town square martin walker in Sarlat-la-Caneda France

Martin Walker’s Sarlat village in the Dordogne

I am in love with Bruno, Chief of Police.

He’s a character in Martin Walker’s series of detective novels set in Dordogne, France, and my Lauzun neighbour Mimi recommended the book when we cycled to Sérignac-Péboudou a few weeks ago. She was kind enough to lend me the first title of the series, saying it was an easy-to-read detective story set in a southwestern French village very similar to our own, real-life Lauzun.

Martin Walker is a renowned journalist and non-fiction writer, but I guess he relaxes by writing about the rural culture that surrounds him in the Dordogne. In addition to writing stories that describe the everyday scenes, people, and events in the fictional village of St-Denis (where the Dordogne and Vézère rivers meet), Walker also includes gastronomic minutiae about the cuisine—the wine, cheese, game, truffles, pastries, and more.

In fact, National Geographic Traveller named the first book in the series, Bruno, Chief of Police, its Book of the Month selection. Reviewer Don George wrote,

…Walker weaves these threads into a flowing Peter Mayle-meets-Alexander McCall Smith narrative that illuminates the unresolved undercurrents and alluring rites and riches of rural France. In the end, Bruno proves to be not simply a perspicacious detective, but an engaging guide to the delights of Dordogne.

I was halfway through the third book, Black Diamond, when my hosts Ian and Sue suggested we take a day-trip to the village of Sarlat-la-Canéda. Ian is a professional photographer, and he had guessed that the cover image on Black Diamond was a street market in Sarlat—a picturesque, medieval village about 210 kilometres east of Bordeaux.

It was a great excuse for Ian, his wife Susan, neighbour Maggie, and myself to pile into Ian’s boxy yellow Kangoo and drive two hours north to the Dordogne river to see for ourselves…

black diamond martin walker book cover Sarlat france
Cover image of Martin Walker’s book, Black Diamond.

Ian was right. Compare the image on the book cover (above) and a photo I took when we arrived at the Place de la Liberté in Sarlat (below):

The same street scene in the village of Sarlat, France.
The same street scene, the Place de la Liberté, in the village of Sarlat, France.

If you enjoy reading the stories in Cardbordeaux, click the Follow prompt to receive an email when the next delivery arrives.


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Writer, rider, traveller.

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