Quote 2

God whispers in his ear, one agent had insisted after a particularly impressive display of Fache’s sixth sense. Collet had to admit, if there was a God, Bezu Fache would be on his A-list. The captain attended mass and confession with zealous regularity—far more than the requisite holiday attendance fulfilled by other officials in the name of good public relations.

This description of the French Judicial Police Chief’s supernatural sixth sense is an example of the false clues and mysteries that Dan Brown sprinkles throughout the text. This paragraph comes early in the novel, and it plants the idea that Fache, who has at this point made a dramatic effort to arrest Langdon for the murder of Saunière, might be involved with an evil force such as Opus Dei or the Church itself. The cross that Fache wears is mentioned, as is the fact that he lost a lot of money recently in speculating on technology. The reader is meant to think that Fache might be involved with the Church and the killings for reasons of money and faith. Later, Brown reveals that Fache had nothing to do with Saunière’s killings, and that the insinuations of Fache’s guilt were a red herring meant to throw us off of Teabing’s trail.

This passage also highlights a fundamental problem of the typical thriller novel. In literary novels, characters develop slowly. In thrillers, character development is sometimes sacrificed for the sake of suspense. Bezu Fache, who functions largely as a false clue, does not have depth of personality. After Brown strips away the reader’s bad impression of him, almost no impression is left at all.