On the outskirts of Paris, two men have been found with their throats cut. In Normandy, two stags have been killed and their hearts cut out. Meanwhile a seventy-five-year-old nurse who has murdered several of her patients has escaped from prison. Is there a connection between the three cases?
In this mystery, Commissaire Adamsberg is pitted against nemeses past and present: Ariane Lagarde, France's foremost pathologist and Adamsberg's enemy since they argued over a case twenty-three years earlier, and Louis Veyrenc, a new recruit with a grudge, who has been assigned the job of protecting the Commissaire's ex-girlfriend. As the different strands of Vargas's compelling story begin to intertwine, events move towards a gripping climax...
Shortlisted for the Duncan Lawrie International Dagger.
The outstanding fourth whodunit to be made available in the U.S. from Vargas (Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand) makes it's easy to see why he's twice won the CWA's International Dagger Award. Paris Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg, an endearing oddball sleuth in the tradition of John Dickson Carr's Henry Merrivale, is convinced that the two narcotics dealers recently found with slit throats weren't the victims of business rivals, relying largely on his intuition and the unexplained presence of dirt under the dead men's fingernails. Adamsberg's dogged pursuit of small details leads him to a series of unusual mutilations of wild deer as well as to a serial killer who targets virgins and may be seeking the ingredients to an elixir for eternal life. While the final twist will be less than shocking to some readers, the immensely enjoyable prose, seasoned liberally with humor, should help the author gain the larger American audience he deserves.