Martin Walker – The Templars‘ Last Secret

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Martin Walker – The Templars‘ Last Secret

Rural France, St Denis in the Périgord region. Police officer Bruno this time has company: the Justice Ministry has send Amélie Plessis to get insight into basic police work. Before they can really get to know each other, they are called to the Commarque castle where a young woman was found dead. She seems to have been about to write some graffiti on the wall when she fell down. But soon they detect traces of foul play. The place of the crime scene does not seem to have been chosen by coincidence and soon Bruno and Amélie have to realise that they are not dealing with a simple murder case here, killing out of love or the like, but they are in the middle of an international plot of terrorism which threatens the lovely and peaceful region.

In his tenth case, we meet Bruno as we already know him from former novels: down to earth, a weakness for good food and the landscape and in order to solve his cases, he relies on his knowledge of the human nature and his good contacts in the region. Another woman enters the bachelor’s life, but this time she does not immediately win his heart, they have a rather professional relationship which turns over to some kind of friendship and liking. Both protagonists seem to be quite authentic and drawn from life.

The case is much more complicated than most of the others before. This time, the cause does not lie within the region or the people from the Périgord, but Martin Walker constructs a complex case of well-known Templar legends which are always attractive to a lot of people due to the mysteries around the order and any unanswered questions – not to talk of the Holy Grail – combined with international terrorism and threats as we, sadly, have witnessed in the last few years in Europe. I especially liked the development of the plot which made absolutely sense from an investigative point of view and was in no way farfetched in its extent.

All in all, exactly what I would expect in a novel from the Bruno series: an interesting case of murder embedded in the beautiful French countryside with hints at its food and culture.

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Matthew Costello – The Vanishing Tourist

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Matthew Costello – The Vanishing Tourist

Cherringham has regularly coaches full of tourists who come to see not only the lovely village, but to do tours around the historic sights.  It is mainly elderly people who take part in those tours and up to now, they all were carried back home safe and sound. But now, one member of a group is missing. His sister even comes from the States to have a look into the matter and since the police seem to be rather reluctant about that case, she asks Jack for help. How could an elderly American go missing in Cherringham and not be seen again? When they start investigating his past, Jack and Sarah come across a fact that makes things appear in a completely new light: the supposedly tourist did not come to enjoy lovely Cherringham, he was there for revenge.

Episode 18 of the British cosy crime series which was again well balanced between the idyllic village life where everybody knows everybody and where things move at a slower pace than in the big city and a murder case which had some surprises to offer and quite an unexpected motivation. As always, quick to read, straight from the beginning to the end without any side plots to distract from the main topic.