Maine Colonial offers another review of a book in a great series that is too little known. Fred Vargas has created a police inspector who is not quite like those with whom I am familiar.
Fred Vargas: THE CHALK CIRCLE MAN
Vargas tells a leisurely, bittersweet tale. This is no book for anyone looking for a punchy thriller. Commissaire Adamsberg is a ruminative, introspective man. He understands things about people and sees patterns in events that nobody else understands or sees. He’s a melancholy character, misunderstood and lonely, yearning for his petite chérie Camille, who left him without a word. A man from the Pyrenées with a reputation for cracking the most baffling cases, he is now the head of a Parisian police detective team.
When mysterious chalk circles begin appearing on the streets, drawn around various odd small objects and inscribed with the slogan “Victor, woe’s in store, what are you out here for?” Adamsberg knows, as he tells his colleague Danglard, that eventually something much bigger will be found in a circle. Something like a murder victim. Of course, he is correct and Adamsberg leads an investigation that introduces him to several quirky, difficult and intriguing characters. The eventual resolution of the mystery is satisfying.
This is the first of the Commissaire Adamsberg mystery, though it was only recently translated into English. The Adamsberg series doesn’t have to be read in order, though this does make a good introduction to Adamsberg and Danglard.
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