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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.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Jun 2013 14:30:13 BDT
I so agree. Smashing review. I though Fred was my little secret but great to know other people around of erm discrimination and taste!She knocks spots off everyone else..Margaret Mac.
In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jun 2013 07:22:42 BDT
Couldn't agree more - one does come across some dreadful rubbish! Should acknowledge, too, she's much better served by her translator than some ... For characters, have you tried John Lawton? Or for France, Allan Massie? Or for humour Stuart MacBride? Even so, looking forward to the next Vargas already! JK
In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jun 2013 14:19:20 BDT
Massie very good. I will try your other two recommendations. Like me you have a voracious appetite fo crime novels. So here are two authors you may not know. Christopher Fowler, Bryant and May (geddit?) series. Zany characters, fantastic plots and great London loctions. Also Andrew Taylor his Lynmouth series very good as is the Roth trilogy. He's an historian too but not as good as Massie. Maybe you should try Massie "A question of loyalties" again Vichy theme. Very good. Happy reading.
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