The Body in the Castle Well by Martin Walker

The Body in the Castle Well

Martin Walker

When a young woman turns up dead in the courtyard, Bruno will tie all the loose threads together and see that justice is served–along with a generous helping of his signature Périgordian cuisine.

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An aging art scholar and a visiting student, haunting echoes of France's colonialist past, and a delicious navarin of lamb--Bruno is back, and his latest case leads him from the Renaissance to the French Resistance and beyond by way of a corpse at the bottom of a well.

When Claudia, a young American, turns up dead in the courtyard of an ancient castle in Bruno's jurisdiction, her death is assumed to be an accident related to opioid use. But her doctor persuades Bruno that things may not be so simple. Thus begins an investigation that leads Bruno to Monsieur de Bourdeille, the scholar with whom the girl had been studying, and then through that man's past. He is a renowned art historian who became extraordinarily wealthy through the sale of paintings that may have been falsely attributed--or so Claudia suggested shortly before her death. In his younger days, Bourdeille had aided the Resistance and been arrested by a Vichy policeman whose own life story also becomes inexorably entangled with the case. Also in the mix is a young falconer who works at the Château des Milandes, the former home of fabled jazz singer Josephine Baker. In the end, of course, Bruno will tie all the loose threads together and see that justice is served--along with a generous helping of his signature Périgordian cuisine.


Advance Galley Reviews

Brunno Courregis, the Chief of Police in St. Denis, France watches over and knows almost everyone around the area that he covers. He has friends that he invites to his home for dinners that he prepares and along with his dog, Balzac and horse, Hector, he is a well known sight in town. When a young American art student goes missing after a lecture, Bruno is called in to help search and he discovers her at the bottom of a well that is being repaired. A nicely done mystery in this series. All the old acquaintances and townspeople and new characters that move the story along and delve into the history of some of the people that date back to World War II. Thank you First-to-Read for this free e-copy of "The Body in the Castle Well".

I didn't realize until after I'd finished that this is part of a series. It serves easily as a stand alone. An intriguing tale of a young art student found dead in a well - accident or foul play? The investigation is led by Bruno, a well developed and very interesting character. Additionally, the location in the Perigord region of France provides a well described backdrop. The details of the investigation are unraveled during the daily living of Bruno and the supporting characters. Their lives are believable and the book moves quickly. It was not easy to determine the guilty party and there remained some doubt till close to the end of the book that it wasn't simply an accident. Solid story line, interesting and real characters, and excellent writing. I look forward to reading more in the series and by Martin Walker.

Bruno Solves the Case of a Missing Art Student When Claudia, a wealthy American art student, doesn’t return to her lodging after a lecture, Bruno is called in to find out what happened to her. There are few clues in her room, so he proceeds to the castle where the lecture was held. Finding no obvious clues, he sets his basset hound, Balzac, on the trail. Balzac is attracted to the plaintive cries of a kitten trapped in the well that has not been carefully covered by the workmen who are restoring it. Unfortunately, the kitten is clinging to the body of the dead girl. At first it appears to be a case of suicide, or accident perhaps brought on by drugs. However, Claudia has a wealthy father who is friends with the American president and he wants answers. As Bruno digs into the case he is led to a famous art historian, Monsieur de Bourdeille, who Claudia was working with. Just before her death she had suspicions that some of the paintings authenticated by Bourdeille were falsely attributed. The Perigord region of France where the Bruno books are set is delightful, and the author does an excellent job presenting the region, the wines, the food, and the small town atmosphere. This is one of the strengths of the book. The other strength is Bruno. He is a lover, makes wonderful meals, and enjoys hiking, canoeing and horseback riding. Bruno and his friends make you keep coming back to the series. I also enjoyed the French history the author threads through the story. That with the art history makes the book well worth reading. The plot in this book is quite complex. It’s easy to see the underlying complications early in the story. However, the author does a good job of fleshing the reasons for the murder. If you enjoy murders with a French background, you’ll want to get to know Bruno. I received this book from First to Read for this review.

An excellent mystery series.... The returning cast of characters is easy to follow even if you're new to the series. If you enjoy a good mystery, with some history....& wine & cooking mixed in....then this is a great story to get into! It takes place in the Perigord region of France, & in this book we learn something about this region of France, Josephine Baker & the French Foreign Legion & the French SS....& also quite a bit about cooking & wine selections! It's all so beautifully described by Walker that you might imagine being there & you'll wish you knew & had a friend like Bruno....the story follows him as he goes about solving the crime during his work hours & his off time too.... It's all good!!! A thoroughly enjoying read! I received this e-ARC from Penguin's First-To-Read giveaway program, in exchange for reading it & offering my own fair/honest review.

This was my first read of a Bruno novel and it was very entertaining. I look forward to catching up with all the previous tales from France. They will be on my TBR LIST!!!

It's hard not to like this series -- each novel is a well designed police procedural that keeps you turning in the wrong directions right up to the end. They also feature plenty of interesting historical happenings and side trips into various topics, in this case falconry, art history, and the value of tax records in tracking down ownership of works of art. Add to all that the usual descriptions of southwestern France and the fabulous food and wine, and it's irresistible.

I always love Bruno and it is still true because, how could you not? He is a wonderful person surrounded by great friends, both human and animal, fine wine, mouth-watering cuisine and all set in la belle France. Plus, in this series entry, art, possible forgeries, a smattering of history and a little romance. Oops, I almost forgot, a mystery or two. If only Isabelle would just go away and stay away and let Bruno get on with his life.

 


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