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All of Martin Walker’s Books in Order!
Who is Martin Walker?
Mostly known nowadays for the bestselling Bruno detective series set in the Périgord region of France, the Scottish Martin Walker who actually lives in Southern France has a prestigious career as a journalist—working for The Guardian and United Press International (UPI)—covering the URSS and the United States, and wrote multiple non-fiction books.
The Bruno series is about Benoit “Bruno” Courreges, the only policeman in the small village of Saint-Denis in the South of France. He’s a former soldier who has embraced the pleasures and slow rhythms of country life. He has a gun but never wears it; he has the power to arrest but also never uses it. But when there’s a murder, he’s always ready to do the work.
How to read Martin Walker’s Books in Order?
I. The Bruno, Chief of Police series
- Bruno, Chief of Police (2008) – Meet Benoît Courrèges, aka Bruno, a policeman in a small village in the South of France who has embraced the pleasures and slow rhythms of country life. But then the murder of an elderly North African who fought in the French army changes all that. Now, Bruno is paired with a young policewoman from Paris and the two suspect anti-immigrant militants. As they learn more about the dead man’s past, Bruno’s suspicions turn toward a more complex motive.
- The Dark Vineyard (2009) – When a bevy of winemakers descend on Saint-Denis, competing for its land and spurring resentment among the villagers, the idyllic town finds itself the center of an intense drama. Events grow ever darker, culminating in two suspicious deaths, and Bruno finds that the problems of the present are never far from those of the past.
- Black Diamond (2010) – Something dangerous is afoot in St. Denis. In the space of a few weeks, the normally sleepy village sees attacks on Vietnamese vendors, arson at a local Asian restaurant, subpar truffles from China smuggled into outgoing shipments at a nearby market—all of it threatening the Dordogne’s truffle trade and all of it spelling trouble for Benoît “Bruno” Courrèges, master chef, devoted oenophile, and, most important, beloved chief of police.
- Bruno and the Carol Singers (short story, also known as Bruno and le Pere Noel) – Bruno is occupied with his Christmastime duties. From organizing carolers to playing Father Christmas for the local schoolchildren, Bruno has his hands full . . . at least until some funds raised for charity go missing.
- The Crowded Grave (2011) – It’s spring in the idyllic village of St. Denis, and for Chief of Police Bruno Courrèges that means lamb stews, bottles of his beloved Pomerol, morning walks with his hound, Gigi, and a new string of regional crimes and international capers. When a local archaeological team searching for Neanderthal remains turns up a corpse with a watch on its wrist and a bullet in its head, it’s up to Bruno to solve the case.
- The Devil’s Cave (2012) – It’s spring in St. Denis. The village choir is preparing for its Easter concert, the wildflowers are blooming, and among the lazy whorls of the river a dead woman is found floating in a boat. This means another case for Bruno, the town’s cherished chief of police.
- The Resistance Man (2013) – First, there’s the evidence that a veteran of the French Resistance is connected to a notorious train robbery; then, the burglary of a former British spymaster’s estate; and, finally, the murder of an antiques dealer whose lover is conveniently on the lam. As Bruno investigates, it becomes clear that they are connected.
- The Children Return (also known as Children of War, 2014) – Bruno’s village of St. Denis has been called many things, but a hotbed of international intrigue has never been one of them . . . until now. When an undercover agent is found murdered just as a prodigal son is set to retun from a grim tour in the Middle East, the small town suddenly finds itself host to a determined global tribunal, threatening the usual cheer brought by St. Denis’s annual wine festival.
- A Market Tale (short story) – As summer blooms, the newest talk of the town is the rapport between Kati, a Swiss tourist, and Marcel, a popular stall owner whom Kati meets over his choice strawberries. None are happier than police chief Bruno to see Marcel interested in love again, but as his friend’s romance deepens, Bruno senses trouble in the form of Marcel’s meddlesome sister Nadette.
- The Patriarch (also known as The Dying Season) – Bruno Courrèges is thrilled when he receives an invitation to the lavish birthday celebration of his childhood hero, World War II flying ace Marco “the Patriarch” Desaix. But when the party ends in the death of one of Marco’s longtime friends, Gilbert, it turns into another day on the job for St. Denis’s chief of police.
- Fatal Pursuit (2016) – It’s the start of summer, and Bruno’s found himself the last-minute replacement navigator in a car rally race. The event has attracted a spate of outsiders with deep pockets, big egos and, in the case of one young Englishman, an intriguing story about a lost Bugatti Type 57C. When a local scholar turns up dead, Bruno suspects unnatural causes.
- The Templars’ Last Secret (2017) – When a woman’s body is found at the foot of a cliff near the idyllic French town of St. Denis, chief of police Bruno Courrèges suspects a connection to the great ruin that stands above: a long-ago Knights Templar stronghold. With the help of Amélie, a young newcomer to the Dordogne, Bruno learns that the dead woman was an archaeologist searching for a religious artifact of incredible importance.
- A Taste for Vengeance (2018) – When a British tourist fails to turn up for a luxurious cooking vacation in the idyllic village in the south of France that Bruno Courrèges calls home, the chief of police is quickly on the case. Monika Felder is nowhere to be found, and her husband, a retired British general, is unreachable.
- The Chocolate War (short story) – Police chief Bruno enjoys wandering the stalls of the weekly market in the village of St. Denis as they are being loaded with wares. But when Bruno’s old friend Léopold from Senegal start selling African coffee and chocolate more cheaply than Bruno’s old friend Fauquet at his café across the square, a competition erupts between the vendors.
- The Body in the Castle Well (2019) – When Claudia, a young American, turns up dead in the courtyard of an ancient castle in Bruno’s jurisdiction, her death is assumed to be an accident related to opioid use. But her doctor persuades Bruno that things may not be so simple. Thus begins an investigation that leads Bruno to Monsieur de Bourdeille, the scholar with whom the girl had been studying, and then through that man’s past.
- Oystercatcher (short story) – Called upon to assist in an investigation of oyster thieves at the Bay of Arcachon by the Commissaire Pleven of the Bordeaux police, Bruno relishes an opportunity to momentarily reunite with the beautiful and ambitious Isabelle. When he and Isabelle witness strange activity out in the bay one evening–Bruno gets thrust into the center of action he had never bargained for.
- A Shooting at Chateau Rock (2020) – Following the funeral of a local farmer, Bruno gets a phone call from his son. He tells Bruno that before his father’s sudden death, he had signed over his property to an insurance company in return for a subscription to a luxury retirement home. Bruno discovers that both the retirement home and the insurance company are scams with links to a Russian oligarch whose dealings are already being tracked by the French police.
- The Coldest Case (2021) – After attending an exhibit on the facial reconstruction of ancient skulls, Bruno wonders if this technology might provide an invaluable clue to a thirty-year-old cold case. But learning the identity of the murder victim is only the beginning. The investigation quickly turns thorny and leads Bruno to a reclusive vintner, Henri Bazaine, whose education at a vocational school in a formerly Communist region has raised some eyebrows.
- To Kill a Troubadour (2022) – It is summer in St Denis and Bruno is busy organizing the annual village concert. He’s hired a local Périgord folk group, Les Troubadours, to perform their latest hit ‘A Song for Catalonia’. But when the song unexpectedly goes viral, the Spanish government, clamping down on the Catalonian bid for independence, bans Les Troubadours from performing it. The timing couldn’t be worse, and Bruno finds himself under yet more pressure when a specialist sniper’s bullet is found in a wrecked car near Bergerac.
- Bruno’s Challenge & Other Dordogne Tales – A collection of short stories. In story after story, Bruno settles town disputes, mediates family quarrels, and tracks down lawbreakers in his adored village of St. Denis and its environs. Featured meals in the collection include a fatty Christmas goose, a savory nettle soup with crème fraîche, and a fluffy quiche Lorraine.
- A Chateau Under Siege (2023) – The town of Sarlat is staging a reenactment of its liberation from the British in the Hundred Years War when the play’s French hero, Brice Kerquelin, is stabbed and feared fatally wounded. Is it an unfortunate prop malfunction—or something more sinister? The stricken man happens to be number two in the French intelligence service, in line for the top job. Bruno is tasked with the safety of the victim’s daughters, Claire and Nadia, as well as their father’s old Silicon Valley buddies, ostensibly in town for a reunion. One friend from Taiwan, a tycoon in chip fabrication, soon goes missing, and Bruno suspects there may be a link to the French government’s efforts to build a chip industry in Europe—something powerful forces in Russia and China are determined to scuttle.
II. Other Novels by Martin Walker
With the exception of “The Caves of Perigord,” those books are really hard to find.
- The Infiltrator (1978)
- A Mercenary Calling (1980)
- The Money Soldiers (1980)
- The Caves of Perigord (2002) – Brought by a British officer, a mysterious package for a young American woman working in a London auction house contains a 17,000-year-old fragment of a cave painting left to him by his father, a former World War II hero. The fragment, significant and stunning in itself, is also the key to the existence of an unknown cave that may be more important in the history of art and human creation than the world-famous one at Lascaux. It triggers a storm of publicity and commands the attention of the French authorities all the way up to the President of the Republic, who seems to know more about the painting’s origins than anyone else…
III. Non-Fiction by Martin Walker
- The National Front (1977)
- The Waking Giant (1986) – Arguing that Gorbachev’s aim is to make the USSR competitive with the world’s leading industrial economies, a journalist analyzes the obstacles hindering Gorbachev’s plans and consequences if he succeeds
- The Cold War and the Making of the Modern World (1993) – In this history of the Cold War, award-winning political commentator Martin Walker explains it as an economic and political dynamic that determined the structure of the modern global economy. Using recently-opened Kremlin archives and his own experience as “The Guardian”‘s bureau chief in Moscow during perestroika and in Washington during the Bush years, Walker analyzes what, more than any other single strategic conflict, has shaped the modern world.
- The Cold War: A History (1994) – From the origins of the Marshall Plan, which revived Europe after World War II, and the strategic decision to rebuild a defeated Japan into a bulwark against China, to the collapse of the Berlin Wall, this authoritative work reveals how the West was built into an economic alliance that overpowered the Soviet economy while also unleashing global economic forces that today challenge the traditional nation-state.
- Clinton: The President They Deserve (1996) – This biography shows how Bill Clinton survived sex, financial and drug scandals to be elected to the office of American President.
- America Reborn (2011) – Here is the story of America in the twentieth century as told through the lives of twenty-six of its most remarkable and historically crucial men and women. The people Martin Walker has chosen to portray are presidents, industrialists, artists, thinkers, entertainers, soldiers, spies, criminals, and evangelists, among others, and he makes the life of each individual serve as a framework for a discussion of the nation as a whole in a century when it was reinventing itself.
If you like Martin Walker, you may also want to see our Guido Brunetti reading order or our guide to the Verlaque and Bonnet series. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.