Thursday, 10 October 2013

An Uncertain Place by Fred Vargas

French author, Fred Vargas, writes wonderfully quirky police procedurals featuring her scruffy detective, Commissaire Adamsberg. In this novel, Adamsberg attends a London conference with his fastidious sidekick, Danglard, and they’re on the spot when a grisly discovery is made outside Hyde Park Cemetery – a collection of shoes containing severed feet.

Back in Paris, another terrible crime occurs – an elderly man is murdered and his body reduced to pulp. While his odd-job man has a history of GBH, the victim’s son also has good reason to loathe his father. However Adamsberg’s intuition kicks in and soon he is looking elsewhere for links to similar murders in Europe. Danglard’s recollection of a distant uncle soon makes a connection to the mysterious shoes.

The case will take Adamsberg to a village in Eastern Europe in search of the history behind a family named Plog, and here he almost loses his life. But nothing can stop this ebullient detective, who manages to draw out the most surprising links and motives for the string of crimes.

While An Uncertain Place takes us to one of the darker places possible in literature – Vargas offers a new take on the vampire story – it is peppered with brilliant dialogue and a cast of hilarious characters, including one or two cats and dogs. If you are looking for a refreshingly different type of mystery novel, Fred Vargas is well worth a look.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue Link: An Uncertain Place

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