A Birthday Lunch

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 14 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

A Birthday Lunch 

by Martin Walker 

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 


Mystery & Thrillers

"When not solving mysteries in his beloved little town of St. Denis, Bruno, the chief of police, likes to cook and share his meals with local guests and dear friend."

That's opening line to this little ebook, the size of a short story or novelette. By the tags and the word mysteries in the blurb and the police chief protagonist, I thought this would be a mystery, but I guess the dependent clause was a clue that it wan't a mystery. If Walker normally writes mysteries, readers might be disappointed in this offering which is, simply, a man who gets a gift, makes dinner, and gives his gifts. 

The dinner is so detailed one imagines that one might be able to recreate them based on their descriptions, so fans who like to cook will enjoy that part. 

The readers for this longish vignette is specialized: those who want to learn more about the character Bruno, those into cooking, and those who like French archaeology and culture.
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Another excellent edition to a wonderful series! Full of twists and turns that leaves you wanting more and enjoying each moment until the end when the killer is caught!
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This was a sweet short story/novella and I really loved the descriptions, especially the food related ones. It's a mellow and quiet vibe and story, but I liked it a lot.
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This is a very quick read.  It is not a mystery even though it features Bruno.  Bruno begins the day with his run, and stumbles on a stone.  On a close look, he sees it's smooth below and the smooth face has a sharpened side, and he realizes it is probably a Neanderthal weapon.  After his horseback ride with Pamela, he goes to town to buy the food for his luncheon to celebrate Florence's birthday, and gets newspapers to wrap the presents.  Although he has already purchased a wine carafe for Florence, he decides to give her his newly found tool and to give her two children an arrowhead and a flint scraper.

There is a description of his picking vegetables and making preparations for his company.   Then there is a description of the luncheon for Florence with his other friends, Fabiola, Giles, Pamela, the baron, and Florence's two children, Dora and Daniel.  There are great descriptions of the food and it's preparation.
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I always love Martin Walker's Bruno stories. They're full of beautifully described settings, genuinely lovely people, and appealing descriptions of food. There's no mystery in this short story but that honestly doesn't detract from the story.

Released 19th March 2019 it's 22 pages and available in ebook format.

I always manage to learn interesting things from the Bruno books, and this story was no exception. I had no idea about the history and artifacts of the early humans of the region. Mr. Walker manages to insert interesting tidbits without clubbing the reader over the head with the info.

Beautifully written, concise, and complete, this is a perfect gem of a short.

Five stars.
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Martin Walker is the author of the Bruno, Chief of Police mysteries, which take place in the little French town of St Denis. I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and, likewise, I enjoyed the short but delightful ebook entitled A Birthday Lunch.  It is a descriptive story filled with food, friendships and fun. In a few short pages, Bruno prepares and hosts a birthday party for his friend, Florence. With thoughtful gifts, delicious, freshly prepared food, and the company of good friends, A Birthday Lunch will leave the reader feeling satisfied and content.  

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.
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If this was designed as an advert for the greater series it comes from, it failed miserably.  As drama it failed miserably, too, for it's an extended meander of a morning building up to a birthday meal and present-giving.  Long before I got to the characters not even speaking like humans speak I was skipping the foodie bits.  Seriously not my kind of thing,
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I'm not familiar with the Bruno, Chief of Police series, and this story would've made more of an impact if I'd read at least one of the books, I think. I thought perhaps it would be a good introduction, but it just didn't grab me. A good chunk of the story is a description of Bruno preparing the food for the lunch- it did sound delicious, but I didn't need quite so much detail (though measurements are given- one could potentially recreate the dishes). If this was a vignette in a novel, it would be a nice, quiet scene, but as a short story by itself, it's just sort of bland.
#AbirthdayLunch #NetGalley
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First Sentence:  Bruno awoke when his cockerel saluted the first glow of the sun that was about to rise, and at once he remembered falling asleep to the sound of heavy rain.  

Bruno Courrèges, police chief in St. Denis, is surprised to find an ancient artifact while out for his morning ride.  It's a perfect gift to include in that day's birthday celebration for his friend Florence.  Joined by good friends, it's a lovely way to share memories and wonderful food.

Walker creates such a strong sense of place--"The air had never been clearer, the river never such a perfect silver, and the thin grass of the plateau had become a lush green overnight."--one feels as if one were there.  

With the tantalizing descriptions of food one dearly wishes one were, in fact, there.  However, I suspect a good cook could make the dishes presented from the instructions provided.  With good friends and good food, one learns a brief history of the region and the role of dogs to humanity.  Walker truly enables one to feel part of the conversation.  

"A Birthday Lunch" is not a mystery, but it is a delightful soupçon into Bruno's personal world and friendships.  Moreover, it's the perfect way to meet some of the recurring characters in Walker's excellent and highly recommended series of police procedurals.

A BIRTHDAY LUNCH (Novella-Bruno Courreges-St. Denis, France, Contemp) - Ex
Walker, Martin - A Bruno Novella (ebook)
A Vintage Short Original, 2019
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Not the usual Bruno- there's no mystery- but a treat nonetheless. This really is about a birthday lunch for Bruno's friend Florence. There are great descriptions of food and if you aren't familiar with the people of St Denis it's a good chance to meet them.  IF you are, well it's nice to spend time in the Dordogne.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  It's a lovely short story that will leave you wanting more.
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Reading Martin Walker’s Bruno detective series reliably transports me to the Dordogne—the writing is so charming and evocative of the tastes and scents of the south of France that I’ve always felt like the “mystery” part of the book is secondary. And in A Birthday Lunch—which is advertised as an “e-book short” and is, indeed, VERY short—Walker dispenses with Bruno’s crime solving entirely and portrays his protagonist doing the other thing he does best: cooking delicious French food and entertaining his friends. But while the descriptions of Bruno’s French recipes and wines are still mouth-wateringly good, the story felt a bit slight and flimsy—I found I missed the detecting after all. So readers—especially those new to the Bruno books—should regard A Birthday Lunch simply as an amuse bouche to whet their appetites until another full-course Bruno book comes along to sink their teeth into.

Thank you to Penguin Random House and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this title in return for my honest review.
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This story gives us a glimpse of Brunos every day life outside of his job as chief of police.  In it, Bruno hosts a festive birthday lunch for his friend Florence.  The food sounds mouth watering, the gifts are thoughtful and a good time is had by all.  This sweet short story about friendship offers a tantalizing glimpse into Bruno’s love of good food and cooking and the care and thought he puts into nurturing the relationships that he enjoys with people he cares about.  .
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Thank you NetGalley and Vintage Books for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. 

A very quick read with Bruno who was not solving a mystery in this novella but rather preparing a surprise birthday lunch for his friend Florence. As he prepares the mouth watering courses using fresh ingredients from the market and his garden. As his friends gather to celebrate they bring champagne and gifts for the birthday girl. Bruno even thinks to prepare little presents for the children. A truly heart-warming introduction to the Bruno series - as a stand alone or a continuation with old friends.
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I love this series and this short story made me crave for the next book.
There's no mystery but just the lovely setting, the great characters and the mouth watering food descriptions that are typical of this series.
I look forward to reading the next novel.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC
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Sprinkled with scenes of the landscape of the south of France as well as tributes to the area's ancient past, Martin Walker has written a charming-- and very short-- short story to whet the appetites of all Bruno Chief of Police fans. "A Birthday Lunch" centers around the preparations for, and enjoyment of, Florence's birthday. Readers will get to experience a bit of what Walker's series is famous for-- mouth-watering food and warm, meaningful camaraderie. Bruno and his friends know what is most important in life.
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This short story is rather appropriately like the hors d’oeuvre before Martin Walker’s next big feast, and as such it’s an extremely welcome course! It’s not an in-depth mystery, but a sort of celebration of the history of the Perigord, food and Bruno’s friends. Simple and effective, and still leaves me eagerly anticipating the next full-length Bruno novel! 
I received an arc of this book from NetGalley and the publisher; this is my honest review.
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4 stars
This is a short novella and if you enjoy the characters, food and countryside of the Chief Bruno mystery series, you will enjoy this story.  Unlike the series, there is no crime in this novella. The focus of this story is about the friends and food of the St Denis community in the south of France.  Reading about the food makes my mouth water!
Thank you NetGalley and publisher, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, for the opportunity to read this ARC.
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3.75 stars

Bruno is at his best, in my view, when gathering and preparing food and appreciating the offerings of his Perigord region. This short story of a special feast he has prepared for friends contains no mysteries, terrorists or crime but rather is appealing in its simplicity. Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for my review.
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This is my first time reading a Bruno, Chief of Police book and I found it delightful! It was full of good friends, good food, and good times. I look forward to reading more!
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I received this novella as an ARC.  I enjoy the Bruno mystery series, and this one  was a quick read.  It has s a novella and there isn't a crime, just Bruno enjoying his friends and cooking amazing food. All of the characters are enjoyable. This is just like Takeilah Nguyen a mini vacation to St. Denis, a relaxing way to end the day.  I rated it 5 stars. #A birthday lunch is a fun read.
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