The Ghost Riders of Ordebec: A Commissaire Adamsberg Mystery

Penguin. Jul. 2013. 368p. tr. from French by Sian Reynolds. ISBN 9780143123125. pap. $15. M
Commissaire Adamsberg is a quirky Parisian chief of police with a team of dedicated colleagues, each with unique skills and idiosyncrasies. In this seventh series entry (after An Uncertain Place), Adamsberg leaves a pending case to go to the Norman town of Ordebec where recent events recall the Norman legend of Hellequin's Horde of Ghost Riders. Searching for answers and fighting for justice on two fronts, the commissaire employs unorthodox methods to ensure that truth, not politics, prevails. Making new acquaintances in town, including the Comte d'Ordebec, Adamsberg relies upon these new allies as well as his own team to settle matters far more complex than initially presented.
VERDICT Although this novel can stand alone, readers might appreciate gaining insight and growing attached to the characters if they become part of the team from the start. Personality traits are best appreciated by intimates, and picking up the seventh book in the series felt a little like an outsider transferring into the department. Vargas is a three-time CWA International Dagger Award winner and her tale of this quirky-but-qualified band of misfits makes for a page-turning summer read.
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