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Dog Will Have His Day by Fred Vargas

Dog Will Have His Day (1996)

by Fred Vargas

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Three Evangelists (2)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This is the second of the "three evangelist" novels but only two of the evangelists take part in it, Marc and Mathias. Instead, the main character is Louis (or Ludwig) Kehlweiler, who was booted out of some ministry and goes around investigating things that others wouldn't think anything of and keeping voluminous files of newspaper clippings from all over France; he also has a bevy of others who report on things to him. He is the son of a German soldier and a French woman and has been known all his life, not in a complimentary fashion, as "the German." At the end, his story, and it is a wild one, comes out.

But to get back to the plot, in the course of his just puttering around and noticing things, Louis discovers a toe joint, which turns out to be a woman's. He enlists Marc, who has been helping him file his newspaper clipping, in interviewing dog owners who come to the same enclosure where he found the toe because he has determined that a dog ate the bone and excreted it and the torrential rain washed it clean. Eventually, the trail leads to Brittany, where a cast of characters muddles the investigation. But eventually, of course, Louis discovers the killer, who it turns out has killed before, and a sordid tale it is.

As always, the characters make a Vargas mystery and not the plot, which is engaging but secondary.
1 vote rebeccanyc | Mar 26, 2016 |
This is the second "Three Evangelists" book, although in practice only Marc and Matthieu play any role in this one: Lucien and Vandoosler Sr. have brief walk-on parts, whilst Adamsberg is mentioned but doesn't appear. The central character is someone new: Louis (or Ludwig) Kehlweiler, a former civil servant who has been pushed into early retirement because he is too good at what he calls "déminage" (mine-clearance), i.e. finding buried scandals in the ministry. By chance he spots something suspicious among the dog-waste under a tree on a Paris street, a bone that turns out to be a phalange from a human toe. It has evidently been through a dog's digestive system, but how did it get there?

The trail leads to a village in a remote corner of Brittany where it rains all the time and a small band of indomitable Gauls the locals play pub games, seek answers to life's big questions from a mechanical sculpture, and sell thalassothérapie to gullible visitors. Vargas has fun with the human tendency to build sense out of things even when we know they are random, with the pleasures of getting up late, the philosophy of pinball, pool and billiards, and a lot of other apparently irrelevant things, but underneath it all there's a reasonably solid murder mystery.

Fun, and with some very nice lines here and there, but probably not one of her best. ( )
1 vote thorold | Mar 13, 2016 |
It's always a joy to read a Vargas book, that wonderful creator of the fabulous Commissaire Adamsberg series. This book though does not feature Adamsberg, predating all but one in fact of the Adamsberg titles. Originally published back in 1996, it is the second of three in The Three Evangelists series, we await the third in translation.

This book features Parisian Louis, or Ludwig, Kehlweiler, who, having discovered a human toe bone that was deposited by a dog (!) near his regular park bench, sets about investigating its source and, as he suspects, a possible murder. This investigation takes Louis and his pet toad (!) ,which he keeps in his pocket, to a town in Brittany as he follows the trail of the offending dog and his walker. Here an old woman has been found dead on a beach, minus of course a toe!

The book is full of interesting and colourful characters, some you might even think eccentric, but that is what you come to expect from Vargas and it is only one of her many great strengths as a writer. There is Louis of course, a former investigator with the Ministry of Justice; old Marthé, a former prostitute; Marc, a medievalist and one of the evangelists; and then too the dog walker and collector of old typewriters. Vargas also here paints a vivid and interesting picture of a provincial town and Breton life.

This book is a wonderful crime mystery and an entertaining journey that was a delight to read and one which will surely hook you forever to the Vargas wagon. Read and enjoy. ( )
  ebyrne41 | Jan 9, 2015 |
Translated from the French, this is a quirky mystery in which a recently retired official from the "ministry" discovers a small bone in some dog poop near a bench and sets out to discover how it got there. ( )
  CarterPJ | Oct 10, 2014 |
I really did find this Fred Vargas novel a most peculiar read. That was probably I have never read the first in The Three Evangelists series and kept expecting her usual sleuth, Inspector Adamsberg, to make an appearance.

The little piece of human bone that Louis Kehlweiler finds convinces him that a murder has taken place. But his contacts tell him that no murder of an elderly woman has been reported. After a week he decides the murder has not taken place in Paris but in the country. By watching the dogs that visit a particular tree in Paris, he identifies one that has come from the country and that leads him to a fishing village in Breton.

A review in The Independent called it a "bizarre tale" with "surreal touches" and it certainly is, but at the same time as stretching the bounds of credibility, there is something compelling about reading it.
Keihlweiler ends up not only identifying a multiple murderer, and tracking down a former lover, but also solving a puzzle related to his own family history. Throw in too an Incredible Machine that performs the role of a modern oracle, with the whole story delivered with patches of quirky humour. ( )
  smik | Aug 6, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fred Vargasprimary authorall editionscalculated
Botto, MargheritaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reynolds, SiânTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Keeping watch under the windows of the Paris flat belonging to a politician's nephew, ex-cop Louis Kehlweiler catches sight of something odd on the pavement. A small white object, surrounded by the excrement of local dogs. A piece of bone. Human bone, in fact. Naturally, when Kehlweiler takes his find to the nearest police station, he faces ridicule. But the tiny fragment obsesses him so much that he stops shadowing suspicious characters in Paris and follows the trail to the tiny Breton fishing village of Port-Nicolas. Because someone there owns a pit bull terrier. A dog that would take a bite out of anything. Even the foot of a corpse. But where is the corpse? Or the murderer?… (more)

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