The Shooting at Chateau Rock is the latest installment in the Bruno, Chief of Police detective series. Written by Martin Walker, the stories center around a rural police chief in the Dordogne region of France. The cases often have international significance. The heart of the books though, revolve around a close knit group of friends. At the heart of the friendships are many great meals.
Reading the Shooting
The Shooting at Castle Rock begins with a death that appears straightforward. An old man with a heart condition dies of a heart attack. However, just before the heart attack he changed his will. His children are disinherited so he can move into a life lease connected to a new insurance office.
At the same time Rod McLeod, a local, retired rock star, is in the process of selling his Chateau and moving on with life. However, before he leaves, his son, daughter and home of their university friends will be paying a visit. Among the visitors is the son’s girlfriend, a gifted musician. She is also the daughter of a Russian oligarch.
As the tale unwinds, we learn there is a lot happening under the surface. The insurance agency is not what it is cracked up to be. There are citizenships and passports for sale, and much money to be illegally made.
Naturally, this means that J.J. and Isabelle are on the case, bringing them both into Bruno’s orbit again. The ending of the case is a little disappointing, political interference overriding criminal justice. Particularly after some really nasty killings.
Meal Time calm in The Chaos.
Yet, even in the midst of harrowing, and even gruesome death, meal time must always be observed. As in all the books there is the Monday meal Bruno shares with his local, St. Denis friends. There are also meals at the Chateau, where Bruno lends his skills to the rather hapless Meghan, wife of rock star Rod McLeod.
Meals are also a place for Bruno to get to know better the people he meets in the course of an investigation. His abilities in the kitchen help take people off their guard and also allow him to observe suspects in a neutral setting.
The various dinners often also serve as a prelude to romance. As always for Bruno this is pretty complicated and confusing. However, this time, there is even a little baby making going on. One of the male characters in the series ends up a proud papa.
One of the things I like about the Bruno series is that Walker resists the temptation to write increasingly long novels. Yet at the same time he manages to find a place for new characters alongside the familiar, well-loved ones.
As series progress you learn different things that add to the enjoyment of the series. This time around I learned that Walker is a graduate of Balliol College. Balliol is also the home of the fictive detective Lord Peter Wimsey. Wimsey has long been one of my favourite detectives, and along with Morse and Dalgleish on of the main reasons I got into reading detective stories.