Monday, May 19, 2014

THE DARK VINEYARD by Martin Walker

Martin Walker's The Dark Vineyard is a small town police procedural.

Benoit “Bruno” Courreges is the only policeman in the French village of Saint-Denis.

When a rich American comes to buy Saint-Denis' good grape-growing farms, Bruno and his friend the mayor try to find another way. They want to preserve the small village's way of life.

Along the way, two grape farmers, an old man and his young protegee, die, apparently murdered. Also, a strange young woman has come to town. She knows a lot about grapes, and she is suspiciously involved with the rich American and the old farmer's protegee. 

The story goes from there.

Bruno begins to find a new love involvement.

The bulk of this book is setting. Walker carefully describes the unique geography of the area and the small town character of Saint-Denis. We see what these people value. We see their festivals and their way of life.

Bruno solves crimes by investigating, but most of all he knows his people.

I loved the first book in this series, Bruno, Chief of Police. For me, this book was not quite up to the first book's standards, but it was well worth reading.

The Dark Vineyard lacked the intense love interest of the first story. It was even more heavy on setting, and it had a somewhat complicated solution.

I plan to read all the books in the Bruno series. I enjoy reading about Bruno and Saint-Denis.


Yvette said...

I read the first in the series, Joe.
And loved it. But am lagging behind in reading the next and the next. I get side-tracked by other books and wind up forgetting Bruno. Why that is, I don't know. But I'm determined to set things to rights this year at some point. :)

Thanks for the nudge.

Joe Barone said...

Bruno is such a great character. To me, the Bruno stories are kind of like the icing on the cake of mystery story reading.