Monday, August 19, 2019

This Poison Will Remain by Fred Vargas

There's a sensational story in the media in the South of France.  Three elderly men have died in recent weeks, all from the bite of the recluse spider.  How could that be?  The recluse spider is a loner, hiding in the most remote, darkest corners and its only interest in humans is to hide from them.  Moreover, unlike the American version, the recluse spider's bite is not that dangerous, definitely not life-threatening.  But the facts remain; three men, all dead, all bitten by a recluse in the days before their death.

Inspector Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg doesn't believe the hype.  He suspects that something more is going on.  After research, he discovers two things.  The men all knew each other; in fact, they grew up together in an orphanage.  Secondly, in order for a death by recluse venom, it would take scores of recluses all biting at one time in concert.  He knows that is not something that would have happened, so there must be something else going on.

Adamsberg has help tracking down the truth.  There are police in his department that would do anything, believe anything that Adamsberg says and they are as determined as he to find the truth.  There's an elderly lady  he meets who knows the victims and knows about recluses and even gives him a specimen.  There's a scientist in the local museum and a forensic psychologist who has ideas to move the investigation along.  But Adamsberg has obstacles also.  There is dissent in his own department with his right hand man opposed to his ideas.  There is an incident in his own background that keeps him from thinking clearly.  As the days go by, more victims are discovered.  Can Adamsberg discover the truth?

Fred Vargas is a French woman, born in Paris who is an archaeologist and historian.  Her background is seen clearly in her mysteries which are complex and draw on the past and science.  This is the seventh novel in the Adamsberg series.  Readers will be interested to see the differences in police procedure in France as opposed to the more familiar English and American police departments.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

As the days go by, more victims are discovered.  Can Adamsberg find the truth?

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