A modern-day town crier gets some ominous messages to read about impending pestilence in Paris while mysterious backwards 4s begin appearing on doors. The 2001 policier by French crime novelist Fred Vargas was translated into English by David Bellos and adapted into a movie by Régis Wargnier. Colorful characters, understated humor, and the complexity of Chief Inspector Adamsberg come through in the translation, not so much in the movie — although it still holds up as a competent urban thriller. A sophisticated who-dun-it with a twist of plague.
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