Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Author of the Month for May - Fred Vargas

Spring may be here, and today the sun is indeed shining, but our author of the month is guaranteed to send a shiver down your spine.

French historian and archaeologist Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau, writing as Fred Vargas (she has adopted the same nom de plume - the name of the Ava Gardner character in The Barefoot Contessa - as her twin sister Jo Vargas, a successful artist) says she began writing as a way to relax from her day job and chose crime " because crime novels, by resolving the problems they set themselves, seem to resolve life's problems ".  Her work often influences and informs her writing, particularly her research into the  epidemiology of the Black Death and bubonic plague which is evident in the novel Have Mercy on Us All.

Although Vargas is modest about her novels saying "I'm not a writer. I'm telling stories, that's all. I'm unable to feel like a writer, it's too big for me," , and even describing her books as "silly" stories, she also seems to recognise the place of crime writing within the literary tradition, and suggests why such works remain popular and relevant in modern times - "Detective stories are like legends and fairy tales. Big stories, animal stories, not intellectual stories, never. They are about the danger of life."

Three times winner of Crime Writers Association International Dagger award (along with her translator Sîan Reynolds), Vargas has created an intriguing and engaging character in Superintendent Adamsberg, a policeman who works by intuition, not intellect. Adamsberg's contemplative and self-contained style of detection may seem at odds with other rather more  high-octane crime fiction but it clearly strikes a chord with Vargas's readers, and indeed the author herself, who says of her central character, "He's the opposite of me.  Me, I wear myself out trying to get everything done, to resolve everything in my life. Sometimes I try do do things slowly, indifferently, like he does. It infuriates me. Writing Adamsberg calms me down."

What better way to spend an afternoon than sitting in the sun engrossed in an intriguing tale of murder and mystery? Unfortunately we can't guarantee the sun, but whatever the weather we can lend you some gripping crime writing courtesy of Fred Vargas.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Can't make it along the street for a chat? Leave us a comment instead, we love hearing from you.