Monday, 20 July 2020

Paris in July 2020 - This Poision Will Remain by Fred Vargas



Paris in July 2020 is hosted by Tamara at Thyme for Tea. Going into week 4 we enjoy sharing our love for everything Parisian and French. My contribution this week is about one of my favourite French police thriller writers.

Fred Vargas is the pseudonym of Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau. She is a historian, archaeologist and novelist. As the two first professions, she is best known for a book about the Black Death. Her main writing these days are those of the police thrillers; three books about The Three Evangelists, and the books about Chief Inspector Adamsberg. This is a book about the latter. 

Vargas combines her interests in history and archaeology and her stories, and crimes, are often based on academic themes. Often history, but in this book, she ventures into science. Namely, into the life and deeds of a spider; Loxosceles reclusa. When a number of older people are dying from a bite from this spider, Adamsberg and his team are getting suspicious.

Usually, the bite of the spider does not lead to death. As he and his team are looking into the deaths, a gruesome past is opening up. It leads to an orphanage where things were not what they were supposed to be. Children, both boys, and girls suffered great anguish. Are they, after all these years, coming back for revenge on the group of boys who were harassing them? And, if so, why wait all these years?

Adamsberg and his colleagues are facing tough questions, drawbacks, and terrifying evidence before they manage to find the culprit. In the usual style of Vargas the story develops slowly, but in a way which is quite realistic. It is all based on true detective work. Adamsberg is an unconventional Inspector;  he prefers to walk around the room while he is thinking of the case;  he disappears into his foggy thoughts from time to time and his IT knowledge is limited. His colleagues all show different skills and characters; maybe not always professional, but with their own kind of ambition. The diversity of the knowledge of his colleagues helps Adamsberg in his search for the truth.

Unfortunately, the English title is not very good. In French, it is called Quand sort la recluse, meaning when the recluse/hermit comes out, and in Swedish Den instängdas blick, meaning the gaze of the one who is closed in. A recluse is someone who closes him/herself in, like a hermit. The English title does not well reflect the original title or the theme of the book. Well worth reading nevertheless!

By Fred Vargas I have read The Chalk Circle Man and Have Mercy on Us All. If you want a good story, a different story, and a guess who-dun-it, Fred Vargas is the thriller writer for you. 







10 comments:

  1. You really make me want to read this book! Thanks for introducing me to Fred Vargas and this series. I love good police procedurals, and I don't know of very many from contemporary authors in France.

    be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you Mae, I am sure you will like it. I am about to write another review of a French thriller writer Michel Bussi. I am sure he will also be to your taste.

      Stay safe and well!

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  2. So glad you liked it. I have devoured ALL the books by Fred Vargas, she's an amazing author, paying attention to every word

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    1. Wow, I am not there yet, but try to catch up!

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  3. Fred Vargas has been on my list for a long time, I think from previous Paris in July posts (maybe it was Vagabond or Mel U)... but again, I'm reminded I still havent read any. Thanks

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    1. She is excellent and different from all the others. Characters to love, stories to be hooked on, and guesses to be made. Not always easy to find the culprit.

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  4. This is a genre I love and I've not heard of or been at all familiar with this writer. Thanks for this recommendation. I will be looking for this one.

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    1. I am sure you would like her stories and characters. They are easy to read, and has so much of a story to them. You get quite fascinated both with the stories and the policemen and women who is trying to solve the crimes.

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  5. My library has several Fred Vargas books available. I've been looking up several French authors and my library has quite a few French authors!

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    1. That is good. It is interesting to read authors from different countries. Fred Vargas and Michel Bussi are some of the best, when it comes to thrillers.

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