The idyllic countryside of southwestern France gets a little bit bloodier with each installment of Martin Walker's mystery series starring Bruno, Chief of Police. But don't worry, there are still sumptuous meals aplenty, and the wine never stops flowing.

In the fifth book in the series, The Devil's Cave, the cute little village of St. Denis gets a dose of Satanism—plus prostitution, a few murders and some troubling real estate ventures.

The man for the job is Bruno, the only cop in St. Denis, and when I read that Bruno is actually based on the real chief of police in the Dordogne, who is also Walker's tennis partner, I had to ask a few questions. Here's a preview:

devilscaveBruno has his hands full with all these murders in the French countryside. Why such dark deeds in this charming atmosphere?


This is the very question put to me by my friend Pierrot, the local police chief. But crime takes place anywhere, and this gentle valley in southwestern France has more history packed within it than anywhere on earth, from the prehistoric cave paintings of the Cro-Magnons, the hundreds of medieval châteaus and the importance of the local Resistance during World War II. And with the prevalence of hunters and shotguns, lethal farm tools, property disputes and France’s complex inheritance laws, there is no shortage of means or motives.


If you had to swap places with Bruno for a day, how would that day go?


I’d probably be able to win my tennis games and maybe even cook meals as well as he does. But my inability to match Bruno’s ability to combine policing with humor, common sense and his very idiosyncratic sense of justice might well cause a riot in our placid small town. And I’d certainly bring about a horrendous traffic jam.


privateeyejulyRead the full 7 questions interview here! For readers who already enjoy the Bruno series, Walker shares some exciting news about an upcoming Bruno cookbook.

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