July 25, 2019 Galit Gottlieb

Bruno, Chief of Police Mysteries, Martin Walker

Martin Walker works at a private think-tank, is Editor Emeritus and writes an award – winning syndicated column for UPI, writes for the Guardian and other papers, has presented several BBC television series, serves on all kinds of boards, writes acclaimed history books, and authors the delightful Bruno, Chief of Police mystery series.

You’re probably one of those gifted individuals who need only four hours of sleep, Mr. Walker, but I just made challah dough and hummus, roasted vegetables, washed the dishes, swept the floor, and set the table, so you’re not the only one who knows how to get things done.

I’m admittedly in love with the hero, Benoît Courrèges, aka Bruno, who lives and works as a policeman in the fictional village of St. Denis in the South of France (where the real Mr. Walker and his wife have a home). The townsfolk fondly refer to Bruno as the Chief of Police, but he’s just a policeman, an injured veteran who carries a gun but never uses it. He’s also a gourmet chef who whips up fabulous meals after a trip to the local market. And he instinctively discerns the correct wine pairing at every enticing-sounding meal. A truffle omelet? Yum.

I first met Bruno (and in real life I’m sure that if I came over for dinner, he would avoid cooking all those gross-sounding meats), when he first appeared in 2008. When he’s not helping his fellow St Denis townies with problems big and small or participating in the town’s many activities, Bruno actively helps foil aggressive EU inspectors that try to meddle with tradition. He relishes his slow-paced village life, and he’s passionate about the land.

In the first book of the series, an elderly immigrant is found murdered, and suspicion falls on anti-immigrant militants. Working with an attractive young officer from the city, Bruno remembers that the victim fought for the French Army during WWII. He slowly figures out the connection between the victim and the war, which was a dark chapter in the history of France. Neither Mr. Walker nor Bruno shy away from difficult or sensitive subjects, and each of the Bruno tales include some kind of societal issues that require Bruno’s sensitivity and finesse. I hope you will continue writing these books, Mr. Walker – they are just delicious.