An uncertain place
An Uncertain Place - Fred Vargas

Translated by Sian Reynolds. An Inspector Adamsberg novel #6 Adamsberg is in England at a European policing convention, discussing immigration […]

The chalk circle man

Author: Fred Vargas ; trans from the french by Sian Reynolds
An Adamsberg novel

Chief Inspector Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg has recently been transferred to Paris. His police methods aren’t exactly standard procedure and his inspectors have a lot to get used to. But they can have no doubt that he is a born policeman, and while even he is unable to explain how he arrives at his conclusions he is usually correct. In this case he thinks that there is something strange about the blue chalk circles that have been appearing in the Parisian streets. He is convinced that there is something sinister about them.

Wash this blood clean from my hand

trans. Sian Reynolds
I’m a huge fan of Fred Vargas’ work. And this book is no exception. The star, once more, is Commissaire Adamsberg. The plot revolves around a series of murders, the first in 1943, the latest takes place in the present of the book. Adamsberg has a special interest in this case, and the judge he believes to have committed these crimes. In each case the murder victim is killed by three stab wounds. And in each case an assailant has been found, always suffering from amnesia but also having a murder weapon in his possession. In each case the police decide that this individual is responsible and, there you go, case closed. Adamsberg is not so sure.

The Three Evangelists

The first Vargas book I read was Seeking Whom He May Devour, which I loved, and the reason I picked it up was because I liked the cover, well, this one doesn’t have quite such a gripping cover, but it really did grow on me. It is quite simple, just a tree picked out by a shaft of light in a garden, everything else is half hidden in the darkness. It really suits the story.

As I’ve mentioned before characters are what make, or break, a book for me. And this book has great, if slightly odd, stars. Eccentric is probably the polite term.

Seeking Whom He May Devour

Fred Vargas Trans from the French: David Bellos
Yes again a cover influenced purchase, so I am glad to report that a good cover can lead to a good read too. I really enjoyed this book. The language, characters and descriptions are fantastic, so I suppose a lot of praise must also go to the translater as well.

The book opens with the character of Lawrence Donald Johnstone, a Canadian in France to film wolves. He’s been away from his true love, grizzly bears, for far too long, and is rooting in in Mercantour. Not only for the skinny European wolves, although he has come to love them, but also because there’s a woman, Camille, in his life.

But when dead sheep, always ewes are found the locals begin to look at the “foreign Italian wolves” with suspicion and hate. They organise local hunts. Coming to believe that it is all the work of one, huge, extraordinary animal.