Author: Fred Vargas
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Penguin Books
From the #1 bestselling French author and four-time winner of the Crime Writers Association s International Dagger Award
A woman is found murdered in her bathtub, and the murder has been made to look like a suicide. But a strange symbol found at the crime scene leads the local police to call Commissaire Adamsberg and his team.
When the symbol is found near the body of a second disguised suicide, a pattern begins to emerge: both victims were part of a disastrous expedition to Iceland over ten years ago where a group of tourists found themselves trapped on a deserted island for two weeks, surrounded by a thick, impenetrable fog rumored to be summoned by an ancient local demon. Two of them didn't make it back alive. But how are the deaths linked to the secretive Association for the Study of the Writings of Maximilien Robespierre? And what does the mysterious symbol signify?
Fred Vargas is the pseudonym of the French historian, archaeologist and writer Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau (often mistakenly spelled "Audouin-Rouzeau"). She is the daughter of Philippe Audoin(-Rouzeau), a surrealist writer who was close to André Breton, and the sister of the historian Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau, a noted specialist of the First World War who inspired her the character of Lucien Devernois.
Archeo-zoologist and historian by trade, she undertook a project on the epidemiology of the Black Death and bubonic plague, the result of which was a scientific work published in 2003 and still considered definitive in this research area: Les chemins de la peste : Le rat la puce et l'homme (Pest Roads).
As a novelist, Fred Vargas writes mostly crime stories. She found writing was a way to combine her interests and relax from her job as a scientist. Her novels are set in Paris and feature the adventures of Chief Inspector Adamsberg and his team. Her interest in the Middle Ages is manifest in many of her novels, especially through the person of Marc Vandoosler, a young specialist in the period.
She separated her public persona as a writer from her scientific persona by adopting the pseudonym Fred Vargas. "Fred" is the diminutive of her given name, Frédérique, while with "Vargas", she has chosen the same pseudonym than her twin sister, Jo Vargas (pseudonym of Joëlle Audoin-Rouzeau), a painter. For both sisters, the pseudonym "Vargas" derives from the Ava Gardner character in "The Barefoot Contessa".
Her crime fiction policiers have won three International Dagger Awards from the Crime Writers Association, for three successive novels: in 2006, 2008 and 2009. She is the first author to achieve such an honor. In each case her translator into English has been Sîan Leonard, who was also recognized by the international award. (Taken from Goodreads)
(1) Paperback copy of A CLIMATE OF FEAR - Open to US only!