The Templars’ Last Secret: A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel

Martin Walker. Knopf, $25.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-101-94680-0
In Walker’s deftly plotted 10th mystery starring St. Denis, France, police chief Benoît “Bruno” Courrèges (after 2016’s Fatal Pursuit), the small-town cop with a knack for stumbling onto big cases rolls into action when an unidentified woman takes a fatal fall from the ramparts of an ancient fortress, apparently before she could finish painting graffiti there that may relate to the medieval order of the Knights Templar. With a Ministry of Justice observer in tow, Bruno displays brisk competence and amiable perceptiveness as he investigates what becomes a murder case. Prehistoric cave art, Crusader tales, and modern Islamic terrorism all figure into the crime, with each getting expository treatment that can be a little labored, even when written crisply. Series fans will happily note Walker’s customary appreciation for local wines, food, and culture, and his bemused explanations of French bureaucracy, though some readers may find the novel’s climax, by the prehistoric painted caves of Lascaux, slightly rushed and overheated. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Felicity Bryan Associates. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/24/2017
Release date: 06/13/2017
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