cover image A Château Under Siege: A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel

A Château Under Siege: A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel

Martin Walker. Knopf, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-59-331981-9

Benoît “Bruno” Courrèges returns in Walker’s sturdy 16th cozy featuring the soldier turned small-town cop (following 2022’s To Kill a Troubadour). When the French town of Sarlat hosts a reenactment of the Hundred Years War, its main actor, intelligence agent Brice Kerquelin, is stabbed during the performance and ends up in critical condition. Various government agencies scramble to solve the apparent assassination attempt, while Bruno is charged with protecting Kerquelin’s adult daughters, Claire and Nadia. Before long, however, Bruno learns that the performance had not been going as planned, with Kerquelin pulling a series of unrehearsed moves just before the supposed assassination. The detective smells a rat, especially after he establishes a link between Kerquelin, a missing tech mogul, and a Taiwanese group monitoring France’s interest in manufacturing new computer processing chips. As he digs deeper, Bruno uncovers a network of international espionage far more sinister than he first imagined. Fans will be happy to find all the hallmarks of the series: the pacing is brisk; Bruno’s former flame, Isabelle, provides romantic tension; and his dog, Balzac, keeps the detective company while he cooks several decadent and vividly described meals. This is reliable, frothy fun. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Susanna Lea Assoc. (Aug.)