- published by Harvill Secker 2014
- ISBN 978-1-846-55820-7
- translated from French by Sian Reynolds
- source: my local library
- The Three Evangelists #2
HOW DO YOU SOLVE A MURDER WITHOUT A BODY?
Keeping watch under the windows of the Paris flat belonging to a politician's nephew, ex-special investigator Louis Kehlweiler catches sight of something odd on the pavement. A tiny piece of bone. Human bone, in fact.
When Kehlweiler takes his find to the nearest police station, he faces ridicule. Obsessed by the fragment, he follows the trail to the tiny Breton fishing village of Port-Nicolas – in search of a dog. But when he recruits ‘evangelists' Marc and Mathias to help, they find themselves facing even bigger game.
I really did find this Fred Vargas novel a most peculiar read. That was probably I have never read the first in The Three Evangelists series and kept expecting her usual sleuth, Inspector Adamsberg, to make an appearance.
The little piece of human bone that Louis Kehlweiler finds convinces him that a murder has taken place. But his contacts tell him that no murder of an elderly woman has been reported. After a week he decides the murder has not taken place in Paris but in the country. By watching the dogs that visit a particular tree in Paris, he identifies one that has come from the country and that leads him to a fishing village in Breton.
A review in The Independent called it a "bizarre tale" with "surreal touches" and it certainly is, but at the same time as stretching the bounds of credibility, there is something compelling about reading it.
Keihlweiler ends up not only identifying a multiple murderer, and tracking down a former lover, but also solving a puzzle related to his own family history. Throw in too an Incredible Machine that performs the role of a modern oracle, with the whole story delivered with patches of quirky humour.
My rating: 4.4
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4.8, AN UNCERTAIN PLACE
5.0, THE GHOST RIDERS OF ORDEBEC