A Taste for Vengeance by Martin Walker: A review

I'm still catching up with reviews of books read in the latter part of December. This is actually the last book that I read in 2019, something to entertain in the quiet moments as the holidays wound down.

In this eleventh in the Bruno, Chief of Police series, Bruno has received a promotion. He is no longer only the chief of police for the little town of St. Denis, he now has responsibility for a wide range of territory in the Dordogne region of France which encompasses two other towns with current police with whom he must build a relationship. Bruno, who thoroughly enjoys being the chief in St. Denis and being a large fish in a small pond, is not at all sure he likes the idea of his enhanced authority and responsibility. 

Moreover, his efforts to work with the policeman in one of the new towns under his jurisdiction prove problematic when it turns out the man seems to spend most of his day drinking. He's not someone on whom Bruno can rely.

Fortunately, the head policewoman in the other town seems very proficient. She is definitely a keeper.

Bruno learns all of this as he works with them in the investigation of a double murder. An Englishwoman who was slated to attend the cooking school run by his friends, Pamela and Miranda, failed to turn up and efforts to reach her are unsuccessful. Then, her body is discovered in a local farmhouse. She had been stabbed once. The body of the owner of the house is found hanging from a tree in the woods nearby. A suicide note is found. It appears to be a murder/suicide.

But, of course, it is not that simple.

The male victim turns out to be an Irishman hated by the remnants of the IRA who have never resigned themselves to a peaceful outcome of "The Troubles". They instead continue to seek vengeance from those they consider to be their enemies. And that, it seems has been the case in the instance of the two dead bodies.

Because of the international terrorism connection, the national police of France and of the European Union become involved, which allows Bruno's former lover, Isabelle, to put in an appearance. One begins to wonder, is this woman going to continue dipping in and out of his life forever even though it is obvious the relationship is going nowhere? It seems as though Walker thinks, "Okay, time for a little sex to liven things up and provide an interlude!" And so, he brings on Isabelle. I confess to being more than a little tired of her.

The best thing about this book, as in all the series, is the description of the culture, the food, wine, history, and archaeology of the Dordogne region. But there was actually less of that in this one than in most of the books and, for that reason, it was not quite as enjoyable.  

My rating: 3 of 5 stars   


  1. This sounds good. I think that my wife would like this as it sounds like the type of mystery that she enjoys plus the fact that it is set in France.

    The book cover is a neat play on the book’s title.

    1. It is, for the most part, a delightful series and it really does provide quite a look into the history and culture of that region of France.

  2. "Okay, time for a little sex to liven things up and provide an interlude" - I suspect that there are many of us who would go along with that!!

    1. Certainly the philosophy that governs Martin Walker's writing and maybe not a bad one for real life!

  3. I always find myself catching up the first week of January, with reviews from the end of December. I'm just enjoying the holidays away from the blog during that time.

    1. Yes, it is nice to have a blog break once in a while. Helps us to recharge our batteries, I think.


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