a series of murders with at least two tenuous connections, how would
you go about deciding which avenue to pursue? Paris Commissioner of
Police Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg, relies on his instincts, much to the
chagrin of his detective team.
Only another twenty metres, twenty little metres to reach the postbox, it was harder than she had expected. That's ridiculous, she told herself, there aren't little metres and big metres. There are just metres, that's all. How curious that at death's door, even from that privileged position, you should go on having such futile thoughts, when anyone might think you would come up with some important pronouncement, one that would be branded with red-hot iron in the annals of human wisdom. A pronouncement that people would repeat now and then in days to come: 'Do you know what Alice Gauthier's last words were?'—A Climate of Fear by Fred Vargas (Penguin Books, 2017, p. 1 [originally published in French, 2015])
- Setting: modern times; Paris and surrounds and remote Iceland
- Circumstances and why I want to read this novel: Although this is the 8th Commissioner Adamsberg book, it will be my first experience with the series, which is translated from the French. What caught my eye is that protagonist, commissioner of police in Paris, travels to rural Iceland, which provides a link between two murders that took place in France. A complicating element is another thread that ties several murders to a historical reenactment group that focuses on The Reign of Terror. I'm curious about the investigation in Iceland, which leads the police team down a dark path of local folklore and demon beasts.
- Genre: police procedural, murder mystery
- Other elements: Icelandic folklore, French history, quirky characters, good plotting
- Thoughts gathered from reviews: Adamsberg's team includes a diverse cast with a range of unique personalities (though I'm not sure if they are diverse in gender or ethnicity). Most reviewers liked the Icelandic folk belief aspects and mentioned that the plot keeps you invested. In addition, a couple of reviews specifically noted that readers need not read the previous books to enjoy this one. At least one reviewer thought Climate of Fear is not Vargas's strongest installment in the series.
- About the author: Fred Vargas, a Paris native, has won several International Crime Writers' awards and is also a professional historian and archaeologist.