This Poison Will Remain: A Recluse Seeks Revenge

This Poison Will Remain

by Fred Vargas
Translated by Sian Reynolds
#7 Commissaire Adamsberg Mystery
Genre: Mystery
Penguin Random House : Penguin
Formats available:  Paperback, Electronic, Audio
Pub Date: 8.20.19
Pages: 416

REVIEWER: Sophia Rose


Book was provided by publisher. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

A murder in Paris brings Commissaire Adamsberg out of the Icelandic mists of his previous investigation and unexpectedly into the region of Nîmes, where three old men have died of spider bites. The recluse has a sneaky attack, but is that enough to explain the deaths of these men, all killed by the same venom?

At the National Museum of Natural History, Adamsberg meets a pensioner who tells him that two of the three octogenarians have known each other since childhood, when they lived in a local orphanage called The Mercy. There, they had belonged to a small group of violent young boys known as the “band of recluses.” Adamsberg faces two obstacles: the third man killed by the same venom was not part of the “band of recluses,” and the amount of spider venom necessary to kill doesn’t add up.

Yet after the Nîmes deaths, more members of the old band succumb to recluse bites, leading the commissaire to uncover the tragedy hidden behind the walls of the orphanage.



By the Pricking of His Thumbs Something Wicked This Way Comes

 I was invited to read This Poison Will Remain and I’m glad because I had never heard of the series or the author.  I’m always up for a new murder mystery series to find and love particularly if there is an intriguing main character detective and police procedural bits.  In this case, I got to add the fact that this one is originally written in French and set in France with the quirky Commissaire Adamsberg and his eclectic police team on the illusive trail of a Recluse Spider and a series of murders.

It was fun exploring the world of French policework with this team based in Paris, but working the case along with the local law enforcement in the south of France.  The author doesn’t stint on descriptions of food, setting or her characters.  Definitely not the book to read when you’re hungry.

I should back track a bit and say that This Poison Will Remain is the seventh release of the series in the US, but I think there might be more in the French editions since GoodReads labels this one eleven in the series while Penguin US labels it seventh.  I believe they are a series of standalones since I had no trouble diving into this one

The book did start out with a different murder mystery that was wrapped up quickly and did the job of showcasing Adamsberg’s interesting way of crime solving and policing, his odd intuitions that hone in on the perpetrator, and also his people in the unit and his relationship with them

Then things slowed way down for me as the long shot pursuit of the Recluse Spider deaths caught Adamsberg’s eye.  It was all thought to be just normal deaths caused by spider bites until he felt a tingling that something was wrong and he dug deeper.  Intuition is a big thing with him.

As it turned out, there was something to find at the back of the dark hole he dove into and it wasn’t just a reclusive spider (which, in France, are not nearly as deadly like the US’s Brown Recluse).  This case wound out slowly and at times I got distracted, but there were some good red herrings and twists when all is said and done.

It definitely had a different feel and a different rhythm to it so I never forgot that I was reading a translation.  Some of the time, I think the difference was the author’s unique way of writing, but the rest of the time, I think it was because it was French.  I loved this and it was what I was excited about when I picked up the book knowing it was set in France and was by a French author. 

All in all, I was glad to have gotten the opportunity and would definitely read more of the series including the backlist.  I would recommend it for those who like police procedural, but more of an armchair detective style.

My thanks to Penguin for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.



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For categories and teaser

 Translation, Police Procedural, France, Food, Revenge, Rape, Abuse


GENRE – Mystery


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