I think Fred Vargas is one of the best detective fiction writers going. Her characters, albeit quirky, resonate as most seem to have human failings and problems and still manage to function effectively as a team. The chief protagonist, Adamsberg, is a philandering, dishevelled chief inspector with a taste for the drink, yet with many admirable qualities.
If you like "American" style detective books with superhero type characters, this is not a book for you. However if you like the Simenon type of French detective, then this is an excellent series. Although stand alone, a chronological reading is best.
The fourth book in the Commissaire Adamsberg series
Although this was the first book by Fred Vargas to be available in an English translation, it falls about midway in the series. Her Wikipedia page has a chronology with dates for both French and English versions, to help with reading order for Anglos.
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