‘People will die,’ says the panic-stricken woman outside police headquarters.
She refuses to speak to anyone besides Commissaire Adamsberg. Her daughter has seen a vision: ghostly horsemen who target the most nefarious characters in Normandy. Since the middle ages there have been stories of murderers, rapists, those with serious crimes on their conscience, meeting a grisly end following a visitation by the riders.
Soon after the young woman’s vision a notoriously vicious and cruel man disappears. Although the case is far outside his jurisdiction, Adamsberg agrees to investigate the strange happenings in a village terrorised by wild rumours and ancient feuds.
As shown in Vargas's exquisite seventh Commissaire Adamsberg mystery (after 2011's An Uncertain Place), only Christopher Fowler's Peculiar Crimes Unit can compare with the Paris policeman's eccentric colleagues in the Serious Crime Squad, who include a narcoleptic, a walking encyclopedia, and a naturalist. Valentine Vendermot, a widow who lives in the Normandy town of Ordebec, seeks out Adamsberg to report the disappearance of neighbor Michel Herbier, an unpleasant retiree who likes to hunt pregnant animals. Vendermot is concerned because one night her grown-up daughter, Lina, saw the legendary Ghost Riders of the title carrying Herbier and three others, two of whom Lina recognized. This vision, according to Vendermot, foretells disaster. Although the case is out of his jurisdiction, Adamsberg follows his instincts to Normandy, where he ends up investigating multiple murders. Vargas's combination of humor and fair-play plotting, reminiscent of John Dickson Carr, has never been better.