Fred Vargas

A Climate of Fear

""I loved this book... a mile away from a humdrum police procedural." "


A woman delivers an important letter to the mailbox and shortly after she is found with her wrists slit in her bath. An apparent suicide, were it not for a mysterious sign found near the body.

This mysterious sign encourages the local police to contact Commandant Adrien Danglard as the fountain of all arcane knowledge, and from him to Commissaire Adamsberg.

The letter takes him to a stud farm and from there to a group of people who had all been on an ill- fated holiday to Iceland ten years previously.

The farm also leads to a strange and secretive society for the Study of the Writings of Maximilian Robespierre. This is a collection of eccentric individuals with various reasons for an obsession with the revolutionary leader.

More murders, all with the accompanying strange symbol, are identified.

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I loved this book. Fred Vargas has a truly original mind and produces a compelling story from such obscure facts. The holiday in Iceland which is the source of the trouble is described in a disturbing and frightening way, whilst not giving away the true facts of the tale. The characters in the learned society are infinitely sinister and there is a very French twist to their fascination with the complex character of 'the green eyed incorruptible'. The characters of the police are beautifully described. They are also an eccentric bunch. I'm not sure I would want to work with any of them, but the interaction between them is always interesting and funny. All these strands intertwine and are finally unravelled is the stuff from which a fascinating and intricate plot is constructed. This is an entertaining read that keeps you completely involved and is a mile away from a humdrum police procedural.

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