From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
This is the fifth in the series starring Benoit Bruno Courreges, chief of police in a tiny village in the Dordogne region of France. The French countryside, with its glorious food and wine, provides stark contrast to the dark deeds of the crimes Bruno investigates. For example, when Bruno and his aide go fishing, hoping to discover the source of a victim's body, they take along limes to flavor the trout they catch and fillet on the river bank. This mystery has a very dark basis: a naked woman is seen in a boat floating down the river. The woman has been murdered, with a symbol traced in black on her belly. Black candles and the severed head of a cockerel are found in the boat. Bruno investigates the possible black-magic connection, unearthing rituals that go back to a black mass enacted by a desperate mistress of Louis XIV. There are contemporary tie-ins as well to a real-estate scheme in the area. An enchanting new entry in this solid series.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2010 Booklist