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Gripping read

By Seymour Telegraph

The Three Evangelists

by Fred Vargas

Fred Vargas (a pseudonym) is a very popular French crime writer. She is also an archaeologist and historian, so has plenty of background material to call on.

The Three Evangelists is the story of three prickly young men who agree to live together in a house they call ‘the disgrace’ for little rent, and in return improve the dilapidated building.

One of them invites his uncle/godfather to join them. The elderly, disgraced Parisian policeman becomes a major player when a neighbour is murdered. The young men become deeply involved.

Of course there is a pretty young woman (and her small son), and a nearby café where one of the ‘evangelists’ works as a waiter for the obliging café owner, all of whom become more relevant as the story progresses.

There is also a mysterious tree in the neighbour’s garden, which for a while appears to have very little relevance to the story. But it is not a distraction and the reader must wait for its relevance to appear.

In the meantime, we meet several people whose roles are paramount as the mystery begin to unravel after another murder.

Eventually one of the evangelists goes wandering off and has an epiphany and manages to put all the pieces in the right order.

Aided by one of his roommates, he rushes off to save a life or two (and risk his own) and expose the murderer.

The translation has a few awkward moments, but it is mainly accurate and never off-putting.

All in all, The Three Evangelists is good read.

—Lee Stephenson