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The Ghost Riders of Ordebec (Commissaire Adamsberg Mysteries) [Paperback]

Fred Vargas , Sian Reynolds
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 25 Jun 2013 --  

Book Description

25 Jun 2013 Commissaire Adamsberg Mysteries


'People will die,' says the panic-stricken woman outside police headquarters. She has been standing in blazing sunshine for more than an hour, and refuses to speak to anyone besides Commissaire Adamsberg. Her daughter has seen a vision: ghostly horsemen who target the most nefarious characters in Normandy. Since the middle ages there have been stories of murderers, rapists, those with serious crimes on their conscience, meeting a grizzly end following a visitation by the riders.

Soon after the young woman's vision a notoriously cruel man disappears, and the local police dismiss the matter as superstition. Although the case is far outside his jurisdiction, Adamsberg agrees to investigate the strange happenings in a village terrorised by wild rumours and ancient feuds.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 361 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (25 Jun 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143123122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143123125
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.6 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 962,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"This latest outing for the offbeat Commissaire Adamsberg is [Vargas'] best" (Independent)

"After decades in which crime fiction in French was dominated by the Belgian author Georges Simenon, it has an indisputable new star in Fred Vargas" (Joan Smith Sunday Times)

"Her novels about the kindly, quixotic Commissaire Adamsberg are unique, presenting us with a France that resembles Simenon's in its concreteness but with a fantastical, even surreal, twist: werewolves, vampires and, in her latest novel, an army of ghosts on horseback. Her work is like a baked Camembert among the smorgasbord of chilly Scandinavian realism that dominates the foreign crime fiction market here, delicious comfort food for the sophisticated palate." (Jake Kerridge Daily Telegraph)

"Adamsberg is as delightful, absurd and irritating as ever. One of Vargas's best" (Marcel Berlins Times)

"There are, it seems, two types of people: those who have discovered the quirky bliss of Fred Vargas's novels and those who don't know a good thing when they see it on the shelf.For those who haven't picked Vargas off the shelf, I highly recommend sitting on a wall with Adamsberg this spring" (Christian House Independent on Sunday) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

France's bestselling crime writer, and four-time winner of the CWA International Dagger, sends the unorthodox Commissaire Adamsberg far outside his jurisdication in a chilling tale of evil-doers who disappear after visitations from a band of ghostly horsemen --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hellishly good 26 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Every time I start to read a new Fred Vargas I rejoice to have returned to a world in which a character like Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg is able to rise to the position of Commissaire in the 5th Arrondissement.

This must be Adamsberg's most mysterious case yet, concerning as it does the mediaeval Norman legend of Hellequin's horde of ghost riders, who appear to the lucky (or cursed) medium, in the company of perhaps half-a-dozen local scoundrels, whom they have 'seized'. Within weeks, back in real life, the scoundrels are no more, each in turn falling victim to unpleasant and untimely deaths.

The perfect setting, then, for Adamsberg's style of policing: subjunctive, metaphorical, seeing everywhere symbols, where those literal dogmatists around him see only the quotidian. Adamsberg takes his time; he thinks by browsing, he has this peculiar and inexplicable gift of divining traces in the world of what has passed before - it is poetic, and inspiring.

None of which is to say that these novels are in any way difficult, highbrow, or lacking in action. The bodies pile up, there is a dash, where necessary, of police procedural, corruption, etc.

For a great crime thriller, and for so much more besides, this is as good as anything by Fred Vargas, and much better than pretty much anything else in the genre you'll read this year.

Buy it!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly crafted 1 April 2013
By tt
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The old characters in the series are here, with their eccentricities and foibles of full display. New characters add to the plot and feel of the book like strong flavours compliment the other ingredients in a well judged meal. Neither characters nor plots would work with a lesser writer but here they combine to make an intriguing, sparkling, pacy and witty read.

Try a Commissaire Adamsberg book, you'll either love it or hate it, I'm hooked. Lets have the rest available on Kindle.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique but start at the beginning of the series. 19 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
I don't know what it is about this series of books but I get this warm fuzzy feeling of contentment inside me when I pick up and start reading, even if I have read one of her books 10 times.

I just float away to another world that is so wonderful.

I only wish that she would write more often but that then might take away the special unique way of writing tat she has.

However, please, if you are new to this author start at the beginning of the series otherwise some of the things talked about in this book will not make sense due to the continuation of part of the story.

Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magical mystery tour 17 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I eagerly await each book by Fred Vargas and they do not seem to come along too often. Please, Ms. Vargas , can you write quicker? This convoluted, magical mysterious and funny plot held me riveted and I did not guess the solution. In a strange way, it reminds me a bit of both Barbara Nadel and Phil Rickman's work where there is also this lingering doubt that the logical explanation is not necessarily the whole answer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Story 9 Dec 2013
I think I should first point out that if you read this book and think the Furious Army mentioned here sounds slightly familiar, it is a legend that is told in many countries in Europe, especially in Northern Europe. I think there are at least three or four such legends in this country alone, with probably the one in Devon being the most famous.

If you have never read a Commissaire Adamsberg book before then you should be warned that they are quirky to say the least. Indeed the stories are full of humour and quirkiness, as well as providing good mysteries. At the start of this book you can see how Adamsberg's brain works, as he investigates a supposed death by heart attack.

For Adamsberg and his eccentric team nothing is ever straight forward. Whilst the Commissaire rescues a pigeon in distress a woman from Normandy has come to see him with regards to the Furious Army riding once again through Ordebec. Adamsberg needs Danglard just to find out what an earth this army is, and seems surprised that everyone else seems to already know this piece of folklore. And so whilst Adamsberg is given an important case of arson and murder to solve in Paris, he also manages to get the case in Ordebec, where a murder has been committed.

Taking in an old legend, superstition, devious murders, and secrets that have been hidden for years once again we are treated to another great story from Fred Vargas, with a new host of other oddball characters. If you think you may want to try one of these books please be aware that to a certain degree they are mad, in the way that only the French seem capable of doing. If you are looking for something that is action packed and more of a thriller, then this isn't for you; but if you are looking for something quirky, with some great humour and full of eccentrics then this may be just up your street.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charm and originality. 28 April 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is my first acquaintance with Fred Vargas, but it certainly won't be my last. A far remove from the hard-boiled school of crime fiction and from the routine police procedurals now so common, I found this novel most refreshingly original. The writing is keenly intelligent and the whole atmosphere highly distinctive. Commissaire Adamsberg is just one amongst a cast of engaging and idiosyncratic characters.

The style is droll and whimsical, compelling attention to the moment rather than the ultimate outcome. Ms Vargas is adept at finding interest in aspects of life commonly overlooked. She writes with thought and perception, as well as subtle humour and a keenly observing eye, absorbing our interest in the particular. The plot probably lacks total plausibility, and I'm rather uncertain about the effectiveness of the final twist, but here it is the journey that grips, the destination secondary. This is not a compulsive page-turner, forgotten once the outcome is known. Rather it is a book to settle down with, to relish in a leisurely style. Perhaps not to everyone's taste, but for me anyway, a delightful find. I look forward to further adventures with Adamsberg and his colleagues.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars gripping and exceptional
wonderful mix of mythic ghostliness and our main man's being able to cope with that superstition - he is able to believe it and so he takes the little people seriously and solves... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Leslie Gardner
5.0 out of 5 stars Just sheer indulgence and pleasure
Commissaire Adamsberg's mind is described as being like a pile of fish freshly landed, all different species and jumbled up together. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Plucked Highbrow
3.0 out of 5 stars New to Fred Vargas stories
this is the first book I have read on my kindle. the story started quite slowly but had enough descriptive passages to keep my interest. in the end a good read. Read more
Published 1 month ago by margaretJ
5.0 out of 5 stars ghost riders of ordebec
I enjoyed this book couldn't put it down once I started it took a couple of days to finish it was that good
Published 2 months ago by Barbara
5.0 out of 5 stars Started off just a bit slowly but quickly made up for it. I am...
First Sentence: A trail of tiny breadcrumbs led from the kitchen into the bedroom, as far as the spotless sheets where the old woman lay dead, her mouth open.

Comm. Read more
Published 2 months ago by L. J. Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable
I enjoy this offbeat series. In the Ghost Riders of Ordebec Adamsberg manages to solve 3 different crimes in the space of one book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Elaine Tomasso
5.0 out of 5 stars it is such a great variation on the detective formula; funny in a...
Fantasticly composed giving compulsive reading. The humour of human weakness and detection powers and near farce are perfectly blended. Completely unpredictable.
Published 5 months ago by Jerry Flood
4.0 out of 5 stars Rare crime gem
You don't get a new Fred Vargas crime novel every day, or even every year for that matter, so you have to savour them when they come along. Read more
Published 6 months ago by @LollyRussell
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and superb Continental detective fiction
Books this good are sinfully pleasurable. I was able to immerse myself in the off-kilter, whimsical world of Inspector Adamsberg for two whole days and not one minute of it was... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Rowena Hoseason
3.0 out of 5 stars declining quality
I used to really love the Adamsberg books, but this one feels lazy and confused. They always were quirky and eccentric, but this is all over the place. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
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