Black Diamond is the third of the Bruno Courreges series. Bruno, the beloved Chief of Police in the small village of St. Denis, has such charm. I'm glad to continue this series, although I haven't read the first one, I really enjoyed The Dark Vineyard, reviewed here.
The black diamond, or winter black truffle, is often referred to as the Perigord truffle. Bruno is an avid truffle hunter and is establishing his own "truffle orchard" with the help of his expert friend Hercule. When he is asked to investigate some irregularities in the truffle market, he finds himself learning more about the economic and political influence of truffles.
Where to start on this novel? There are several sub-plots that Walker manages to connect with great skill: corruption in the truffle market, the murder of his good friend, Asian gangs, illegal immigration and human trafficking, environmental, political, and cultural differences.
Yet it all works and flows together sensibly. In addition to all of the above, there is some fascinating information about truffles and some interesting French history (from Viet Nam to Algeria to Bosnia) easily incorporated. And...the food! Oh, I'm not a gourmand, but Bruno and his friends are, and the meals delight to the point of making my mouth water.
Good characterization, an interesting plot--I'm more a fan of Bruno, Chief of Police than ever.
Fiction. Mystery/Crime. 2011. 320 pages.