cover image The Crowded Grave: A Mystery of the French Countryside

The Crowded Grave: A Mystery of the French Countryside

Martin Walker. Knopf, $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-307-70019-3

The discovery at an archeological dig of a corpse dating back only to the 1980s, with a gunshot wound to the head, is but the first of several problems facing St. Denis police chief Bruno Courrèges in Walker’s appealing fourth mystery set in France’s Perigord region (after 2011’s Black Diamond). Bruno also has to worry about a potential terrorist threat to a high-profile meeting between French and Spanish officials in St. Denis. To make matters worse, the town’s newly installed investigating magistrate is a stickler who takes health code violations seriously in a community where people often slaughter their own livestock, with or without a license. Finally, at a time when PETA activists are stirring up trouble, the magistrate launches a campaign against the sacred foie gras. Walker hits the sweet spot of balancing humor and drama, and his food descriptions will leave readers fantasizing about dining in the Perigord. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Felicity Bryan Associates. (July)