The Ghost Riders of Ordebec (Commissaire Adamsberg Series #7)

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A # 1 French and Italian bestseller from the three-time winner of the CWA’s International Dagger Award

More than ten million copies of Fred Vargas’s Commissaire Adamsberg mysteries have been sold worldwide. Now, American readers are getting hooked on the internationally bestselling author’s unsettling blend of crime and the supernatural.

            As the chief of police in Paris’s seventh arrondissement, Commissaire ...

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The Ghost Riders of Ordebec (Commissaire Adamsberg Series #7)

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A # 1 French and Italian bestseller from the three-time winner of the CWA’s International Dagger Award

More than ten million copies of Fred Vargas’s Commissaire Adamsberg mysteries have been sold worldwide. Now, American readers are getting hooked on the internationally bestselling author’s unsettling blend of crime and the supernatural.

            As the chief of police in Paris’s seventh arrondissement, Commissaire Adamsberg has no jurisdiction in Ordebec. Yet, he cannot ignore a widow’s plea. Her daughter Lina has seen a vision of the Ghost Riders with four nefarious men. According to the thousand-year-old legend, the vision means that the men will soon die a grisly death. When one of them disappears, Adamsberg races to Ordebec, where he becomes entranced by the gorgeous Lina—and embroiled in the small Normandy town’s ancient feud.

Co-winner of the 2013 CWA International Dagger Award

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Richard Lipez
Halfway into the eighth Commissaire Adamsberg policier, Adrien Danglard, the deputy to the head of the Paris Serious Crimes Squad, tells his boss what he thinks of an unusually eccentric household of homicide suspects in a Norman village: "Could be a whole family of killers, self-contained, sheltered from the outside world. All of them with a screw loose, they've been badly abused, they're wild, incredibly talented and very engaging." Except for the sheltered and abused parts, Officer Danglard could have been describing his creator, Fred Vargas. Of course, Vargas…has a screw loose only in the sense that her mysteries are darkly whimsical—magical realism with its feet on the ground in a highly entertaining French way.
Publishers Weekly
As shown in Vargas’s exquisite seventh Commissaire Adamsberg mystery (after 2011’s An Uncertain Place), only Christopher Fowler’s Peculiar Crimes Unit can compare with the Paris policeman’s eccentric colleagues in the Serious Crime Squad, who include a narcoleptic, a walking encyclopedia, and a naturalist. Valentine Vendermot, a widow who lives in the Normandy town of Ordebec, seeks out Adamsberg to report the disappearance of neighbor Michel Herbier, an unpleasant retiree who likes to hunt pregnant animals. Vendermot is concerned because one night her grown-up daughter, Lina, saw the legendary Ghost Riders of the title carrying Herbier and three others, two of whom Lina recognized. This vision, according to Vendermot, foretells disaster. Although the case is out of his jurisdiction, Adamsberg follows his instincts to Normandy, where he ends up investigating multiple murders. Vargas’s combination of humor and fair-play plotting, reminiscent of John Dickson Carr, has never been better. (July)
From the Publisher
Advance Praise for The Ghost Riders of Ordebec

“Exquisite… only Christopher Fowler's Peculiar Crimes Unit can compare with the Paris policeman's eccentric colleagues in the Serious Crime Squad, who include a narcoleptic, a walking encyclopedia, and a naturalist…Vargas's combination of humor and fair-play plotting, reminiscent of John Dickson Carr, has never been better.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[Vargas’s] mysteries are darkly whimsical—magical realism with its feet on the ground in a highly entertaining French way.”—Washington Post


Praise for Fred Vargas and her Commissaire Adamsberg Mysteries 

“A wildly imaginative series.”—The New York Times
“Spry, ironic, yet fully engaged with the horror of contemporary reality”—Los Angeles Times
 “It's a full, rich and strange plate.” — Seattle Times
“[A] high degree of intelligence, sophistication and perversity informs [Vargas’] fiction…I continue to be delighted by the workings of [her] imagination. It’s a tangled web she weaves, and a hard one to escape.”—Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post
“Bizarre crimes drive Vargas…who’s won the CWA International Dagger three times, [and] keeps her zany plot under tight control all the way to the surprising finish.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Few crime stories are as apt to leave a reader wondering so ardently: Who dunnit?...Vargas’ characters are like something out of a fairy tale – eternal opposites, ever-renewing archetypes despite their fresh adventures each time. That’s why each novel’s opening feels new.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Vargas writes with the startling imagery and absurdist wit of a latter-day Anouilh, about fey characters who live in a wonderful bohemian world that never was but should have been.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Anyone who enjoys kooky characters and intricate detail will happily follow Vargas along.” – Entertainment Weekly
 “Readers should settle in to be unsettled. Delight is found not so much in the details of plot as in the oddities of character. The crime, the suspects, and the commissaire are all pleasantly off-kilter and equally baffling. A definite pick for Francophile mystery buffs who also enjoy Georges Simenon's Maigret series and Pierre Magnan (Death in the Truffle Wood).”—Library Journal
“As droll and fascinating as la ville lumière itself.”—Kirkus Reviews  
“Adamsberg, always an intuitive sleuth rather than a rational one, is the perfect hero for a series where reality is always a moving target.”—Booklist

"Worlds that closely resemble the real one, except that beliefs, tales, apparitions, even professions, from the Middle Ages fit in seamlessly."—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Vargas is, by some distance, the hottest property in contemporary crime fiction.” – The Guardian (London)
“Vargas’ characters inhabit a world where reason and myth collide, and the result is a thrilling read.”—Sunday Times (London)

 “Vargas [is] beyond doubt a cool, clever, original and deeply humane crime writer.” – The Times Literary Supplement (London)
“It is enthralling and great fun from start to finish…all done with great nerve, wit and invention.” – The Scotsman (Scotland)
“Only one’s dreams after a champagne-fuelled night at the Follies Bergere have quite the same nightmarish-but-entertaining quality as Vargas’s delightful crime novels.” – The Sunday Telegraph (London)
“[Vargas is] one of the most exciting, addictive and inventive purveyor of classy crime fiction currently pounding the publishing beat.”— Independent on Sunday
“I’d recommend any and all of Fred Vargas’ detective stories…Vargas has a particular respect for misfits and failures. I admire her humour and her sense of pace.” –The Observer (London)

Library Journal
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.—Laura Cifelli, Fort Myers-Lee Cty. P.L., FL
Kirkus Reviews
Commissaire Adamsberg ventures out of his Parisian jurisdiction to investigate a crime as offbeat as he is. During a heat wave, veteran police inspector Adamsberg (An Uncertain Place, 2011, etc.) uses his considerable deductive powers to nail an eerily calm widower for the murder of his wife, her body still cooling in the home they shared. Back at the station house, he's barely had a chance to rest on his laurels when a tiny but compelling woman arrives from Normandy to implore him for help. The widow Madame Vendermont, from the village of Ordebec, begins somewhat evasively reporting the disappearance of her neighbor Michel Herbier, who's vanished along with one of his favorite shotguns. He was "seized," the woman volunteers, by the infamous mounted quartet of Vargas' title. She knows this because of the legends and because her daughter Lina has seen it. Adamsberg is intrigued as much by the singular storyteller as her story, and after learning more of the lore surrounding this "Furious Army" from his tippling assistant, Danglard, he decides to investigate, with Danglard as wingman. The police pair from the city and the Ordebec oddballs, who give new meaning to the phrase "local color," seem equally bemused by one another. A series of bloody murders follows, linked to local fear of the riders. Adamsberg's brilliance and outsider's perspective prove invaluable in untangling the intricate puzzle, whose components include village history, sugar cubes and a running boar. Lively dialogue, well-defined characters and a sophisticated sense of humor add up to delightfully intelligent entertainment.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143123125
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/25/2013
  • Series: Commissaire Adamsberg Series, #7
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 617,582
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Fred Vargas is an archaeologist, a historian, and an internationally bestselling author. She lives in Paris.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 12, 2013

    Recommended for those who enjoy an unusual story

    Such good writing and meandering stories. The Ghost Riders tale takes us into rural areas of France where old legends still take hold once in a while. Vargas again makes us believe in using our minds to figure out the who and the why of a crime.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2013

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