Wednesday, November 22, 2006

To Read: Commissaire Adamsberg mysteries

Bookgasm comes through again with another cool recommendation. Their description of Fred Vargas' Seeking Whom He May Devour sounds just enough like Brotherhood of the Wolf to make me think it'll be cool, while being way different enough to make me want to read it instead of just watching Brotherhood again:

The Mercantour National Park lies in the provincial southeast of France, home to a pack of wolves that cross over the Alps from Italy on a yearly basis. This year, the wolves seem to get out of hand. Sheep are savaged in the area, killed without being eaten. An investigation reveals that an extremely large wolf has killed the sheep: an abnormal beast – indeed, a monster.

Lawrence Johnstone studies the wolves and takes their side. He is anguished when the populace decides to hunt the wolves down. But the town moves beyond that stage quickly. Soon, there is talk that the attacks are not the work of a wolf, but of a man and wolf hybrid, a werewolf. A local person is implicated, and that person goes missing. And then it’s not just sheep that are being savaged, but humans that fall prey to the slavering teeth.

Enter Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg, the hero of Vargas' previous book, Have Mercy on Us All, who gets involved in the case after hearing about it on TV. Bookgasm calls the novel a "magical noir" and leaves open whether or not the killings are really the work of werewolves or something more mundane. Either way, I'm fascinated.

Just like I'm fascinated with the idea behind Have Mercy on Us All, about a self-appointed town crier in modern Paris whose announcements begin to take the form of medieval texts that predicted the coming of the Black Death. When backward 4s -- once used in Europe as protection against the Plague -- begin appearing on apartment doors, Adamsberg -- who sounds something like a French version of Colombo -- investigates.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We are reading Fred Vargas as part of our French class content and enjoying her books very much, having read two so far: Have Mercy on Us All with Joss the towncrier and a host of wonderful personalities topped by Adamsberg and his inspector, Danglard. The Man of the Blue Circles to translate the French title (I don't recall its English version) is the second, again with the two detectives. Glad you have found her.


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