Saturday 9 August 2014

Dog Will Have His Day

Finished August 7
Dog Will Have His Day by Fred Vargas, translated by Siân Reynolds

This is the second novel in the series that started with The Three Evangelists (read before I started blogging), and has just been released in English. Here the main character is Louis Kehlweiler (known to some as Ludwig). He has worked for various government ministries, most recently the Ministry of the Interior, but is not working at present. Louis has people all over France that look for information that might interest him, and send it along. He strongly believes in justice, rooting out corruption and incompetence, and finding answers. He also observes behaviour himself and has set places he goes to watch, benches and trees that he numbers.
At bench 102, he notices something out of place, a small human bone revealed from its previous encasement in dog excrement. He wants to track down the source, be it accident or murder, but knows that the commissaire of the local police won't value this evidence. He visits the station anyway, using this to further another of his plans.
Recently hired to sort through all the incoming information and file it appropriately is Marc, one of the three evangelists from the previous novel. Louis talks Marc into helping his investigation, and Marc ropes in Mathias to assist as well.
The trail leads the three from Paris to the remote Breton village of Port-Nicholas, where the dog in question lives. There, the three discover a comfortable cafe, an odd collector, a mayor spying on his rival, and a man that Louis has been looking for for far longer than this case.
I love the writing, the wordplay the author uses, and the quirky humour of this mystery series. Both for Louis and Marc, we see the inner thoughts as they jump around, repeat themselves and jump again. I also love the descriptions, which are ften surprising but vivid. Here are a couple of examples:

This one of the mayor of Port-Nicholas from Louis' view
His shapeless features and relaxed body language covered up any trace of his active thoughts. It was as if the thoughts were drowning until they rose to the surface and reached the light. Everything about him was submerged, floating, between two tides. A very fish character. Which made Louis realize that those round, wide-open eyes, which had seemed somehow familiar, were ones he had seen before -- on the fishmonger's slab.
and this one of the local spa owner from Marc's view
...who looked rather like a turtle made of boiled sugar that had stuck to the bottom of the saucepan in places, seemed far more virile than the engineer. He was smiling peacefully, as he listened to Sevran, his big hands resting on his thighs, and he shook them now and again as if to get rid of something -- melted sugar, Marc thought -- while casually noting, with his bright brown eyes, every movement -- in the cafe and of all who had taken refuge there.
Wonderful stuff. Hopefully the third in this series, already released in French, gets translated more quickly than this was.

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