Book Review: Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker

 Market day in a quiet town in Southern France and the Inspectors from Brussels are on the warpath about health and hygiene. They are not exactly popular – as far as locals are concerned, the inspectors are reminiscent of the Gestapo and quiet resistance is underway.

Someone keeps slitting the tyres of their vehicles – or worse still, putting potatoes in the exhausts. Chief of Police Bruno Courreges turns a blind eye, sympathizing with the local farmers. After all, he sees his job as protecting the town of St Denis from its enemies which include Parisian bureaucrats and their EC counterparts.

Unfortunately, when an old man, head of an immigrant North African family, is found dead with a swastika carved in his chest; the bureaucrats come in large numbers. Suspicion falls on the son of the local doctor, found playing sex games surrounded by Nazi objects.

Bruno is not convinced, and quietly sets out to seek the truth. But should the truth really emerge? The crime has its roots deep in the past when the Resistance was fighting for its survival against the Nazis; and the security forces were undertaking a campaign of terror.

A gentle mystery, reflecting the tensions and concerns of a small town which every now and then makes you smile in sympathy. Bruno is a very idiosyncratic police officer, prepared for every eventuality that might occur. I look forward to reading more of Bruno’s adventures in the future.