What I love about this series is the sense of responsibility that Bruno has for his community. As the only local police officer for his small town and surrounding countryside, he knows virtually everyone. So when a crime occurs, Bruno’s first impulse is not to find out who to arrest, but to bring about justice and restoration of relationship.
Since this is the fourth book in the series, and the third I have reviewed in the last two weeks, I am not going to revisit the basic setting. In this book there are three intertwined stories. First, there is a body that was found in an archeological dig. Instead of being 30,000 years old as the rest of the site is, this body is about 20-25 years old. But no crimes from the area involve a missing person or are unsolved that would fit the body. And it appears to be a violent assassination that might have included torture.
The second story line involves some of the students that are a part of the dig, but have been vandalizing local farms. Here Bruno is in his element. He discovers who is responsible quickly, but hides their identify from the magistrate and national police in order to restore relationship. He know that outsiders are mistrusted and if the local farmers distrust the archeological dig it will harm not only Bruno’s friend that is in charge of the dig, but potential tourist trade and in the long term it will harm the students as well.
The third story line brings back Jaqueline. Bruno’s former girlfriend is now high level in what is roughly equivalent to the FBI. She is responsible for security for an international summit between France and Spain that is happening in St Denis. And with that, not only Bruno’s military background but the old feelings for Jacqueline come up.
There is also a new magistrate, she is not from the community, young, inexperienced and interested in following the letter of the law (and not interested in Bruno’s focus on restorative justice and keeping people out of the legal system.)
As with all of these books there is lots of descriptions of food and wine and community relationships.
I am a little disappointed that this book, like the last one, is as much about international issues as the local community of St Denis. And while I didn’t exactly predict how the end would play out, I was close enough long before the end. This is not a book series that keeps you guessing as much as one that lets things play out even when you know what is going on. In spite of not quite perfect recent books as I am posting this, I have already picked up and finished books 5 and 6 (I will spread out the reviews of the last two as far as I can.)
In addition to the six main books in the series, there are two short stories and a new book is scheduled to be released in April 2015.