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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Paragon of Perigord vs. the Prince of Darkness
Well, maybe that's an overstatement, but in this latest installment of the Chief Bruno Courreges series, the admirable cop of the village of St. Denis attains an even brighter aura as protector of the region and all around great guy as he faces a new threat from satanists, charlatans and wanton women. As always, the storyline is creative and intriguing; but it's the...
Published on August 30, 2012 by Blue in Washington

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best Bruno. Tant pis!
It's hard to review a book by one of your favorite authors when you don't think it measures up to what he has written in the past. Unfortunately, that was my reaction to Martin Walker's fifth Bruno, Chief of Police, novel, The Devil's Cave.
The Bruno series is built on a firm foundation, the setting of the town of St. Denis in the Perigord area of France, and is a...
Published 20 months ago by Angie Boyter


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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Paragon of Perigord vs. the Prince of Darkness, August 30, 2012
Well, maybe that's an overstatement, but in this latest installment of the Chief Bruno Courreges series, the admirable cop of the village of St. Denis attains an even brighter aura as protector of the region and all around great guy as he faces a new threat from satanists, charlatans and wanton women. As always, the storyline is creative and intriguing; but it's the characters populating the book and the locale that give the work real flavor and interest . The stars in all of this are Chief Bruno, local law enforcer, civic organizer, confidant to the powers-that-be, public counselor and psychologist, yenta, gourmet cook, oenologist, jock, horseman and perennial heart throb AND the villages and countryside of the Perigord region of Southwest France.

Without going into great plot detail, "The Devil's Cave" largely focuses on the death of a beautiful woman found nude and floating down St. Denis' river in a punt attended by signs of a satanist orgy. The woman's local roots are discovered as Bruno leads an investigation into her death and connections to a prominent family with important ties to the national government are uncovered. There is a slam-bang close to this novel that takes place in an underground cave complex that the region is famous for. Along the way to the finish, there is plenty of time for Bruno to produce great meals, engage in vintage wine name-dropping, romance and bonding with a new dog.

It is Chief Bruno's personal life that makes this book--and its predecessors--such addictive reading (my opinion). And the ample time spent in "The Devil's Cave" on the man/dog relationship will probably make regular fans of the series raving fanatics. It's pretty irresistible.

This is a fine read albeit with a few moments of excess--over-the-top on the satanist stuff and maybe a little overwriting in the action-centered finale--but overall, very satisfying and getting us all lined up, salivating for the next Bruno book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best Bruno. Tant pis!, June 1, 2013
By 
Angie Boyter (Ellicott City, MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Devil's Cave (Bruno, Chief of Police) (Hardcover)
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It's hard to review a book by one of your favorite authors when you don't think it measures up to what he has written in the past. Unfortunately, that was my reaction to Martin Walker's fifth Bruno, Chief of Police, novel, The Devil's Cave.
The Bruno series is built on a firm foundation, the setting of the town of St. Denis in the Perigord area of France, and is a paean to the region's beauties both natural and gastronomic. The Devil's Cave continues to delight in this respect. The discussions of cookery especially intrigue me, and I can't wait to try Bruno's recipe for roasting a chicken impaled on an open can of beer to make it absorb a flavor that I would previously have associated only with red-meat recipes like boeuf a la flamand. Readers can also expect to learn fascinating tidbits of history or culture from a Bruno book. This one included lore about the influence of Satanism on Henry XIV's mistress and the participation of French communists in the WW II Resistance, and, appropriately in a series where love of animals is as prominent as love of people, Bruno tells us that the Marquis de Lafayette gave George Washington a gift of basset hounds.
The series also glorifies the warmth of life in a small town, as when Bruno slows to exchange kisses and handshakes in the local market while he tries to rush to a crime scene. Finally, the small-village atmosphere naturally leads to a series in which relationships play an important role and continuing characters become old friends. This book adds a delightful new character, the basset hound puppy Balzac.
In addition to loving animals, like any good Frenchman, Bruno loves women, specifically the British expatriate Pamela and fellow law-enforcement officer Isabella, and his frustration at not being able to forge a more committed relationship with one of them is another continuing theme. Both women play only minor roles in this book, but the protracted discussion of Pamela's unwillingness to commit and Isabella's ambivalence about whether to pursue a high-power career or a family life is becoming tedious. I wish Walker would either do something with this theme or ignore it.
The biggest weakness in The Devil's Cave, though, is the plot, the most important single element of a novel. It is difficult to discuss the problems in detail without irrevocably spoiling the book, but there is simply too much going on. There are Black Masses and exorcism, a secret tunnel, international finance, possibly shady local land development, complicated family relationships leading back several centuries, and high-class prostitution, to name the major elements. It would be hard to make a unified and plausible story out of these elements, and to this reader the author did not succeed. Possibly because of this, several scenes that should have been emotionally charged, such as the exorcism and the final pursuit through the tunnel, failed to excite me.
My ultimate impression of The Devil's Cave was that the foundation that has given the series its well-deserved reputation is still solid, but the story that forms the present volume is shaky. For those who have not read Bruno, I would in any case recommend you begin with the first book, Bruno, Chief of Police. For long-time Bruno fans, I'd say this installment is optional, and you might decide to wait for the next book. As Bruno would say, "Tant pis."
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Engaging Read in the Bruno Series, April 8, 2013
By 
William Machrone "(Billm)" (Scotch Plains, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Devil S Cave (Paperback)
We're big fans of Martin Walker's series of Bruno crime novels. We couldn't wait for the US version, so bought the UK edition. Bruno is engaging as ever, respected and adored by the citizens of St. Denis, underestimated by wily criminals, the lover of two beautiful women, a consummate cook, and a walking advertisement for the joys of the country French lifestyle. Beneath his outward appearance as a simple country policeman, Bruno Courreges is a wholly likeable, intelligent, interesting, character.

Perhaps not the most tightly plotted Bruno book, "The Devils Cave" has a couple of extraneous characters and rather Byzantine layering of plot elements as Bruno peels away layers that incorporate murder, shady real estate deals, inheritance, arms sales, and more. It's also a little lighter on the "food porn" as Bruno or other chefs turn everyday ingredients into gustatory delights unknown to outsiders. Walker is a skilled writer, engaging us in a rich world of sights, tastes and smells, without going overboard on the description. I devoured every page.

Many detective/police series get played out over time; the Bruno series shows no evidence of flagging. I eagerly await the next one. If you find this review interesting, I encourage you to start at the beginning of the series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Bruno mysteries, June 4, 2013
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This review is from: Devil S Cave (Paperback)
Martin Walker is the "Donna Leon" of southwestern France. We read our first Bruno book before visiting Bordeaux and the Perigord area of France 2 years ago. What a wonderful introduction to what we now consider the one of the best parts of France. Since then
we have completed the series and look forward to the next one.
The books have interesting characters and the well plotted mysteries resolve around current social issues and or past history, particularly the Resistance in WWII France - and the pre-historic caves. Would highly recommend them and think they are essential for anyone travelling to southwestern France.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder and other unsavories in a charming French village, June 4, 2013
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This review is from: The Devil's Cave (Bruno, Chief of Police) (Hardcover)
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Bruno Correges is the chief of police in a small village in Dordogne. Martin Walker has created a fascinating character in Bruno: devoted to his village and neighbors, haunted by his service in the Serbian conflict, lover of horses and dogs, and a smart crime-solver. The Devil's Cave opens with a haunting scene--a dead woman, naked, floats down the river on a half-submerged skiff. Bruno and friends try to pull the woman's body from the water and when they do, they find some strange things about the body that suggest Satanism might be at work. Or is it merely someone trying to send the authorities in the wrong direction? As Bruno investigates, he finds all sorts of untoward things going on in his beloved village, from wife-beating to shady land deals to high-class prostitutes to exorcism to the Resistance. Bruno and friends must figure out what the heck is going on before more people die.

If that description sounded a bit vague and scattered at the end, it's because it's hard to summarize the plot without giving too much away in the nature of spoilers. It's also because one of the flaws of the book is that there simply is too much going on. There are all sorts of intrigues and nefarious characters and haunting pasts involved, and it can get a bit overwhelming. It would be hard for even the most skilled author to keep this many balls in the air, and at times I felt like it was all too much. Perhaps a slightly-pared-down plot would have made this a more compelling read.

That being said, there's still a lot to like about the book, and so for that reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 3 (if it were possible, I'd split the difference and give it 3.5). Bruno is a charming character with depth and nuance. His love of his village and his warmth toward those who live there is palpable. The descriptions of the countryside, the market days, the delicious cooking and wines are a pleasure to read. The characters are interesting and the plot, although a bit unwieldy, did keep one's interest. So while it's perhaps not the tightest, best book in the Bruno Chief of Police series, it's still a fun and exciting read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Slice of French Life, June 19, 2013
This review is from: The Devil's Cave (Bruno, Chief of Police) (Hardcover)
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"The Devil's Cave" by Martin Walker reads more like a fascinating slice of French rural life than a mystery, although the core of the plot is a mystery. Bruno, the Chief of Police in St Denis, is a wonderful, warm character and someone you really like and want to spend time with.

At the beginning of the story, Bruno is called in to investigate when a swamped boat is discovered, carrying a woman's nude body down River Vezere. In the boat is a black candle and a beheaded black chicken, leading folks to believe that the woman may have been involved in witchcraft and perhaps murdered or sacrificed during a black mass.

When I said it was more like a fascinating slice of French rural life than a mystery, it was because I found myself more interested in the village, the problems of the villagers and interesting tidbits of history like Madame de Montespan's participating in a black mass in 1666 to gain the attention of King Louis XIV. Some of the villagers want to fight the establishment of a sort of "resort" area near the village because of the impact on the village, while others believe it will bring jobs and more money to the village. Such local issues and the glimpses of life in France held more tension for me than the oddball death of the woman--perhaps because you don't know anything about the victim initially. I really had no reason to be caught up in the mystery of her death--but as you can see from my rating--that was ok. I really enjoyed the story anyway (although I did guess the end well in advance of the end).

The writing is excellent and as I mentioned, you really want to spend time with Bruno and his lovely little village. I truly enjoyed this book and will be glad when another story about Bruno and St Denis comes out.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Martin Walker's THE DEVIL'S CAVE, October 10, 2012
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Have read the complete series, "Devil's Cave" being the sixth...will be watching amazon.com for the next one - Mr. Walker's style is inimitably readable and also educational.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best, March 20, 2014
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carolyn temin (philadelphia, pa, US) - See all my reviews
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This is one of the best series i have ever read. Right up there with Donna Leon's stories about a Venetian cop.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting mystery in rural French valley, March 19, 2014
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Very well-written entertaining story. The characters and their interactions in this quaint French valley add to the enjoyment of the mystery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like intelligent, well written mysteries, read these..,, November 5, 2013
I'm not anywhere near being a book critic. I just like to read good books and Martin Walker's Bruno novels are good books. They are entertaining and intelligently written - unlike many of the "churn 'em out" mysteries written these days. I love the characters, the setting, and the food. The books are wonderful. Please, Mr. Walker, keep them coming.
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The Devil's Cave (Bruno, Chief of Police)
The Devil's Cave (Bruno, Chief of Police) by Martin Walker (Hardcover - July 9, 2013)
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