cover image The Body in the Castle Well: A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel

The Body in the Castle Well: A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel

Martin Walker. Knopf, $25.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-525-51998-0

The disappearance of American Claudia Muller, an art history student, drives Walker’s satisfying 14th outing for French chief of police Benoît “Bruno” Courrèges (after 2018’s A Taste for Vengeance). When Claudia’s body is found in a well in Bruno’s small town of St. Denis, the preliminary autopsy leads the authorities to believe her death was an accident. Drugs may have been a contributing factor. Claudia was studying with a noted art scholar who was possibly engaged in shady dealings related to his valuable art collection. She was also seen in the presence of a man recently released from prison. Was her death a simple misfortune or something more sinister? The book’s main strength is the intrepid Bruno, a horseback-riding and dog-loving master chef whose calm professional practicality pulls the reader into the well-developed, if familiar, crime story. Whether he’s preparing a gourmet dinner, enjoying a glass of wine, or solving a murder, it’s a pleasure to be in Bruno’s company. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Gernert Agency. (June)