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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hellishly good
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...
Published 15 months ago by JK

versus
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.
(however the jury is still out on my kindle)
Published 1 month ago by margaretJ


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hellishly good, 26 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Ghost Riders of Ordebec: A Commissaire Adamsberg novel (Hardcover)
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
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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
By 
Ms. Zoe Banks "zoekbanks" (Clacton on Sea, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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
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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
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Ghost Riders of Ordebec: A Commissaire Adamsberg novel (Hardcover)
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
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This review is from: The Ghost Riders of Ordebec: A Commissaire Adamsberg novel (Hardcover)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and superb Continental detective fiction, 6 Dec 2013
By 
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Ghost Riders of Ordebec: A Commissaire Adamsberg novel (Hardcover)
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 wasted.

On the face of it, this is a police procedural set in modern-day France, in which a special crimes unit tackles two uninvolved investigations. One looks like a cut-and-dried case of arson/murder, while the other has - as is often the case with Adamsberg investigations - supernatural overtones. Is the faery hunt really coming to Normandy to carry off four victims, or is this just a good excuse for more murder?
Those plots are really just the excuse, however, to spend time with this fabulous cast of characters -- all well-established in previous novels -- and to enjoy moments of philosophical illumination into how other people's minds might works. All the regular characters are here, and the interactions between the eccentric squad members are delightful, and sometimes pointedly poignant. We meet new people including a beast of a man who speaks words backwards, and a pigeon which becomes the mascot for the novel.
Vargas wonderfully conjures an interpretation of contemporary rural France which we observe from Adamsberg's odd angles as he apparently fumbles his way through a convoluted investigation which seemingly revolves around sugar lumps.
If you like straightforward murder-mystery books then perhaps this is not for you. It's nothing like the blunt brutality of many Nordic noir novels. If you enjoy the more fanciful moments of the Inspector Montalbano series, say, and you enjoy endless word games and intellectual digression, then you too may find yourself happily entertained by this series.

It might help to start with one of the earlier Adamsberg investigations so you're more familiar with the characters - but it'll be odd, even if you've read them all. And that's one of the things which makes Fred Vargas so special.
9/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it is such a great variation on the detective formula; funny in a folksy way. characters jump off the page., 5 Feb 2014
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Fantasticly composed giving compulsive reading. The humour of human weakness and detection powers and near farce are perfectly blended. Completely unpredictable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE GHOST RIDERS OF ORDEBECH, 9 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Ghost Riders of Ordebec: A Commissaire Adamsberg novel (Hardcover)
Fred Vargas is a master of the quirky crime novel. After a disappointing visit to London in An Uncertain Place (a delight in places), this is a return to the stunning assuredness of This Night's Foul Work (a novel with the greatest passage of writing involving a cat and a helicopter of all time). Even her least successful works are more interesting than the dour procedurals that are routinely published by UK writers and, because her books are translated, on average, one per year, they are not victim of the appalling translations that make most Scandinavian stuff unreadable these days. The person that gave her 1 star should stick with the banal output of the likes of Paul Robinson, and a whole legion of samey others. Ta
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adamsberg solves yet another crime., 2 Sep 2013
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Fred Vargas writes about Adamsberg's team with such tenderness, even the pigeon has a character. This plot was totally brilliant
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The Ghost Riders of Ordebec: A Commissaire Adamsberg novel
The Ghost Riders of Ordebec: A Commissaire Adamsberg novel by Fred Vargas (Hardcover - 7 Mar 2013)
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