Fred Vargas is an archaeologist but also a very accomplished author. A few years ago I enjoyed The Three Evangelists and was similarly impressed by The Ghost Riders of Ordebec. Both are set in her native France and I will mainly concentrate on the latter book, which I remember more clearly.
The lead character is Commissaire Adamsberg, who takes a circuitous route in his investigations but does so both to allow hunches to prove themselves and to make room for compassion. Here is a hero who is an admirable person and, unlike many other fictional detectives, not weighed down by issues like alcoholism. I found the writing evocative; not fast-paced but drawing on an engaging sense of connection.
Therefore Vargas and her investigations of France are high on my list of works to seek out and read.