The attack left Veyrenc with physical as well as mental scars, and his family background has delivered an extraordinary ability to speak in alexandrines, rhyming lines of twelve syllables that were a staple of Baroque German literature, modern French poetry and English drama before Marlowe and Shakespeare. In another series this would be remarkable, here it's an almost regulation personal quirk.

There's no obvious link between the are they or are they not drug related? deaths under investigation and shootings of stags in Normandy, and Adamsberg only encounters those incidents because he's called to babysit young Tom while Camille plays cello in an orchestral concert. 

The Norman villagers outraged at these seemingly senseless acts have their own foibles, as you'd expect, and Adamsberg's drawn into investigating aspects of those killings which, as readers familiar with the quirks of Vargas' plot lines would have come to expect, turn out to be related to this other case.

The most likely suspect seems to be a recently-escaped elderly district nurse, jailed for more than thirty killings of old people and possibly out for revenge on Adamsberg, who, predictably, cracked  the case. There's also the possibility  she's gathering the ingredients for a potion that will deliver eternal life, and the deaths that kicked the story off would seem to be part of that. There are seemingly accidental deaths of Norman virgins whose graves have  been disturbed, more than likely by the two men whose bodies Adamsberg wants to keep out of the clutches of the drug squad, as part of the process of gathering those ingredients.

That quest for the eternal elixir might also explain the mysterious disappearance of possibly-virginal Violette Retancourt, a matter that is resolved when her unconscious body is located by Snowball the tracker cat.

It would be quite possible to go further into the intricacies and interlinkings as Adamsberg goes about another instinctive investigation, but out of consideration for the reader, I'm inclined to draw a veil over those matters, pausing only, on the way out, to point out that This Night’s Foul Work is a worthy addition to a series that will eventually find its way, complete, onto Hughesy's bookshelves. 

Between public libraries in Bowen and southport and book shop purchases I've read the remainder of the series, and as we keep our eyes peeled for An Uncertain Place and subsequent volumes there's definitely a place for rereading their precedents, which means they need to find their way onto the shelves, don't they?

© Ian Hughes 2012