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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fred Vargas - The Chalk-Circle Man
"The Chalk Circle Man" is the very welcome first novel of Vargas' Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg series, the eccentric French series featuring an eccentric French policeman who investigates by intuition and instinct, and arrests people against logic. And always gets his man.

Mysterious chalk circles have started to appear on the streets of Paris. Drawn overnight, they...
Published on 19 Mar 2009 by RachelWalker

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I hoped
Fred Vargas is a new author for me. The blurbs on the book-cover promised something really good and so starting with high expectations I was disappointed by a rather meandering story with implausible characters. The story lacks tension and didn't, for me at least, make me eager to find out what happens next. I can take some pretty far fetched motives for murder in...
Published on 28 April 2009 by Bluebell


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5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and quirky - The best of French crime writing., 9 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Chalk Circle Man (Commissaire Adamsberg) (Paperback)
Another fabulously dark, quirky story involving Commissaire Adamsberg and his side-kick Danglard. Another winner from the Queen of French crime writing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars chalk circle man, 22 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Chalk Circle Man (Commissaire Adamsberg) (Paperback)
i bought his on reading reviews,but to be honest it didn't reach my expectations.Probably me, as i like a faster moving story & this was slower than i liked.It was an okay tale , just not for me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Powers of Intuition, 11 Aug 2011
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This review is from: The Chalk Circle Man (Commissaire Adamsberg) (Paperback)
How to make a name in crime writing? Fred Vargas turned the genre upside down by breaking as many conventions as possible with this first novel (1996) about Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg (J-BA), newly promoted to Paris, startling his staff with his weird personality and management style. Unlike his predecessor who barked orders, J-BA is detached, not indifferent, but still, a hard to follow quantity.
In his Pyrenees homeland, he baffled colleagues with his case-solving abilities, done without induction or deduction, but based on instinct, intuition, feelings and emotions, always confirmed by forensic evidence from colleagues and many confessions. Ruefully, he confesses in this book that he has never misread another person.
His first case in Paris involves a mysterious person who draws blue circles with chalk around small objects on the pavement. It attracts the attention of Paris newspapers. After dozens of reports about all sorts of innocent items, J-BA feels that the circling in blue chalk exudes cruelty. When a dead mouse, than a dead cat are found in the middle of fresh blue circles, he knows this is not a prank. This will get bigger... And sure enough, soon after a 51-year old woman is found in another blue circle, her throat cut, dead. Now J-BA has a case he felt was coming. Will it be just this one murder or are more to come? That is for readers to find out.
In her native France, Fred Vargas is a bestseller authour. She is a historian, archaeologist, writer and activist. Her seven or eight sequels to this, J-BA's first appearance, have sold well in France, and so well in EN translation to convince publishers to extend the series again and again. But straightlaced Germany has shown little enthusiasm.
What explains the success of this book and the ensuing series? FV's books appeal more to women than to men. They deal with feelings rather than with violence or results, with assertive women dealing with meek, scatter-brained men like J-BA. This book and its sequels are recommended for readers who enjoy bizarre plots and eccentric characters, solving cryptograms, France, and lateral thinking.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky crime. Great stuff., 17 Jun 2011
By 
lovemurakami "tooty2" (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Chalk Circle Man (Commissaire Adamsberg) (Paperback)
First of the Detective Adamsberg series which are set in Paris. Adamsberg is one of the most unusual policemen in literature. He is an eccentric French policeman who investigates by intuition and instinct, and arrests people against logic, and he has become famous owing to the amount of correct arrests he makes.

In this first novel, mysterious chalk circles have been appearing around Paris, in the centre are bizarre items, a rose head off a watering can, etc, and around the circle there is always the same quotation. Most commentators in Paris think it is just an oddball, whereas Adamsberg sits and waits for the worst, and the worst happens!

If you love quirky, unusual, well written, crime with great characters then this is for you. Adamsberg is a great central character who is supported ably by a fantastic array of other quirky, people. Well worth a try, if you are looking for something different from the usual police procedural.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Parisien thriller, 29 Dec 2010
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This review is from: The Chalk Circle Man (Commissaire Adamsberg) (Paperback)
I love Fred Vargas' novels and this one introduces us to Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg and his team. The writing here is fluid and compelling, the characters are quirky and interesting and the plot is satisfyingly twisted. A great read for fans of Euro-crime.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointed, 27 July 2012
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R. W. M. Lally (Watford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Chalk Circle Man (Commissaire Adamsberg) (Paperback)
I was very disappointed with this book. I gave up half way through because it was getting so irritating.

I think the main problem is the translation is very poor. Many words and phrases jar because they are neither good english nor french-feeling.

Because the translation is so poor I do not feel I can comment on how good the book is - it may be perfectly readable in French for all I know.

For English readers wanting to read about a French detective, I recommend the Henri Castang series by Nicolas Freeling.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly quirky, 18 Feb 2009
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Simon Clarke (Hackney, London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Chalk Circle Man (Paperback)
This is the first in the excellent series of the
Commissionaire Adamsberg novels,although the latest to
be translated into English.It is a brilliantly quirky novel.
Adamsberg has recently been appointed Commissionare,and
moved to Paris,when his attention is diverted to the phenomenon
of blue chalk circles appearing overnight on the streets of Paris,
with an object,such as ,a dead cat,a lighter or an 'I love Elvis'
button in the middle of the circle.The press become interested,
but Adamsberg suspects something more sinister is afoot.So it
proves when a dead body is found in the middle of a circle.
We are introduced to Adamsberg's highly intuitive and
individual ways of working,and the book is peopled by characters
with fascinating eccentricities,which make this a most entertaining
and original read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 27 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Chalk Circle Man (Commissaire Adamsberg) (Paperback)
Not for me- I lost interest about half way through.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written and original but a bit slow, 21 April 2009
By 
Emanon (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Chalk Circle Man (Paperback)
An earlier reviewer said that this book lacked suspense. I have to agree. It just ambled along, although it was populated by interesting characters and had a good ending. I'm not sure it was entirely believable but with a little more speed it could have been four stars.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly enjoyable read, 13 Mar 2009
By 
Mr. S. P. Downs (Boringstoke) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Chalk Circle Man (Paperback)
Vargas has an easy writing style, her characters are rich yet not too detailed, and the story (which I wont go into) was fast flowing with a good twist at the end to finish it off nicely.

The main character was likeable and yet also a little mysterious in his ways. This is not a complex nor detailed murder mystery as you would expect from say Patterson, but it was definitely a fun read leaving you with a taste for another of her series. I would definitely recommend especially if you want something light to read.
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The Chalk Circle Man (Commissaire Adamsberg)
The Chalk Circle Man (Commissaire Adamsberg) by Fred Vargas (Paperback - 4 Feb 2010)
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