The Ghost Riders of Ordebec by Fred Vargas

The Times says of author Fred Vargas: ‘One of today’s few truly original writers of crime fiction; disturbing, unruly, droll and poetic.’ I agree with that – in a genre full of formulaic gore, Vargas is refreshing. Her mixture of urban smarts and rural folksy mysticism underlines her hero’s otherworldliness.

The charming, if somewhat flawed, Commissaire Adamsberg is back and this time he has a newly discovered adult son (he may have forgotten to read a very important letter many years ago) working alongside him. The powers that be want to pin a murder on a North African youth and the father-son duo is determined not to let discrimination rule the day.

If Adamsberg can keep his focus away from the buxom blonde who belongs to the most suspicious family in the village; if his crew of unusual but faithful co-workers can fill in the gaps in time; and if they can all be happy with the local restaurant, then justice may just be served and readers will be treated to a particularly enjoyable tale.

Margaret Snowdon is the Art & Design Buyer at Readings Carlton.