More "Wash This Blood ... "
1) Vargas works her protagonist, Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg, into a predicament similar to those of a string of men later jailed for murder — wrongly jailed, Adamsberg believes. The similarities are so obvious that even I realized it, yet Adamsberg does not, at least not right away.
Weak plotting on Vargas' part? I thought so for about a tenth of a second. Then I realized that this is Vargas' small, subtle way of making a point that other writers would hit the reader over the head with: Her protagonist is not perfect. He has blind spots, weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
2) She puts a forthright, touching declaration of self-knowledge into the mouth of an Adamsberg colleague, then turns it into a declaration of strength:
"You didn't seem to be taking any notice, just sitting in a corner, looking bored."
"That was an act," said Retancourt, pouring out two more cups of coffee. "Men pay no attention to a fat, plain woman."
"That's not at all what I meant, lieutenant."
"But it's exactly what I meant, sir," she said, waving away the objection. "They don't bother looking at her, she's just part of the furniture, and they actually forget she's there. I depend on that. Add a bored expression and hunched shoulders, and you're sure to be able to see everything without being seen. Not everyone can get away with it, and it's served me well in the past."
3) Vargas gets the distance between Montreal and Hull, Quebec right.
© Peter Rozovsky 2007
French crime fiction