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.
Author: Irene Nireovsky
Two novellas and some appendices make up this book. The two fiction pieces were intended to be part of a series of books about France during World War II, but the author, Irene Nemirovsky died in a concentration camp in August 1942, and that is what makes up the non-fiction element of this book. Of course the real like story of Nemirovsky, and how this book came to be published makes up a large element of the media coverage surrounding the novel, but the fiction element alone deserves attention. The background, and fact that it was written as these events were taking place, adds to the work as a whole.
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.