Monday 10 October 2016

A Climate of Fear

Finished October 10
A Climate of Fear by Fred Vargas, translated by Siân Reynolds

Commissaire Adamsberg is back, and this time the case reaches into the past and outside France. Another police inspector, Commissaire Bourlin, calls Adamsberg to see if one of his officers, Danglard can have a look at a symbol that was left at the scene of an apparent suicide. There are some things about the scene that don't seem right, and a small symbol drawn at the scene may be a clue to what really happened to Alice Gauthier.
She had a visitor shortly before her death and her insistence on venturing out alone to send a letter may be another clue. Adamsberg is intrigued and agrees that things don't look right. When they identify her visitor and go to see him, things get even more worrisome. Alice and her visitor's mother were both part of a group of French people who went to a remote island in Iceland and underwent some sort of harrowing experience when fog trapped them there for two weeks.
Adamsberg begins investigating this trip and the terrible things that happened there, when another death links the victims to a different group of circumstances, one moored in the revolutionary past. As usual, Adamsberg lets his mind direct his case, following his thoughts and the "itch" that keeps him from settling into the case. But not all his team are with him and as the team diverges, he and Danglard grow apart.
We get to see him interact with the different team members in new ways. Veyrenc, Retancourt, Voisenet, Mordent, Justin, and the others all play important roles as does Adamsberg's neighbour Lucio.
I like Adamsberg's thought processes, how he takes his time and lets his thoughts wander, how he uses quiet to bring ideas out of hiding. He is a complex man, imperfect, yet with excellent instincts. A man who observes carefully, and knows his own weaknesses as well as his strengths.

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