Sunday, February 10, 2008


France [26-21 victors over Ireland this weekend] now has a rugby team to match its President.

Brilliantly eccentric, very fast and with a slightly off beat selection policy that favours the beautiful over safe reliability.

If there was ever a crime writer, who also could be considered beautifully eccentric it is the two time Duncan Lawrie International Dagger award winner, Fred Vargas.
From Eurocrime:
Fred Vargas' latest in the Commissaire Adamsberg series, 'This Night's Foul Work', was published this week in the UK. To celebrate, this week the new reviews on Euro Crime are all of the Adamsberg series, including the new one, at:

They include my own review of This Night's Foul Work at:

All the Euro Crime reviewers agree Fred Vargas is an author not to be missed.
There is also an excellent interview with the translator of the Vargas books, Sian Reynolds at:

"True Gloire does not flit like a butterfly; it is only achieved by solid actions." Vauban (1633-1707)


Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The promise of earlier availability of new books by Fred Vargas could push me into moving to Europe.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

10:15 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Peter, which newspaper would you consider working for on this side of the pond?

10:33 AM  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Since my industry will make it to the grave well before I do, I'd consider some other line of work if I moved. Of course, I will also consider some other line of work if I stay.

I will refrain from reading reviews of This Night's Foul Work until after I've read the book, by the way, not for reasons so vulgar as avoiding plot spoilers, but rather just to keep my mind clear.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

2:42 PM  
Blogger Philip Amos said...

I read This Night's Foul Work a couple of weeks ago, getting increasingly depressed as the pages dwindled to a precious few, for there really is no fictional realm like that of Fred Vargas. Indeed, the world of Frederique Audouin-Rouzeau is pretty singular: her treatise on the transmission of the bubonic plague is considered definitive; she has put herself right on the firing line with her efforts to help Cesare Battisti; a body suit she has developed to protect people from avian flu is being tested by the French Ministry of Health; and apparently it takes her three sleepless weeks apiece to write the first drafts of her novels! (She also plays the accordion, but I'll forgive her anything.) She is way out in front in the 'crime fiction writer I would most like to meet stakes'. I've come across a few critical reviews of her works. The Guardian's reviewer suggests that, in pursuit of a distinctive voice, Vargas writes dialogue so gnomic and incomprehensible that lucidity is sacrificed. Well, first, I don't think she is in pursuit of a voice -- we all have multiple voices, and I suspect that the voice of Vargas is one voice of Audouin-Rouzeau. Second, gnomes are not meant to be self-evident -- if that means you have to think, tough. Third, I don't find her dialogue incomprehensible at all, though I may have to interpret parts of it, but this is also the respect in which things are philosophically rather French, so to speak -- not everything we say, not everything that happens in life, is comprehensible, or meant to be. What will be incomprehensible is if the rest of her crime novels do not appear in translation -- I think she has written five apart from the Adamsberg series.

4:21 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks for your comments Philip. I agree I don't find her incomprehensible at all and rather enjoy the interplay between her characters.
I recently read a "literary" crime story [soon to be reviewed on Euro Crime] in which the introspective narrative was made totally incomprehensible and unreadable by the style.
In contrast I find Vargas very readable and the characters absolutely fascinating, especially the main protagonists Adamsberg, Danglard and Retancourt.
I certainly intend to go back and read the books I have missed in the series when I have time.

9:39 AM  

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