Black Diamond: A Bruno Courreges Investigation by Martin Walker

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Black Diamond: A Bruno Courreges Investigation by Martin Walker

Category: Crime
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The Perigord truffle industry is threatened by a scandal and Bruno finds a friend brutally murdered. There's charm and humour as well as some gritty issues to be tackled.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: July 2010
Publisher: Quercus Publishing plc
ISBN: 978-1849161213

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Perigord is rightly famed for its food and at the heart of the region's success lies the black truffle. They're exported all over the world because nothing else quite lives up to the subtlety and nuances of flavour and aroma. There are the first rumblings of trouble though – a few complaints that packs of truffles have been adulterated by cheaper ones from China - and there are ominous signs that Chinese organised crime might be behind the fraud. Intriguingly there's another, possibly related problem for Bruno Courreges, the local chief of police. In St Denis market a Vietnamese family's stall is wrecked – and the attackers looked to be Chinese.

Don't read this book if you're on a diet. With meals featuring venison casserole, desserts made with litres of cream, glorious cheeses and wonderful wines it will be too much temptation to bear. The wonderful descriptions of the French countryside – the woods and valleys, the beautiful villages will be a further pull – and the crimes, well they're just a story, aren't they? But what a story it is, with a fraud which could ruin the Perigord truffle industry, a Viet-Chinese triad war and some children who are rather illusive – and that's on top of all the usual politics and bureaucracy which goes with life in rural France.

As for Bruno himself, he's superman. Children are rescued from slurry pits and fires and even when he's dressed as Father Christmas he still manages to put up a good fight for law and order. He's a single man who would love a family and it's difficult to understand why some good woman doesn't just snap him up. He's a man's man too, with his hunting and shooting and the odd contact sport just to liven a dull day.

It's a good story and I certainly didn't expect it to end the way that it did, despite the fact that all the clues were there. There's a certain charm to the story which put me in mind of A Year in Provence and despite some particularly gruesome situations there's a degree of humour which I wasn't expecting, but which was very welcome. All the loose ends were tied up – perhaps a little too neatly for my taste as life is rarely that tidy – but I'll certainly look forward to reading the next Bruno Courreges story.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you might enjoy the work of David Barrie, whose hero, Frank Guerin, is based in Paris, or for another look around the French countryside, try Extraordinary People by Peter May.

Martin Walker's Commissar Bruno Courreges Mysteries in Chronological Order

Buy Black Diamond: A Bruno Courreges Investigation by Martin Walker at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Black Diamond: A Bruno Courreges Investigation by Martin Walker at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Black Diamond: A Bruno Courreges Investigation by Martin Walker at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Black Diamond: A Bruno Courreges Investigation by Martin Walker at Amazon.com.


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