Springtime in St Denis. It's two weeks before Easter, and Satanism has reared its ugly head. A female body has been found on a boat, bearing the ghastly signs of a black magic ritual. The victim is unknown and nobody is coming forward. This is the last thing Bruno needs.
The Chief of Police-come-culinary connoisseur has too much on his plate as it is, mediating both a domestic abuse case and a local development proposal that seems just too good to be true. Moreover, he has no one to share these stresses with. His dog, Gigi, is gone, as are his usual roster of ladies. He's never felt so alone.
But Bruno soon finds himself back at his best; which is just as well if he's to solve the mystery that's threatening to scar his town's reputation.
©2012 Martin Walker (P)2013 WF Howes Ltd
"An entertaining read - and not just for the Francophiles." (Manchester Evening News)
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Poor narration - why do some Fench character have French accents and not others, for example? An odd choice. Most narrators would use an English accent for all the French characters, differentiated by class and regional dialects. The late Bill Wallis was much better at this. And the plots of Walker's book become more and more unlikely as time wears on. This is not Scarpetta territory.
"Good story, tense and complex"
Don't like the narrator, who uses comic French accents for many characters, usually those from less affluent society, but Bruno escapes this Clouseau treatment. It would be better to choose an appropriate UK accent, which wouldn't seem so patronising. Bill Wallis did a good job, as always, but he's no longer available, and much missed.
Saint Denis is again the window dressing for vice and evil; the arcane organisation of French law enforcement and policing cause the usual problems, and as the title implies, there's a mix of sacrilege and blasphemy. (I do question the liturgy of the exorcism Mass - in Holy Week, to complicate proper form even more - but I've never been to an exorcism, just lots of Masses.)
Still, I enjoyed it, and can accept, if not appreciate, the performer.
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