Read The Ghost Riders of Ordebec by Fred Vargas Online


'People will die,' says the panic-stricken woman outside police headquarters.She refuses to speak to anyone besides Commissaire Adamsberg. Her daughter has seen a vision: ghostly horsemen who target the most nefarious characters in Normandy. Since the middle ages there have been stories of murderers, rapists, those with serious crimes on their conscience, meeting a grisly'People will die,' says the panic-stricken woman outside police headquarters.She refuses to speak to anyone besides Commissaire Adamsberg. Her daughter has seen a vision: ghostly horsemen who target the most nefarious characters in Normandy. Since the middle ages there have been stories of murderers, rapists, those with serious crimes on their conscience, meeting a grisly end following a visitation by the riders.Soon after the young woman's vision a notoriously vicious and cruel man disappears. Although the case is far outside his jurisdiction, Adamsberg agrees to investigate the strange happenings in a village terrorised by wild rumours and ancient feuds....

Title : The Ghost Riders of Ordebec
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780099569558
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 432 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Ghost Riders of Ordebec Reviews

  • Tony
    2019-03-31 09:37

    THE GHOST RIDERS OF ORDEBEC. (2013). Fred Vargas. **.About two-thirds of the way through this most recent Commissaire Adamsberg mystery, I looked at myself (always keep a mirror handy) and said: “This is incredibly boring.” Although Vargas’s characterizations continue to delight, the plot line was getting more and more far-fetched. Some of the other clues (aside from looking at oneself) are flipping ahead to see how many pages are left in the current chapter and flipping to the end to see the total number of pages left to go. Adamsberg is called in to help with a murder of one of the villages particularly nasty inhabitants. It seems that his death was predicted by a sighting of a quartet of horsemen riding along a little-used trail outside the village of Ordebec. An old woman saw the quartet and identified one of the riders as the man soon to be killed. She couldn’t make out who the other three were, but knew that they too would meet a horrible death. These four horsemen were a legend in the village, and appeared on a periodic basis whenever the village was about to be relieved of some its less desirable inhabitants. Sure enough, the next murder occurred, and Adamsberg and his team now have their work cut out for them. None of them believes in the four horsemen theory, but that belief was ingrained into the members of the village. All of his team members get to work using their individual skills to narrow the list of suspects down to a reasonable number. Ultimately, of course, the real killer is identified and nabbed, but not before we are presented with umpteen potential suspects and an equal number of potential avenues of approach. Vargas’s appeal – to me, anyway – is the way she characterizes each member of the Special Crimes squad. The squad as a whole reminds me, strongly, of Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct novels, where the reader gets to know each member after reading a few of the novels. You reach the point where you can describe each member and outline each of their peculiar tics. The next step – a la McBain – is to modify the format a bit and feature single members as ultimate heroes of the plots. Maybe Vargas is heading that way. Ultimately, however, this novel dragged on to the point where I had to use toothpicks to keep my eyes open as I slogged through each succeeding chapter. Disappointing.

  • Jim Coughenour
    2019-03-30 07:44

    As this latest book from Fred Vargas already has over 100 reviews, I'll only say that it's an excellent addition to the Adamsberg series. All the usual elements are there: the slight, persistent suggestion of supernatural forces, the likeable members of Adamsberg's team, each with his or her distinguishing quirk, a Gallic playfulness with words and themes, a solicitous love for animals (in this story a mistreated pigeon and a hound who loves sugar), and a genuine affection for its curious cast of characters. Vargas's stories are all about atmosphere and the mysteries of human personality, starting with the super-intuitive "cloud shoveller" Commissaire Adamsberg. It was a pleasure (and a puzzle) to read from the first page to the last.By chance I got this book before a recent trip to Montreal, where I picked up the French edition in a bookstore. I took the opportunity to work on my French by reading a chapter at a time in L'Armée Furieuse, before hopping back to the English. Generally one thinks of French requiring more words than English to say the same thing – but Siân Reynold's delightful translation actually amplifies Vargas's swift prose, making it more lucid for the English reader while retaining the whimsy of the original.

  • Nancy Oakes
    2019-04-18 03:50

    Super book, on the shortlist for this year's International Crime Dagger award. as always, my overly-wordy self got the better of me, so if you want a longer version of this discussion, you can find it here -- otherwise, here's the shorter one:As our hero Adamsberg is pondering the strange case of a man who killed his wife with breadcrumbs, a woman from Ordebec, a small town in Normandy, comes to him with an even stranger tale, prefaced with the words "People are going to die." He has to pry the story out of her, but eventually it comes down to the fact that a man in Ordebec had disappeared some three weeks earlier, on the night her daughter Lina saw The Furious Army, known also as the Ghost Riders. She saw this "army of the dead, of the putrified dead, an army of ghostly riders, wild-eyed and screaming, unable to get to heaven," which "carry along some living men or women, who are heard shrieking and lamenting in suffering flames." As it turns out, Lina had seen the missing Herbier with the Ghost Riders, and now he's gone. While unenthusiastic at first, Adamsberg eventually decides to go to Ordebec and see what's up with this ghostly army -- which encompasses the bulk of this very compelling mystery -- but in the meantime, he also has to deal with a local pyromaniac named Momo who is in the hot seat for allegedly setting fire to a car with someone inside. When it's discovered that the dead man is the head of a leading industrial group and evidence points toward Momo, the pressure is on from high for an arrest. Adamsberg knows this is not Momo's work, and likely a frame, but he has to discover the identity of the real guilty party before Momo is sent to prison and enlists the help of his newly-discovered son.A compelling set of mysteries to be solved can be found in this novel, but what really makes this book is the characters, including a family of "geniuses" Adamsberg meets in Ordebec. The author's imagination must have been running on overdrive in dreaming up these people. And Adamsberg's newly-found son is also an interesting character as well.The solution is a wee bit rushed, but it's the getting there that will keep you reading. Highly recommended, although maybe a bit on the lighter side for avid crime readers who enjoy more edgy mystery novels.

  • Stefania T.
    2019-04-22 03:56

    13.04.13 h 15.00Finalmente.Stefania.Indovina.L'assassino.Son soddisfazioni.La prima fase di "lettrice di gialli" l'ho trascorsa come una tonta a cercare di capire come funzionavano le cose nel quartiere. Poi, fattami furba, ho capito che un buon sistema poteva essere quello di sospettare di tutto e tutti. E così indovinare con arguzia l'assassino, il cui nome doveva per forza essere nella lista (secondo il principio di omnicomprensività della parola 'tutti').E poi finalmente, con la paura di finire nel girone dantesco degli Ignavi, coloro che non si schierano mai (se sapeste quante cose ho combinato nella vita seguendo questa paura!), questa volta ho puntato i miei sospetti su una sola pedina. E sbam. Datemi pistola e distintivo, che vi risolvo qualche caso!Ad ogni modo, la solita Fred. Tanto amore.Un po' sottotono, diciamo che ha dato il meglio di sè altrove, ma sempre lei. E poi, 'somma, ho indovinato. Forse la cosa non va proprio a favore del romanzo.A quando il prossimo? Son passati due anni. Ci vogliamo dare una mossa?

  • Camille
    2019-04-02 10:58

    Pourquoi, dans les romans policiers, quand une victime se réveille après un long coma, le premier mot qu'elle prononce n'est jamais le nom de son agresseur, mais quelque chose qui n'a rien à voir, et qui est sensé nous aider obscurément à deviner qui est le coupable ? Si la lecture des romans de gare m'aura appris une chose, c'est bien que si, un jour, je me fais poignarder par un dénommé Jean-Claude, ma première parole en me réveillant du coma sera bien "Jean-Claude", et non pas "caramel" ou "antipuces" - et ce, oui, même si Jean-Claude est un chat qui sent le caramel. Sinon ensuite c'est vraiment la merde pour les enquêteurs et pour les lecteurs du bouquin. On trouve jamais le meurtrier, on est obligés de le désigner au pif. Pas vrai, Fred ?Oui, ça me fait un peu de peine de voir Vargas sortir ces grosses ficelles. En général, j'ai trouvé ce neuvième opus de la série Adamsberg en deçà des autres volumes. Si les personnages habituels de la série sont au rendez-vous, ils sont tout de même plus effacés ; et les protagonistes de cette enquête particulière sont presque des caricatures des autres : ce ne sont plus les caractères farfelus et attachants que l'auteure sait si bien inventer et mettre en scène, ce sont des personnages grotesques et irréels. Franchement je n'aurais jamais même envisagé qu'un de ces protagonistes en papier mâché puisse être le meurtrier. J'avais raison : made to be cute.L'aspect mythique des enquêtes Adamsberg, qui sont une des forces de la série, est moins poussé ici. En fait, j'ai fini le livre sans pouvoir décrire précisément le phénomène de l'armée furieuse. Je ne sais même pas si c'est basé sur la réalité, et franchement elle ne m'a pas donné envie de le découvrir. Le texte est parcouru de longueurs. Je me suis perdue, j'ai tourné les pages trop vite, je me suis ennuyée. Et finalement, le tueur, c'est le même que d'habitude. Neuvième volume, on s'essouffle ?C'est toujours une lecture agréable, ceci dit. Je ronchonne, je ronchonne.

  • Ubik 2.0
    2019-04-09 06:51

    il fantasma della ripetitività. …eppure ci sarebbero tutti i migliori ingredienti dei romanzi della Vargas con protagonista il Commissario Adamsberg: l’ambientazione in un villaggio francese (in Normandia, nella fattispecie), i caratteri della stralunata truppa parigina di Adamsberg, una vicenda che affonda le radici in un’antica leggenda con un sottofondo di soft horror (donde il titolo), lo stile un po’ straniante “à la Pennac”, ecc.Eppure verso la metà – due terzi del romanzo ho cominciato a provare un po’ di disinteresse, che non mi ha impedito, beninteso, di arrivare facilmente alla fine, ma mi ha lasciato un retrogusto di insoddisfazione.Mi è venuto allora da riflettere che questi polizieschi molto ben radicati nel territorio e nei quali la vicenda “gialla” è chiaramente subordinata all’approfondimento dei luoghi e dei caratteri, meglio ancora se un po’ bislacchi come sono ad ogni effetto Danglard, Retancourt, Veyrenc e tutti gli altri gendarmi di cui Adamsberg è degno commissario, alla lunga cominciano a stancare soprattutto se l’autore ne colleziona una serie.Almeno a Nord di Vigata, ci sono pochi commissariati che possano vantare una simile densità di teste matte e allora, come corollario al ragionamento di cui sopra, non c’è poi tanto da meravigliarsi quando l’autore decide di abbandonare gli investigatori che gli hanno dato la fama e intraprendere un nuovo persorso. Scelta difficile e certamente poco remunerativa, perché lo zoccolo duro dei lettori-fans continua a volere ancora un tipico “Montalbano” (o Scarpetta o Adamsberg o quel che volete…), ma che evita all’autore dotato di un certo amor proprio (e che magari abbia già conseguito, perché no…, una certa sicurezza economica!) il fantasma della ripetitività.

  • Tanja Berg
    2019-04-24 08:45

    Although this book took an extra-ordinary amount of time to get through and had some boring strecthes, the ending was utterly satisfying. Detective inspector - or whatever the French equivalent is - Adamsberg has three cases going in addition to the one at the start of the book. There is the case of the tortured dove, the industrial magnate that has been burned to death and an infamous arsonist framed for the murder and the main story, which is the ghostriders of Ordebec. The witness of the ghostriders sees victims riding with them and these victims then die untimely deaths. Four people with a poor track record are expected to die in Ordebec and Adamsberg must stop the avenging horde, or rather, a modern-day murderer. Quite fascinating. There is certainly a lot going on, I could quite frankly have done with fewer plots. I did like the dove a lot though. It was probably the most endearing of the characters presented.My main problems with this book was translation. I read it in Swedish since I can't read French. The translation was stilted and felt wrong most of the time. I know this book is supposed to funny, but it simply didn't come across because of the language. Some paragraphs I didn't understand at all and since reading comprehension is one of my strong suits, it's probably not me. This book is probably fantastic in French and considerably better in English than what I experienced in Swedish. This is a common fault though, and the reason I avoid translations if I can help it, particularly translations to Swedish. The quality can be dismal since the volumes are so small.

  • Katie
    2019-04-18 06:49

    I have never read any other Commissaire Adamsberg mysteries, though Goodreads tells me that this is the ninth (!) book in the series. I also have very, very little familiarity with the mystery genre. But I had loads of fun reading this book and I got rather attached to its weird cast of characters. At first glance they seem almost too eccentric: Adamsberg's crack team is made up of a narcoleptic, an intellectual who spontaneously comments on the situation in rhyming verse, an intellectual who's mostly drunk and can quote 11th century manuscripts from memory, and a woman who is so imposing in her impressiveness that all the characters feel the need to mention it any time she comes up in conversation. This should probably be ridiculous. But for some reason it works, largely because Vargas takes her characters (and their quirks) very seriously: they're not used for comic relief, and she's clearly thought about the negative side-effects of their eccentricities as well. This makes them feel like real people, regardless of how weird the lot of them are. It's not high literature, and there are a couple of occasions where the pacing dragged or felt a bit rushed. But on the whole it's very well done, a lot of fun, and is a good place to turn if you're looking for a solid, character-driven mystery. I'd like to read another from the series at some point.

  • Jose
    2019-04-21 06:48

    Vargas continúa revisando las viejas leyendas populares europeas. Si antes fueron el hombre lobo y los vampiros, ahora le toca el turno al Ejército Furioso, la versión normanda de la gallega Santa Compaña. Adamsberg ni niega ni reafirma la creencia popular sino todo lo contrario pero, eso sí, termina por descubrir al responsable de los crímenes que investiga (se entrecruzan tres y hasta cuatro tramas en la novela): todos seres de carne y hueso. Muy recomendable, pero ya sabeis que yo soy fan de Adamsberg y de Vargas.

  • C Valeri
    2019-04-11 04:57

    "OK," said Danglard. "I fell in the shit. And I'm in it up to my neck." "It happened to me before you, remember that?" "Yes." "So you're not the only one. The difficult bit isn't falling in, it's cleaning oneself up afterwards." -Adamsberg(Metaphorical shit, by the way). Fred Vargas nails another amazingly quirky and absorbing Adamsberg novel with a great translation by Sian Reynolds. I love the quirky characters who all have their own little "thing" or characteristic that they repeat, both the recurring characters and the new ones. The two storylines were balanced perfectly and connected just enough. I had not a clue who the Ordebec murderer would turn out to be and was left guessing the entire time. You really get absorbed into the world of the book. S/Os to St. Therese of Lisieux too, represent!!

  • Vichy
    2019-04-20 05:39

    Ο επιθεωρητής Ανταμσμπέρ δεν είναι ο συνηθισμένος αστυνομικός. Είναι ήρεμος, αργός, λυπησιάρης και αρκεί να δει το βλέμμα του ανακρινόμενου για να καταλάβει την αλήθεια. Φοράει μαύρα ρούχα και βηματίζει συνεχώς σκεφτόμενος κάποια λεπτομέρεια που του έχει καρφωθεί στο νου, ώσπου να ανάψει το λαμπάκι της λύσης μέσα του. Το καλύτερο, όμως, είναι η ομάδα του. Όλοι διαλεχτοί: Ο Διοικητής Νταγκλάρ, ο Βεϊρένκ, η Βιολέτα Ρετανκούρ, ο Μερκαντέ και ο Εσταλέρ είναι ο καθένας μια καρικατούρα που συνθέτουν το κολάζ αυτής της παρανοϊκής αστυνομικής δύναμης. (Ας προσθέσουμε και τον νεοευρεθέντα 28χρονο γιο του επιθεωρητή, Ζερκ, που ζει με τον μπαμπά του, προφανώς αποτέλεσμα κάποιου προηγούμενου βιβλίου.)Η ιστορία συνδυάζει το σασπένς σε διασκεδαστικούς τόνους με λίγο άρωμα μεταφυσικού. Οι συνάδελφοι του επιθεωρητή τον εμπιστεύονται αβλεπί ακόμα κι όταν δρα παρανόμως για να φτάσει στο στόχο του. Εμπλέκονται σε 5 υποθέσεις ταυτόχρονα με διαφορετική βαρύτητα η κάθε μία αλλά αυτή που θα τραβήξει την ομάδα είναι το όραμα της Λίνα Βαντερμό στην επαρχία του Ορντεμπέκ. Η Λίνα είδε τη Μυστική Στρατιά του Άρχοντα Ελεκέν να περνάει από το δάσος που όλοι αποφεύγουν, τραβώντας μαζί με 4 συντοπίτες της. Πρόκειται για ένα χιλιόχρονο μύθο που σημαίνει το θάνατό των 4 επειδή έχουν διαπράξει θανάσιμα αδικήματα. Ονομάζει τους 3 (Ερμπιέ, Γκλαγιέ, Μορτεμπό) αλλά δεν ξεχωρίζει τον τέταρτο. Όταν ο Ερμπιέ βρεθεί νεκρός, έχουμε υπόθεση δολοφονίας με τα στοχευμένα θύματα του Άρχοντα Ελεκέν; Και ποιος είναι ο τέταρτος; (ο μύθος λέει αν ένας από αυτούς σκοτώσει τους υπολοίπους βοηθώντας το έργο του Ελεκέν, τότε ο Ελεκέν θα τον αφήσει ζωντανό) Ή μήπως η Λίνα και τα 3 της αδέλφια (Ιππολίτ, Μαρτέν, Αντονέν) - οι οποίοι έχουν τη φήμη των τρελών αλλά ο Ανταμσμπέρ ανακαλύπτει ότι είναι φεύγα μεν ιδιοφυείς δε - έχουν στήσει μια πλεκτάνη;(view spoiler)[Ο Ίππο και η Λίνα είναι νόθα παιδιά του κόμη ντε Βαλερέ. Όταν αυτό γίνει γνωστό, το έργο της λύσης δυσχεραίνεται. Πάνω που ήταν ύποπτος ο Ντενί, θετός γιος του κόμη, δολοφονείται και αυτός. Και ενώ φαίνεται ύποπτος ο Ιππό, τελικά ένοχος όλων, είναι ο ενωμοτάρχης Εμερί.(hide spoiler)]Ιδιαίτερες μορφές τα 3 αδέλφια της Λίνα, ο 23χρονος Μομό ο καψαλισμένος βομβιστής που κατηγορείται για τη δολοφονία του μεγιστάνα Κλερμόν-Μπρασέρ, ο σκύλος της γριάς Λεονί, Φλεμ, το περιστέρι Ελμπό που αναρρώνει και ο οστεοπαθολόγος "Ελμπό", δολοφόνος κάτοικος των φυλακών Φλερί, με την ιδιαίτερη ικανότητα να επανεκκινεί τις ανθρώπινες μηχανές, χάρισμα για το οποίο ο γιατρός Μερλάν τον θεοποιεί, ο Τουιλό Ζιλιέν που δολοφόνησε τη γριά του...Η συγγραφέας ανεβάζει όλους της τους χαρακτήρες και μας τους κάνει αξέχαστους με τα μοναδικά τους χαρίσματα, κάνοντας ακόμα και τους δολοφόνους συμπαθείς (αν είναι δυνατόν αυτό κι όμως το κάνει).

  • Mohikanos
    2019-04-21 08:58

    Είχα διαβάσει καλές κριτικές για την Βάργκας, οι περιλήψεις των βιβλίων της είναι άκρως ενδιαφέρουσες, και τελικά επαληθεύτηκε η θετική αύρα γύρω από το όνομά της.Η αστυνομική ιστορία είναι ωραία, συνδυάζει μεσαιωνικούς θρύλους και δεισιδαιμονίες με την κουλτούρα της γαλλικής επαρχίας και συνθέτει ένα πολύχρωμο σκηνικό στο οποίο θες να βουτήξεις και να αφήσεις όλες τις σκοτούρες απέξω. Η Βάργκας δεν εστιάζει τόσο στην εξέλιξη του μυστηρίου, αλλά ασχολείται πολύ με το πλάσιμο των χαρακτήρων, της καθημερινότητάς τους, της μεθοδολογίας και της εικόνας τους. Και τα αποτελέσματα είναι εντυπωσιακά!Ο επιθεωρητής Ανταμσμπέρ είναι ένας καθημερινός άνθρωπος με περίεργο τρόπο σκέψης και με αρκετά τρωτά σημεία. Η ομάδα του αποτελείται από άτομα ξεχωριστά, μοναδικά, όλοι τους προβληματικοί και όλοι τους ενδιαφέροντες, παρότι δεν έχω γνωρίσει την εξέλιξή τους στα προηγούμενα βιβλία της σειράς. Και όσοι άλλοι μετέχουν στην ιστορία, ‘καλοί’, ‘κακοί’ και κομπάρσοι έχουν κάτι να δώσουν και δεν είναι απλά ονόματα στο χαρτί. Αυτό που μου άρεσε ιδιαίτερα είναι οι πανέξυπνοι διάλογοι που φτιάχνει η Βάργκας, που είναι γρήγοροι, περιεκτικοί, αρκούντως καυστικοί, πάντα όμως α-π-ο-λ-α-υ-σ-τ-ι-κ-ο-ί! Τέλος, θα σημειώσω ότι η γραφή της Βάργκας είναι λίγο ιδιαίτερη, οπότε μπορεί να αργήσετε λίγο να μπείτε στην ψυχοσύνθεση του βιβλίου, αλλά μετά πραγματικά θα το απολάυσετε!Επειδή θεωρώ ότι μειονεκτεί λίγο στο αστυνομικό σκέλος της υπόθεσης, θα του δώσω 7/10. Θα ψάξω σίγουρα και για τα υπόλοιπα της σειράς.

  • AdiTurbo
    2019-04-24 04:53

    Marvelous! So much more than a suspense novel, though there's plenty of suspense in it. But the character! Oh, the wonderful characters! Adamsberg, the protagonist, is intellectually-humble, though he has every reason not to be. He is a humanist, who accepts everyone as they are, and knows how to take advantage even of their disadvantages, for everyone's benefit, not just his own. He has nothing stereotypical about him, and feels like a living human being. The plot was fantastic too. I will be reading anything by Vargas that I can lay my hands on from now on, the more - the better.

  • Beth
    2019-04-08 04:43

    I didn't read this in order. It was ,u first one. But it seemed to me that personality traits were told, not shown. That the plot whodunit at the end is one long summation. Didn't really enjoy.

  • Yves Gounin
    2019-04-08 09:47

    Le dernier livre de Fred Vargas m'a fait bailler d'ennui. La magie des précédents n'opère plus. Adamsberg tourne à vide ; Danglard noie sa tristesse dans l'alcool ; Retancourt a grossi.

  • Dolceluna
    2019-03-28 10:32

    La Schiera furiosa. La Caccia selvaggia. E' quel corteo di dannati ed esseri sovrannaturali che, secondo una credenza originaria dell'Europa del nord, passa per boschi, con tanto di cavalli a seguito, e trascina con sè le "anime nere", ovvero gli assassini, gli sfruttatori, i corruttori e tutti coloro che hanno compiuto misfatte nella loro vita e che meritano di morire...e che infatti, poco dopo il passaggio della schiera, vengono ritrovati uccisi.Questa leggenda è al centro di "La cavalcata dei morti", l'ultima fatica di Fred: è Lina, giovane ragazza di un paasino della Normandia, a vederla passare e trascinare con sè tre loschi personaggi del paese, i quali infatti, vengono poi assassinati, uno dopo l'altro.E sarà Adamsberg, lo spalatore di nuvole (qui più che mai, tanto da prendersi dall'ignorante e dall'incapace da un altro personaggio, un poliziotto normanno) a indagare sulla vicenda, camminando in tutta solitudine per quei boschi della Normandia tanto sinistri quanto silenziosi. Ma, come da migliore tradizione dei romanzi di Fred, dietro la leggenda della Schiera si celerà un assassino in carne e ossa, deciso ad approfittare dell'incredulità della gente del posto per liberarsi di chi gli conviene.In questo romanzo si ritrovano tutti gli ingredienti tipici della ricetta romanzesca di Fred, dal fascino delle leggende alla frizzante ironia dei dialoghi fra i personaggi, primo fra tutti Adamsberg (qui tra l'altro aiutato dal figlio appena conosciuto e che pare la sua fotocopia), l'uomo che sembra riuscire a ragionare senza logica...anch'io, non so come, ho scoperto l'assassino così a naso, senza logica apparente, tanto più che il finale si rivela leggermente un po' ingarbugliato. Il risultato finale, comunque, è buono: migliore di "Un luogo incerto" ma sempre inferiore a "Nei boschi eterni", che a mio avviso rappresenta il picco in qualità fra gli ultimi romanzi scritti da Fred.

  • Alex
    2019-04-20 10:58

    Great book!! Classic Fred Vargas style and brilliantly translated by Sian Reynolds! Good pacing, cool characters, and excellent plotting! If you haven't read Fred Vargas yet, what are you waiting for??

  • Maine Colonial
    2019-04-25 04:41

    A female author named Fred and a French protagonist named Adamsberg. These are your first clues that this series is a little off plumb, but more fly at you quickly in these books, and the seventh in the series, The Ghost Riders of Ordebec, is no different. We begin with Commissaire Adamsberg of the Paris police detecting a murder just by following a trail of breadcrumbs.Back at the station, Adamsberg rescues a pigeon whose feet have been bound together, and hands the nearly dead bird over to his team for rehabilitation. While he's hanging about outside the station, he's accosted by a timid Norman countrywoman who has been told that Adamsberg is the one man in France who may be able to help her.Madame Vendermot tells Adamsberg an outlandish tale of a Furious Army of ghouls who periodically roam the old highways at night, placing a curse on evildoers that will cause their death within weeks. Mme. Vendermot's daughter, Lina, has seen the Furious Army, and in their company some men of their village, Ordebec. One of those men, Herbier, has disappeared and, although these men are mostly despised within Ordebec for various unpunished sins, Mme. Vendermot wants Adamsberg to find him before he's killed––if he's not already dead.Though Adamsberg is busy with a more conventional crime, that of the murder of one of France's preeminent industrialists, found dead in his torched Mercedes, he's intrigued by Mme. Vendermot's tale and can't resist a trip to Ordebec to look around. A country boy himself, from the south, he's charmed by Normandy's Ordebec, including the old woman, Léo, who offers him her hospitality––including Cuban cigars and Calvados––when he misses his train back to Paris.When the Furious Army case becomes very serious, Adamsberg is called on to lead an official investigation. With two demanding active cases, he must allocate the resources of his team carefully. And what an oddball team it is, including his second-in-command, Danglard, a melancholy, walking encyclopedia with a bottomless thirst for white wine; Retancourt, a giantess whose size and weight do nothing to detract from her gift of being able to mesmerize people with hardly a word; Veyrenc, who is quite a sight, with the streaks and spots of red in his dark hair, and who has a penchant for reciting Verlaine at the most inopportune times; Mercadet, a narcoleptic; Froissy, a bulimic who stashes crackers, patés, sweet and other foodstuffs all over the detectives' office. You get the idea. Adamsberg's team also expands to encompass some irregulars, including his son, Zerk, his Spanish neighbor, Lucio, Léo and other Ordebec villagers, and even a prisoner-for-life whom Adamsberg was responsible for capturing in an earlier case.Does all this make the Adamsberg series sound so whimsical as to be silly? It's definitely quirky, but the characters' eccentricities mesh well and even their weaknesses can sometimes be used as strengths. Just as Adamsberg's absent-mindedness and apparent ignorance conceal a great, though unpredictable, intellect.A hostile policeman calls Adamsberg a peasant, cloud shoveler, lost in the mists. He's right, but what gives Adamsberg his ability to solve crimes is that he lives close to the ground and nature. He seems like he's absent-minded, and he is, but only because his mind has wandered off to replay what he's seen, heard and even smelled, and is putting it all together to tease out what it means.Above all, Adamsberg is human and humane. He understands human nature, for good and ill. That's how he detects murder in a trail of breadcrumbs. That's why he saves that pigeon––and vows to find out who tortured the bird.This series is unique and original, filled with imagination and a love of the land and people of France. There's a sort of magical spell that always falls over me when I read one of these novels, and I wish Fred Vargas would hurry up and become popular enough to get her novels translated into English a lot faster.

  • John Brooke
    2019-04-18 09:00

    Sometimes it takes a while to get to the right place in order to appreciate the best things. Fred Vargas is an internationally acclaimed mystery writer. I have read three or four of the books in her Commissaire Adamsberg series, but I admit to having a problem enjoying the Vargas approach. Until now. With The Ghost Riders of Ordebec, the 9th book in the series, I finally understand how to connect with Fred.I am attracted to Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg - his dreamy, logic-lazy sensibility, especially as set against the super intellect and of his right-hand man, white wine addict Commander Adrien Danglard. And I enjoy (most of) the quirky team at the dusty Serious Crimes brigade in Paris. I can see the locale, I can taste the food they are eating. The adopted cat is a joy.So what was my problem? In a word: patience. Adamsberg the character proceeds in an oblique and meandering fashion. So much of his past is always impinging – it seemed superfluous. I liked him, but he tried my patience. Too hard. Stories that began in the most enticing way, ended up driving me crazy. I would finish, but too hurriedly. Key to my problem: Commissaire Jean-Baptise Adamsberg is all about patience and instinct. His is an artist-like personality that allows those two qualities to merge and find solutions at their own speed. Fred Vargas is lovingly complicit, writing to that rhythm, going off on seemingly unrelated tangents, indulging in coincidence, drawing out conclusions without the least sense of urgency. Quite a pair: Adamsberg blithely ignores criticism of his non-methodology. Vargas couldn’t give a hoot if readers want her to go faster and more directly to resolution. Maybe I am getting older and my reader’s “metabolism” is slowing down. I managed to read The Ghost Riders of Ordebec at the right pace and in the right frame of mind (very open) – and I mainly loved it. Although the ending sequence goes on for close to fifty pages - which I still struggled to accept.There are two parallel mysteries (three if you count a cruelly-treated pigeon Adamsberg vows to avenge). One involves a murder and frame-up in Paris, made problematic by well-connected rich people manipulating the frame. The main mystery unfolds in Normandy, in a small village. A young woman, one of four gifted but weird adult siblings, has a vision of a ghostly brigade of hell-bound horsemen. It’s a local legend, and the “visions” occur every once in a while; but each time the riders are “seen”, people die. This time is no different. One man has already died. More will follow. When the “seer’s” desperate mother summons Adamsberg, he leaves the Paris case to a trusted lieutenant and heads off to Ordebec to confront the ghost riders.Ensconced in the village, Adamsberg clashes with the head gendarme, is mystified by the four strange siblings, and is charmed by an elderly local lady who probably knows something about the killing that has already occurred. As Adamsberg investigates in his round-about way, a few more killings take place. And there are a couple of near-misses. But he finally sees the bigger picture; the case is solved (in 50 drawn-out pages). In typical Vargas fashion, a flash of insight while Adamsberg is contemplating the ghostly things in Ordebec provides the key to the murder back in Paris. Voila: Two birds with one stone. And an abused pigeon is gently saved.4 stars. I still prefer tight, dryly ironic mystery writing. But I am happy to have reached the place where I can now enjoy Fred Vargas’ charmingly whimsical and often poetic way of telling a story. I should go back and re-read the first eight installments... Or maybe not. But I will be properly ready when the 10th book appears.

  • Arwen56
    2019-04-18 03:49

    Secondo me, alla Vargas ha dato di volta il cervello. Ha finito per credersi un’autrice di “gialli” quando, in realtà, la sua abilità risiede altrove, ovvero nel ritrarre personaggi accattivanti e particolarissimi, cui la “cornice” di stampo poliziesco fornisce solo il pretesto per potersi rivelare, farsi conoscere e apprezzare. Sin dal primo romanzo, “L’uomo dai cerchi azzurri”, la trama propriamente ascrivibile alle detective story faceva acqua da tutte le parti. Ma il romanzo funzionava bene comunque, proprio in virtù del fatto che le figure principali erano amabilissime, benché assai poco realistiche, e avevano uno spazio preminente rispetto alla traballante storia fornita dal progredire delle indagini in sé. Lo stesso vale per i romanzi successivi. Come fai a non affezionarti a uno “spalatore di nuvole”, a un gatto perennemente “spalmato” su una fotocopiatrice (tipo straccio bagnato per lavare i pavimenti), a una che si chiama Violette ma che è più simile a un granatiere che non a un delicato fiorellino, a un gendarme che si addormenta ogni tre per due e a un’altra che mangia in modo compulsivo? Non puoi. Infatti ti ci affezioni. In un certo senso, la Vargas ha saputo creare un universo simile a quello della famiglia Malaussène, di Daniel Pennac. Ma, a differenza di quest’ultimo, non ha capito che è giunto il momento di fermarsi e di rivolgere il proprio talento verso altri ambiti, se ne è capace. Altrimenti, si accontenti di aver scritto alcuni buoni libri, che sono stati indubbiamente un piacere per coloro che li hanno letti. E che non si umili e non umili noi lettori con altre cretinate come questi ultimi due romanzi che ci ha proposto. Continua a perplimere, infatti, che a dispetto della sua affermazione ampiamente pubblicizzata ["Non sopporto i gialli ultraviolenti che raccontano crimini complicatissimi (che nella realtà non esistono): un delitto è sempre semplice."] sia addirittura arrivata a creare intrecci come quello di questo romanzo, dove si tira in ballo la leggenda di un’antica, fantomatica “armata furiosa” e assassina, si ammazzano quattro persone al solo scopo di coprire l’omicidio, tentato e non riuscito, del vero bersaglio e si complica la situazione aggiungendo diversi, altri casi seguiti a margine. Per non parlare del presunto movente, che è proprio risibile. Trovo sempre poco “onesto” ricorrere in un romanzo “giallo” all’insanità mentale di qualcuno quando si spiega il perché ha fatto fuori qualcun altro. Un vero pasticcio.Però, come ho già detto, sarei anche stata disposta a passare sopra alla cosa se la Vergas mi avesse comunque offerto soprattutto un nuovo e vivace ritratto della squadra che lavora con Adamsberg. Ma così non è stato. Per onestà, va riconosciuto che alcuni, rari passaggi del romanzo rammentano i tempi più felici della sua scrittura, ma in certi altri momenti ho addirittura pensato che neanche l’avesse scritto lei e si fosse limitata a intervenire e correggere qua e là.Non ci siamo proprio.********** “L'uomo dei cerchi azzurri" (1991 - uscito in Italia nel 2007) “Chi è morto alzi la mano” (1995 - uscito in Italia nel 2002, nuova edizione nel 2006) “Un po' più in là sulla destra” (1996 - uscito in Italia nel 2008) “Io sono il Tenebroso (1997 - uscito in Italia nel 2000) “L'uomo a rovescio” (1999 - uscito in Italia nel 2006) “Parti in fretta e non tornare” (2001 - uscito in Italia nel 2004) “Sotto i venti di Nettuno” (2004 - uscito in Italia nel 2005) “Nei boschi eterni” (2006 - uscito in Italia nel 2007) “Un luogo incerto” (2008 – uscito in Italia nel 2009)“La cavalcata dei morti” (2011 – uscito in Italia nel 2011)

  • Julie
    2019-04-09 03:58

    Adamsberg finds his way through to the end of another intrigue, with the perspicuity of Sherlock Holmes, the natural genius of Miss Marple and the eccentricity of Hercule Poirot.( Mind you, as Vargas presents him, he is probably more of a Columbo in his idiosyncratic fashion sense rather than a fashionably dapper Poirot.) The end result is always charming, for I can find no other words that suit the peculiar charisma that Adamsberg sports -- and indeed that are imbued in all the main, and recurring, characters. I can do no better justice to Adamsberg (and inherently Vargas) than to offer her own words:"I'll be back," he always said, as if it was highly possible that one day he would go away and never come back. He went out of the room with a lighter step than usual and escaped into the street. He knew that he had been struck stock-still all of a sudden, like one of the Ordebec cows, and had lost about five or six minutes of the meeting. Why, he couldn't say, and that was what he set out to discover by walking the pavements. He wasn't troubled by these sudden gaps in his consciousness, he was used to them. He didn't know the reason for this one, but he knew the cause. Something had passed through his mind, like the bolt from a crossbow, so fast that he hadn't had time to get hold of it. But it had been enough to turn him to stone. It was an experience like that time he had seen the sparkle on the waters in the port of Marseille, or the poster on a bus shelter in Paris, or when he'd been unable to sleep on the Paris-Venice express. And the invisible image which had flashed across had drained the watery morass of his brain, bringing along with it other imperceptible images attached to each other as if in a magnetic chain.The magnetic chain which falls into place for Adamsberg happens, inevitably, after he's walked his way through it, quite literally walking through an entire Paris night, bouncing his intuitions back and forth in his entire body, like some crazy, bedevilled pin-ball wizard. At the end of it all, sure of mind, and slightly rumpled of body, he emerges with his prey firmly grasped in his sights. Just unbelievably delightful to follow Vargas's process!This is the best-one-yet in the Adamsberg series.

  • LJ
    2019-04-20 07:40

    First Sentence: A trail of tiny breadcrumbs led from the kitchen into the bedroom, as far as the spotless sheets where the old woman lay dead, her mouth open.Comm. Adamsburg travels to Ordebec in response to a woman’s plea. Her daughter, Lina, has seen the Ghost Riders with four men. According to legend, this mean each of these men will meet a violent death. Adamsburg takes with him a young man he believes innocent of the murder for which he is accused, and his 18-year-old son, whom he recently met. Although entranced by the lovely Lina, one of the envisioned men does die and it’s time for Adamsburg to get to work. There is nothing ordinary about a Fred Vargas book. It begins with a unique murder, quickly solved by Adamsberg, which quickly displays his understanding of people and their behaviors.The Serious Crime Unit, of which he is the head, is a collection of strange and unusual individuals. It’s hard to imagine how they solve crimes, but solve them they do. Vargas even keeps the characters from her book “The Three Evangelists” included in this series. Legends, ghost stories, witchcraft, and the supernatural are included in the story, but don’t overtake the fact that this is, at its core, a police procedural. Yet her books are definitely character-driven focusing not only on their physical presence, but their personal characteristics.There is something mercurial and wise about Vega’s writing that can make you stop and think…”The world’s full of details, have you noticed? And since no details is ever repeated in exactly the same shape and always sets off others details, there’s no end to it.” “The Ghost Riders of Ordebec” started off just a bit slowly but quickly made up for it. It is, as are all her books, wonderfully weird and very French. You’ll either be completely entranced by Vargas' writing, or she’ll just not quite be your cup of tea. Me? I’m firmly in the former group. THE GHOST RIDERS OF ORDEBEC (Pol Proc-Comm. Adamsberg-France-Contemp) – VG+Vargas, Fred – 7th in seriesPenguin Books, 2013

  • Simone Sinna
    2019-04-08 04:38

    I read this in English and its called The Ghost Riders of the Ordebec or at least the book I read was! When I type that in this is what I get but I like this better than The Furious Army which is how I would translate the French....!!!My reading of this book is a testimony to the importance of the independent bookseller. I was on a five day break in Noosa and the bookseller got to know us because he was selling my husband’s book at a Long Weekend function, and because I kept going in buying books! He slipped this one to me and said “I think you’ll like it” and I briefly assessed and ran with it (I’d bought The Demonologist and a Harlen Corben from him at this stage).I am so pleased he put it in my hand because I might otherwise have passed it over. He said “it has a spiritual/ mystic theme in all of them” which grabbed me, and having read it, how she (and Fred is presumably Frederique) does this is perfect for me- The Demonologist went over the line, Vargas keeps within it. History has the legend, real life has an explanation – but the two can be linked. She is French and it is set in France, with all the French quirkiness that when you live there as I have is hard to pinpoint as an outsider. Her characters are great, the stories complex and interwoven. From the moment of meeting the hero Commissaire Adamsberg (not exactly an obvious name for a French man) we are pulled into his team of interesting misfits, a statuesque woman to be reckoned with, a bulimic, one with a sleep disorder, two rivals, and as well into the new relationship with a recently discovered son. Into this we have a woman with visions of the Ghost Riders, heralding deaths, a man blown up in his car and a small time hood who has been framed that Adamsberg saves…as well as saving a near dead pigdeon. Believe or not, these all tie into together in a beautifully paced story that is never dull. And yes, I will be reading everything else she has written.Thanks Ross at Noosa’s Mary Ryans.

  • Janette Fleming
    2019-04-09 08:42

    When a terrified woman begs Commissaire Adamsberg for help with a murder that has not happened yet he is intrigued. Her daughter claims to have seen the ghostly hunt, lead by the Devil's helper Lord Hellequin. These spectral horsemen ride through Northern France collecting the souls of evildoers and any living person spotted riding with them is sure to die a horrific death soon after. With three local men identified among the riders, and one of them already missing, it is not long before the bodies pile up but can Adamsberg solve the case before the lives of his men come under serious threat?This excellent novel provides a refreshing break from the 'tough, misunderstood detective with a heart of gold' characters that populate so many books of this genre. Adamsberg is ditzy with flashes of genius, he likes taking his shoes off to walk in the grass and cares as much about finding out who tied a pigeon's feet together as he does about solving murder. All-in-all a truly lovable protagonist. The whole story has a slightly surreal feel to it with its immobile cows, narcoleptic policemen and suspects who talk backwards but this all serves to highlight the peculiarity of the case. Written with a fantastic combination of humour and tension it is a fantastic read. Highly recommended..Out of all the police procedurals I think Fred Vargas' Adamsberg’ series is the most tender and whimsical; overflowing with captivating characters that linger in your head for days after.“You care, deeply, for Adamsberg and Danglard and their team. You care for poor besieged Léone and her sugar-hungry hound, Fleg, and for the crazy Vendermots who would need an entire social services team working overtime just to sort out their problems. Damn it, you even care for the crippled pigeon that sleeps (and craps) in Adamsberg's shoe.” /

  • Velia
    2019-04-11 04:55

    Ritornare dopo anni a leggere dell’anticrimine di Parigi è stato una sorta di viaggio nel tempo, un ritorno all’estate dei miei 16 anni e degli anni di liceo. Ritrovare Adamsberg, Danglard, Retancourt e il resto della squadra, come se non fosse passato neanche un giorno dall’ultima volta che li avevo incontrati, è stata una sensazione strana ed esaltante allo stesso tempo. Dunque, dal punto di visto stilistico, niente da eccepire alla Vargas, la quale ci ha riproposto quei personaggi vivi e reali di cui ormai, giunti al settimo volume, siamo arrivati a conoscere ogni sfumatura di carattere. Anche Zerk è stata un entrata interessante; soprattutto, ho apprezzato la descrizione del rapporto padre-figlio che lega i due Adamsberg, entrambi impantanati in una situazione nuova ed inattesa, bloccati in un territorio dove non sanno esattamente come muoversi. E quelli che sono i loro pensieri al riguardo si colgono in controluce fra le righe, ricreando le reali difficoltà con cui entrambi convivono.Unica pecca, la storia. Per quanto apprezzi i ragionamenti di Adamsberg, così tortuosi, caleidoscopici e fumosi, questa volta l’individuazione del “cattivo” mi sembra troppo tirata, retta più da impressioni che da vere e proprie prove.Altra critica, il finale, a mio parere troppo frettoloso e che lascia alcuni vuoti di trama che necessitavano d’essere riempiti.Senz’altro non il miglior libro della Vargas, ma assolutamente imperdibile per chi ormai gironzola da anni nell’Anticrimine parigino.

  • Charty
    2019-04-10 10:49

    I'm always enjoying Vargas' mysteries although I like some of the Adamsberg books better than others. The Ghost Riders fell into the others category for me. I liked the mythical riders (sort of like the Wild Hunt but French-style) but the book felt too busy cramming in multiple murders that didn't really tie together all that well. In the beginning you have the wife-killing husband as a sort of aperitif, then you get a taste for the Ordebec mystery that is then derailed by the murder of a prominent and wealthy industrialist, which then proceeds to run in a parallel investigation to Ordebec. Oh yes, and throw in the mystery of attempted pigeon murder and that's more than full plate in my mind. I would have preferred spending more time with the main mystery in Ordebec than than with all the other shenanigans that went on, frankly. Also, I confess I skipped ahead to see who the murderer was early on, then proceeded to finish the book, and I was a little disappointed that the clues weren't stronger throughout the book. Yes, I guess it makes sense but if you read the book as a puzzle and you are racing to solve the mystery before the detective you would be disappointed, I think.

  • Jon Frum
    2019-04-03 04:51

    This is the last book in the Commissaire Adamsberg series, and I've now read the entire series. I like Vargas' writing, and I find myself wanting to like the books, but in each, there's at least one major flaw I just can't get past. Either the quirky characters become too quirky, or the plot devices run over the top and crash. In this book, for the second time in the series of nine, Vargas uses a fantasy/superstition to motivate the crimes. Now I grant that Vargas is also a professional historian, but this is actually the second case of Ms Vargas repeating a major plot device in the nine books. Identity switches play a role in two others. Any reader of Agatha Christie knows that she occasionally repeated herself, but she wrote many more than nine books and short stories - Vargas has far less excuse. For fans of mystery/detective/police fiction looking for something a little different, the Adamsberg series is definitely worth a try. The reviews her seem to run about one star higher than I grant them, so many other readers must disagree with me. My personal opinion of the series is: likeable, but flawed.

  • Maya
    2019-04-17 04:52

    Този роман ми беше първа среща с авторката, но определено няма да е последна. Определението "криминален роман" трудно може да се приложи за тази необичайна книга - детективската линия в сюжета е последното, което има значение, когато става дума за главен герой като комисар Адамсберг. Героите на Варгас, както и ситуациите, в които са поставени, са странни, дори абсурдни, но са изградени с такова изящество, че човек, ако преодолее успешно първите 50-тина страници, после трудно се откъсва. Бавният, разсеян и сякаш не от този свят комисар и неговите сътрудници - свръхерудиран алкохолик, жена-валкирия, многодетен баща-стихоплетец, детектив с хиперсомния са въвлечени в разкриването на една нормандска драма, в която има и мистика, и проклятия, и затворено селско общество, в което всички се познават и слуховете са начин на живот. Повествованието в началото изглежда твърде обстоятелствено и мудно, но се разгръща в толкова неочаквани посоки, че към финала не ми се искаше да свършва. Интересно, странно и вълнуващо четиво.

  • Natalia Pì
    2019-04-23 10:56

    Cara, cara Fred Vargas. Se si ha bisogno di sfuggire dal mondo per qualche ora, basta rivolgersi a lei. Ennesimo libro bello, avvolgente, d'atmosfera, che questa volta si svolge tra Parigi e la Normandia. Tra i protagonisti, un piccione ferito, un giovane piromane, un capitano discendente di un alto papavero napoleonico e un cane flemmatico, più naturalmente Adamsberg e compagnia bella, tutti impegnati a combattere una schiera di fantasmi di cavalieri putrefatti a passeggio nei boschi normanni.Consiglio vivamente la lettura, come sempre. La Vargas ha la capacità meravigliosa di trasportarti dentro le sue storie di personaggi stralunati e particolari, di farti tornare alla lettura non appena hai un po' di tempo libero, per leggere rapidamente e allo stesso tempo non volere che il libro finisca troppo in fretta.

  • Liliana Pinto
    2019-04-01 03:39

    Numa pacata e bela vila do Norte de França, Ordebec, existe uma lenda medieval. Essa lenda fala de um exército de mortos-vivos que anuncia a morte de pecadores. Esse é o Exército Furioso. E é com esta lenda que a aventura de Adamsberg. Nunca tinha lido nada de Fred Vargas mas este livro deixou-me curioso. A escritora tem uma forma "engraçada" de escrever que em certos momentos cativa, mas que em outros chateia. Demorei mais de um mês (!!!!) a ler este livro por essa razão e é, também por isso, que só dou 4*.Adamsberg é uma personagem caricata e até engraçada no seu modo de ser. Mas por detrás daquela tacanhez toda e, mesmo sendo um pouco "lento" conseguiu resolver o crime e encontrar o verdadeiro culpado.Não é um livro perfeito, mas vale bem a pena ler.Recomendo.