Tuesday, September 8, 2015

THE PATRIARCH by Martin Walker

Bruno is becoming ordinary.

Martin Walker’s The Patriarch opens with the seemingly natural death of a French WWII hero.

St. Denis Chief of Police Bruno Courrèges suspects foul play. He interviews witnesses and friends. He collects evidence to use when he can pursue the murderer.

The murdered man is the Patriarch’s son’s best friend. The Patriarch is a legendary WWII pilot, one of Bruno’s boyhood heroes.

Why does the Patriarch’s family open its doors to him? He isn’t part of that social milieu. Bruno watches the manipulation occur, but he keeps on investigating.

As so often happens in the Bruno books, The Patriarch has a touching local story. A sad woman opposes deer hunting. She turns her property into a no-hunting preserve. The deer strip the land and destroy the trees. They cause auto accidents.

When Bruno tries to do his relational magic, helping people work together to solve the problem, things turn tragic.

The Patriarch has all the usual things--great local color, somewhat-more-sketchy-than-usual descriptions of wonderful meals, a complex historical backstory, and Bruno’s bedding an of alluring young woman.

But this time, Bruno seems promiscuous. It is time for Bruno to settle down and find a wife.

I was disappointed in this Bruno book, But . . .

. . . The Patriarch was still better than many books I read. 

So, I have hope. Maybe in the next book (or the one after) Bruno will get his life together, begin to court someone he can marry, and once again use more of his wonderful relational skills to solve the local problems of St. Denis. 

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