ·  1,621 reviews
Meet Benoît Courrèges, aka Bruno, a policeman in a small village in the South of France.  He’s a former soldier who has embraced the pleasures and slow rhythms of country life. He has a gun but never wears it; he has the power to arrest but never uses it.  But then the murder of an elderly North African who fought in the French army changes all that.  Now Bruno must balanc ...more
Paperback, 273 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2008)
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Lila Yes I think that is important to read the books in order. The First book explains why Bruno is in the town he's in and introduces characters who will …moreYes I think that is important to read the books in order. The First book explains why Bruno is in the town he's in and introduces characters who will show up in subsequent books. Not sure about success with Book Club unless you are doing mysteries where the Setting and character are main topics for discussion. My book group read The little Paris Bookshop (my recommendation) and found it rather difficult to get into a couple didn't finish it. I loved it because I knew enough about France that I could follow the journey of the main character. I think reading about Chief of Police Bruno is similar in that St.Denis is a small Fench town and the people are very French. This may not be easy to discuss if you have no "relationship" with France. However the series is still very good just to read by yourself and perhaps discuss with another avid mystery reader.(less)
Ginni Your mom might also enjoy the books and novellas by Maurice LeBlanc, creator of the well-known detective figure Arsène Lupin who is featured in a whol…moreYour mom might also enjoy the books and novellas by Maurice LeBlanc, creator of the well-known detective figure Arsène Lupin who is featured in a whole series of his books.(less)

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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  12,566 ratings  ·  1,621 reviews

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Start your review of Bruno, Chief of Police (Bruno, Chief of Police, #1)
Great detective novel!


This is the first book, introducing the character of “Bruno”, who’s proper name is Benoît Courrèges, and he is the Chief of Police, in a small town named St. Denis, set in the región of Périgord, France.

St. Denis has been a town so calm that he rarely carries his service gun, and he doesn’t have any deputies. Bruno is close friend of the town’s mayor, and St. Denis is of those towns where everybody knows everybody.

However, their relaxed ambiance
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bruno (real name Benoît Courrèges), chief of police, is a complex man, with an agreeable personality, has a sense of humor, a fierce loyalty to his village- St Denis, with 3000 inhabitants-and a keen nose for detail. He has empathy and guts, patience and understanding. Above all, he is a beloved, but also a seriously underestimated policeman.

The rugby team is much more than a sports team; Bruno's loyalty demands that the village market is protected against the E.U. hygiene inspectors; children
Richard Derus
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.75* of five

I really enjoy BRUNO, CHIEF OF POLICE, review at my blog, because a veteran gets a job, loves his town, cherishes his way of life, educates the local kids, and solves a crime...and remains a good guy throughout.

The antithesis of noir, so be warned/encouraged!
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is the first book in the 'Bruno, Chief of Police' series.

Benoit Courreges, Chief of Police of St. Denis, France, is known as Bruno to everyone in the tight little community.

Bruno loves the town and tries to ensure that the local traditions are not disturbed by pesky regulations from the European Union. Bruno turns a blind eye (and even helps the scofflaws), for example, when health inspectors who would ban some homemade goods from the weekly market are held up due to slashed tires or potato
Tim The Enchanter
Posted to The Literary

A Wonderful Surprise - 5 Stars

When I was looking for a book to read, I picked a number and randomly chose this one. I have no idea how it came to my attention or how it ended up on my list. Judging by the cover and description alone, this is not one I would normally pick up. If you simply look at these two things you will expect to read a cozy mystery but that is simply not the case. While the setting is quaint and the characters colorful, this is not a si
Benoît Courrèges (otherwise known as Bruno) is Chief of Police in the sleepy, well behaved little French town of St Denis in the Périgord region. He runs a tight ship but has a laissez faire attitude to rules he thinks over-bureaucratic - such as the regulations the EU tries to impose on the villagers farm made cheeses and patés that they have been selling in the markets for generations.

The peace of Bruno's town is shattered by the gruesome death of an elderly grandfather from an Algerian famil
Nov 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had three things going for it. One was the setting. The reader gets a very good feel for the small village of St. Denis, and by extension can probably better appreciate the tempo and undercurrents in any small village, no matter where located in the world. Another was the history from the WW II era, interconnected with immigration issues, which of course are very relevant today. And, finally, it had a good plot and plot twists along the way.

I saw two problems with the book. One was the
This quick and delightful read probably merits only 4 or 4.5 stars because Bruno and his world are almost too perfect. Andy Griffith and Mayberry came to mind more than once. But nothing from Aunt Bea's kitchen could rival the gastronomic pleasures enjoyed by the lucky residents of St. Denis, a tiny hamlet tucked into the Perigord region of southwest France. The descriptions of the food and the landscape were irresistible to this Francophile. Though the mystery itself was somewhat simple, it was ...more
I found the first in the Bruno, Chief of Police series an enjoyable read, full of local colour. It's probably 3 1/2 stars for me. The detective, Bruno, is an appealing character, who has a few demons from the past, but loves his life in St Denis, a small town in the Dordogne. He enjoys cooking delicious meals, as well as sampling the local wines. He is also happy to cover up minor offences committed by members of the local community, and to tell more than a few white lies to visiting police from ...more
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of cozylike crime novels
Recommended to Mark by: goodreads
When I first heard about this novel it sounded somewhat similar to Hamish Macbeth whose policing job took place in a world he loves, he knows the people and their limitations, is a bachelor and too many women want him but he is just not ready to settle for whatever reason.

The difference being that Bruno is grounded in the French countryside around the city of Saint Denis. Both hero's make their surroundings sound like well worth a visit.
A war hero is found being murdered in a hideous way and bef
Connie G
Bruno is the likable Chief of Police--and only policeman--in the fictional village of St Denis in the French Dordogne. Bruno has great people skills, knows everyone in the community, and is treated like a surrogate son by the mayor. He builds trust by volunteering to teach tennis and rugby to the children, and he knows their characters well by the time they reach their teenage years.

The calm atmosphere in the village is broken when an old Algerian immigrant (who has family in the village) is fou
Sep 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Your enthusiam may not equal mine, but I think you will find this a rewarding story set in contemporary southwest rural France. I have only explored a part of The Périgord, but Walker's descriptions ring true. His mystery involves local customs and characters and the relationship between the EU, France, The Périgord, and the little town of St. Denis, when a Muslim villager is killed with what looks like a swastika carved in his body.

"Bruno", around whom this story revolves, is the chief of (and
Aug 23, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, france, 2013-read
Very disappointing for me after all the good reviews. Lots of clunky exposition: "The Elysée Palace was the official home, as well as the personal office, of the president of France." Translate that to American, "The White House was the official home, as well as the personal office, of the president of the United States." Ponderous and unnecessary and meriting a huge eye roll. This was compounded by dialogue that was stilted and flatly unreal and used for even more clunky exposition. Add in a lo ...more
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm adding this to my favorite series shelf after reading just the first of seven Bruno, Chief of Police books. Bruno is a young veteran of the Bosnian conflict who has chosen police work in the bucolic commune of St. Denis in the Dordognes region of France, hoping for a stress-free existence. His ordinary duties include property disputes, neighbors tattling on each other, managing the rugby team and parades, whether commemorations or protest demonstrations. That is until the commune has its fir ...more
I wanted to like this book more than I did. I enjoyed the locale of the book. I enjoyed the time period in which it was set. However, I felt the story dragged terribly. It lacked suspense and seemed to get bogged down in the details of small-town life. Plus, the main character seemed more caught up in what woman he might decide to date rather than in the urgency of solving the crime. I doubt I'll read any more books in this series. ...more
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
I enjoyed this cozy mystery novel very much. The book setting in a quaint village in one of the most beautiful regions of France (Dordogne) brought back treasured memories of my visits there.
Contrary to many other novels set in France, in this one the events take place in modern times. I liked the author’s inclusion of current issues such as the strict rules about food production and its sale due to the EU regulations and the challenges to integration between locals and Muslim immigrants in the
Kylie H
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, great-read
This book creates many illusions, the first being that St Denis is a quaint French provincial village leading a peaceful existence. The second is that Benoit "Bruno" Courrèges is a sedate country policeman blissfully unaware of immorality and evil.
These misconceptions are soon abolished and it becomes apparent that an evil from the past is about to revisit the rural Périgord region. Will the small Arab community within this region survive what is about to turn their lives upside down? Will Bruno
Julie  Durnell
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A real enjoyable who-dunnit in St. Denis, France. Wonderful descriptions of the Dordogne Valley and their meals and wines make for a satisfying read alone, but the mystery was good too. Really like the character Bruno, the chief of police and look forward to reading the next book in his series!
Jun 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Peter Mayle had woven a murder mystery into his hymns to Provence, they might have looked something like this.
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, crime
The story of a charming policeman, in a charming French town, populated with lots of charming people solving a thoroughly nasty crime. The whole book seems to have been written with one eye to replicating the success of Peter mayle. This pandering does overshadow some of the more promising elements. Maybe these come to the fore later in the series. In the meantime your left with a book that is pleasant enough but no big shakes.
Nov 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If a murder mystery can be charming and delightful this is the book for you.
Aug 27, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beach-read
Okay. A friend who loves Louise Penny recommended this book because of the correlations - murder mystery and food. Sadly, this tired little book sets you up to read about "not-so-fascinating" (or even vaguely new) ways to marinate a steak & make a simple salad and ADDS (hold on!!!) - extreme detail - the age of the lettuce & who brings it into the kitchen and when to serve it with the "perfect potatoes" (NOT a spoiler, I assure you). Yes, this Bruno dude is apparently the alpha male of all Renai ...more
BRUNO, CHIEF OF POLICE (Trad. Myst/Police Proc-Cpt. Bruno Courrège-St. Denis, France-Cont.) – VG+
Walker, Martin – 1st book
Quercus, 2008, UK Hardcover – ISBN: 9781847245076

First Sentence: On a bright May morning, so early that the last of the mist was still lingering low over the great bend in the river, a white van drew to a halt on the ridge over the small French town.

Bruno Courrege is police captain in St. Denis, a quiet, medieval town in southwest France where the biggest crime has been thwar
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Bruno, Chief of Police' by Martin Walker is the first of (at the time of writing) nine novels about Bruno Courrèges, and the first I have read.

Bruno is chief of the police municipale, and the one and only officer on the local force, in the Périgord town of St Denis where he reports to the Mayor.

Whilst no literary masterpiece, I really enjoyed the evocation of life in the Périgord region of the Dordogne - a place I've visited twice and loved.

Bruno is an engaging fellow and, as is par for the c
May 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dana Woodaman
Jul 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gourmet chef, good with children, keeps a clean house (which he mostly rebuilt himself) and a sharp eyed detective in a small town in South Western France - what could there be not to like about Bruno?
A delightful, dare I say light hearted mystery that taught me much about life in small town France - HIGHLY recommended!
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
A charming tale of a brutal murder in a provincial French town? Oh yes! Sometimes when I read books set in a (to me) foreign country, I feel like an outsider, but in this book I felt I was being casually immersed in French politics, culture and, of course, the food! Putain!
Dana Stabenow
Dec 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Take rural France and mix with wine, cheese, drugs, and Nazis plain and neo. Result? Martin Walker’s Bruno, Chief of Police.

St. Denis is a small village in Perigot in the south of present-day France. The first chapter opens on a beautiful day in May, with Bruno Courreges, St. Denis’s chief of police, surveying his village from upon high with no little satisfaction, but also with no illusions. St. Denis has its problems, including feuding World War II vets and interfering EU inspectors, but Bruno
Roddy Williams
I have to confess that I was slowly seduced by this book, which made me want to run away to France, buy an isolated cottage, make my own sausages and grow carrots.
Bruno is an ex-soldier working as a policeman in the French town of St Denis. Up until now his main problems have been Planning violations, keeping the rugby team in order and co-ordinating the townspeople's defences against the bureaucratic nonsense of the EU food inspectors. However, he has a real crime on his hands when an elderly a
Judith E
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
This may be a good filler while waiting for the next Louise Penney novel. St. Denis is like Three Pines but with no snow, and also like Three Pines, the setting is peaceful, bucolic and quaint. The food is gourmet and the inspector is thoughtful but emotionally damaged.

The bonus part of this mystery was the fairly detailed information about the Algerian-French conflict, the treatment of Algerians/Muslims, the part Algerians played in WWII anti-resistance efforts, the National Front party, commu
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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)
  • The Dark Vineyard (Bruno, Chief of Police #2)
  • 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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