Author – Martin Walker
Published – 2 June 2016
Genre – Crime fiction
I believe that (in an ideal world) I should read all series from the beginning and in order but as the first book I read by Martin Walker was number 5 in his ‘Bruno’ series, when I was offered the chance to read Fatal Pursuit (number 9) I couldn’t see any reason to turn it down.
Not much has changed in the French town of St Denis and Bruno seems to have weathered whatever events befell him in the intervening books. He still has his faithful basset hound, Balzac, he rides regularly, enjoys his food and has a busy love life (I’m curious about Bruno’s charm because all the ladies seem to fall for him). Not for him the cliches of the traditional detective!
Bruno has organised a vintage car parade as part of the town’s name day and the event, as well as a regional heat for the French rally driver’s championship, attracts two young men with a passion for cars. It transpires that both men are in search of a valuable Bugatti which mysteriously disappeared in the area during the Second World War. The car they are searching for is a Bugatti Type 57C Atlantic and the mystery is based on a true story – there were only four ever built and the whereabouts of three of the cars is known.
The story has a gentle pace and multiple threads. A man is found dead at the beginning of the book which may or may not have a connection with the hunt for the missing car, there is a potential connection to money laundering for Islamic terrorism, a teenager who is being bullied and a family feud over a piece of land. Eventually, one way or another, the threads are all drawn together in Walker’s very readable style.
This is escapist crime fiction, set in a location that the author makes you want to visit, people that he makes you want to meet and above all, food that he makes you want to taste. This is an enjoyable read with a traditional crime fiction puzzle at its heart and is a perfect antidote to ‘noir’ crime fiction.
Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy.
As an aside I had to find out what all the fuss was about – so below is a photograph of the Bugatti Type 57C Atlantic owned by Ralph Lauren for $40 million. I can see it’s a pretty stunning looking car but that much money?!