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France’s bestselling and award-winning crime writer Fred Vargas joins Vintage Canada. The Three Evangelists is an enormously entertaining departure from Vargas’s Commissaire Adamsberg series. Sophia Simeonidis, a Greek opera singer, wakes up one morning to discover that a tree has appeared overnight in the garden of her Paris house. As her husband doesn’t give a damn, she a France’s bestselling and award-winning crime writer Fred Vargas joins Vintage Canada. The Three Evangelists is an enormously entertaining departure from Vargas’s Commissaire Adamsberg series. Sophia Simeonidis, a Greek opera singer, wakes up one morning to discover that a tree has appeared overnight in the garden of her Paris house. As her husband doesn’t give a damn, she asks her new neighbours to dig around the tree to find out if something has been buried. Her neighbours are eccentric: Vandoosler, an ex-cop fired from the police for having helped a murderer to escape, and sharing the house are three impecunious historians: Mathias, Marc and Lucien – the three evangelists, as Vandoosler calls them. They accept the job because they are desperate for money and rather curious. When they find nothing and Sophia’s dead body turns up weeks later, they decide to investigate.


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France’s bestselling and award-winning crime writer Fred Vargas joins Vintage Canada. The Three Evangelists is an enormously entertaining departure from Vargas’s Commissaire Adamsberg series. Sophia Simeonidis, a Greek opera singer, wakes up one morning to discover that a tree has appeared overnight in the garden of her Paris house. As her husband doesn’t give a damn, she a France’s bestselling and award-winning crime writer Fred Vargas joins Vintage Canada. The Three Evangelists is an enormously entertaining departure from Vargas’s Commissaire Adamsberg series. Sophia Simeonidis, a Greek opera singer, wakes up one morning to discover that a tree has appeared overnight in the garden of her Paris house. As her husband doesn’t give a damn, she asks her new neighbours to dig around the tree to find out if something has been buried. Her neighbours are eccentric: Vandoosler, an ex-cop fired from the police for having helped a murderer to escape, and sharing the house are three impecunious historians: Mathias, Marc and Lucien – the three evangelists, as Vandoosler calls them. They accept the job because they are desperate for money and rather curious. When they find nothing and Sophia’s dead body turns up weeks later, they decide to investigate.

30 review for Debout les morts Audiobook PACK [Book + 1 CD MP3]

  1. 4 out of 5

    Marina

    Three historians turned sleuths, helped by an uncle ex policeman do the honours of solving the crime in this one. The plot never stopped being a little silly, but it was great fun to read and I'll look for the other books in the series. Three historians turned sleuths, helped by an uncle ex policeman do the honours of solving the crime in this one. The plot never stopped being a little silly, but it was great fun to read and I'll look for the other books in the series.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jokoloyo

    This is a typical mystery with atypical main characters. Although the first half of novel was slow, and more like slice-of-life with no tight plot, but I have read worse/slower novels. Maybe I am a sucker for rag-tag team stories, and these three historians are eccentrics with some hilarious dialogs between them or with Uncle Vandoosler. And I like how they help each other (view spoiler)[. Love the scenes when Matthias and Marc helping drunk Lucien (hide spoiler)] . This is a typical mystery with atypical main characters. Although the first half of novel was slow, and more like slice-of-life with no tight plot, but I have read worse/slower novels. Maybe I am a sucker for rag-tag team stories, and these three historians are eccentrics with some hilarious dialogs between them or with Uncle Vandoosler. And I like how they help each other (view spoiler)[. Love the scenes when Matthias and Marc helping drunk Lucien (hide spoiler)] .

  3. 4 out of 5

    Delphine

    Fred Vargas is probably the best detective fiction writer EVER. Her world is poetic, her characters are charming. Her novels are neither gory nor cosy. A must-read. The three evangelists are particularly interesting: all three of them are historians, living in the same house: one is a specialist of prehistory, one of Medieval times and the last of WWI. They are quite hilarious.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Another great novel by Vargas! This one is even more deliciously eccentric than the others I've read, giving voice to the three evangelists, unconventional fellows all, the kind that we all want as our best friends. I don't know how she does it, but I simply fall in love with all her characters. The story develops rather slowly, as all Vargas's works do, only to culminate in spectacular (and satisfying) endings. (view spoiler)[ I was rather indecisive about the manner in which the murder was commi Another great novel by Vargas! This one is even more deliciously eccentric than the others I've read, giving voice to the three evangelists, unconventional fellows all, the kind that we all want as our best friends. I don't know how she does it, but I simply fall in love with all her characters. The story develops rather slowly, as all Vargas's works do, only to culminate in spectacular (and satisfying) endings. (view spoiler)[ I was rather indecisive about the manner in which the murder was committed; that is, not completely convinced that a woman could have done all the heaving-and-hoing that was required to effect all the stratagems of moving a dead body several times. Dead weight, no pun intended, of someone your own size is almost impossible as described, unless some sort of superhuman force is applied. Still, it might be possible I told myself ... only because I enjoyed the novel so much, as a whole. (hide spoiler)] It seems I have an addiction to Vargas novels. I won't stop reading her until I've read them all -- and will probably re-read them at some point.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bev

    One morning Sophia Simeonidis, a Greek opera singer living in Paris, is startled to find a tree planted in her garden that wasn't there the night before. She has no idea where it came from or why....and it frightens her. Her husband isn't particularly interested and he certainly isn't afraid. She decides to approach her new neighbors and ask them to investigate for her. Her neighbors are three historians: Mathias, Marc, and Lucien--or the three evangelists as they are referred to by Armand Vando One morning Sophia Simeonidis, a Greek opera singer living in Paris, is startled to find a tree planted in her garden that wasn't there the night before. She has no idea where it came from or why....and it frightens her. Her husband isn't particularly interested and he certainly isn't afraid. She decides to approach her new neighbors and ask them to investigate for her. Her neighbors are three historians: Mathias, Marc, and Lucien--or the three evangelists as they are referred to by Armand Vandoosler (Marc's godfather & uncle). Vandoosler is an ex-cop and believes the three young men should help her out. The men dig up the tree to see if anything is buried there, but find nothing. Not too long after Sophia disappears and her husband is once again unconcerned. He says that Sophia has often gone off alone and has no doubt that she'll soon be home. But time passes and Sophia's niece Alexandra arrives for a visit--insisting that it was planned and that there's no way her aunt would have taken a trip when Alexandra was expected. The three evangelists renew their investigations with the help of the godfather and his friend, a current policeman. The trail leads to a body in a burned-out car--a body beyond being identified, but a black stone--basalt--is found beside the body. A stone that served as a talisman for the missing singer and it looks like the trail has come to an end. Now all they have to do is figure out who murdered Sophia and why. Or is that really all? The best part of The Three Evangelists by Fred Vargas for me has nothing to do with the mystery. Oh, that's good. It's well-plotted and allowed me to figure it out just before the denouement (which is the way I like it). But...the best part is the interaction of the three evangelists. I've given quite a few quotes below--but if I were to quote the sections I like with the three historians, I would be quoting huge chunks of the book. I love the mix of a pre-historian, a medievalist, and a World War I enthusiast. It's perfect. And I thoroughly enjoyed how the qualities of the historical scholars were put to use and managed to come to the correct solution. The second best thing is the lyrical language of the translation from the French. Sian Reynold provides an English translation that keeps the flavor of the French language while making the story entirely accessible for English speakers. There are a couple of passages that somehow manage to come across as very British--but overall, a brilliant translation that is quite readable and enjoyable. This is my first Fred Vargas Book. But it certainly won't be my last. Four stars. This was first posted on my blog My Reader's Block. Please request permission before reposting. Thanks. Quotes: AV: Well, I see that everybody here goes prying into everyone else's affairs. LD: You aren't a proper historian if you don't pry into people's affairs. [Armand Vandoosler, Lucien Devernois; p. 38] MV: ...those liberties may or may not come back to haunt him. AV: As a rule they do. [Marc Vandoosler, Armand Vandoosler; p. 39] You see, Mathias, even if it might be more practical to have Lucien on the first floor, we can't mess about with chronology and disturb the layers set out by the staircase. The ladder of time is all we have left. [p. 59] Frankly the idea of someone wanting revenge 20 years on seems pretty far-fetched to me. Life's too short, to nurse a grudge so long, you know what I mean? If everyone who'd ever been jilted plotted their revenge for years, we'd all be at each others' throats, wouldn't we? [Juliette, p. 65] Meet my nephew, "St. Mark." The least little thing and he'll rewrite the gospel for you. [Armand Vandoosler; p. 115] [Marc's] thoughts were in a whirl, clashing or diverging. Like the plates that move along on top of the hot heaving magma underneath the molten mantle of the earth. It's a scary thought, those plates sliding in all directions over the earth, unable to stay put. Tectonic plates they're called. Well, he was having tectonic thoughts. The thoughts were sliding about inside his head and sometimes, inevitably, clashed. With the usual sodding consequences. [p. 116] Sophia was sorry she had missed the boat with reading. I told her that sometimes you read because you've missed some other boat. [Juliette; p. 127] A policeman's strength lies either in a long monologue that crushes the opposition, or in a rapid response that kills it dead. You should never deprive a policeman of these well-rehearsed pleasures. Or he might turn nasty. [Armand Vandoosler; p. 133] Once Mathias had gone, everyone fell silent. It was often like that living with Mathias, Marc reflected. When he was there, he hardly said anything and nobody took any notice of him. But when he left, it was as if the stone bridge they had all been standing on had suddenly disappeared and they had to find their balance again. [p. 142] A; What do you expect from more time? AV: Reactions. After a murder, nothing stands still. I'm waiting for reactions, even little ones. They will happen. One just has to be on the lookout for them. [Alexandra, Armand Vandoolser; p. 143] Being interrogated by detectives does not improve one's temper. [p. 152] Alexandra was doing nothing. Well, nothing useful or profitable. She was sitting at a table,her head in her hands. She was thinking about tears, the tears that nobody sees, that nobody knows about, the tears shed in vain and unheeded. But which flow just the same. [p. 172]

  6. 4 out of 5

    LJ

    First Sentence: ‘Pierre, something’s wrong with the garden,’ said Sophia. Three young 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.” Their neighbor, 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 First Sentence: ‘Pierre, something’s wrong with the garden,’ said Sophia. Three young 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.” Their neighbor, 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 particularly 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, 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. Perhaps because 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. Vargas’ writing captivates me. It is filled with warmth, humor and emotion. I highly recommend it. THE THREE EVANGELISTS (Ama. Sleu-3 historians and godfather-Paris-Cont) – VG+ Vargas, Fred – standalone Vintage, 2006, UK paperback – ISBN: 9780099469551

  7. 4 out of 5

    Vivienne

    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 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.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Frédéric

    Introduction to the "3 evangelists" series (Mark, Matthew, Luke) this book is a real disappointment. Not so much the plot, a bit a far-fetched but I can live with it- than the characters. The "evangelists# are 3 historians-each one more or less obsessed with the period he studies- and supposedly 3 adorable losers at odds with their lives. They are simply plain boring. So full of wind it's irritating. They don't do much but being there, being off. Their dialogues ring so horribly wrong most of the Introduction to the "3 evangelists" series (Mark, Matthew, Luke) this book is a real disappointment. Not so much the plot, a bit a far-fetched but I can live with it- than the characters. The "evangelists# are 3 historians-each one more or less obsessed with the period he studies- and supposedly 3 adorable losers at odds with their lives. They are simply plain boring. So full of wind it's irritating. They don't do much but being there, being off. Their dialogues ring so horribly wrong most of the time it's a pain to read. Sure, it also happens in Vargas' other series "Adamsberg" but it's easier to endure because you actually end up caring for the characters. Here they are so empty, so vapid, you might as well care for a clam! If their interactions are supposed to be humorous or inspire simpathy of any kind, well, it falls far from the mark. In the end the book is 20 pages of intriguing introduction, 20 pages of quite a bit dodgy resolution and a long road of boredom in between. The 3 evangelists don't seem fit to preach the Good Word to anybody.

  9. 4 out of 5

    J

    Another book partly ruined by the excessive enthusiasm of my French professor -- analyzing a plane book, a fairly typical mystery, as if it were grand literature, is a deeply frustrating endeavor. Still, I recognize the good in this book: it's much funnier than the average mystery, its characters atypical and quite amusing. The mystery itself is hardly compelling (I could very easily put this one down), and the juicy twists and turns reveal themselves in just a few pages at the end, which means t Another book partly ruined by the excessive enthusiasm of my French professor -- analyzing a plane book, a fairly typical mystery, as if it were grand literature, is a deeply frustrating endeavor. Still, I recognize the good in this book: it's much funnier than the average mystery, its characters atypical and quite amusing. The mystery itself is hardly compelling (I could very easily put this one down), and the juicy twists and turns reveal themselves in just a few pages at the end, which means that the rest of the book sort of feels like filler, but that's the nature of many mysteries, I suppose.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Calzean

    I've read the others in the series and finally found Book One. The Three Evangelists are mid 30 year old historians with specialties that don't get them a job. They seem to talk and think in their speciality eras (stone age, middle ages or WWI). They live together with a retired cop. Their neighbour goes missing and together they piece together the history of the victim and the surprising murderer. It does read a bit like Agatha Christie with these unusual sleuths who all are a bit eccentric but I've read the others in the series and finally found Book One. The Three Evangelists are mid 30 year old historians with specialties that don't get them a job. They seem to talk and think in their speciality eras (stone age, middle ages or WWI). They live together with a retired cop. Their neighbour goes missing and together they piece together the history of the victim and the surprising murderer. It does read a bit like Agatha Christie with these unusual sleuths who all are a bit eccentric but at the same time quite brilliant in their own special ways.

  11. 5 out of 5

    dmayr

    A tree suddenly appears out of nowhere and an opera singer disappears. The least likely investigators turn up in the person of the three historians and a disgraced policeman. I certainly don't regret picking up this book again (after losing interest the first time around). This is as good as the Adamsberg series. A tree suddenly appears out of nowhere and an opera singer disappears. The least likely investigators turn up in the person of the three historians and a disgraced policeman. I certainly don't regret picking up this book again (after losing interest the first time around). This is as good as the Adamsberg series.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Franzi

    3 stars Debout les Morts is a crime novel that I started reading in school almost a decade ago, and I’m sure that we never finished reading it in class. French class really was one of the few classes where literally noone was motivated at all, ah, good old days. Well, anyways. I’m not sure that I enjoyed this much, although I think that this has to do a lot with the fact that I’m just not as proficient in French as I’m in English and reading this took me a considerably longer time than it would ha 3 stars Debout les Morts is a crime novel that I started reading in school almost a decade ago, and I’m sure that we never finished reading it in class. French class really was one of the few classes where literally noone was motivated at all, ah, good old days. Well, anyways. I’m not sure that I enjoyed this much, although I think that this has to do a lot with the fact that I’m just not as proficient in French as I’m in English and reading this took me a considerably longer time than it would have in German or in English. But although this may have played a part in this book feeling incredibly tedious, I think that the bigger reason is that the story has a lot of filler content. Filler that is supposed to flesh out the characters, I guess, since this is the first installment in the series. Thing is though, I felt very apathetic to the characters like I do with most detective characters in stories (I don’t care that much for Hercules Poirot or Miss Marple, for example) I care more about the mystery, if that makes sense. So I felt my eyes glaze over time and time again and had to force myself to concentrate – not a good sign. Also, while I normally don't care about swearing in books either way, I felt that this had way too much swearing which started to annoy me pretty early on. About the story: It was believable enough, but I thought that the murderer was pretty obvious. So obvious in fact, that I started to doubt myself after a big revelation, only to be disappointed at the end. Yeah, yeah, I didn’t come close to predict the resolution, but I think that the author also didn’t make the motives apparent enough for most readers to just guess at it. Which is a good or a bad thing, depending on how you like your crime stories, I guess.

  13. 4 out of 5

    AdiTurbo

    Vargas has a wonderful sense of humor and great subtlety in forming her characters. They are always interesting people and well differentiated from each other. Each character is unique, but feels like a real person and not a collection of mannerisms. She has a lot of compassion and tolerance towards human diversity, character flaws and mistakes, so that even with her cynicism her novels warm your heart. The plot was original and suspenseful, and kept me turning the pages as fast as I could to fi Vargas has a wonderful sense of humor and great subtlety in forming her characters. They are always interesting people and well differentiated from each other. Each character is unique, but feels like a real person and not a collection of mannerisms. She has a lot of compassion and tolerance towards human diversity, character flaws and mistakes, so that even with her cynicism her novels warm your heart. The plot was original and suspenseful, and kept me turning the pages as fast as I could to find out what was really going on. The idea of the planting of the tree and the psychological tension it built in the characters was brilliant, and one I had never come across before. I'll be looking for the next book in the series to read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    James

    Another intelligent and original thriller by Fred Vargas. I enjoyed the book in particular the link between the historians speciality and their outlook on life. Although the ending was a little pat the journey made it wortwhile.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ally

    One of the best crime novels I've ever read. Quirky and funny and sad with a plot that keeps you guessing all the way through. I'd love read more in this series if only they were translated into English. One of the best crime novels I've ever read. Quirky and funny and sad with a plot that keeps you guessing all the way through. I'd love read more in this series if only they were translated into English.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    I liked the idea of the story, but it was told in such a slow tedious way that I lost interest in it. The writing style wasn't my cup of tea. I liked the idea of the story, but it was told in such a slow tedious way that I lost interest in it. The writing style wasn't my cup of tea.

  17. 4 out of 5

    oshizu

    4.5 stars. 2006 winner of the CWA International Dagger Award. #wit This is such a unique mystery, featuring as protagonists a trio of historians (each expert of a different age) along with one of their uncles who is a disgraced flic. These historians are engrossed in the mental habits and jargon of their respective areas of specialization, which makes for alternately nerdy, absurd, silly, and delightful moments. What an original, intriguing idea to have down-on-their-luck historians turning their r 4.5 stars. 2006 winner of the CWA International Dagger Award. #wit This is such a unique mystery, featuring as protagonists a trio of historians (each expert of a different age) along with one of their uncles who is a disgraced flic. These historians are engrossed in the mental habits and jargon of their respective areas of specialization, which makes for alternately nerdy, absurd, silly, and delightful moments. What an original, intriguing idea to have down-on-their-luck historians turning their research-honed intellects to unraveling the mystery of their neighbor's disappearance and possible murder. Kept me guessing until the end.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Quirky characters and a wonderfully intricate mystery that appears to be fully explained three times before we get to the truth.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    Fun to read while on holiday in France. This was my first Vargas and I look forward to more in this and the other series. I was drawn in particularly by the interesting, quirky characters.

  20. 5 out of 5

    John

    In haste . . . A few years ago I read (in translation) the first of Vargas's Commissaire Adamsberg novels, The Chalk Circle Man, and really did not get on with it: it had a mixture of whimsy, police procedural and woo that was more or less tailor-made to get my back up. The whimsy and the police-procedural I'm fine with; it's the supernatural component that gives me the problem. (And yet I'm fine with certain supernatural detective fictions. Just not that one. I don't claim to be consistent.) I wa In haste . . . A few years ago I read (in translation) the first of Vargas's Commissaire Adamsberg novels, The Chalk Circle Man, and really did not get on with it: it had a mixture of whimsy, police procedural and woo that was more or less tailor-made to get my back up. The whimsy and the police-procedural I'm fine with; it's the supernatural component that gives me the problem. (And yet I'm fine with certain supernatural detective fictions. Just not that one. I don't claim to be consistent.) I wasn't going to try another Vargas but then, a few months ago, a blogging friend (I can't remember who it was) suggested that I might have been a bit overhasty in my judgement. So I tried this, the first of a different series. . . . and I found it absolutely charming. The whimsy is still here, but this time it's not battering its head against the alienating medium of the police procedural. And there's no bloody copout woo. As I read on, quite enraptured, a bell kept ringing at the back of my mind insisting that I'd had this gleeful love affair with whimsy long ago with some other piece of fiction totally unrelated to this one. And then I remembered: the last time I had this indulgent grin when reading a whimsical fiction was with Giovannino Guareschi's stories set in the little world of Don Camillo, a territory into which I periodically venture. No, The Three Evangelists isn't a sort of reincarnation of Camillo -- it's utterly dissimilar -- but it does somehow tickle the same whimsy bone of my cerebral cortex (or whatever). Three historians, each studying a different period (prehistory, Middle Ages, Great War) but all equally broke, rent a house in Paris that's been nicknamed in the neighborhood The Disgrace because it's so ramshackle. The three are called Marc, Matthias and Lucien; for obvious reasons Marc's godfather/uncle, a disgraced ex-cop who moves in with them, nicknames them The Three Evangelists. Their next-door neighbor, Sophia, once a famous opera singer, appears at their door with a curious request. She woke up one morning to find that someone had planted a sapling overnight in her garden. She knows it's neurotic of her, but she'd pay the Three Evangelists a goodly sum of money to dig the tree up and check there's no one buried underneath it. Broke, they accept the commission like a shot, later reporting to her that the soil beneath the tree is lych-free. Soon afterward, Sophia disappears. Has she been murdered? Has she run away with her old lover, a man far more glamorous than her mousy husband? Her devoted niece turns up on the doorstep, infant in tow, having come from the far end of the country by appointment; surely Aunt Sophia wouldn't have willingly run off rather than be here to greet her? And who's the ascetic type who arrives wanting to question Sophia about a decades-old double murder . . .? It's a great and very fairly clued mystery, but even had it not been I think I'd have enjoyed the book, because of the aforementioned charm. Thank you to the blogger who encouraged me to try Vargas again. There are two further Three Evangelists novels, according to Wikipedia, and I'll be looking out for them.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marina

    I was looking for French crime authors for my #InternationalCrime meme, and I stumbled upon Fred Vargas. Winner of International Dagger Award for three times, she (Fred is shortened from Frédérique) is not just a writer, but also historian and archaeologist. I assumed that I would love her books, and I wasn't wrong. The Three Evangelists is her first book which won International Dagger Award and it is written in 1995, translated in English in 2006. The story starts with an opera singer, Sophia Si I was looking for French crime authors for my #InternationalCrime meme, and I stumbled upon Fred Vargas. Winner of International Dagger Award for three times, she (Fred is shortened from Frédérique) is not just a writer, but also historian and archaeologist. I assumed that I would love her books, and I wasn't wrong. The Three Evangelists is her first book which won International Dagger Award and it is written in 1995, translated in English in 2006. The story starts with an opera singer, Sophia Siméonidis, who wakes up one morning just to notice a big tree in her backyard, a tree that wasn't there the day before. She is a famous person and she considers this as a personal threat from a lunatic fan. The house next door is a home of four extraordinary people. Armand Vandoosler, a former police commissaire, his god-son Marc, Lucien and Matthias. The old Vandoosler names the three young men the three evangelists, Saint-Mark, Saint-Luke and Saint-Matthew. The three evangelists are historians, for different time of history and they are all live in their own world, in the time they study. Sophia asks their help for the tree, they dig it and find nothing. But soon after that, Sophia disappears. Later, her body is found burned in what suppose to be a car accident. The three young historians with the help of the old former detective are in the search of their neighbour's killers. Who would think that the knowledge of history can help solving a murder? Saint-Marc, Saint-Luke and Saint-Matthew are so original characters. Each one of them lives in his own world, each one of them is some kind of knight in shining armour. Some people might consider them lunatic, but they are all very intelligent and perfectly stand on their own feet. Their conversations are even more interesting than the plot itself. Their medieval knowledge is perfectly incorporated in not just the plot itself, but also in their every day fights and talks and their own very unique view of the world. There are other characters in the story, characters that might be involved in the murder. The husband, the neighbour, the niece, they are all suspects. They all seem like nice people, all of them concerned for Sophia's death. But nothing can trick the old commissaire's eye. And with the help of his three house mates, Sophia can finally rest in piece. It is my very first book of Fred Vargas, but certainly it won't be the last. I am hooked on her crime noir writing and I'll be definitely in the search of her other books. And they are so many. My opinion: 4,5 / 5.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    Three impoverished thirty something historians pool their resources and rent and begin to restore a crumbling ancient house in Paris. Marc, the medievalist is impatient, impulsive, intuitive. Mathias studies early man, is a hunter gatherer by nature and resists wearing clothes whenever possible, but he can gently persuade almost anyone to tell him almost anything. Lucien is obsessed with the Great War and sees everything in the context of that conflict, always wears a tie, and loves to cook. The Three impoverished thirty something historians pool their resources and rent and begin to restore a crumbling ancient house in Paris. Marc, the medievalist is impatient, impulsive, intuitive. Mathias studies early man, is a hunter gatherer by nature and resists wearing clothes whenever possible, but he can gently persuade almost anyone to tell him almost anything. Lucien is obsessed with the Great War and sees everything in the context of that conflict, always wears a tie, and loves to cook. The fourth member of the household is Armand letting a murderer escape. It is Vandoosler who nicknames the three Vandoosler, Marc's uncle and godfather, an ex-cop who was fired for the evangelists as a joke, but it sticks. The action, such as it is, begins when their neighbor Sophia, a retired opera singer, finds that some unknown person has planted a beech tree inside her walled garden. It worries her - is it an obsessed fan? A disappointed lover? A prank or a threat? She pays the Evangelists to dig up the tree but they find nothing suspicious and replant it. When Sophia disappears soon after, just as her niece was arriving to live nearby with her young son, the evangelists and Juliet, the neighbor whose restaurant has become a second home, are worried. The police don't see a crime, her husband doesn't seem worried. And then her car is found burned out, with a body inside. The police fasten on the niece as the likely suspect even though the husband has a longstanding mistress. The Evangelists are determined to prove her innocent and find the true culprit. They use their research skills and their individual strengths to come up with the surprising answer to who killed their friend. The characters are wonderfully, endearingly eccentric. Vargas really gets the obsessive traits underlying scholarly specialization very well and their academic debates are great fun. Armand's combination of skill and cynicism keeps the younger men on track. The plot has enough twists to remain engaging till the end. The writing manages to be both light handed and seriously good. The Parisian scene is wonderfully detailed almost by the by - it's not a travelogue, but there is a terrific sense of place.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Oceana2602

    This was supposed to get me out of my not-reading funk which real life had thrown me into (thanks to constant lack of sleep and 80-hour work weeks). It didn't. I didn't get it. There was a tree, in a garden, over night (that much I got), then three people, moving into a house (next to the tree), digging under it (for what, they didn't know, and neither did I), a woman who worried (as she should have), disappearing.... it was all very confusing. It may have been less confusing had I cared, but I di This was supposed to get me out of my not-reading funk which real life had thrown me into (thanks to constant lack of sleep and 80-hour work weeks). It didn't. I didn't get it. There was a tree, in a garden, over night (that much I got), then three people, moving into a house (next to the tree), digging under it (for what, they didn't know, and neither did I), a woman who worried (as she should have), disappearing.... it was all very confusing. It may have been less confusing had I cared, but I didn't. Nothing made me care about these people. I think I could have been able to care about the woman in whose garden that tree appeared, but I don't think I was supposed to. I gave up. Yes, I admit, I gave up. I just didn't care, and I wanted to READ, not have the same boring book lying around for another four weeks of NOT reading. The only good thing I am able to say about this is that I'm really happy I didn't read it in french. I mean, it was confusing as hell in german, and nothing much had happened on the first 100 or so pages. I think the worry that I may have missed something important because of the language would have driven me crazy had I read it in french. On the other hand, maybe then it would have made more sense? Guess we'll never know.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Spuddie

    For quite some time, this book was a stand-alone mystery by the author of the Chief Inspector Adamsberg mysteries set in Paris, France. However, I see that there is now a second book featuring these same characters, and I'm glad about that. It won't be everyone's cup of tea...it's foreign, translated from the original French, and so many things are just unfamiliar. But the author's writing style and way of crafting the story make it a very interesting and worthwhile read. Three historians, each For quite some time, this book was a stand-alone mystery by the author of the Chief Inspector Adamsberg mysteries set in Paris, France. However, I see that there is now a second book featuring these same characters, and I'm glad about that. It won't be everyone's cup of tea...it's foreign, translated from the original French, and so many things are just unfamiliar. But the author's writing style and way of crafting the story make it a very interesting and worthwhile read. Three historians, each specialists in different time periods, move in together to a decrepit house along with the uncle of one of them, a disgraced policeman. A mystery ensues when a semi-famous opera singer who lives next door to them, whom they've gotten to know slightly, disappears without a word, something totally out of character for her. Interesting story, a couple of brilliant red herrings and plot twists, and very engaging characters. Excellent!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cocaine

    The thing with Fred Vargas is not simply that she writes such splendid fiction but that she does so with such verve. Her characters are so idiosyncratic that they mirror the sort of people I have met in my life rather than, as some authors do, attempt to give them personalities that 'seem real' but in fact are nothing like. The dialogues are 'trippy' but again accurate and the stories, especially in this the first of the Three Evangelists' books, more twisted than a knotted wire. A tree appears The thing with Fred Vargas is not simply that she writes such splendid fiction but that she does so with such verve. Her characters are so idiosyncratic that they mirror the sort of people I have met in my life rather than, as some authors do, attempt to give them personalities that 'seem real' but in fact are nothing like. The dialogues are 'trippy' but again accurate and the stories, especially in this the first of the Three Evangelists' books, more twisted than a knotted wire. A tree appears in operatic star Sophia's garden. It wasn't there the day before. New neighbours, the Three Evangelist and one Uncle having moved into the house called 'the disgrace' become involved. Murder and mystery in ample proportions but unlike anything I have ever read before.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This book was Christmas gift from a friend, and I'll admit that I was a little apprehensive as I don't tend to like mysteries because of their reliance on the "aha!" moment or the plot twist at the expense of character development or even believability. Thankfully my fears were totally unfounded - THE THREE EVANGELISTS was a fun read. Though the mystery itself wasn't anything spectacular (I honestly didn't care how it ended or whodunit), the charming characters and their interactions were compell This book was Christmas gift from a friend, and I'll admit that I was a little apprehensive as I don't tend to like mysteries because of their reliance on the "aha!" moment or the plot twist at the expense of character development or even believability. Thankfully my fears were totally unfounded - THE THREE EVANGELISTS was a fun read. Though the mystery itself wasn't anything spectacular (I honestly didn't care how it ended or whodunit), the charming characters and their interactions were compelling enough to keep me coming back for more. A solid 4 stars.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alice Degan

    This was such fun. The mystery is grim, of course, but the characters of the three historians are so adorable.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rob Kitchin

    The Three Evangelists is the first of a three book series featuring three historians turned detectives - Marc, Mattias and Lucien (named St Mark, St Matthew and St Luke by Vandoosler, Marc’s godfather – hence the book title). In this outing, they initially investigate the appearance of a tree in the garden of their next door neighbour, opera singer Sophia Siméonidis. They are aided by Vandoosler, an ex-cop who resides with them. The case, however, soon turns into a murder mystery with the discov The Three Evangelists is the first of a three book series featuring three historians turned detectives - Marc, Mattias and Lucien (named St Mark, St Matthew and St Luke by Vandoosler, Marc’s godfather – hence the book title). In this outing, they initially investigate the appearance of a tree in the garden of their next door neighbour, opera singer Sophia Siméonidis. They are aided by Vandoosler, an ex-cop who resides with them. The case, however, soon turns into a murder mystery with the discovery of Sophia’s remains. The charm of the book are the three evangelists, each of whom specialises in a different period – prehistoric, middle ages and Great War – and has quite different personalities. They are drawn together by circumstance – they are lacking work and need to share to afford rent. Their haphazard approach to the case is given shape by Vandoosler, who was forced to give up his police career after letting a murderer get away. Vandoosler believes in giving some slack to Sophia’s killer to help smoke them out and to see what they do next. Though it gets results, it’s a dangerous strategy as it places people in harm, and it quickly becomes clear that the killer will murder again to avoid being caught. The plot has the feel of a golden age of crime tale, given its relatively small cast, puzzle like set-up, and its twists as different characters are moved into the frame. Through the four main characters, Vargas keeps the tale lightly humorous and engaging. The only real blip is the reveal which just didn’t sit right; while plausible, the clues for the reader were light and not convincing, and the denouement felt clunky. Nonetheless, an entertaining read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tom O'Brien

    The things I liked about this book were unique to it, while the disappointments stemmed from the genre. The characters were quirky without being annoying, the setting and mood were wonderfully evoked and the story unfolded with gentle intrigue. In the second half of the book, maybe the last quarter, things locked into more conventional crime solving mode. This was all very well done, with the requisite twists, intuitive deductions and staggered release of information. Unfortunately, that's the k The things I liked about this book were unique to it, while the disappointments stemmed from the genre. The characters were quirky without being annoying, the setting and mood were wonderfully evoked and the story unfolded with gentle intrigue. In the second half of the book, maybe the last quarter, things locked into more conventional crime solving mode. This was all very well done, with the requisite twists, intuitive deductions and staggered release of information. Unfortunately, that's the kind of thing that puts me off policiers and detective novels generally and I had hoped Vargas had found a way around having someone explain the plot for a few pages. (And yes I do acknowledge that's like complaining about a duck walking like a duck.)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Ok, I've got to admit it was good, I did not see that coming at all. I never get the killers right, not even when they're right on my face. XD One day I will, though. I liked the investigation, I loved the mystery because it kept me going from here to there and then new evidence and again going from here to there, and I could never get a break. And once you thought you were finally on the right track, something else appeared, so it made for an excellent reading. The only problem is that it takes a Ok, I've got to admit it was good, I did not see that coming at all. I never get the killers right, not even when they're right on my face. XD One day I will, though. I liked the investigation, I loved the mystery because it kept me going from here to there and then new evidence and again going from here to there, and I could never get a break. And once you thought you were finally on the right track, something else appeared, so it made for an excellent reading. The only problem is that it takes a little while to start flowing nicely, so it took me forever to get pass the first half of the book. It also didn't help I read it in French because that always makes me read slower, but the end is totally worth it. I like Fred Vargas.

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