I love Fred Vargas’s books. She writes such quirky crime fiction, with eccentric characters and intricate plots that I find so difficult to solve.
The Three Evangelists, set mainly in Paris, is an excellent example and the three title characters are thirty-something historians, Mathias, Marc and Lucien, all specialists in three different periods of history and all down on their luck. Together with Marc’s uncle and godfather, Armand Vandoosler, an ex-policeman, they have just moved into a ‘tumbledown disgrace’ of a house next door to retired opera singer Sophia Siméonidis and her husband Pierre. When a tree unexpectedly appears in Sophia’s garden she asks for their help in digging around the tree to see if something has been buried there. They find nothing but soil.
Then Sophia disappears and her body is found burned to ashes in a car. The evangelists and Armand use their expertise to find out what happened. Did her husband kill her, or her best friend; had she run off with an ex-lover and how does her niece figure in the mystery?
Sophia’s past life comes under scrutiny by the three historians, helped by Vandoosler and his friend, a current policeman. The trail leads back into Sophia’s past as an opera singer, a past full of intrigue, jealousy and desire. I loved all the characters in particular the three historians, each one unique, entertaining and completely eccentric. The clever plot had me completely bamboozled and the ending was so unexpected as the twists and turns had led me up the wrong garden path, so to speak.
Now, I’m keen to read the other two books in the series – Dog Will Have His Day and The Accordionist.
- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (4 Jan. 2007) (First published in 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099469553
- ISBN-13: 978-0099469551
- Source: Library book
- My rating 4.5*