MYSTERY

The Patriarch: A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel

Knopf. Aug. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9780385354172. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385354189. M
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OrangeReviewStarBenoît Courrège, known as Bruno, heads the police force in St. Denis, in France's Dordogne region. In his eighth adventure (after The Children Return), Bruno is invited to a spectacular birthday party for his hero, Marco "The Patriarch" Desaix. In Bruno's mind, the 90-year-old Desaix represents the heroes of World War II—those who left Vichy France to fight against the Nazis. When a friend dies unexpectedly after the celebration, Bruno is not on board with the medical examiner's quick diagnosis of aspiration and even less amenable to the immediate cremation. As he investigates, Bruno discovers the victim was probably not drunk at the party and had many secrets. So who stands to benefit from his death? The Patriarch's family oversees a vineyard and is attempting to create a new type of wine. Rivalries and jealousies abound. Bruno also has to deal with a Green Party activist who protects the deer on her property against the hunters in the area. Plus his personal life isn't going well.
VERDICT With meals to prepare and wines to sample, life in the Dordogne is delightful

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