Vintage Books USA
January 2007 / ISBN 9780099469551
Amateur Sleuth / 3 historians and godfather / Paris / Contemporary
by LJ Roberts
‘Pierre, something’s wrong with the garden,’
historians, Mathias, Marc and Lucian, and Marc’s ex-policeman
uncle, Armand, buy a ramshackle house, known as the ‘disgrace’.
When Armand sees the three young men standing each framed by a section
of a gothic window, he coins them “the three evangelists.”
Sophia, is an former opera singer. When she finds a tree has been
planted in her garden, it causes her worry. She hires the young
men to dig it up, just to reassure her that nothing is planted under
it. When Sophia disappears, the young men, with the help of Armand,
are determined to find out what happened.
I like books
which are character driven, and this certainly was. I loved the
characters. Sophia, the retired opera singer worried about a tree
which appears in her garden, and the three evangelists, so named
by Armand, an ex-flic and uncle to St. Mark (Marc the Middle Ages
historian who always wears black), St. Martin (Mathias the Prehistoric
historian who dislikes wearing clothes), and St. Luck (Lucian the
Great Wars historian who always wears a tie). I felt Vargas really
liked her characters and made me like them in turn.
Even the house,
in which the four men live, almost becomes a character in the story.
The story is wonderfully plotted, escalating bit-by-bit to the final
climatic reveal. The reveal itself was particularly well done as
it wasn’t dry and unemotional, as most are, but filled with
pain and disappointment.
she is Parisian and writing about her own city, there wasn’t
as strong a sense of place as I, a foreigner, might have liked.
However, it is her familiarity with place that made me feel comfortable
there as well.
This was one
of the better translations. The dialogue worked very well, particularly
the occasional banter between the principal characters.
writing captivates me. It is filled with warmth, humor and emotion.
I highly recommend it.