cover image The Devil’s Cave: A Bruno, Chief of Police, Novel

The Devil’s Cave: A Bruno, Chief of Police, Novel

Martin Walker. Knopf, $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-385-34952-9

At the start of Walker’s charming fifth novel featuring Bruno Courrèges, police chief in the French village of St. Denis (after 2012’s The Crowded Grave), reports that a dead naked woman is drifting downstream in a boat on the local river disturb the policeman’s choir practice. Once the vessel is secured, Bruno goes aboard. Along with the corpse, whose belly is marked with a pentagram, he finds a black cockerel, the bird’s severed head, and black candles. Identifying the woman and the cause of her death proves less than straightforward, and the mystery deepens when another person turns up dead. Rumors that the woman, who’s deemed a suicide, was involved in conducting a black mass don’t please the town mayor, who’s not eager for the negative publicity they engender. Bruno, an affable gourmet and dogged investigator, is a winning lead, and Walker perfectly balances developments in his private life with the homicide inquiry. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Felicity Bryan Associates. (July)