One of the nice features of the Bruno, Chief of Police series is the mixing in of real history, culture and geography along with the fiction.
In this case, Walker is mixing two pieces of real history into the mystery.
The first is the largest train robbery in history. In 1944, the French resistance stole what would be the rough equivalent of about $400 million dollars (or to the comparisons in the book, 5 times the total education budget of France that year or 5% of the total French national budget.)
One of the last resistance fighters still alive in St Denis (and one of the members of that train robbery) died. Because he died with two of the bills from the train robbery in his hand, Bruno starts investigating his connection.
Which leads him to the other real piece of history. That the US used the train robbery as cover to feed money into French politics after the war ended and how the US fed the French nuclear secrets and behind the scenes helped France develop their own nuclear weapons.
Yet again this is not a perfect novel. There is just too much going on. A ton of new characters, too many historical findings (which feel a bit thrown in because they are cool instead of really moving the plot along) and too many crimes, murder, kidnapping, theft, government overreach, etc. And
In spite of the overreach, or maybe because of it, the actual personal life of Bruno seems to be making some movement. The whole six books in the series have occurred in about a year. So Bruno’s scattered love life seems to be less scattered than when you think of it as one year instead of six books. Nothing is really solved, but it seems to me that there is movement and potentially the set up of something more.
I have to wait for another six months before the next book in the series is out. So readers of this blog can rejoice, there will be no more Bruno reviews for a while.