Cover Image: To Kill a Troubadour

To Kill a Troubadour

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Member Reviews

Great to be back in the Perigord with Bruno and his St. Denis townspeople, as always. Not my favorite in the series (the conflict was a bit too amorphous and the resolution a bit too pat), but still interesting and engaging and informative to see some of today's controversial issues from a different perspective.

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Bruno, Chief of Police is back in the 15th book of a series I always love. (There are also some short stories)
Set in the Perigord region of France, I always find myself looking up villages and locations mentioned as the author includes actual markets, prehistoric sites and lovely villages. I enjoy how these additions to the story add to the atmosphere. Bruno, in this book, is delving into Catalan politics when a possible assassination may ruin an upcoming concert by a well loved local group. The government of Spain has banned one of their songs that celebrates Catalonian history and their bid for independence. With a possible international incident looming, higher ups in the police and National security are drawn in, with Bruno providing the local knowledge. At the same time he’s involved in aiding a close friend, a local high school teacher, when she learns her abusive ex husband is to be released from prison early. The two stories come to a head, and satisfying conclusions all while Bruno and his friends make mouth watering meals together, compete in a tennis tournament, ride their horses, and indulge in Bassett Hounds, all hallmarks of the series that make it so enjoyable. This one does touch a bit more on political issues we’re dealing with today, which I appreciated, it made the book feel current.
Thank you, Martin Walker, for a character I’d love to have cook for me, in a place I’d love to visit, and to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review "To Kill A Troubadour", the latest in the "Bruno, Chief Of Police" mysteries. Cannot believe that this is the 15th, full length book in the series (there are also a number of short stories which can be read separately or in anthologies).
This time, there are two stories to follow: the potential for a politically-motivated assassination at an upcoming concert by "Les Troubadours", who have just released a song for Catalonia which has caused all kinds of uproar including a ban by the Spanish government; and the release of Florence's abusive husband from prison and the angst that that causes in the small town of St Denis.
As always, interspersed with the plots are some pretty spectacular meals, prepared not only by Bruno, but by other members of the community. I swear, I would weigh 300 pounds if I lived there.
It all begins when Bruno is apprised of the possibility of a political assassination of the songwriter, Joel Martin, who wrote "Song For Catalonia" and is a supporter of Catalan independence and historian of the Occitan. We get quite the history lesson in this book, and it's not wasted as it become part of the main plot.
Along the way, Martin Walker touches on events of the present day including election interference and 'fake news'.
Bruno works hard both in front of and behind the scenes to make sure that Florence and her twins are protected from her abusive ex-husband who has been released from prison on parole (even though by anyone's reasoning this should never have happened). And with spectacular results!
Everything comes to a head around the concert day, and fans of Bruno are not disappointed.
Of course, along the way we meet again many of the characters who have been introduced to us in the course of 15 novels, and we see how they have progressed in their careers - while Bruno is quite happy just being Chief of Police.
The only thing I fine saddening about finishing a new Bruno gook is knowing that I will have to wait a while for another. Highly recommended - but please try and read the series, it's worth the time.

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Take a trip to the Perigord region of France with the series Bruno Chief of Police by Martin Walker. Bruno is the Chief of Police in St. Denis and he is a former soldier and winner of the Croix de Guerre. Bruno is a gourmand and excellent cook. He has friends over for regular dinners to enjoy food straight from his garden.

To Kill a Troubadour has Bruno putting together a concert featuring a band, Les Troubadours, whose members are his friends. One of the songs the band plays is called A Song for Catalonia. This song becomes banned by the Spanish government for being inflammatory politically. Once the song is banned of course it goes viral and the band and its songwriter begin receiving death threats. When the band recording studio is burned down the threats are taken seriously.

Can Bruno keep the band safe without damaging relations between Spain and France? When two extremist Spanish military veterans go rogue in the Perigord region, Bruno suspects they are planning to assassinate the songwriter. Can he stop the disaster unfolding? While there is plenty of action in the Bruno mysteries there is also wonderful scenes of daily life in the small towns and villages of the Perigord region. One of my favorite series for this very reason, I always feel like I have had a vacation after reading one.

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Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

To Kill A Troubadour was a thoroughly enjoyable read! It gave me some Midssomar Murders vibes, and I enjoyed it. This was my first read of the Bruno series, and I don’t think it will be the last! Highly recommend.

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The Périgord countryside in France is the setting for all of the Chief Bruno novels, which are written by Martin Walker. To Kill a Troubadour is the 15th novel in this series. Like all of the Chief Bruno books, this most recent novel has a number of strengths that should be enjoyed. The descriptions of the countryside and the food are wonderful. Bruno's recipes are to be savored. The history of the Périgord region is captivating and should be enjoyed by any reader or historian. Reading these Walker books are a welcome diversion for his many fans.

Several years ago I caught an interview with Walker on CBS Sunday Morning. I immediately began reading the Chief Bruno books. Most of the books have been entertaining and engrossing. However, I have become aware over the last 3-4 novels, that while there is much to be admired in these novels, I do not enjoy the Chief Bruno novels as much as I previously had done. In reading To Kill a Troubadour I was struck at how stagnant the hero and protagonist has become. He cooks for his friends, rides his horse, plays with his hound, and worships the woman who dumped him for her career.

There was slightly less worshiping of Isabelle in this 15th book, for which I was grateful, but that was the only real positive change in Bruno's life. He continues to solve crimes and save lives, which is exactly what the readers and fans hope to see. But Bruno, himself, is stagnant. There is so little personal growth that it is a disappointment. It would be a welcome change if Bruno could fall in love with a woman, who actually loves him. He could still be happily married and have children and still be a great village policeman, while married.

I want to thank Walker and his publisher, Knopf Doubleday, for providing me with this ARC to read and review. The above comments are my own opinion. Thank you also to NetGalley for providing access to so many wonderful books and authors, many of whom are new to me.

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320 pages

4 stars

This book is Martin Walker’s latest contribution to the Bruno series. The reader gets to traverse the hills and countryside of the beautiful Perigord region of France once more. All the usual “suspects” are present, Bruno, JJ, Isabelle, Yveline, the Mayor and of course the endearing Bassett Hound Balzac.

Isabelle’s abusive ex-husband has been paroled from prison and she is frightened out of her wits for herself and the children. Bruno, the Chief of Police, helps her. There is a hotly contested tennis tournament going on and the highlight of the season is a concert put on by a group called Les Troubadours. Their new song, in praise of Catalonian independence, has become a huge hit. But it has been banned in Spain. They claim it would incite violence among the divided Catalonian population.

The French government doesn’t take it lightly that they are being told what they can listen to.

When an auto accident is staged and a high powered rifle shell is found in the car, suspicions are raised. Bruno and his compatriots fear that someone may try to assassinate the writer of the song who is a member of Les Troubadours.

The Spanish and French governments join together to try to catch the assassin before s/he can strike.

I gave this book four stars because politics just isn’t my thing. I enjoy the usual Bruno stories in which Bruno solves a mystery or puzzling case. I love the descriptions, however, of the Perigord. The lifestyle sounds so healthy and relaxed. (In spite of any assassins that may be running around…) If you haven’t read any of the other Bruno stories, you may read this as a stand alone book. Some of the background will be missing, but it is still a wonderful read.

I want to thank NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group/Knopf for forwarding to me a copy of this great book for me to read, enjoy and review. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.

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If you like Martin Walker's Bruno books, then "To Kill a Troubadour" will be a satisfying read--it ticks all those boxes that fans of the series look for. Scenes of cozy village life in the Périgord region of France? Check: St. Denis is hosting its annual tennis tournament and all the series regulars are involved in the community event. Descriptions of delicious food and wine? Check: Bruno and his friends host a series of meals in picturesque settings with detailed menu and preparation notes. Shout outs to Bruno's dog Balzac? His pawprints are all over this book, along with those of his adorable young offspring Robert the Bruce, known as "the Bruce" to his friends. The police cases themselves--this time involving a performance by the musical group Les Troubadours that is attracting sinister attention from Spanish snipers and Russian bots, as well as an additional storyline about a menacing ex-husband--always seem less important in the Bruno books than the charming setting, but are still competently handled and interesting. I've dipped in and out of the Bruno series over the years and am always entertained; you certainly don't need to have read any of the previous entries to enjoy this one, but if you have, reading "To Kill a Troubadour" will be like settling in for a glass of wine with an old friend.

Thank you to NetGalley and Knopf for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for my honest review.

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Bruno, Chief of police in St. Denis, has another strange case. A popular local folk singer has written a song praising Catalonian separatists, and the song has gone viral, despite its banning by Madrid. Someone has targeted this troubadour, Joel, and Bruno and others in law enforcement are trying to decide if their open air concert should be allowed to proceed. There is apparently a Russian connection as well. Another thread involves Florence's violent ex being released from prison and demanding to see the children. It's great to be able to revisit these characters and this region of France again. As usual, there is lots of good food, wine, and camaraderie. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.

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The enchanting Périgord countryside in France makes a fun backdrop for yet another Inspector Bruno adventure. This time around, Les Troubadours, a folk music group has created a hit “Song for Catalonia,” an achievement that makes their lead singer a target of assassination. As Bruno uncovers the plot that is rooted in the Spanish nationalist movement–he also gets involved in helping a town friend with a worrying domestic issue. At times the narrative gets too embroiled in the finer details of the Catalan bid for independence but Bruno’s an endearing protagonist. Besides, who doesn’t love somebody who loves to cook!

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