It’s been thirty years that Bruno’s boss J.-J. has been haunting the murderer of an unknown man found in the forest. This cold case seems unsolvable, nobody missed someone and no item which could help to identify him was ever found. Yet, as technology advances, so do the police’s possibilities. By the help of an expert in face reconstruction, they try to remodel his looks, at the same time, quite unexpectedly, another DNA search shows a hit. While J.-J. is happy that his longest case might come to a close, the lovely Périgord region is threatened by fires. While the inhabitants fear the worst, this comes on a very political level with J.-.J.’s cold case: the murderer he has been looking for might be linked to even more serious crimes and thus, national security is suddenly threatened.
With Martin Walker’s series about Bruno Courrèges, you always know what you will get: it is not simply a cosy crime novel located in a beautiful region which finds its deserved place in the book by providing a lot of good food and impressive nature, but also a case which starts out as a minor incident and suddenly develops into something totally unexpected. These by now well-known ingredients also make the 14th instalment an enjoyable holiday read.
What I found most fascinating in this novel were the technical explanations of how you can infer from a skull how the person has looked like. This technique might be useful not just for artistic and museological purposes but also as shown for investigative aims. It is also a clear signal that no deed is unsolvable and that with modern technology, the perfect crime might not be that perfect anymore.
As a German, I was aware of the Rosenholz papers which surprisingly come up in the novel. Surely a rather deplorable part of our history but still offering a lot of food for speculation even today. So again, nothing from the past is ever really over.
All in all, a pleasant cosy crime novel which makes you feel like on holiday and enjoy the atmosphere of France’s countryside.