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The Chalk Circle Man (Commissaire Adamsberg #1)

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3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  4,585 Ratings  ·  464 Reviews
Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg is not like other policemen. His methods appear unorthodox in the extreme: he doesn't search for clues; he ignores obvious suspects and arrests people with iron-clad alibis; he appears permanently distracted.
The Chalk Circle Man is the first book featuring Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg, one of the most engaging characters in contemporary detective fictio
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Paperback, 247 pages
Published February 2009 by Harvill Secker (first published 1991)
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Red Iza Yes, it's called "The chalk circle man" - Ed : Vintage :)
Red Iza I honestly didn't get much about Camille, lol ! I know she's the reason why Adamsberg got close with one of the main characters, she's his more or…moreI honestly didn't get much about Camille, lol ! I know she's the reason why Adamsberg got close with one of the main characters, she's his more or less love interest, but that's it... Sorry !(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Agnieszka
The Chalk Circle Man is a crime-mystery story so I’m not going to describe the plot. I’ve never heard about this novel earlier until I read Fionnuala’s write-up and it intrigued me enough to get acquaintanted with commisaire Jean- Baptiste Adamsberg by myself.

I quite enjoyed the story, found some ideas and dialogues clever and though the plot probably will quickly evaporate from my mind yet the protagonists stay a bit longer, I guess. Firstly, a figure of Adamsberg, an antithesis of investigat
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Fionnuala
There's a great piece in this book about the variable potential of the days of the week. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays are the promising ones, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, the more unpredictable ones, and Sundays are such fragile days that it takes very little to mess them up completely.*

Mondays are always the days I begin new projects - I'd never dream of beginning one on a Sunday - so I really related to that scenario. And I could just as easily apply the theory to the hours of the day since
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Elisa
May 13, 2011 Elisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mi domandavo perché faccio lo sbirro. Forse perché in questo mestiere devi cercare delle cose con buone possibilità di trovarle. E ti consola del resto.

All'inizio, quando ho letto che Fred Vargas si è impegnata a scrivere un libro all'anno nel suo mese di vacanza, ho pensato che fosse un po' pressapochista. Suppongo che in un mese di ferie uno non passi la vita attaccato a una storia, avrà anche altro a cui pensare. E un mese sembra poco.

Invece, wow. Fred, tu ci sai fare.
Prima di tutto, l'intre
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Dorian
Feb 22, 2009 Dorian rated it it was ok
I get that Vargas wants a different kind of detective--indeed, Adamsberg is the anti-Sherlock Holmes. No logic or attempt thereat, but rather pure intution, feeling, etc. It's intriguing, but I'm not sure that the genre can be pushed as far in this direction as Vargas thinks.

This isn't a bad book, just one that didn't resonate for me at all. Put it this way: usually I use "peculiar" as an adjective of highest praise. But this is just plain old peculiar.
Laysee
Apr 01, 2017 Laysee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For five days I was in Paris checking out the cafes, listening to cocktail-party gossip, and eagerly following the news about the mysterious “chalk circle man”. For several months, blue chalk circles have popped up like graffiti on the pavements in Paris. Who is the “chalk circle man”? Is he a crackpot? Does he suffer from OCD? The circles enclose random discarded objects (e.g., bottle tops, a hairpin, a one-franc coin, a rotting cat, etc.) like a bad joke. They seem innocuous enough; however, t ...more
LJ
First Sentence: Mathilde took out her diary and wrote: “The man sitting next to me has got one hell of a nerve.”

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 starti
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Charlotte
Mon premier Fred Vargas et je ne suis pas sûre d'avoir vraiment accroché à l'histoire. J'ai trouvé ça un peu longuet malgré le fait que le livre soit court et je n'ai pas du tout été convaincue par la résolution de l'enquête.

Malgré cela, j'ai apprécié les personnages qui changent de ce qu'on trouve d'habitude dans les policiers, je pense donc continuer la série des Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg pour voir si la suite me plaît plus.
Fil
GIOIELLINO DA RILEGGERE

Questo libricino è un piccolo gioiello. Purtroppo l'ho già letto tre volte (o forse quattro) e non voglio rileggerlo soltanto per scrivere questa recensione. Quindi probabilmente non riuscirò a trasmettere quell'entusiasmo che qualche anno fa mi faceva ripetere a parenti ed amici "Conosci Fred Vargas? Conosci il commissario Adamsberg? Hai letto i suoi libri? Devo prestarti il primo? Sicuro che non lo vuoi? Ha uno stile magnifico. Sei proprio sicuro sicuro?".

Mi ricordo pers
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John
Sep 12, 2009 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I hadn't heard of Fred Vargas or her Commissaire Adamsberg novels until I read that this one had won the International Dagger, and that indeed Vargas had won it several times before with other Adamsberg novels. Which was pretty perplexing, as this is the first in the series . . .

The Daggers are awarded for the year of English-language appearance, it transpires. The mystery remains, unsolved by me, of why the books' UK and US publishers chose to translate later volumes before getting round to th
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Lilian
Oct 13, 2009 Lilian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the books I’d put on hold at the library hadn’t arrived yet, I scoured the new books shelf and saw this one. I thought, Well, Vargas. I’ve heard of her. A number of book bloggers like her. It was just translated into English in 2009, but it is the first of the Adamsberg dectective novels, and was published in French in 1991. If I’m reading the chronology right, that’s her second novel. I had avoided Vargas even though she sounded interesting because the plots sounded rather bloody. But in fac ...more
Julie
Sep 28, 2016 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why do anything or write anything? To attract others? Is that it? To seduce people you've never met, as if the ones you have met aren't enough for you? Because you think you can capture the quintessence of the world in a few pages? What quintessence is there anyway? What emotions are there in the world? What can you say? Even the story of the old shrew-mouse isn't interesting enough to tell to anyone. Writing is an admission of failure.
...

"What is the point of it all?" Mathilde immediately aske
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Roberto
A Parigi sui marciapiedi improvvisamente compaiono dei grandi cerchi blu disegnati col gesso accompagnati dalla frase "Victor, malasorte, il domani è alle porte". Al centro di questi cerchi sono posti degli oggetti di scarso valore apparentemente senza senso: un trombone, tappi di bottiglia, lattine, una pinzetta, un vasetto di yogurt, una candela… I giornalisti indagano per soddisfare l’opinione pubblica e gli psicologi interpellati si dividono tra chi ipotizza la mano di un maniaco, e chi uno ...more
Susan
The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas is the first book of the Comissaire Adamsberg mystery series set in modern-day Paris France. Newly appointed police Commissaire Adamsberg is an unusual policeman – he does not investigate methodically or make logical deductions. He relies on ideas to pop into his head, and sensations. He cannot improve his thinking of solutions by concentration; focusing drives all thought from his head; instead he is most effective when he sits and doodles leaves. Adamsberg f ...more
AC
Mar 29, 2012 AC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
It is interesting and strange that I want so much to write about a book that only gets four-stars (4 stars being, in my inflated world, tantamount to saying it was only so-so... though this book is better than just so-so.

I don't know quite why I've suddenly fallen into with this genre. I can't imagine it has great interest for my GR friends.... I'm not one for fiction, as everyone knows..., so maybe it's simply because these books are not very taxing -- though I like to think there's something m
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Lynn
May 23, 2016 Lynn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seems that readers either love this book or it is just ok for them. Unfortunately it was just ok for me. Comissionaire Adamsberg wasn't a realistic detective to me. He seemed to pull solutions out of the air by intuition. He didn't want to think about or analyze information. He drew leaves instead. He did have an excellent gut feel when something didn't ring true. He listened to Dangard his next in command interview people and analyze data. The secondary characters were all odd. They sat arou ...more
Sylvia
Oct 19, 2016 Sylvia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Me gustó la historia del hombre de los círculos azules aunque hubo momentos en los que sentía que le faltaba un poco de originalidad.
Pero, me encantó esa sorpresa que nos dejaron casi al final.
Me gustó mucho la personalidad de Adamsberg.
Sin embargo, hubo detallitos que me hubieran gustado que esclarecieran un poco más... (view spoiler)
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Nancy Oakes
While his crew of co-workers are trying to figure him out, the new commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg settles into his job in the Paris police force in the 5th arrondissement. Adamsberg started his police career in the "stony foothills of the Pyrenees," where another inspector told him that he wasn't "cut out" to be a policeman. But that was before he went on to solve several murders in the area, was promoted to inspector and then commissaire. When the job in Paris was offered to him, he grabbe ...more
F.R.
Mar 14, 2016 F.R. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wrote in my review of another Paris mystery novel, Georges Simenon’s ‘The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien’, that it was the kind of mystery which only ever existed in crime novels and had virtually nothing to do with the real world. That’s an observation though, rather than a criticism. Nearly all whodunits take place in their old world with their own rules, and the pleasure from reading them comes from the joy of the mystery, rather than lifting a veil on the nature of man. However, this sense of ...more
Walt Giersbach
Dec 07, 2012 Walt Giersbach rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I confess that a good portion of my reading acquisitions are used-tested by library patrons who turn them back for other patrons to buy and read. This was my luck to discover Fred Vargas, a fine scientific mind who writes popular crime stories focused on Commissaire Adamsberg.

A large percentage of a crime/mystery story’s success lies in characterization, and to a lesser extent plot and setting. The Commissaire will remind you of Lt. Columbo in acting tangentally to the crime; his inspector Dangl
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Callie S.
Una premessa: a me la narrativa contemporanea francese piace - e molto.
Mi piace che gli autori abbiano ossessioni riconoscibili e una traccia stilistica che li caratterizza in modo immediato.
Mi piace l'approccio esistenzialista che ha la pagina, l'attenzione al dettaglio umano, la suggestione dei luoghi.
Mi piace meno chi, forte di questa tradizione, la rovescia a piene mani in una pagina che dovrebbe trasudare fatti, non divagazioni.
Fred Vargas è bravissima. Purtroppo per il lettore, lo
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Simona
Feb 28, 2013 Simona rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fred Vargas è stata spesso definita l'anti Patricia Cornwell per il suo modo semplice di raccontare un delitto o una serie di delitti avvenuti in circostanze misteriose, come i cerchi azzurri che vengono trovati di volta in volta nei diversi quartieri e arrondissement parigini senza capire chi sia l'assassino e come mai compia quel gesto.
"L'uomo dei cerchi azzurri" è un giallo, una storia in cui le vicissitudini interiori, le problematiche dei vari personaggi da Adamsberg, il commissario, un uo
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Rebecca Bradley
I found this an unusual read for a crime fiction novel. It wasn't that it was a translated novel, but that it was really quirky and quaint.

I loved the premise that someone in Paris was going around the city drawing blue circles around inanimate objects and the media had got itself into a frenzy over it. I thought it was a unique start. The characters were also very different to any I had read before. The protagonist Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg was not like a police detective at all, but rather allo
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Monika
Jan 06, 2017 Monika rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Jag brukar hävda att jag inte gillar något franskt. Trots det blev jag väldigt sugen på Fred Vargas böcker om kommissarie Adamsberg. Tyvärr är detta ännu en serie som har översatts i fel ordning, men när jag efter flera års väntan upptäckte att första delen, Cirkeltecknaren, äntligen kommit på svenska så tvekade jag inte länge. Läs mer på min blogg
AdiTurbo
Dec 02, 2015 AdiTurbo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first in the Adamsberg series and a little less good than the next ones, but still very good. Adamsberg and other characters are not yet fully formed, but you can see them being developed here. The plot is quite original, the humanity and acceptance of eccentricity in humans is already there. I plan to read the whole series - it's fabulous and so intelligent.
Tanja Berg
Someone is drawing circles on the streets of Paris. Objects appear in them - and then, finally, bodies. Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg investigates.

I liked the quirky humor and the characters, but the plot felt unsatisfactory. I didn't get a clear picture of the motive.
Barbara Valotto
Feb 04, 2016 Barbara Valotto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
4 stelle e1/2 per una grande autrice! Dopo la trilogia dei tre evangelisti, davvero brava Fred Vargas, anche nella serie di Adamsberg!!
Gazala Modak
I started this book thinking it could be a new Georges Simenon or an Andrea Camilleri. No, wasn't either.
Trish
Vargas’ Commissaire Adamsberg reminds me of Simenon’s Maigret. It is not just because Adamsberg and Maigret operated in the same territory and had similar jobs. Plenty of series novelists writing of France don’t give me the same feeling as reading a Maigret mystery (see the Aimee Leduc series by Cara Black for one). It is the way Vargas slowly builds the mystery, and adds pauses for thinking, eating and drinking, and chats with passers-by. The brilliant insights and knowledge of human nature bot ...more
Karo
Sep 02, 2012 Karo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of course, reading a quick crime novel feels like cheating when you're trying to get a (half) heap of books done in 12 months. But there are crime novels that are so good, you wouldn't mind if there wasn't a solution, a murderer, or even a crime. In the case of Fred Vargas, you'd be perfectly happy just to watch the hero's thoughts meander away.
The Chalk Circle Man is Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg's first appearance in Vargas' work. These days, an unconventional policeman is pretty much the standard i
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lisa_emily
I was quite disappointed in this book as I was ready to really enjoy it. After all, it is a mystery that takes place in Paris -I have been known to enjoy such stories. But, for me, the whole story was bogged down by the specter of a gooey, romantic haunting. The plot’s purpose seemed to delivery method for the eccentric characters and a lurking romance. I dislike mixing romance with my crime novels, however I accept that it happens, romance that is; as long as it doesn’t hijack the premise of th ...more
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Relevance of the "Victor" quote 2 24 Apr 21, 2014 01:39PM  
Is this sad or funny? (translated book title = The Chalk Circle Man) 3 34 Apr 21, 2014 12:07PM  
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68906
Fred Vargas is the pseudonym of the French historian, archaeologist and writer Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau (often mistakenly spelled "Audouin-Rouzeau"). She is the daughter of Philippe Audoin(-Rouzeau), a surrealist writer who was close to André Breton, and the sister of the historian Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau, a noted specialist of the First World War who inspired her the character of Lucien Devernoi ...more
More about Fred Vargas...

Other Books in the Series

Commissaire Adamsberg (10 books)
  • Seeking Whom He May Devour (Commissaire Adamsberg, #2)
  • Les quatre fleuves (Commissaire Adamsberg, #3)
  • Have Mercy on Us All (Commissaire Adamsberg, #4)
  • Coule la Seine (Commissaire Adamsberg, #5)
  • Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand (Commissaire Adamsberg, #6)
  • Dans les bois éternels (Commissaire Adamsberg, #7)
  • Un lieu incertain (Commissaire Adamsberg, #8)
  • The Ghost Riders of Ordebec (Commissaire Adamsberg, #9)
  • Temps glaciaires (Commissaire Adamsberg #10)

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