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The Chalk Circle Man (Commissaire Adamsberg #1)

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  2,942 ratings  ·  327 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
Paperback, 247 pages
Published February 2009 by Harvill Secker (first published 1996)
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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
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.
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

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Walt Giersbach
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
As you read Vargas novel you can't be sure where in time you're in. The writing is so lyrical mystical, and philosophical you'll feel you are in the 18th century. Then you discovered theres a subway system.

I've always been mesmerized by Vargas writing. Often I would just stop reading and savior again and again the deeper truth in in. Not to say the story itself is not catching. With this I was sure I knew who the killer was but, of course, Varagas foresaw that as well.

This is no grumpy, old, a
Not my style of writing or mood of writing. Very French and none of the characters resemble the people I have known. Clemence, Matilde and our protagonist long-suffering policeman- all three of those- their thought patterns were such streams of various weirdness that I often did not have correct context, I don't believe I did.

Most of the plot and circumstance for the serial murderer to pull this off? Difficult to beyond impossible of believability but very strange to motive on top of it. For me
Marina Sofia
It's been a while since I read this book and I was trying to read it for Book Club from the perspective of someone coming new to Vargas. That's when I realised that my love for Vargas has a lot to do with familiarity, with having read her books for 7-8 years now, getting used to her eccentric characters and often preposterous story lines (yet her crimes always have rational explanations, rather than supernatural ones). This first book in the Adamsberg series strikes me as being harder for 'novic ...more
Vargas, Fred. THE CHALK CIRCLE MAN. (1996; Eng. trans. 2009). ***. This is actually the first book by this author featuring her protagonist, detective Commissaire Adamsberg, although later novels appeared in translation. It is helpful to read this one first since it gives you a better idea of the personality of Adamsberg and his methods of working. I suspect that it was not issued first because it is rather difficult to follow Adamsberg’s method of thinking – although he doesn’t think in the nor ...more
La Stamberga dei Lettori
Viene da pensare che tutto sommato non è poi così strano che una sagoma come Adamsberg abbia l'occhio clinico per riconoscere un maniaco: con tutte i suoi tic e le sue idiosincrasie!

Un cieco incattivito dalla vita, una scienziata bislacca, un ispettore intelligente ed etilista, un commissario geniale e indecifrabile sono i personaggi del primo giallo in cui si vede Adamsberg, fresco di trasferimento sulle rive della Senna dalle retrovie della provincia pirenaica, indagare a fianco di Danglard, s
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
L'homme aux cercles bleus est le premier roman de Fred Vargas mettant en scène le commissaire Adamsberg... et le début d'une série d'enquêtes toutes plus intéressantes les unes que les autres.
Ce qui frappe sans doute le plus le lecteur à la première lecture, c'est le style si particulier de Fred Vargas. Inattendu, entre humour, jeux de mots et parfois même poétique, il rend la lecture très agréable.
L'intrigue en elle-même est très bien pensée. On entre doucement dans l'histoire, faisant connais
I’d read and enjoyed Pars vite et reviens tard/Have Mercy On Us All so I thought I’d try something else by the same author. And I have to say that I think Fred Vargas is very good. As far as I can work out, this is the first Adamsberg mystery, incorporating a lot of backstory about his mysterious love life. (And I didn’t even realise he had one!) But there's backstory about everybody in the book, which is part of what charms me.

What I like so much about these mysteries is the multitude of extrem
Different from your typical mystery.

When I started reading this novel I felt like maybe I had made a mistake and fallen for the "hype" around this author. It does have a flow different from most other mysteries out there, making it a slower, more pensive read. But as you get farther into the story and get to know Adamsberg better, you realize that these are actually positive characteristics. Fred Vargas has created a unique main character, who takes his time when looking at a problem and approac
M-am îndrăgostit!

Când am ales-o nu mi-am dat seama că e roman polițist, am citit descrierea pe Goodreads și mi-a plăcut la nebunie ideea cercurilor albastre trasate cu cretă în jurul unor obiecte rămase fără utilitate și părăsite pe trotuarele Parisului. Al doilea lucru care mi-a plăcut a fost ideea omului care ar face asta, genul de dubios despre care mi-ar plăcea să citesc, deși s-a dovedit până la urmă a nu fi un dubios în sensul în care mi-l imaginam eu, deci un fals-dubios din punctul meu
For many Parisians, the blue chalk circles appearing on the pavement in various places about the city are an entertaining curiosity. The objects circled aren’t all that noteworthy and don’t seem to have anything in common — paper clips, a handbag, an orange, and a twig to name a few. Is it a prank, a ploy for attention, a commentary on the detritus of our lives? Speculation abounds and many try to catch the elusive chalk circle man in the act to no avail. Commissaire Adamsberg’s instincts tell h ...more
Sep 11, 2009 Michael rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Agatha Christie fans.
Recommended to Michael by: Saw a favorable review
This novel introduces detective Commissaire Jean Baptiste Adamsberg who suspects something sinister when he spots blue chalk circles appearing in the Paris neighborhoods.

He is concerned as the items in the chalk circles progress, yesterday a mouse, today a cat, he wonders what next. Then, a woman, Madeline Chatelain, is found inside the chalk circle. Her throat has been cut.

In a connecting part of the story, Mathelde Forestier becomes friends with a young blind man, Charles Reyer. She calls on A
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
hm. Also, mir wurde Fred Vargas wärmstens empfohlen. Also habe ich mit Band 1 der Reihe von Kommissaire Adamsberg angefangen.
Aber irgendwas scheint bei der deutschen Übersetzung bzw. dem Lektorat schief gelaufen zu sein, denn manche Sätze ergaben keinen rechten Sinn und waren grammatikalisch falsch oder verzogen, ich kann es nicht recht erklären, irgendetwas war "schief" beim Lesen. Zusammen mit den vielen Rechtschreibfehlern, die mir dann aufgefallen sind, hat es mein Lesevergnügen arg geschmäl
Amy Rhodes
J'adore que le titre est en francais sur Goodreads! But I read it in English...The Chalk Circle Man. Loved the characters here and will definitely read more in the series. Our Commissaire is quite the original though perhaps his innate ability to solve crimes with virtually no evidence will become a bit hard to believe. But for now, I'm in...esp if Mathilde is also a repeating character.
Feb 28, 2014 Gwen rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gwen by: March 2014 mystery book club pick
Shelves: book-club
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I am only halfway through the book but it exceeded my expectations. Having already read 4 books by Vargas (3 of them with Adamsberg) I still appreciate her style. I was a little bit surprised that the English translation of her first Adamsberg books was published after the other ones so I will have to check whether the characters of the two ladies that appear here were also in one or two other books. What I like most is the idea of a week being divided into 3 sections. If you want to find out mo ...more
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Relevance of the "Victor" quote 2 20 Apr 21, 2014 01:39PM  
Is this sad or funny? (translated book title = The Chalk Circle Man) 3 30 Apr 21, 2014 12:07PM  
  • Excursion to Tindari (Inspector Montalbano, #5)
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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
Have Mercy on Us All (Commissaire Adamsberg, #4) The Three Evangelists (Three Evangelists, #1) Seeking Whom He May Devour (Commissaire Adamsberg, #2) Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand (Commissaire Adamsberg, #6) Dans les bois éternels (Commissaire Adamsberg, #7)

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