In THE RESISTANCE MAN, Martin Walker’s sixth entry in his Bruno, Chief of Police series, Bruno is called to the house of an old man who has passed. Turns out he was in the French Resistance during World War II, so he is entitled to a special burial which Bruno arranges with the governing agency. Strangely, the man was clutching a large number of outdated currency, money that his less than mournful daughters could have used in life.
Bruno is called away from this to investigate a burglary that may have some serious consequences. The man burgled ran the Joint Security Committee in the Cabinet Office in Downing Street, and so an invasion of his home has the higher-ups very worried.
These two incidents form a backdrop against which Walker discusses a World War II train robbery used to finance the Resistance, French and American cooperation in the field of nuclear development, and of course, his normal attention to the food, wine and bucolic pleasures of the Périgord.
Slightly less satisfactory than others in the series, THE RESISTANCE MAN is still an exemplary entry in the police procedural, with dogged and thorough investigation techniques coupled with experienced hunches and Bruno’s usual local knowledge all contributing. The occasional mentions of food and wine and the French country way of life should please lovers of this series, and there are some interesting developments with the normal ancillary characters.
It’s a good addition to the bunch, but not Walker’s absolute best, primarily because there’s nothing truly exciting to grab on to while reading. More could have been made out of the train robbery, for instance. It’s a must for lovers of the series, though, and if you think you might like to read more of Bruno, start with the masterful original BRUNO, CHIEF OF POLICE and work your way up from there.
I should also add on a positive note the helpful acknowledgements where the author discusses the historical background providing numerous sources, and also how to obtain some of the food and wines mentioned in the text. —Mark Rose