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The final novel in the Three Evangelists trilogy, by France's utterly original bestselling crime writer.

When two Parisian women are shockingly murdered in their homes, the police suspect young accordionist Clément Vauquer, who was seen outside both of the apartments in question. It seems on the surface like an open-and-shut case.

But now Clément has disappeared from public view. His likeness has appeared in the papers and detectives from Paris to Nevers are on his tail. To have a chance of proving his innocence, he seeks refuge with old Marthe, a former prostitute and the only mother figure he has known.

Marthe calls ex-special investigator Louis Kehlweiler to help Clément. But what Louis uncovers is anything but straightforward, and he must call on some unconventional friends to help him solve his most complex case yet. Not only must Louis try to prove Clément’s innocence, he must solve a fiendish riddle to lead him to the killer…



It’s all rather delightfully bonkers, a playful and subversively unorthodox take on the private eye novel by a master of her craft

Declan Burke, Irish Times

[Vargas] has won the CWA international dagger four times, confirming her place in the top rank of contemporary crime writers... [A Climate of Fear] is easily the best thing she has ever done... The idea of history repeating itself is at the heart of this stunning novel, which confirms Vargas’ fine understanding of the unchanging nature of human passions.

Sunday Times

A real wonder of a book, in all senses of the word

Waterford Today

One of the most entertainingly eccentric of all current European crime writers... Highly impressive.


The book is as beguiling as previous entries in the Three Evangelists series, with the pleasure here coming from the comic interplay between the unconventional sleuths

Barry Forshaw, Guardian

Vargas writes with strength, erudition and unique imagination... In the crowded world of crime fiction, she's a valuable one-off.

The Times

Vargas is the poet of modern French crime writing, her work has a slightly ethereal feel… this is solid gold Euro-noir crime fiction. A high calibre literary thriller that entertains with aplomb… The Accordionist is cleverly plotted, the intensity builds and what starts out as intriguing becomes more involving as the reader is gripped by the fundamental question, ‘who did it?’ More than other crime novels, you have to surrender to Vargas’s vision of the world, one that you will not instantly recognise but may come to love… The Accordionist satisfies the most ardent noir strictures; slightly subversive, strong plotting, droll humour, inventive twists and elegant prose. This is a real treat for lovers of intelligent crime fiction

Paul Burke, Nudge

Shockingly original, disturbingly eccentric and massively involving, Vargas books are a step beyond ordinary crime fiction and take you on a startling journey… Their quirky interplay and unconventional way of thinking…makes for a droll, entertaining read. Translator Sián Reynolds has a knack of rendering their cadences and ticks into readable English


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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    August 28, 2017

    Harvill Secker

    256 pages

    RRP $35.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • Hardback


    August 15, 2017

    Harvill Secker

    256 pages

    RRP $48.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

Also by Fred Vargas

A Climate of Fear
Dog Will Have His Day
The Ghost Riders of Ordebec
An Uncertain Place
The Chalk Circle Man
This Night's Foul Work
The Three Evangelists
Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand
Have Mercy on Us All


The Thirst
Make Me
The Girl on the Train
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
The Handmaid's Tale
The Travelling Cat Chronicles
To Kill A Mockingbird
After the Fire
Norwegian Wood
A Gentleman in Moscow
Best Laid Plans
Angels And Demons
The Heart's Invisible Furies
The Black Book
Dragonfly In Amber
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Golden Age
The Golden House
Swing Time