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Books 102-103: The Three Evangelists and The Chase

Book 102: The Three Evangelists.
Author: Fred Vargas,1995. Translated from the French by Sian Reynolds, 2006.
Genre: Crime Fiction. Mystery.
Other Details: Paperback. 292 pages.

Sophia Siméonidis, a Greek opera singer, 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 fired from the police for having helped a murderer to escape, and three impecunious historians, Mathias, Marc and Lucien - the three evangelists. They agree - both because they need the money and out of sheer curiosity - 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 nobody worries too much until her body is found burned to ashes in a car. Who killed the opera singer? Her husband, her ex-lover, her best friend? Or could it be her lovely niece recently moved to the capital? They all seem to have a motive. Vandoosler and the three evangelists set out to find the truth. - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

A superb work of French crime fiction from the always wonderful Fred Vargas. It was the winner of the inaugural 2006 International CWA Dagger, a prize that Vargas also won in 2008 and 2009 . While I have read all of her other books I had somehow skipped over this one. Now with a second novel featuring the three evangelists being published in English I thought it the perfect time to read the first.

This was a classic mystery; quite low key with a group of historians and a retired policeman solving the mystery of the disappearance of their next door neighbour, a wealthy and famous opera singer. As with the Adamsberg series, there is a great deal of eccentricity and a terrific sense of place.

Book 103: The Chase (Fox and O'Hare #2).
Author: Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, 2014.
Genre: Crime Fiction. Comedy/Drama.
Other Details: Hardcover. 320 pages.

Internationally renowned thief and con artist Nicolas Fox is famous for running elaborate and daring scams. His greatest con of all: convincing the FBI to team him up with the only person who has ever caught him, Special Agent Kate O'Hare. Together they'll go undercover to swindle and catch the world's most wanted - and untouchable - criminals.

The newest target is Carter Grove, a former White House chief of staff and the ruthless leader of a private security agency. Grove has stolen a rare Chinese artefact from the Smithsonian, a crime that will torpedo U.S. relations with China if it ever becomes public. Nick and Kate must work under the radar - and against the clock - to devise a plan to steal the piece back. .... A daring heist and a deadly chase lead Nick and Kate from Washington, D.C., to Shanghai, from the highlands of Scotland to the underbelly of Montreal. But it'll take more than death threats, trained henchmen, sleepless nights, and the fate of a dynasty's priceless heirloom to outsmart Fox and O'Hare.
- synopsis from UK publisher's website.

This second outing for the odd-couple pairing of FBI Agent and master criminal was great fun. Very much a crime caper with not one but four inventive heists/cons. As before they assemble an eccentric team of assistants to help them. It was a quick and easy read and Evanovich and Goldberg certainly came up with some inventive and entertaining twists. I look forward to more in the series.
Tags: crime fiction, mystery, translation
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