Bruno, chief of police, can't get a moment's peace. He's uncovered a cache of old bank notes and is also dealing with a wave of burglaries. The victims include the recently retired head of Britain's Joint Intelligence Committee, which brings old flame Isabelle back to St Denis.
The next burglary ends in murder: The victim's bludgeoned body found by his lover - the prime suspect. But Bruno is on another track.
Meanwhile, the Mayor introduces Bruno to Jacqueline, who is researching the theory that American funds were used to prevent Communism in France, which led the US to give clandestine support to the nuclear program.
When Jacqueline's home is subsequently burgled, the stakes become much higher. Jacqueline's work, suggests the Mayor, is political dynamite.
©2013 Walker and Watson Ltd (P)2014 WF Howes Ltd
Vichy France deported Jews with even more enthusiasm than Nazi expectations, and Walker depicts the attitude to LGBT people as equally obnoxious! Even Bruno (Saint Bruno), who is somewhat more tolerant - pityingly - than most others speaks of LGBT+ people as "gays" (bless!)
This book is populated by stereotypes of gay men, and only mildly softened demonisations. The acceptance by most characters, even police, of homophobic violence, is the mirror of Vichy collaboration. Plus ça change?
Once again this is a very enjoyable read, for anyone who's a fan of Bruno Courrèges. As with the earlier books, the modern day crimes he finds himself investigating have their roots in France's history: in this case, a train robbery carried out by the French Resistance. The story is also immersed in the flavours and atmosphere of the French countryside, which is always one of the pleasures of these books. My main criticism of the books is that one book picks up almost immediately after the end of the previous story, so that the six first books cover not much more than a year. This suggest a pace of life which is at odds with the idyllic atmosphere of St Denis.
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