IF there is one way to discover and learn about the Dordogne it is through the books of author, Martin Walker, and his fictional character Bruno, chief of police.
The books are set in the small town of St. Denis south-west France, which is based upon the actual town of Le Bugue, and tells of the adventures of Bruno Courreges as well as the characters, both good and bad, that he crosses.
At the heart of each book is a crime solving adventure undertaken by Bruno, chief of police, but you will also learn so much about life in the Dordogne, its food, the countryside, its history.
Martin Walker writes with a real passion, and intimate knowledge of the area that comes through in every page.
With the number of Dordogne mysteries books now into double figures, you may be wondering what order they come in, find out below.
And whilst I have listed them from the very first to the most recent, there is no need to read them one after the other as each book stands alone, and although there may be the occasional mention of previous stories, they have no impact on the one you are reading.
1 – Death in the Dordogne: The Dordogne Mysteries
Here we meet Bruno for the first time and some of the characters he works and spends time with that also feature in future books.
But first he has to deal with the murder of a world war two veteran and while many point the finger at one man, Bruno is not so sure and and works hard to get to the bottom of the case.
2 – Dark Vineyard: The Dordogne Mysteries
The vineyards of south west France produce a valuable commodity, but is it one that results in murder? As battle rages over the future of wine growing around St. Denis arsonists hit a research plant, causing Bruno to call on his local contacts.
3 – Black Diamond: The Dordogne Mysteries
The black diamond in the title is the name often given to truffles, a prized ingredient that is found at the foot of oak trees, and whose location is a closely guarded secret.
But it is secrets that lead to threats and murder, and as Bruno investigates he uncovers links to China and child prostitution.
4 – The Crowded Grave: The Dordogne Mysteries
The Dordogne is home to cro-magnon man, and whilst archaeologists work on a dig, a more recent body is found.
And with a high-level meeting set to take place on his patch, Bruno, chief of police. is left fighting terrorists and the loss of a loved one in the final battle.
5 – The Devil’s Cave: The Dordogne Mysteries
Satanism in the quiet corners of the Dordogne seems unlikely, but when a body is found in a boat floating downstream Bruno steps into a dark world.
6 – The Resistance Man: The Dordogne Mysteries
The second world war is still a painful memory for many in France and this is the case in St.Denis as past crimes come to the fore.
Bruno is forced to look into the history of the war and the local Resistance, whilst also handling a complicated old flame of his own.
7 – Death Undercover: The Dordogne Mysteries
The war in Afghanistan and Muslim terrorists leave a deep scar on Bruno as he looks to fine the men who killed a police colleague, leaving his body in the woods.
8 – The Dying Season: The Dordogne Mysteries
A powerful family in the region invites Bruno to a birthday party, but whilst enjoying his time there a murder takes place opening up deep divisions within the family and a few skeletons in cupboards they want to keep locked.
But Bruno shakes off the pressure to look the other way and works to find the murderer, all while trying to calm frictions between pro and anti hunters in woods around St.Denis.
9 – Fatal Pursuit: The Dordogne Mysteries
Whatever happened to a famous Bugatti racing car from the past? What appears to be a story of car enthusiasts enjoying their hobby soon progresses to money laundering and the funding of terrorism.
And while a new arrival to the area seems to have the future of the locals at heart, doubts begin to form in the mind of Bruno about future plans for property and land.
10 – The Templars’ Last Secret: The Dordogne Mysteries
A mysterious death leaves the body of an unknown woman at the foot of the château walls, who is she and where did she come from?
Bruno has to use all his experience and knowledge to find out what happened.
11 – A Taste for Vengeance: The Dordogne Mysteries
Bruno’s love for the Dordogne way of life and cuisine comes to the fore when he is asked to host a cookery class, but when one of the students is found dead he has to swap hats and solve the crime.
12 – The Body in the Castle Well: The Dordogne Mysteries
A murder draws in the White House and the FBI giving Bruno a headache of international proportions.
But with priceless artwork and a château lying at the heart of the death, Bruno uncovers evidence that takes him back to world war two and the French conflict in Algeria.
13 – A Shooting at Chateau Rock: The Dordogne Mysteries
A Russian oligarch is implicated in the death of a local farmer, but with influence that stretches back to the Kremlin, will Bruno be able to arrest the perpetrator of the crime?
14 – The Coldest Case: The Dordogne Mysteries
An unsolved case from 30 years ago still haunts Bruno’s boss. J-J, so much so that he has kept the victim’s skull.
When Bruno sees the work of reconstructive modellers working on Cro-Magnon bones, he looks to use their skills to close the case once and for all.
15 – To Kill a Troubadour: The Dordogne Mysteries
When a songwriter from one of Bruno’s favourite bands faces possible assassination for publishing a song about Catalonia, the Dordogne’s favourite police chief has to ensure international relations are kept peaceful.
All this while helping a long standing friend sort out her own day-to-day life.
16 – A Chateau under Siege: The Dordogne Mysteries
Silicon Valley reaches into the heart of the Dordogne as Bruno looks to discover what really happened during a re-enactment of the battle between England and France in 1370, that saw Sarlat returned to the French.
Mystery surrounds the injuries suffered by a key player in the re-enactment, but when it turns out that he is involved in a mega business deal involving semi-conductors and darker forces are at play, Bruno calls on all his local knowledge to get to the bottom of the case.
17 – A Grave in the Woods: The Dordogne Mysteries
Out in June 2024, A Grave in the Woods sees Bruno Chief of Police take part in the investigation of a possible war crime dating from the Second World War.
And his village of St Denis, faces a natural disaster as the waters of the surrounding river creep ever higher and threaten the peace and tranquillity of the Dordogne countryside.
Last Updated on 9 January, 2024.