In The Dark Vineyard, Bruno, the Chief of Police in Saint-Denis gets called in when there's a fire at a research station for genetically modified crops. Bruno suspects that some local environmentalists are to blame and begins looking at that angle. Meanwhile, winemakers are interested in the land around Saint-Denis and Bruno is concerned that his small town is about to get very crowded. He has his hands full with suspicious characters and two mysterious deaths, but still finds time for romance, friends, food and wine.
This was such an enjoyable read. I felt like I had been transported to France in this wonderful quaint mystery. There are no car chases or high action scenes, but with writing and characters like this, who needs them. Even though the book is the sequel to Bruno, Chief of Police, you don't have to read that one first to enjoy this one. I haven't read the first one (yet) and I loved this book. There were a few references to past events that presumably happened in the first book, but not really that much. I had been looking forward to reading Bruno, Chief of Police, but now I'm even more excited to read it and to revisit Bruno in France. It should be fun.
I loved that Walker briefly explained the French legal system. It was quite interesting and made the story easier to follow. I was equally thrilled with the descriptions of food and wine/winemaking. Everything sounded so delicious. I wanted to join right in.
Bruno Courrèges was a great character. He clearly cared a great deal about Saint-Denis and wanted to protect it and its inhabitants. That showed in his police work and how he dealt with others.
New words: The book is sprinkled with French words, a few of which I didn't recognise. I was able to work out their meaning, though, so I didn't record many of them.
pompiers (page 3): firefighter
mairie (page 16): town hall
Highly recommended. I'd love to read another book by this author.
For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit the HarperCollins Canada website.
Looking for more recommendations, news from the world of books and other fun bookish stuff? Check out The Savvy Reader, the blog from HarperCollins Canada.
For more information about the author, this series and his other books, please visit the Bruno, Chief of Police website.
I'd like to thank those nice people at HarperCollins Canada for this review copy.
The Dark Vineyard by Martin Walker, HarperCollins, ©2009. ISBN 9781554682669(Hardcover), 303p.