The second in the Commander Truchaud series finds the diffident policeman unravelling yet another mystery in the little Burgundy village of Nuits-Saint-Georges. A young German tourist seems to have gone missing. But what at first appears quite a straightforward affair soon turns dark when a decomposing body is found in the woods.
Another episode of murder, mayhem, violence and villany in the orderly vineyards of Burgundy.
In this very satisfying sequel to The Richebourg Affair, R.M Cartmel again brings main character Commander Truchard to his home town of Nuits-Saint-Georges.
Logical, likeable Truchard is an old-style detective. He gathers facts, searches, interviews; and best of all, reveals his process along the way.
It starts with a missing tourist; hardly a dark or sinister case. Truchard might find the case petty–along with some other minor crimes–but things ratchet up rather rapidly. In the midst of investigation, he also must cope with pressing family matters, and a very legitimate concern about his ‘real’ job back in Paris. various things seem to conspire to hinder investigation, from language issues to the intrusion of his personal life. Still, he approaches untangling the crime with tenacity.
The mystery is at once unpredictable and believable. It was, however, the very revealing details about Truchard himself, and his family, that really piqued my interest.
The village and vineyards provide a charming and familiar backdrop. The discussion and knowledge of winemaking, the patience, dedication and importance of it, both to those in the profession and those just in the area. Wine; making, understanding, enjoying/quality seems to unite the various inhabitants of the village. Characters, from the young constable to an array of others all are well developed, and Lenoir is even amusing.
R.M Cartmel, and more importantly, his detective, Truchard, have stepped firmly into the ranks of Hercule Poirot, Richard Jury and Roderick Allyn. Mystery fans absolutely must read…and if you aren’t a mystery fan, Cartmel might well convince you. He is a skilled writer and this latest is easily the match of his first. I for one cannot wait for the next.