Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas

The Commissaire Adamsberg novels are a joy for anyone who wants a thrilling story plus the bonus of being immersed all things French - the lifestyle, idioms and attitudes - set in the wonderful City of Light.

Fresh from the rural backblocks, scruffy, genial Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg takes up his new role leading a team of Paris detectives, promoted because of his stunning success at solving crimes. He’s not your usual detective though. He doesn’t do things by the book, he’s vague and disappears for hours on end, strolling about and sitting in cafes. But Adamsberg has an unusual talent: he can tell when someone is capable of cruelty.

In The Chalk Circle Man, Paris is talking about mysterious chalk circles that appear on the pavements at night, and the peculiar objects left inside them. Before long, Adamsberg’s worst fears are realised, and a dead body is discovered inside the next chalk circle. As more bodies appear, the police must ask themselves if this is the work of a serial killer, or if there’s an evil purpose to the killings.

The Commissaire is helped by Inspector Danglard, who is as smartly dressed as Adamsberg is dishevelled, and an attractive marine biologist who studies people as well as fish. There’s plenty of dialogue and the story seems to be more about character than action, until the end when an exciting manhunt turns up a brilliant surprise finale.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue LinkThe Chalk Circle Man

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