Translated from the French, Fred Vargas’s This Poison Will Remain beings Commissaire Adamsberg his most devilish and complicated mystery yet.

The four-time winner of CWA’s International Dagger, Vargas has a creative bent with an imagination that makes the books as whimsical as her protagonist while at the same time detailing a complex plot and storyline.

Adamsberg is called back from a trip to Iceland for a hit-and-run investigation, but his imagination is caught by the deaths of three men killed by brown recluse spider bites.

With the first case ingeniously and quickly solved, the detective must fight some members of his own team while pursuing what some feel is a ridiculous investigation as he follows his hunch.

Yet his own research has assured him that these spiders haven’t mutated or suddenly been transformed. To die the way these men have died would have been a Herculean task of collecting their venom.

Adamsberg is convinced these are murders. He has his team set out to find what the possible link there could be between these three men, and finds more than he expected. Is it possible these are revenge murders for incidents that took place decades ago? And the murders continue.

The members of Adamsberg’s team are an unlikely bunch, from a narcoleptic to a strong female lieutenant, from a childhood friend of Adamsberg’s to a naturalist who’s eel stinks up their offices.

There’s no question that Adamsberg’s thought processes range from quirky to odd, but his brilliance in making connections makes this an imaginative read that Auntie M found captivating.