It is interesting and strange that I want so much to write about a book that only gets four-stars (4 stars being, in my inflated world, tantamount to saying it was only so-so... though this book is better than just so-so.
I don't know quite why I've suddenly fallen into with this genre. I can't imagine it has great interest for my GR friends.... I'm not one for fiction, as everyone knows..., so maybe it's simply because these books are not very taxing -- though I like to think there's something more to it than that. I'm too new at this game to call myself an afficienado -- but I've found now at least four crime authors that have given me a reason to keep reading: Andrea Camilleri, Henning Mankill, Le Carré, and now... I think one more.
What caught my attention with Vargas was the translator, Siân Reynolds - whose astonishing translations of Braudel's Civilization and Capitalism (which I'm still reading on afternoons when classes and midterms take hiatus....) are quite remarkable. Now, from Braudel, she has turned to Fred Vargas -- and so it seems have I.
This book does not completely work for me. But the writing, the characters - Adamsberg, of course -- the compositional strategies she uses, which are so obvious and intelligent... much of the phrasing or pacing... the wry ambient poetry of her vision -- are so beguiling -- that there's every hope that the subsequent volumes will rise to the promise.