Summary: Bruno looks into a shady community market and stumbles on a series of international crimes.
More than anything else, this series of books leads me to want to visit rural France and eat lots of French food and drink wine. I have friends that live in France and about 8 years ago we went to go visit them. They live in a community that is probably not too different from the setting of this book (although north of Paris and not in the regional setting of the book.)
Black Diamond’s food discussion revolves around Truffles. When I hear truffles I always think of the chocolate variety and not the expensive fungus that is a delicacy in French food. Bruno when he moved to St Denis and built his home started hunting truffles and planted the Oak trees and doing the other work to start his own truffles. Though his friend, who everyone calls ’The Baron’, Bruno meets a local truffle expert who helps train Bruno’s dog to search for truffles and helps Bruno to learn about the market and the beauty of truffles. But when a local truffle exchange market seems to be corrupted, Bruno is brought in to investigate.
The investigation changes when Bruno’s friend is found tortured and murdered in the woods. Bruno soon learns that he is an old spy with connections to Algeria and Vietnam and the Brigadier General from the last book is brought in to investigate. Jacqueline, who now works for the Brigadier, is working a seemingly unrelated series of attacks on local Vietnamese immigrants, including one that Bruno happened to be in the right place to thwart.
As with the rest of the series, I really did enjoy the book, but it flirted with being too much. Bruno is a country police officer, but this book deals with international crime, immigration and illegal immigrants, past human rights issues with France in Vietnam and Algiers and the sex trade.
The story made sense and was prevented from being just another thriller by being grounded in Walker’s standard beautiful writing about food, relationship and community. But it has been my least favorite of the series so far.