One of the things I love about my life is how flexible it is. I spent most of last weekend on the phone to various doctors because my body’s being a pain again. They said they’ll need to do a load more tests (cue more hospital time) and told me to take it easy, to spend lots of time resting for the next few weeks and to go to bed early. So I emailed the lovely people at FMCM and said I had a bit of extra reading time on my hands… and they sent me the nominees for the British Book Awards!
I picked this book up from my local charity shop along with my usual mixture of Sue Grafton and Tess Gerritsen. It sounded a bit like Broken by Karin Fossum, one of my favourite novels: an interesting crime thriller with a literary twist.
The opera singer Sophia Siméonidis wakes up one morning to discover that a tree has appeared overnight in the garden of her Paris house. Intrigued and unnerved, she turns to her neighbours: Vandoosler, an ex-cop, and three impecunious historians, Mathias, Marc and Lucien – the three evangelists. They agree to dig around the tree and see if something has been buried there. They find nothing but soil.
A few weeks later, Sophia disappears and her body is found burned to ashes in a car. Who killed the opera singer? Her husband, her ex-lover, her best friend, her niece? They all seem to have a motive.
Vandoosler and the three evangelists set out to find the truth.
Well, any book that uses the word ‘impecunious’ in the blurb is definitely worth a look, right? And Vargas’ novel was a fun read, though I guessed the twist quite early on.
The characters are well-developed and the relationships play out with the kind of dry humour that befits a retired, disgraced policeman like Vandoosler. I enjoyed the historical references and the slightly overblown way the characters were introduced. The story itself wasn’t so tantalising, from my point of view, but it’s still worth reading for the characterisation and the general feel of the book.
Not a quick summer read, more of a ‘curl up in an armchair with a hearty bowl of soup and some crusty bread’ book.