Amy Myers is known for her short stories and historical novels featuring Victorian chef Auguste Didier and chimney sweep Tom Wasp. Her contemporary series features classic car detective Jack Colby, and she is currently working on a new 1920s mystery series featuring Nell Drury, chef at Kent’s Wychbourne Court.
Martin Walker is well known in many fields, including political commentary. In the crime writing world he’s known for his series featuring Bruno, chief of the local police in a small French town in the Périgord region, known for its gourmet food and cooking – as is Bruno himself. The Crowded Grave is the fourth in the series, which has won many fans.
Rural France is a familiar setting for today’s crime novels both for French authors and for British. Bruno Corrèges’s strength as an investigator, however, is that he is firmly based in the local police and though wider issues face him he is able to tackle them through his local knowledge of how the small town of St Denis works, both politically and on an everyday basis.
Like Jack Frost he has more than one case on his desk at a time. In The Crowded Grave he is held up on the quiet road to work by a flock of geese set free by animal rights’ activists and shortly thereafter summoned to inspect an unidentified skeleton far more modern than the archaeological site in which it is discovered. Investigation of these leads him not only into small town political conflict with the Gendarmerie but with the French intelligence service concerned with Basque terrorism.
The Crowded Grave is no fast-paced gory thriller, but a readable slice of provincial French police life. Not just police life either. Bruno is not only a good cook but has time for other pleasures in life – such as his former lover Isabelle and his current flame Pamela.