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A beloved village, a renowned family, a suspicious death - it's the latest adventure in the Dordogne for police chief Bruno. When Bruno is invited to the lavish birthday celebration of World War II flying ace and national icon Marco "the Patriarch" Desaix, it's the fulfillment of a boyhood dream. But when the party ends in the death of Gilbert, Marco's longtime friend, it' A beloved village, a renowned family, a suspicious death - it's the latest adventure in the Dordogne for police chief Bruno. When Bruno is invited to the lavish birthday celebration of World War II flying ace and national icon Marco "the Patriarch" Desaix, it's the fulfillment of a boyhood dream. But when the party ends in the death of Gilbert, Marco's longtime friend, it's another day on the job for the chef de police. All signs point to a tragic accident, but Bruno isn't so sure. There is more to the Desaix family's lives and loyalties than meets the eye. There is Victor, the patriarch's son, Gilbert's old comrade-in-arms and sometime rival; Victor's seductive wife, Madeleine, whose roving eye intrigues Bruno even more than her fierce political ambitions; Yevgeny, another son, an artist whose paintings seem to hold keys to the past; and the patriarch himself, whose postwar Soviet ties may have intersected all too closely with Gilbert's career in Cold War intelligence. Bruno is diverted by a dangerous conflict between a local animal rights activist and outraged hunters - as well as meals to cook, wine to share, and an ever more complicated romantic situation. But as his entanglement with the Desaix family grows and his suspicions heighten, Bruno's inquiries into Gilbert's life become a deadly threat to his own.


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A beloved village, a renowned family, a suspicious death - it's the latest adventure in the Dordogne for police chief Bruno. When Bruno is invited to the lavish birthday celebration of World War II flying ace and national icon Marco "the Patriarch" Desaix, it's the fulfillment of a boyhood dream. But when the party ends in the death of Gilbert, Marco's longtime friend, it' A beloved village, a renowned family, a suspicious death - it's the latest adventure in the Dordogne for police chief Bruno. When Bruno is invited to the lavish birthday celebration of World War II flying ace and national icon Marco "the Patriarch" Desaix, it's the fulfillment of a boyhood dream. But when the party ends in the death of Gilbert, Marco's longtime friend, it's another day on the job for the chef de police. All signs point to a tragic accident, but Bruno isn't so sure. There is more to the Desaix family's lives and loyalties than meets the eye. There is Victor, the patriarch's son, Gilbert's old comrade-in-arms and sometime rival; Victor's seductive wife, Madeleine, whose roving eye intrigues Bruno even more than her fierce political ambitions; Yevgeny, another son, an artist whose paintings seem to hold keys to the past; and the patriarch himself, whose postwar Soviet ties may have intersected all too closely with Gilbert's career in Cold War intelligence. Bruno is diverted by a dangerous conflict between a local animal rights activist and outraged hunters - as well as meals to cook, wine to share, and an ever more complicated romantic situation. But as his entanglement with the Desaix family grows and his suspicions heighten, Bruno's inquiries into Gilbert's life become a deadly threat to his own.

30 review for The Patriarch

  1. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    3.5 stars In this 8th book in the 'Bruno, Chief of Police' series, Bruno investigates the death of a troubled man. The book can be read as a standalone. ***** Dordogne region of France Police Chief Bruno Corrèges of St. Denis, in the Dordogne region of France, is happy to be going to the 90th birthday party of 'The Patriarch' - Marco Desaix - whom Bruno has idolized since childhood. The Patriarch was a heralded aviator in WWII, awarded medals by both France and Russia. The party guests include loc 3.5 stars In this 8th book in the 'Bruno, Chief of Police' series, Bruno investigates the death of a troubled man. The book can be read as a standalone. ***** Dordogne region of France Police Chief Bruno Corrèges of St. Denis, in the Dordogne region of France, is happy to be going to the 90th birthday party of 'The Patriarch' - Marco Desaix - whom Bruno has idolized since childhood. The Patriarch was a heralded aviator in WWII, awarded medals by both France and Russia. The party guests include local aristocrats as well as DeSaix's extended family, including his sons (from different mothers) Yevgeny and Victor. Also present are Victor's gorgeous politically active wife Madeleine, their college age children Chantal and Marc, and Victor's best friend since their army days, Gilbert Clamartin - a troubled alcoholic. During the party Gilbert is found dead, apparently having drunk too much and choked. Though a local doctor (and friend of the DeSaix family) declares Gilbert's death accidental, Bruno has an uneasy feeling and decides to investigate. He learns about a tangled web of 'cooperation' between France and Russia during and after WWII, activities that involved The Patriarch, Victor, and Gilbert. Bruno suspects that - at the party - Gilbert might have threatened to reveal a secret that resulted in his murder. Perhaps to distract Bruno from his investigation the DeSaix family 'courts' the police chief, inviting him to luncheons, wine and paté tastings, etc. And beautiful Madeleine pulls out all the stops, staging an all out seduction. Other elements of the tale include an obsessive environmentalist whose 'protection' of wild deer endangers their lives and creates a serious road hazard; a prize-winning garden that's destroyed by wild boars; Gilbert's surprising will; a political rivalry; and an attempt on Bruno's life. In addition to his investigative work Bruno goes about his everyday activities, which include horseback riding, eating breakfast at the local café, taking care of his garden, walking his lovable basset hound, resolving a romantic relationship, shopping, cooking for his hunt club celebration, and so on. In fact, Bruno demonstrates some serious chef skills. He frequently invites guests to his home, where he prepares gourmet French meals accompanied by fresh baguettes and fine wines, all of which sounds delicious. The reader is also treated to vivid descriptions of the lovely St. Denis/Dordogne region of France, which sounds like a wonderful place to live (if it wasn't for all the pesky murders Bruno solves). By the end of the book Gilbert's death is satisfactorily resolved. This is an enjoyable book in a wonderful setting. Recommended to mystery fans. You can follow my reviews at http://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot.com/

  2. 4 out of 5

    Margitte

    To enjoy this crime series, and probably understand the motive behind it, a deeper look at the author and the character might bring some answers to the reader. In this eight book in the Bruno, Chief Of Police series, the fictional town of St. Denis is once again the boiling pot for murder, family intrigue, and international politics. And in the lead, of the flaw, mayhem and botched operations of diplomats and spies, is the village police officer who refuses to give up his horse, geese, chickens, To enjoy this crime series, and probably understand the motive behind it, a deeper look at the author and the character might bring some answers to the reader. In this eight book in the Bruno, Chief Of Police series, the fictional town of St. Denis is once again the boiling pot for murder, family intrigue, and international politics. And in the lead, of the flaw, mayhem and botched operations of diplomats and spies, is the village police officer who refuses to give up his horse, geese, chickens, and life style for a higher position in Paris, which he rightfully deserve. For Benoît “Bruno” Courrèges, originally an orphaned child, who unintentionally became a hero since a young age in everything he did, there's more to life than good money and more pretentious friends. Bruno is the real deal. And he is loved for it by both his town and his readers. The Patriarch was also published under the title The Dying Season. The Patriarch deals with deception, loyalty, old friendships, wily but strong women and international spy rings. To complicate matters even further, the wife of a prominent politician is killed in a collusion with a deer, and the different interest groups, such as environmentalists and hunters, are at odds to what should happen afterwards, with anger bursting out in the streets. Weapons are pulled out at each other. A smorgasbord of deceit and deception within one family is served when a hero pilot from WWII is found dead in The Patriarch's mansions on the latter's ninetieth birthday. Bruno has once again his hands full, with dull moments as foreign and unacceptable as the decisions of the EU forced upon the community. Martin Walker must be quietly one of the most successful crime authors in the world. His books have been translated into 15 languages including Turkish, Japanese, Brazilian and Polish. He spent 25 years as a foreign correspondent for The Guardian in Moscow, Washington and Europe and uses these experiences to tell his tales, sharing both historical as well as current affairs in world history. His main character is based on the real police chief of Pèrigord who often has to sign books for tourists. Reality and fiction merge. For instance, Pamela prepares a Scottish dish for Bruno in one of the books, which has now become a favorite in Pèrigord, and is simply called a Fish Pie in Bruno's cookbook. The tourists not only have read the Bruno series, but also visits the town in their hundreds from all over the world and want to eat the food. The series have become great ambassadors for the real town. Meeting many people on a daily basis, conversing over dinners where candle light and good wines encourages good conversations, including book discussions, Martin Walker is constantly a firm favorite crime writer. Which can lead to the conclusion that his ratings on GR might not reflect his true popularity. He is a bestselling author with a firm following. When Louise Penny, being sold as an internationally bestselling author, is mentioned in these conversations, nobody has heard of her. That means that Martin Walker sells a lot more books worldwide and is quietly a lot more successful, since everyone lights up when his name is mentioned. He might not be so well-known in America or Canada or GR for instance, and that is so surprising. He has won numerous awards in Europe and China. He is also widely read in Britain, South Africa and elsewhere. Like Louise Penny, who present the fictional Three Pines in Canada to the world, with the inhabitants and their food culture as the main selling point amidst the crime stories, Martin Walker does that very same thing for St. Denis (Pèrigord) in France. His cookbook, Tales, Food and Wines of the Périgord won an international award as the best one on French Cuisine at an international Food Festival in China. Bruno belongs to the grand tradition of fictional detectives-cum-gastronomes, like Nero Wolfe and Salvo Montalbano. But there’s one big difference between Bruno and those others: Bruno cooks. Chief Inspector Gamache in the Louise Penny books is just a visiting detective in Three Pines. The fictional St. Denis on the other hand, is based on Pèrigord in France, with the resulting influx of tourism to the real town. Martin Walker is fluent in English (being from Scottish descent), French, and German, and probably can help himself in Russia where he worked for several years. The website brunochiefofpolice.com introduces Bruno, the chief of police in St. Denis as "a peaceful, gentle fellow who likes to cook for his friends and is aching to settle down in St. Denis. And he aches to settle down with and be faithful to a woman who wants to bear his children and help share his vegetable garden, his horse and ducks and hens, and his reluctance to have a TV set in his house. Bruno cooks, he hunts, he builds his own house and grows his own food. He organizes the parades and festivities and fireworks displays and keeps order in his fictional home town of St Denis. A pillar of the local tennis and rugby clubs, he teaches sports to the local schoolchildren. Bruno finds lost dogs, fights fires, registers births and deaths, and enforces the parking regulations. But he maintains a sophisticated intelligence network to outwit the interfering bureaucrats of the European Union in far-off Brussels. The country folk of the Perigord have been making their foie gras and their cheeses and sausages for centuries before the EU was ever heard of, and see no reason to bow to its rules and regulations now. But Bruno applies his own sense of justice in doing so, which sometimes put him at odds with the local Gendarmes, with the professional detectives of the Police Nationale, and with the politicians in distant Paris. And much to the frustration of those matrons of St Denis with unmarried daughters, for whom he is the town’s most eligible and charming bachelor, Bruno remains stubbornly and contentedly single. He is, however, a great romantic with a profound if somewhat wary appreciation of the fair sex." In an interview with the weeklylizard.com, the future of Bruno is made clear. "Bruno will go on defending the town and people and the traditions of St. Denis against all the threats of modernization and globalization that menace the town’s traditional way of life—with its two-hour lunches, its plentiful wine and foie gras, its weekly market, its hunting seasons and rugby games." This is what the reader will find in The Patriarch and all the other books in this series. Policeman Bruno's tales are quiet, gentle reads with a deeper, exciting, vibrant twists thrown into every plot. They are as much murder mysteries as they are historical fiction. Trying to live like the town folks might render the reader a pickled version of the old self, since wine is served everywhere in unlimited quantities but breakfast on a daily basis and it will continue in ad infinitum. It is the culture. It is St. Denis. The stories are just as pickled, with intrigue and mystery, and just as enjoyable. For teetotalers it can be overwhelming and smothering. An enjoyable read once again. It is a Pèrigord experience to its fullest with a murder mystery thrown in.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Suzy

    3 1/2 stars I continue to love reading the Bruno, Chief of Police mystery series. One thing I particularly like is what the reader learns in each book about the history of France and French culture, politics, policing (a complicated affair!), law, tourism, activism, food and wine. All of these are present in spades in entry #8. (I feel that the way these things are portrayed in the series are particularly credible because of Walker's journalism experience, his research, his role as senior fellow 3 1/2 stars I continue to love reading the Bruno, Chief of Police mystery series. One thing I particularly like is what the reader learns in each book about the history of France and French culture, politics, policing (a complicated affair!), law, tourism, activism, food and wine. All of these are present in spades in entry #8. (I feel that the way these things are portrayed in the series are particularly credible because of Walker's journalism experience, his research, his role as senior fellow of the Global business Policy Council and that he lives in the Dordogne regions of France part time.) It was particularly interesting to learn about the French air fighter squadron, Normandie-Nieman that fought on the eastern front for ally Russia during WWII and French-Russian relations during The Cold War. Also, we get more of the Green party activism, friction between Greens and hunters and upcoming fraught political elections. The role of the wealthy in the local culture comes to the fore again, revisiting some of the characters from book #5, The Devil's Cave, one of my favorite in the series. Of course there's all the food and wine we've come to expect in a Bruno novel. As in the past, the descriptions of cooking dishes is so enticing and detailed that I feel I could successfully prepare the dishes myself. A friend of mine and I have remarked that in recent books, Bruno comes off as "Super Bruno", doing things that no mere mortal could possibly do, dinging the credibility of the character a little. I was surprised that Bruno came off as "Bumbling Bruno" in The Patriarch! While he has hunches, they don't evolve into his usual laser focus on the criminal and he makes some very poor personal choices. This book makes him seem more realistic, but maybe there's a middle ground between bumbling and super-hero! I enjoyed reading The Patriarch, but am deducting half a star from my consistent 4-star ratings throughout this series because of the rushed, ridiculous ending. Still a series I highly recommend. I see that the next in the series is available at my library, so I will roll into Fatal Pursuit sooner rather than later!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    As someone else here has said, this 8th book in the Bruno Courrège series lacks some of the charm of the previous novels. Although I enjoyed reading it, and recognize Martin Walkers expertise in Franco-Russian history and politics, I felt some of the situations were a little too contrived, and I couldn't bask in the beauty and cosy conviviality of rural Perigord life, as in the earlier stories. Bruno has become a bit like Agatha Raisin in his personal life, eternally and irritatingly wishful! Pl As someone else here has said, this 8th book in the Bruno Courrège series lacks some of the charm of the previous novels. Although I enjoyed reading it, and recognize Martin Walkers expertise in Franco-Russian history and politics, I felt some of the situations were a little too contrived, and I couldn't bask in the beauty and cosy conviviality of rural Perigord life, as in the earlier stories. Bruno has become a bit like Agatha Raisin in his personal life, eternally and irritatingly wishful! Please let him find a nice girl in the next instalment, and settle down to have the family he dreams of!! Then we can concentrate on the plot!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Please don't read The Patriarch as your introduction to Martin Walker's Bruno, Chief of Police, mysteries. This eighth book in the series lacks much of the charm of the first seven. The Patriarch is a WWII hero with an extended family. When one of his fellow Cold War liaisons with the USSR dies, apparently accidentally, Bruno becomes suspicious when the deceased is quickly cremated and when he is discovered to have left a substantial fortune. As usual, Walker combines his expertise about post-WWII Please don't read The Patriarch as your introduction to Martin Walker's Bruno, Chief of Police, mysteries. This eighth book in the series lacks much of the charm of the first seven. The Patriarch is a WWII hero with an extended family. When one of his fellow Cold War liaisons with the USSR dies, apparently accidentally, Bruno becomes suspicious when the deceased is quickly cremated and when he is discovered to have left a substantial fortune. As usual, Walker combines his expertise about post-WWII European politics with his understanding of current French issues. In this novel, the local conflict concerns protecting versus culling deer. The French-Soviet plot becomes convoluted, as befits a spy v. spy, whom-can-you-trust situation. The deer population plot seems superficial. In both plots, the characters are flat and unsympathetic. Oh, well. I will forgive Martin Walker this one weaker entry in an excellent series.

  6. 5 out of 5

    katbethell

    A disappointment I love the novels in the Bruno series. I love their local charm and coziness. I admire the rich descriptions, delightful characters, and fully developed relationships. This latest installment lacks all of these things. It is cluttered with names of characters who are poorly developed. It is didactic in its attention to Franco-Soviet politics. It is lazy in its allusions to previous novels. I hope future novels in the series return to the roots of what made the early books such a A disappointment I love the novels in the Bruno series. I love their local charm and coziness. I admire the rich descriptions, delightful characters, and fully developed relationships. This latest installment lacks all of these things. It is cluttered with names of characters who are poorly developed. It is didactic in its attention to Franco-Soviet politics. It is lazy in its allusions to previous novels. I hope future novels in the series return to the roots of what made the early books such a delight to read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    Another enjoyable visit to the Cabot Cove of France, but this book has some annoying loose ends, or else I seriously blanked out. A three month old question on Goodreads suggests that there really is a hole in the plot regarding the boars in the garden, but if I missed something, will someone please answer the question?

  8. 5 out of 5

    gaudeo

    This entry in the Bruno series didn't grab me overall--it involves possible espionage, a topic I don't love--but the French countryside, its people, and its food and wine continue to charm. I wouldn't recommend it as a first entry into this series, but for those who have read earlier books, it is worth the read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jeremiah Seyrak

    An ok crime story, with some interesting twists. I just did not think there was enough in the story to draw me in, or the story was not to my personal liking so it doesn’t mean it was bad. I probably say as well that I needed to read the books in order, as this one is part of a series. Overall, an ok book to read with good strong characters.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Cole

    I've been passionate about Martin Walker's Bruno Chief of Police series since its inception. Each new book has been eagerly awaited and lovingly read. Walker is a master of portraying the history, culture, and food of the Dordogne in France. When I finish reading each book, it's a miracle that I don't speak with a French accent. I. Love. This. Series. If you felt that the above paragraph was leading toward a "but," you would be correct. I've been noticing a trend in the last two or three books. A I've been passionate about Martin Walker's Bruno Chief of Police series since its inception. Each new book has been eagerly awaited and lovingly read. Walker is a master of portraying the history, culture, and food of the Dordogne in France. When I finish reading each book, it's a miracle that I don't speak with a French accent. I. Love. This. Series. If you felt that the above paragraph was leading toward a "but," you would be correct. I've been noticing a trend in the last two or three books. A waning of authorial interest perhaps? For me The Patriarch felt rather lackluster. Walker usually enlightens readers about a little known segment of French World War II history that I normally find fascinating, but this time the plot thread involving a French flying ace in Russia and another character's Cold War spy shenanigans seemed hurriedly resolved and just didn't drum up much interest in me. The subplot with the animal rights activist and the hunters wasn't really resolved at all, although Walker did illuminate the entire situation and its repercussions well. Bruno has to face disillusionment on more than one front in this book. Once again he's at a romantic crossroads, but this time he didn't seem very interested in his own love life. Even the scenes filled with wine and food seemed perfunctory. Don't get me wrong. I haven't gone off this series by any means. What I perceive to be Walker's "lackluster" novel is still much better than many other writers' "very good" ones. If anything, it's a reminder of how difficult it must be for writers to maintain not only interest but quality in a long-running series. But when I pick up the next Bruno book, there will be a hesitation and a bit of skepticism that wasn't there before.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alan Teder

    First off, yes, "The Dying Season" (Uk Edition) is the same book as "The Patriarch" (U.S. Edition) which is to be published August 11, 2015. I'm such a Bruno nut that I had to get the U.K. edition which came out July 2, 2015. The UK and US publishers are now getting much closer in terms of publishing times as it used to be a year's wait for the next Bruno, but now it is only a month and a bit. In this case, the U.S. edition actually has the edge as the title and the cover art are much more approp First off, yes, "The Dying Season" (Uk Edition) is the same book as "The Patriarch" (U.S. Edition) which is to be published August 11, 2015. I'm such a Bruno nut that I had to get the U.K. edition which came out July 2, 2015. The UK and US publishers are now getting much closer in terms of publishing times as it used to be a year's wait for the next Bruno, but now it is only a month and a bit. In this case, the U.S. edition actually has the edge as the title and the cover art are much more appropriate to the theme of the book rather than the generic title and cover art of the U.K. edition, but hopefully Bruno fans do not get confused. "The Patriarch/The Dying Season" has the feel of a transitional book as Bruno seems to be a bit off his game in this one and actually makes a questionable decision along the way. He can be forgiven some of that as he is forced to move on in his romantic life and is understandably off balance somewhat. This time the main case involves the extended family (you might want to do a crib sheet of all the relations at the front end to help you along) of a World War II French air force hero who also flew for the Soviet Union on the Eastern European Front vs. the Nazis. The 2nd more domestic case involves a local wildlife preservationist who runs into conflicts with the local community. As usual, Bruno prepares several meals along the way and much wine is served! It all seems to wrap up too quickly, but that is always the way with those things you enjoy the most. I'm already looking forward to the next one. Bon appétit et à votre santé! (A hearty appetite and to your health!)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    For most of this book, I really liked it, much more than the last Bruno novel. (I still liked that one overall, but not as much as most previous ones and had some definite mixed feelings about it.) The Patriarch is a great mystery, a wonderful vicarious experience of living and eating in France (as are the others), a nice return to the lives of some earlier characters to continue their stories and development, and interesting background with French/Russian history. BUT there was one key part of For most of this book, I really liked it, much more than the last Bruno novel. (I still liked that one overall, but not as much as most previous ones and had some definite mixed feelings about it.) The Patriarch is a great mystery, a wonderful vicarious experience of living and eating in France (as are the others), a nice return to the lives of some earlier characters to continue their stories and development, and interesting background with French/Russian history. BUT there was one key part of the plot that just drove me nuts. I hope it's not a spoiler to say it involved Bruno and his attitude toward/relationship with one of the female characters. That aspect developed into such a key part of the ending that I finished the book feeling annoyed and disappointed. One of the subplots involving hunting and environmental balance also was a weak spot for me. The development and portrayal of those characters and events ended up seeming more like advocacy for hunting (which I am not against) than a genuine, interesting storyline. Overall, it's still a good read and maybe the things that bothered me wont bother you. But the earlier Bruno novels are still by far my favorites.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Juliana

    Fantastic book full of twists and turns

  14. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    Read for Cook the Books--virtual foodie book club. Probably 3.5 stars for me but I'm rounding it up to 4 because of the food focus and because I think it would have been a higher rating if I had read the series books that preceded it. The Patriarch is the tenth book (in a series of twelve so far) of a popular mystery series set in the Dordogne region of southwestern France. (At least according to the publisher--Goodreads lists it as book #8?) The main character serves as Chief of Police of a sma Read for Cook the Books--virtual foodie book club. Probably 3.5 stars for me but I'm rounding it up to 4 because of the food focus and because I think it would have been a higher rating if I had read the series books that preceded it. The Patriarch is the tenth book (in a series of twelve so far) of a popular mystery series set in the Dordogne region of southwestern France. (At least according to the publisher--Goodreads lists it as book #8?) The main character serves as Chief of Police of a small town called St. Denise. Benoit Courreges--called Bruno--is 40-ish, a former soldier and very into food and cooking in between and around solving crime in his town and region. In this book the mystery involves the supposed murder of a guest at a birthday party for one of Bruno's childhood heroes, a former World War II flyer known as "the Patriarch." Although the death is at first written off as an accident, Bruno has his suspicions that the death of this longtime friend of the Patriarch was not accidental and there seems to be some collusion and cover up going on within the Patriarch's family and involving the dead man's Soviet ties. There is also a subplot of a local woman 'hoarding' wild deer on her property, along with relationship challenges for Bruno to deal with. It took me a long while to start and get into The Patriarch, probably because I have a "thing" about not reading series books out of order and with this being the tenth book, there was no way I was going to fit the previous books into my reading schedule. I like to have the characters' back stories and nuances and to see relationships unfold--especially when there are many characters to keep track of, as there often are in police procedural mysteries. Add to that the complexity of understanding the hierarchy and roles of the French police and justice systems--there is some explanation of the roles in the book but I still found it a bit confusing to keep track of who was who and who did what. Once I did get clicking along in the story, I enjoyed it and I can see why my co-host Claudia likes these books and Bruno. The food descriptions are good and made me long for a trip to the French countryside. It's hard to resist a man who cooks as well as Bruno appears to and although he has his flaws, he is a character who is both interesting and likable. The other characters are not as deeply drawn or explored in this single book and the ending was a bit too abrupt for me--I wanted more details, motivations of different characters, and a longer wrap-up, especially given I had the perpetrator pegged from the beginning of the book. But overall, I did like the book and would look to going back to the start of the series if I can work them in and my library has them available. You can see my review and the recipe for a Salmon Nicoise Salad inspired by the book here: https://kahakaikitchen.blogspot.com/2...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy

    The patriarch of the title is a World War II French pilot hero, now 90 years old. He is honored in two countries, Russia, where he fought for a while with their air force, as well as France. He is a boyhood hero of Bruno Courreges, chief of police in the little town of St. Denis in the Perigord region of France, and Bruno is overwhelmed and delighted when he is invited to the icon's 90th birthday party. At the party, he observes Gilbert, an old comrade-in-arms of the patriarch's son Victor and sa The patriarch of the title is a World War II French pilot hero, now 90 years old. He is honored in two countries, Russia, where he fought for a while with their air force, as well as France. He is a boyhood hero of Bruno Courreges, chief of police in the little town of St. Denis in the Perigord region of France, and Bruno is overwhelmed and delighted when he is invited to the icon's 90th birthday party. At the party, he observes Gilbert, an old comrade-in-arms of the patriarch's son Victor and said to be Victor's best friend. Bruno is called away from the party on police business and later learns that Gilbert has been found dead. The verdict of his doctor who was at the party is that the man choked on his own vomit while intoxicated, but when Bruno saw him, he was not drunk and other witnesses state that he did not appear to be intoxicated. However, the death certificate has been signed by the doctor, and Victor, in the absence of any relative, arranges for the cremation of the body which is carried out as soon as the law allows. There will be no autopsy. Bruno is suspicious at all of this haste and the fact that his own observations did not lead him to think that Gilbert was drunk. But there is scant evidence for him to go on. And no body. If it was murder, how will he ever prove it? This eighth entry in the Bruno, Chief of Police, series has little in the way of plot or character development. The mystery of Gilbert's death is foreshadowed throughout and the denouement is no surprise. Mostly, this is just a mouthwatering description of a series of meals served or attended by Bruno. We get details of the preparation of the various dishes, as well as accounts of the several wines served. The diners are invariably replete and sated. We also get the mandatory visits with Bruno's Basset hound Balzac and his horse Hector and his various friends around St. Denis. Moreover, the narrative harks back to the action in previous books in order to bring along readers who may not have read all the books in sequence. It also has the mandatory afternoon of hot and heavy lovemaking with a beautiful woman which is an essential part of the Bruno persona. This particular beautiful woman, though, has her own reasons for seducing the susceptible policeman. On the whole, this was a weak entry and not my favorite in the series, but it was an okay read. Worth it for the descriptions of the food, wine, and landscape of the Perigord.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Larraine

    Bruno gets to meet his boyhood hero known throughout France as The Patriarch, a WWII pilot and hero who flew with the Russians during WWII. During the party, a friend of the Patriarch's is hustled out of the party after apparently drinking too much yet again. He has been an alcoholic for years so nobody is surprised. When he is found dead, apparently having choked on his own vomit, nobody is surprised. However, Bruno is suspicious. He becomes even more suspicious when he is quickly cremated and Bruno gets to meet his boyhood hero known throughout France as The Patriarch, a WWII pilot and hero who flew with the Russians during WWII. During the party, a friend of the Patriarch's is hustled out of the party after apparently drinking too much yet again. He has been an alcoholic for years so nobody is surprised. When he is found dead, apparently having choked on his own vomit, nobody is surprised. However, Bruno is suspicious. He becomes even more suspicious when he is quickly cremated and his belongings burned. Bruno manages to snag some DNA material which leads to some surprises. His investigation leads him to some questions about the Patriarch's time as an adviser to the French government on Soviet affairs and his closeness, at the same time, to a number of Soviet leaders. At the same time, Bruno's attention is diverted by a local animal rights activist who tries to protect deer from hunters while not having the funds to keep them fed. A desperate and very thin deer looking for food crashes with the car of the wife of a leading young politician, killing her and injuring his two children. He and Madeline, the daughter-in-law of the Patriarch, are both leading lights of one of the conservative French parties. Bruno finds himself seduced by Madeline. He is getting over being gently dumped by Pamela, the woman he has been having an affair with for a number of years, because, as she tells him, he needs a woman who would give him the family he wants, and she isn't the one. Bruno has realized this for a while, but was unwilling to simply break it off. However, he is relieved when she breaks it off, but is feeling adrift and lonely. Running through the book are descriptions of Bruno's cooking. He is an avid gardener and cook who makes his own pate, picks lettuce from his garden for his meals and makes mouth watering meals complete with local wines. So, just a warning: if you love good food, this could be a hard book to read when you're hungry! The author has a background in history and the cold war and it shows. As always, the story is more complex than is evident at first. This series has become one of my favorites.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Miller

    Martin Walker's Bruno series has become one of my favorite mystery series, being that I am a Francophile, and have a fondness for mysteries. And Martin Walker includes much more than mystery with a French flavor in his stories: plein air, interesting characters, much wonderful cuisine and wine, European and world history, politics, a dabbling of sports are just a few of the wonderful things incorporated into the stories, along with, of course, the featured diabolical mystery. And there are surpr Martin Walker's Bruno series has become one of my favorite mystery series, being that I am a Francophile, and have a fondness for mysteries. And Martin Walker includes much more than mystery with a French flavor in his stories: plein air, interesting characters, much wonderful cuisine and wine, European and world history, politics, a dabbling of sports are just a few of the wonderful things incorporated into the stories, along with, of course, the featured diabolical mystery. And there are surprises, things one never before knew existed. Sometimes good things, some, not so good.... The characters, both ongoing and new, are usually delightful, although, of course, the stories being mysteries, there are the bad apples. Some truly rotten apples. But there is the camaraderie of good friends, the joy and tristesse of lovers past and present. And there is, of course, Bruno, who is the captivating Chief of Police in the small French town, St. Denis. It is difficult to write a review of a mystery, since, it being a mystery, one really doesn't want to risk giving anything away. Personally speaking, I was glad this latest book lacked much of the violence which has been prevalent in some of the previous stories; however, it certainly doesn't spare us some truly odd turns of events. That said, if you enjoy a good mystery, grab a good bottle of wine, some fine French cheese and bread, perhaps, and curl up with 'The Patriarch', the ninth volume in the Bruno series. And now, I must go console myself that I will have to wait at least a year for the next Bruno mystery. Quel dommage.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    The Patriarch (Bruno, Chief of Police Series #8) A beloved village, a renowned family, a suspicious death—it’s the latest adventure in the Dordogne for police chief Bruno. When Bruno is invited to the lavish birthday celebration of World War II flying ace and national icon Marco “the Patriarch” Desaix, it’s the fulfillment of a boyhood dream. But when the party ends in the death of Gilbert, Marco’s longtime friend, it’s another day on the job for the chef de police. All signs point to a tragic acc The Patriarch (Bruno, Chief of Police Series #8) A beloved village, a renowned family, a suspicious death—it’s the latest adventure in the Dordogne for police chief Bruno. When Bruno is invited to the lavish birthday celebration of World War II flying ace and national icon Marco “the Patriarch” Desaix, it’s the fulfillment of a boyhood dream. But when the party ends in the death of Gilbert, Marco’s longtime friend, it’s another day on the job for the chef de police. All signs point to a tragic accident, but Bruno isn’t so sure. There is more to the Desaix family’s lives and loyalties than meets the eye. There is Victor, the Patriarch’s son, Gilbert’s old comrade-in-arms and sometime rival; Victor’s seductive wife, Madeleine, whose roving eye intrigues Bruno even more than her fierce political ambitions; Yevgeny, another son, an artist whose paintings seem to hold keys to the past; and the Patriarch himself, whose postwar Soviet ties may have intersected all too closely with Gilbert’s career in Cold War intelligence. Bruno is diverted by a dangerous conflict between a local animal rights activist and outraged hunters—as well as meals to cook, wine to share, and an ever more complicated romantic situation. But as his entanglement with the Desaix family grows and his suspicions heighten, Bruno’s inquiries into Gilbert’s life become a deadly threat to his own.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Schwartz

    Up until the rushed and rather unbelievable ending, this book was a solid 5 stars. Even so, I loved it, as I love all the Police Chief Bruno mysteries. These books always have an historical background which usually takes the reader back to WWII, and this one was no exception. Bruno isinvited to the 90 birthday party of his childhood hero - the patriarch in this story who was one of France's most popular fighter pilots in WWII. A guest at the party is found dead after the party is over, and so be Up until the rushed and rather unbelievable ending, this book was a solid 5 stars. Even so, I loved it, as I love all the Police Chief Bruno mysteries. These books always have an historical background which usually takes the reader back to WWII, and this one was no exception. Bruno isinvited to the 90 birthday party of his childhood hero - the patriarch in this story who was one of France's most popular fighter pilots in WWII. A guest at the party is found dead after the party is over, and so begins Bruno's hunt for a killer. Along the way, he discovers a family with many secrets, and he also discovers a lot about Russian/French espionage before and after the war. Things get murky, and Bruno almost gets lost in his personal issues, but, in the end, the modus operandi and the motive to the murder were pretty simple. With much risk to himself, Bruno apprehends the killer and all is well again in the village of St. Denis. Bruno's ego is damaged and his self-esteem at a new low, but we all who love him know he will be back again.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jo-anne Atkinson

    Bruno Courreges is a municipal police officer in an idyllic part of the Dordogne region of France, happy with his dog, his horse and his some-time lover. At a party held to honour a local with an international reputation a man dies, Bruno thinks something is wrong but the man is cremated quickly. Bruno's investigation leads him into local politics and a potential scandal involving France and the Cold War. This is the eighth book in the series but is the first I have read and it is a really enjoya Bruno Courreges is a municipal police officer in an idyllic part of the Dordogne region of France, happy with his dog, his horse and his some-time lover. At a party held to honour a local with an international reputation a man dies, Bruno thinks something is wrong but the man is cremated quickly. Bruno's investigation leads him into local politics and a potential scandal involving France and the Cold War. This is the eighth book in the series but is the first I have read and it is a really enjoyable, untaxing read. The setting is wonderful and the peppering of the story with comments about food and wine show a lovely twist that makes this book distinctive to many others in the 'comfortable procedural' genre. It all felt a bit 'Midsomer Murders'/'Bergerac' in the fact that this sleepy little french backwater is the site of so many murders - the murder rate must be up with the worst in the world - but it doesn't detract from what is actually a well-crafted story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    I can’t say enough about Martin Walker’s books and this is no exception. As much historical fiction- this time the Cold War, as a murder mystery. Our delightful Bruno is at it again cooking, entertaining and applying his own sense of justice by this time diplomatically solving neighbourhood issues between animal activists and hunters. Oh yes, and there is a murder to solve. The village issues are always well though out and show both sides of the argument in an entertaining but thought provoking I can’t say enough about Martin Walker’s books and this is no exception. As much historical fiction- this time the Cold War, as a murder mystery. Our delightful Bruno is at it again cooking, entertaining and applying his own sense of justice by this time diplomatically solving neighbourhood issues between animal activists and hunters. Oh yes, and there is a murder to solve. The village issues are always well though out and show both sides of the argument in an entertaining but thought provoking way. I always wonder how I would approach the issue. The series is outstanding and the breadth of knowledge acquired by research and Mr. Martin’s years as a foreign correspondent in this book Moscow clearly shines through in this mystery. It’s well written, fast paced and keeps the reader intrigued. A recommended read. Can’t wait to read the next one!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    As with previous Bruno Chief of Police mysteries, love it when Bruno cooks regional cuisine and talks about wine. I'm enchanted by that area of France; the sense of place painted by the author is wonderful. But this novel was too bogged down for me in complex Russian-French history and politics and the characters' relationships to each other were often confusing.v As whenever I read a series, the protagonist becomes so familiar that I find myself judging his choices and Bruno makes some doozies As with previous Bruno Chief of Police mysteries, love it when Bruno cooks regional cuisine and talks about wine. I'm enchanted by that area of France; the sense of place painted by the author is wonderful. But this novel was too bogged down for me in complex Russian-French history and politics and the characters' relationships to each other were often confusing.v As whenever I read a series, the protagonist becomes so familiar that I find myself judging his choices and Bruno makes some doozies in this one! Hello: resist the beautiful, married woman. Sometimes, it's clearly told from a man's perspective, I guess? Am I being sexist? I do like how Walker moves along Bruno's story and relationship with women, as in previous books in the series.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Bruno has long admired the World War II flying ace known to all as the Patriarch. But when he gets to meet his boyhood idol and the whole family, he's more struck by the beautiful daughter-in-law, who is also politically ambitious. A family friend unfortunately dies--obviously of natural causes, the doctor says--the night of the Patriarch's 90th birthday, but Bruno can't help feeling that there's something wrong. And, of course, there is...Sometimes it seems to me that the mysteries in these boo Bruno has long admired the World War II flying ace known to all as the Patriarch. But when he gets to meet his boyhood idol and the whole family, he's more struck by the beautiful daughter-in-law, who is also politically ambitious. A family friend unfortunately dies--obviously of natural causes, the doctor says--the night of the Patriarch's 90th birthday, but Bruno can't help feeling that there's something wrong. And, of course, there is...Sometimes it seems to me that the mysteries in these books have gotten mixed up with a lifestyle magazine--décor, recipes, landscaping. I guess there's an audience for it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I have mixed feelings about this book. I have read all previous Bruno books. This one is much more sedate, which I liked. I also liked the frequent cooking and food/wine references. I had trouble understanding the Russian Intelligence passages, which ended up being quite integral to the plot. My biggest complaint would be about the ending. It happened too abrutly with unsettling results. I felt like the story wasn't finished. As always, I enjoy spending time with Bruno. I hope my library receives I have mixed feelings about this book. I have read all previous Bruno books. This one is much more sedate, which I liked. I also liked the frequent cooking and food/wine references. I had trouble understanding the Russian Intelligence passages, which ended up being quite integral to the plot. My biggest complaint would be about the ending. It happened too abrutly with unsettling results. I felt like the story wasn't finished. As always, I enjoy spending time with Bruno. I hope my library receives the 9th installment soon!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    I do love this series. Part setting, part food & wine descriptions, part French country life...but usually Bruno does extraordinary things requiring outlandish physical dexterity and fitness. This tale brings him down a notch in his love life as well as physical challenges. Part of life for natural man, eh? I liked it, but it was definitely different and almost makes me think there is a winding down, preparing us for a more bucolic end to his career. Time will tell. I do love this series. Part setting, part food & wine descriptions, part French country life...but usually Bruno does extraordinary things requiring outlandish physical dexterity and fitness. This tale brings him down a notch in his love life as well as physical challenges. Part of life for natural man, eh? I liked it, but it was definitely different and almost makes me think there is a winding down, preparing us for a more bucolic end to his career. Time will tell.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Val Sanford

    Food. Glorious food. And of course, murder, betrayal and hard truths about people Bruno admires. I think this is the best food of all his novels, but perhaps only because I am starved for duck confit, potatoes confit, pate and truffles. Many of the much loved characters are here in this book, but that does not prevent us from searching back into the cold war for answers as to what led to the murder of a former fighter pilot. terrific.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andy Plonka

    This is a worthwhile series with a French head of police in southern France. Bruno understands wine, food and French sensibilities and adds a touch of humor to produce a humorous adventure with some underlying truths.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    Is this really the last book in this series?? :( I've been reading the Bruno, Chief of Police series the past couple of weeks, and if this is the last book, it was certainly a good way to go down. It's one of Bruno's most complicated mysteries yet!

  29. 5 out of 5

    May

    I have truly enjoyed each one of this series. This was one of the best!!! Again, I recommend this series to any reader who loves wine, good food, the intrigues of a small town woven into a murder mystery!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michael Grimes

    He's done it again! Martin Walker continues to weave a good story into a beautiful countryside. I'm always amazed at the intrigue, food, and marvelous dog stories!

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