Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Crowded Grave-Martin Walker

The Crowded Grave

Martin Walker

Knopf, Jul 10 2012, $24.95

ISBN: 9780307700193

Apparently PETA activists rip open a fence on the Villatte farm allowing many of the three thousand birds to leave; cars run over a few. As Bruno, his team and his dog Gigi work the fowl containment; an archeological team led by German Professor Horst Vogelstern seeks the remains of Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal in the Perigord region. Instead they find the bones of a corpse wearing a St. Christopher medal and a swatch with a bullet in the skull and the hands tied from behind with electrical wire. St. Denis police chief Benet “Bruno” Courrèges investigates the cold case homicide that is over three decades old.

At the same time, Bruno and his small staff are on alert as a major publicized meeting between French and Spanish officials are in St. Denis. He also struggles with the new magistrate who demands the enforcement of the health codes by the local police; this decree forces Bruno to enforce violations of neighbors for slaughtering livestock without regard to government licensing. To make matters worse, Horst disappears.

The latest magnifique Mystery of the French Countryside (see Bruno, Chief of Police; The Dark Vineyard; and Black Diamond) is a delightful potpourri of murder, various types of terrorism, gourmet dining, and intelligent women competing for Bruno. With a sad but realistic exciting climax, fans will appreciate Martin Walker’s superbe gendarme procedural.

Harriet Klausner

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