Two reviews – Martin Walker

If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that I’m a big fan of the ‘Bruno, Chief of Police’ series by Martin Walker. I managed to forget that I had two new titles on my kindle from NetGalley which then came as a lovely surprise, only for me to read them in the wrong order.

Both reviews are below – in the order of publication.

71tSF7vhzgLTitle – The Coldest Case

Author – Martin Walker

Published – 2021

Genre – Crime fiction

Bruno has a bright idea to help JJ solve a case that has haunted him for 30 years. After seeing the lifelike reconstructions of skulls in the Museum of Prehistory in Les Eyzies, Bruno thinks that the skills would help to identify the victim using the skull that JJ has hung on to – to that end he enlists the help of a young graduate who can recreate the face of the murdered man. Reigniting interest in the case has surprising implications in the present day.

There is a thread to the story about a secret document and the sharing (or not) of the information between different security services. I have to say that I really didn’t follow the ins and outs of this!

While all of this is taking place an intense heatwave brings the threat of fire to the region – something Bruno helps to plan for and then has the opportunity to perform some heroics when the worst happens.

The book features the usual mix of local politics, wide circle of friends, horses and dogs and, of course, the food and cooking.

I did enjoy the story but there were a few slightly discordant notes for me. The first was the complexities of the political issues surrounding the secrecy document.

The second was that while a fair proportion of the story involved the reconstruction of the dead man’s skull, in the end it all seemed immaterial to the solution to the case.

Finally there was a connection between the two threads that was either stretching credibility or I failed to see the logical connection.


71eUF63rYlLTitle – To Kill a Troubadour

Author – Martin Walker

Published – June 2022

Genre – Crime fiction

In this instalment Bruno is involved in organising a local a folk music festival which will feature “Les Troubadours” from the Périgord. Their latest song is ‘A Song for Catalonia’ – at a time when the Spanish government is keen to clamp down on the idea of Catalan independence. The song goes viral when the song is banned in Spain – attracting some unwanted attention for the members of the group.

The second investigative thread to the story occurs when a wrecked car is found on a back road and a specialist sniper’s bullet discovered inside it. Concerns about an assassination attempt appear to be closer to home when it’s discovered that the car was reportedly stolen on the Spanish frontier.

While all of this is going on Bruno is asked to help his friend, Florence, after her former husband is released from prison. It comes as news to Bruno that Florence had been abused by her husband and he enlists the help of all and sundry to try to help protect Florence.

What this shares with ‘The Coldest Case’ is a lot of historical information given within the course of the novel which feels a bit like overload. I did enjoy the story – with the inevitable cosy-ish crime feel that you get from the ‘Bruno’ series, however there have been stronger books.




  1. I do like Martin Walker, and his Bruno character. I’m glad you found a lot to like about these books, and you’ve reminded me that I’ve not kept up with the series as I’d like. Never enough time to read everything!

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