The Chalk Circle Man (Commissaire Adamsberg) Paperback – 4 Feb 2010
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"Rich and witty" (Independent)
"She wants to surprise, unsettle, frustrate and amuse - and succeeds in writing a gripping novel that takes readers out of their comfort zones" (The Scotsman)
"The hottest property in contemporary crime fiction" (Guardian)
"The novel shows Vargas in riveting form right from the start of her writing career" (The Times)
"Witty, inventive and vaguely surreal, this novel should win over the most diehard crime fiction fans" (Melissa McClemets Financial Times)
"The wonderful Commissaire Adamsberg novels by... Fred Vargas have been runaway successes in Britain." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Mysterious chalk circles have started to appear on the streets of Paris. Drawn overnight, they contain increasingly bizarre objects: a pigeon's foot, cigarette lighters, a hat, a doll's head. Are they there to draw attention to discarded rubbish? Or does the artist put the items inside the circles? Is it for amusement, or is it for something more sinister? Adamsberg tends towards the latter option, and, being the man he is, keeps a close eye on the newspaper reports, which treat the circles as a silly practical joke. That is, they do until something far more sinister turns up in one of the blue circles: the body of a woman with her throat cut. Adamsberg's instincts are proved right, and he begins digging into the case in earnest. But his crucial question is: is the blue chalk circle man the killer, or is the killer a clever opportunist who has spotted a great moment to muddy some waters?
By now, anyone familiar with Vargas' work will not be remotely surprised by such a quirky synopsis, and, indeed, would probably be delighted to read something so seemingly bizarre! And I don't think they'd be disappointed, because the first Adamsberg novel is a perfect example of Vargas's fiction. It's the shortest of her works so far, the most succinct, the one most unclouded by subplots: Vargas takes her odd starting point by the scruff of the neck and turns it into the most streamlined and straightforward of her novels so far.Read more ›
Some of the characters are entertaining, such as the beautiful Mathilde, a famous marine biologist, only really happy deep-sea diving, who spends her time when on dry ground following and observing strangers. I liked her glass table with a built-in aquarium. However, the main characters are all highly eccentric and somewhat unrealistic. I enjoyed some of the quirky dialogue and was prepared to go with the flow of the off-the-wall plot until it reverted abruptly to the kind of trite, contrived thriller overfull of coincidences with a hero who keeps presenting his bemused colleagues with the next piece in the jigsaw, obtained through his latest light-bulb moment.
Some of the English translation is a little oddly worded perhaps partly because the distinctive whimsical quality is hard to capture in English.
Not sure I'll read any more in the series........
Someone is drawing chalk circles on the streets of Paris. Initially, each surrounds such mundane items such as an old handbag, a cotton bud, a one-franc coin, a torch battery, or a screwdriver. Things change the night the circle contains the body of a woman whose throat has been slashed.
I am so glad to have found this series, although I started at the most recent book and am now starting at the first and reading forward. The book has a wonderful voice; you can hear the cadence of French in the dialogue.
The characters are fascinating. Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg is a fascinating character and the fact that I can't form a mental picture of him is more fascinating than frustrating. I liked the unexpected connection between math and Adamsburg, which made perfect sense once I thought about it. I enjoyed his observations, realizations and introspections about himself and his idea of a universal uniform. Once he explained his logic for identifying the killer, it made perfect sense as all the clues were there. Adamsberg follows no discernable procedure but seems to `know' things is balanced wonderfully by Insp. Adrien Danglard who believes in the procedure, is raising five children on his own, indulges in too much white wine and discusses his cases with his children. In this book, there is also Mathelde, who brusqueness I enjoyed, as well as the way she sections her week and her various tables, particularly her Cosmic table.
The book's plot is cleverly done with a twist at the end which explains the killer's motive. I am very glad I read other books by this author before this one or I may not have liked it as well.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fred Vargas is my new favourite - a really good read, interesting characters. She has two translators, one much better than the other. Can't wait for her latest to be translated.Published 1 month ago by Myco
Reread multiple times. Fanciful and philosophical while underneath it all, creepy crime. I like the style and though I knew the killer and a vague idea of what the sequence of... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jaz (Cloud Child)
This is a good read. Quite unusual and different. Her characters launch into long speeches that wind around in fascinating ways. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Annett
Another good plot though how the guilty party managed his day time activities seems a bit stretched!Published 11 months ago by Diane Kenny
There is a lot of noise about Vargas , but I am not a fan. I gobbled Lemaitre's trilogy in a week but I really struggled with this one,. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Cfc Caumartin