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Mystery set in the DORDOGNE with international flair

19th September 2022

To Kill A Troubadour by Martin Walker, mystery set in the Dordogne with international flair.

Mystery set in the DORDOGNE with international flair

There are all the usual elements of sleuthing, mystery, food and French flair, tennis, and of course at the heart of the novel is Chief of Police Bruno Courrèges, with his trusted basset hound Balzac by his side.

The novel opens with a map and who doesn’t like a good map to pinpoint the movements of the characters? As Courrèges is taking his evening constitutional, he is alerted to a car accident and at the scene, the discovery of a very specific bullet, alerting the authorities that someone important is likely to be in the line of fire…

Meanwhile a news item highlighting the banning of a Catalan song, “Song for Catalonia”, recorded by a local Périgord group – the eponymous minstrels of the title – unsettles the good Chief of Police. He knows the group and the ban is likely to ruffle feathers in his vicinity, with the added dimension of pressure from Spain; international politics are, of course, a very different kettle of fish from the local politics which generally engage the Chief of Police. The Troubadours use l’Occitan, a local dialect which is much older than French and related to Catalan.  He is concerned that meddling from Spain could potentially destabilise the whole region. With an upcoming concert, where the song will be featured, there is everything to play for and quite some worries for the police department. As the situation becomes clearer, the enormity of the problem becomes all too evident.

Courrèges is a real institution in his local community, people turn to him in their hour of need. The author really conjures up this beautiful part of the world but the rate of crime is so high – this is indeed number 15 in the Dordogne Mystery Series – it might be worth a swerve! But I jest, the setting is integral to the story and the author does a great job of bringing the area to colourful life.

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