Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Body in the Castle Well by Martin Walker

First Sentence:  Bruno was still glowing from his morning canter at Pamela's riding school as he sipped his first coffee of the day at Fauguet's café and scanned the headlines of Sud Ouest.

      The body of Claudia, an American art history student Claudia, is found at the bottom of a well.  Initially, drugs are suspected. Or is it related to Claudia's digging into the past of the art historian and scholar with whom she had been studying.  And what about the young falconer, recently released from jail, who had become friends with Claudia.  It's up to Bruno to find the answers.

      Walker creates characters one would want to know.  While Bruno is the central character, those around him are fully developed and interesting.  The victim's mother is a good example of that.  There does always seem to be someone floating around Bruno's romantic life. 

      Beginning the story with a search and discovery of a body determined to have been murdered is an interesting approach and provided some of the best suspense of the book.  There is good police work done, and a very nicely done plot twist. The actual mystery is very good. but one wishes there had been more focus on it.  Instead, the mystery becomes rather lost among all the information on the resistance, wine, art, falconry, jazz, and Josephine Baker.  It is interesting, but after a while, one begins to feel as though one were Clara from the old Wendy's commercials wondering "Where's the beef?".

      Bruno is such a strong character with an interesting background.  One hopes to see more of that in the next book.

      "The Body in the Castle Well" does have very good moments and a solid mystery at its heart, but the resolution was somewhat disappointing. This is not Walker's best book. Significant editing would have helped tighten the plot and made the story more effective.  

THE BODY IN THE CASTLE WELL (PolProc-Comm. Bruno Courregés-France-Contemp) - Good
      Walker, Martin – 14th in series
      Knopf – June 2019


  1. I have to say, I like this series very much. For good or not, it's one of those series where I forgive things I might not from other authors. I agree with you about Bruno's character. It's a really important part of why I like the series as I do.

    1. So do I which was why it was so hard to write less than a glowing review. I always remind myself that my followers depend on me for honest reviews, and sometimes that means being critical of an author whose work I'd always loved. Here's hoping his next book is much better.

  2. Replies
    1. Remember, this is just my opinion. Others seem to have liked the book just fine.