To Kill a Troubadour by Martin Walker: A review

It's time for another visit to the Dordogne to see what's going on with Chief of Police Bruno, aka Benoît Courrèges, and all his friends. And as usual, we find Bruno facing a number of challenges.

Bruno has long been a fan of the folk music group Les Troubadours but all of a sudden the group becomes controversial when their new song, "Song for Catalonia," is banned by the Spanish government. Of course, being banned is just the boost the song needs to make it truly a phenomenon.

The song is songwriter Joel Martin's expression of sympathy for the Catalan bid for independence from Spain. Martin is also known as a local enthusiast for the old Occitan language of the Périgord region and for medieval troubadours and his song is a verbalization of that sympathy. But that, of course, is not a popular sentiment among the more extreme Spanish nationalists.

Amid all the brouhaha about the song, a stolen car is found on a Périgord back road, and in it is a distinctive bullet for a state-of-the-art sniper's rifle that can be used to kill from three kilometers away. The police have reason to suspect that Joel Martin may be the intended target.

Meanwhile, Bruno's good friend Florence is dismayed to learn that her abusive ex-husband is about to be paroled from prison and she is concerned that he will want a relationship with his children and may even try to take them from her. She is considering her options, including a possible move to Canada. Bruno explores ways to keep the ex-husband at arm's length and Florence and the children safe.

Of course, no problem no matter how serious can long keep Bruno and his friends from gathering for a gourmet meal featuring the products of local farms, and once again we get mouth-watering descriptions of those meals. I think it is why reading these books always makes me hungry!

This was a creditable addition to Martin Walker's Bruno series. It was not the best of the lot; after all these books have become quite predictable and I could almost write one myself. But that is almost inevitable in a long series. It's impossible to make each entry in it fresh and new. Nevertheless, I always enjoy my visits to the Dordogne and this was no exception.

Comments

  1. I agree with you about the predictability of the books in this series, but sometimes it's nice to relax with old friends, n'est-ce pas? This is one of the series that I make an effort to keep current on. I've got a copy on order from The Poisoned Pen.

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    1. Old friends are the best friends. That holds true of book series and writers as well.

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  2. I still haven't tried one of the Bruno novels, but they sound like something I need to at least dip a toe into at some point. As someone who would be new to the series, they probably would not be nearly as predictable to me.

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    1. On the other hand, I've read them in order and so after a while one becomes able to predict how the story is going to play out. But I still enjoy them.

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  3. This can't be the same Martin Walker that is known for British Mysteries often released through Poison Pen Press is it? Although this series sounds interesting, I just couldn't start another lengthy series these days. Sorry this installment wasn't better for you.

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    1. I believe it is that Martin Walker. I know he's associated with Poison Pen. I enjoyed this book well enough but I was just reflecting today that it has been a while since I read a book that really just blew me away. Still there is something to be said for comfortable enjoyment.

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  4. Thanks Dorothy. I know what you mean about finding that "comfort and enjoyment" read, especially when you are not expecting it.

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  5. Predictable isn't bad when that's the story you're in the mood for and want to read. :)

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  6. This is why I'm not always the biggest fan of long running series. It's a 50/50 shot that I'll keep reading them. Sometimes, they stay great and I devour each new release and sometimes... I'm glad that this one is still great even if a bit predictable! Though sometimes predictable, helps my anxiety to know what's coming sometimes. If that makes any sense lol

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    1. It makes perfect sense. Sometimes you just want a comfort read and not to be challenged. This series is perfect for that.

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  7. I wish I could go to the Dordogne right now! Beautiful in the fall. I guess a Martin Walker Bruno book is second best to being there.

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    1. You and me both! It would be lovely to be able to visit at this time of year. Well, any time really.

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