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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive Writer
Views on Fred Vargas could hardly be more divided with the same book getting one star and five star reviews.

I can only conclude that some people naturally tune into her world and some people expect something different and are confused/unsatisfied by it. Although they contain crime and detection they don't really fit into that genre. Finding out who did it is...
Published on 2 April 2009 by Charles Jones

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I was shocked by poor quality of the writing in this thriller. The author is widely acclaimed by literary critics and this book has won an international award. But the plot is ludicrous, the story developments are laughably contrived, the characters are lifeless, the running jokes are unfunny. Worst of all for a thriller, there is absolutely no tension. Lots of...
Published on 26 May 2011 by Strikethree


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive Writer, 2 April 2009
By 
Charles Jones (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand (Commissaire Adamsberg) (Paperback)
Views on Fred Vargas could hardly be more divided with the same book getting one star and five star reviews.

I can only conclude that some people naturally tune into her world and some people expect something different and are confused/unsatisfied by it. Although they contain crime and detection they don't really fit into that genre. Finding out who did it is largely incidental and if realism is what you're after you'll be disappointed. If you want to lose yourself in an alternative reality and you enjoy the quirky and eccentric then you're in for a treat.

If you like her books, as I do, you can't wait for the next translation to come out! I hope she's writing more to keep the translators going!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get to the half way mark, 24 Oct 2007
By 
SJSmith (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This book is amazing! I started it with a struggle. Read the first few chapters and wondered whether or not to put it down and I'm pleased I decided the writing was worth perservering. Fred Vargas has such a good command of language; her writing is tremendous and it was this alone that kept me going. The translation is fine and I can't comment on how much work the translator has done.

The characters take a little bit of time to warm to but Adamsberg, the lead character, has such an amazing mind. Join all of the best detectives together and you have this one. The description of the the characters eventually brings them all to life - male or female. As the narrative is so well written you feel like you're in their minds and unsure who to trust.

The plot is adequately discussed in the blurb that it needs little clarification. Judge Fulgence didn't quite come to life as much as I was hoping but then I felt he wasn't the centre stage here and that it was as much about Adamsberg's journey for truth as it was the story of the Judge.

With unlikely heroes and heroines and the reader being taken down some wonderful paths this novel is one to be savoured rather than devoured. Minor characters change direction and suddenly have massive parts to play; characters that you thought you could trust arouse suspicion. All the elements necessary for a GOOD crime fiction novel.

This is my first novel by Fred Vargas and I would happily read something else she has written. Take your time, don't rush it and if you aren't enjoying it as you approach the half way mark then that's the time to stop.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fred Vargas - Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand, 1 Jan 2008
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand (Commissaire Adamsberg) (Paperback)
I know of no other writer who could possibly pull off the kind of books Vargas writes - eccentric, witty crime novels in which the protagonist wilfully embraces the impossible, and it turn out to be correct. She is a true marvel. Adamsberg is a genius creation - intuitive, thoughtful, stubborn, romantic and very, very interesting. And her plots are works of wicked, imaginative genius as well. She's a marvel and we are immensely lucky that her books are being translated into English. Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand is supremely intelligent crime fiction, written with sprightliness and wit, at the same time as being completely bonkers. It's absolutely first-class entertainment.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 26 May 2011
This review is from: Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand (Commissaire Adamsberg) (Paperback)
I was shocked by poor quality of the writing in this thriller. The author is widely acclaimed by literary critics and this book has won an international award. But the plot is ludicrous, the story developments are laughably contrived, the characters are lifeless, the running jokes are unfunny. Worst of all for a thriller, there is absolutely no tension. Lots of quirkiness, but it's bolted on. This isn't real "writing".
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5.0 out of 5 stars wash this blood clean from my hand, 17 Mar 2013
This review is from: Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand (Commissaire Adamsberg) (Paperback)
Please write more, fred vargas. i imagine if you are french you get even more out of these books as there seems to be an ironical undertone which we might miss. the characters are wonderful, slightly dickensian, and each new publication is a great event in our reading life. i wish there were more
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendously enjoyable, 26 April 2011
By 
M. V. Clarke (Durham, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand (Commissaire Adamsberg) (Paperback)
Another marvellous entry in Vargas' highly eccentric series starring Commissaire Adamsberg. Adamsberg is convinced that he knows the true identity of the perpetrator of several murders that took place over a 60-year period, despite confessions for them having been made by other individuals. His knowledge is based on events in his youth and he manages to persuade colleagues to join him in his quest for justice. Interweaved with this is a trip to Canada for some specialist training, in which Adamsberg himself is suspected of a murder that takes place in the same way as all the others. His dramatic attempts to evade capture and prove the identity of the perpetrator make for a fast-paced and energetic finale. Highly recommended, unconventional, and engaging.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Larger than life but fascinating, 6 Aug 2009
By 
Huck Flynn "huckleberry" (northern ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand (Commissaire Adamsberg) (Paperback)
I'd warn those new to Vargas not to expect totally believeable plots or painstaking proceduralism. Her detective Adamsberg is charismatic and wondrous strange - Maigret on a Sherlock Holmesian trip. In Wash This Blood the Parisian detective is chasing a ghost murderer from his past - the shadowy Judge whom he suspects of rising from the grave to continue his serial killing career with a 3 pronged garden fork (i kid you not). Adamsberg then ends up making enemies of the Canadian Mounties (yes, honestly) in a series of bizarre twists. It's wonderful! Why? Well because the plot is fiendishly macabre, amusing, complex, melodramatic and gripping. Adamsberg and colleagues (particularly Dangler and Retancourt) are eccentric and interesting, the dialogue witty. Ok there are faults but the charm of the story outweighs those if you are prepared to suspend your disbelief and treat it as an entertainment. It's intelligent escapism. Stay away if you want gritty realism.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mahjong-inspired killing spree, 31 Aug 2011
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This review is from: Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand (Commissaire Adamsberg) (Paperback)
Fred Vargas defies and challenges all conventions and expectations about police procedurals.
This 5th volume in a series of nine so far, is a high point in Fred Vargas' tale of the cases of Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg J-BA), who heads a 28-strong Crime Brigade in Paris. J-BA grew up in the Pyrenees with five sisters and RaphaŽl, a kid brother first mentioned in this book. This is evidence of a deep trauma: For 30 years J-BA has been collecting evidence to exonerate his missing brother from killing his (pregnant) girl friend with three stabs in a straight line. At the time the brothers were 18 and 16... And already at the time of this murder J-BA knew who really killed the girl. He has since then assembled 7 more murder files about his suspect, a feared judge, but he was never able to prove anything. The judge controlled many people in sensitive positions and moved soon after a murder, to remain dormant for years. All 8 victims (M/F; old,/young, rich/poor) were killed as if by a trident in the belly area, same depth, marginal variations in width, always in a perfectly straight line. The judge passed away in the 1980s. J-BA attended his burial.
Sixteen years later, a girl is found dead in the Strasbourg area with similar wounds and J-BA is rattled. In Strasbourg he upsets his police counterpart, with worse to come, but gains added food for thought. He soon moves to Quebec, Canada as head of a team of eight for a DNA-course. There, J-BA falls into a devious trap. A girl he slept with is found dead with the trident's markings. To save his skin, he smuggles himself back to France, where he is wanted and far from safe...
The attraction of Fred Vargas (a she, historian, archaeologist)'s books is the characters, the dialogues, the ideas and the atmosphere. But not the plots. FV regularly paints herself into a corner and time and again she has to perform a Houdini act to free herself from self-imposed locks and chains to produce a credible finish. This book goes out with a bang. J-BA is reunited with kid brother RaphaŽl and is made to realize that he is a father. Dense, warm book.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The cult of the weird, 2 Feb 2008
By 
Ann Fairweather (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand (Commissaire Adamsberg) (Paperback)
Why can I not stop reading Fred Vargas, when her books get on my nerves so much ? Do I enjoy being irritated as well as hooked ? This a bizarre phenonmenon as I know I will carry on reading further adventures of Commissaire Adamsberg yet I find Vargas's latest two books (in french 'Sous les vents de Neptune' and 'Dans les bois eternels') way over the top in term of weirdness with totally incredible, crazy plots. What was initially endearing and quaint in Adamsberg's character and behaviour has become systematic oddities, yet it is true that Vargas is for exactly these very same reasons, a highly unusual crime writer and you will meet in her books characters and stories that no one else could dream of.
A reluctant fan, then, but fan all the same !
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars French detective with Gallic charm and sheer class, 6 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand (Commissaire Adamsberg) (Paperback)
I keep forgetting just how much I enjoy Fred Vargas. I picked up the first three novels a couple of years ago and devoured them but got distracted by other works and never went further. However I heard mention of one of the novels on a radio 4 book programme a couple of months ago and bought the next three in paperback.

'Wash this blood' starts off as an obsession - Commissaire Adamsberg is reminded of a period in his earlier life when his brother was accused of murder and Adamsberg had to lie to protect him. He had plotted the path of serial killer across France for 40 years but had assumed that when his main suspect (a powerful judge) had died then that was an end. Now someone else has been killed in a similar way and Adamsberg is confused.

The first three hundred pages are wonderful. Sian Reynolds translates with wonderful sense of pace and space, characters are well drawn and even newcomers could pick up the nuances quickly. Adamsberg is a fascinating character and his mercurial mind is well-served by the writing.

In fact the only thing less than satisfying about the book is the denouement. The links seem forced and the motive rushed. The rest is just perfect reading for a winter's evening.
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Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand (Commissaire Adamsberg)
Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand (Commissaire Adamsberg) by Fred Vargas (Paperback - 3 Jan 2008)
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