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This Night's Foul Work

(Commissaire Adamsberg #7)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  4,028 ratings  ·  321 reviews
Wry humor and offbeat plots blend with a subtly dangerous charm to make Fred Vargas the queen of French crime writers. --Martin Walker, author of the Bruno, Chief of Police Series

"A wildly imaginative series."--The New York Times

Awarded the International Dagger by the Crime Writers' Association four times, Fred Vargas has earned a reputation in Europe as a mystery author
Paperback, 409 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by Penguin Group (first published 2006)
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Pedro Casserly The author goes into detail about every character and their stories (she goes into detail about nearly everything). If you decide to read it, it doesn…moreThe author goes into detail about every character and their stories (she goes into detail about nearly everything). If you decide to read it, it doesn't make a difference if it's the first or the seventh(less)

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 ·  4,028 ratings  ·  321 reviews

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Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I am enamoured of this mystery series by Fred Vargas. After reading the first in the Commissaire Adamsberg series, I promptly went out and picked another off the shelf, which happens to be Vol #7, the second-to-last of the volumes translated into English. A new novel, (An Uncertain Place has been released in the U.S. in 2011). Since some of the events refer to earlier books in the series, one should probably read them in order, but the central mystery is easy enough to follow. This is such a spe ...more

Here we go again, Jean-Baptiste. As I said in one of my other reviews these novels of Vargas are definitely characters-driven books. And I constantly find them original and refreshing. If you relish quirky and eccentric protagonists, if you like an odd sense of humour and if you don’t mind convoluted if not far-fetched at times intrigue you should be satisfied with Fred Vargas novels either. I definitely enjoyed following intricacies of Adamsberg mind while he was following rather devious intrig
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love this author so much -- I try to think of people I could phone to read out whole pages so that they might hear what is delighting my heart!
I love the characters she creates, their peculiarities so lovingly described, each weakness also a strength that her eccentric Commissaire sees and draws on -- her books are about acceptance and forgiveness and stretching one's beliefs and credulity and holding onto hope and being loyal to one's own tribe, the place and people you belong to.
She tells m
Jim Coughenour
No one pens a policier like Fred Vargas (aka Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau, a French medieval historian and archaeologist). Her Commissaire Adamsberg novels aren't only a cut above the usual series fiction; they're in a class of their own. There's Adamsberg, to start with, an absent-minded savant, plus his equally odd team of detectives. But what gives these books their specific flavor is the way Vargas infuses her historical and scientific knowledge into the convolutions of her plots, and the pecul ...more
Sue Dix
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you have not read any of these Commissaire Ademsberg mysteries, start from the beginning and read them in order (I’m not sure they’ve all been translated; it feels like there are gaps) and don’t stop until you’ve read them all. They are the oddest books, and you will fall under their spell. There is no way to describe this reading experience. This book contains feuds, insularity, mysticism, virgins, immortality, stags, saints relics, cats, miracles, dissociation, oh, and murder, of course.
Trixie Fontaine
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Normally I wouldn't pick up a book in the middle of a series, but this beckoned to me from a neighborhood little free library and the author's name is Fred and it seemed different from anything I've read before (I don't think I've read any other French detective fun).

Initially I was captivated and entertained, then I started snorting & thinking the characters were super stupid with the virgin thing and their slowness unraveling certain clues and horrible with the jealous privacy-invasion thing (
Noah Goats
I wanted to like this novel. I enjoyed the mix of personalities, and the novel started out okay, but it just gets sillier and sillier. They use a cat like a bloodhound, there’s a character who speaks in poetry, and there’s an absurd network of coincidences that run through the plot. The whole sub-story with the new detective with streaked hair was a lame distraction that added nothing. I skimmed the last 100 pages or so because I had just enough interest to want to know how it ended.
Chris Lesieutre
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Paris, upper Normandy, stag hearts, murder, grave robbers, immortality potions, what’s not to like? A perfect distraction. I’ll read more of Fred’s work, I think. She’s good.
Ciaran Monaghan
Everything. The book, the cat, the third virgin, the bits of bone, the whole bloody lot. It's a complete load of bollocks

I have just read a series of chapters in which a police tracking squad, complete with officers in helicopters, in cars and on bikes, attaches a tracking device to a domestic cat and follows it for 38km to find a missing colleague. In the course of their pursuit, they stop while the cat has a short nap and also have officers knock out some semi-wild dogs with their bare hands.
Andy Weston
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: france, translated, crime
This is a fast-moving tale that unravels with Adamsberg meandering between the cemeteries of Paris and forests of Normandy. He finally resolves, not only the crimes, but an ugly incident from his childhood. In Vargas's books, no matter how lavish the plot, rationality is at work.
Jun 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
I really love this series, but this specific book was a misstep, both in the ancillary characters and in some of the police methods used to solve the mystery (who uses a cat as a bloodhound?)
First Sentence: By fixing his curtain to one side with a clothes-peg, Lucio could better observe the new neighbour at his leisure

Insp. Adamsburg has bought a new house which, according to a neighbor, is haunted. When two men are found with their throats cut, causing him to ask a favor from pathologist Ariane Lagarde, with whom he did not have a good working relationship in the past. Upon learning an elderly nurse, whom Adamsburg imprisoned as a serial killer, has escaped he starts to think the
Czarny Pies
May 25, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like French humour.
Recommended to Czarny by: Lucky Luke
Shelves: french-lit
Are you from Quebec and seldom get to practice your French since you moved to Vancouver. Try reading this light pastry. Fred Vargas writes with a clear, easily comprehensible style which makers her crime novels very easy to read. In this age of the Kobo, all one has to do with the new vocabulary is tap on the screen to get the definition.

Dans les bois éternels is an excellent introduction to Fred Vargas and the Adamsberg series. Fred Vargas strengths are her impish sense of humour and a Police I
Gaile Wakeman
Nov 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite crime authors. If you like mystery genre don't pass her up. This one was very very good as usual. Takes place in a region of France I have visited but not as well known as some other areas. She evokes mystery and wonder. Her characters are unusual and there is always a twist.
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fred Vargas is a woman, and a mystery writer who sets her oblique, enchanted murder stories in the familiar frame of the policier format.

Which is a help, because what she's really after is more of an Alice In Wonderland trajectory. Tracking a generally plausible crime holds the story on the tracks. The standard elements of the policier-- the rustling sounds and stifled scream at midnight in the hedgerows, the discovery of the body, the notification of the detectives, the "police-line-do-not-cro
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
New novel about an unlikely serious crime squad in Paris, who are faced with seemingly random occurrences: dead stags, dead drug dealers, old reliquaries, dead spinsters, new colleagues and the voice of the Earth.

"This whole thing, from insubstantial beginnings to improbable reasoning, made a completely unbelievable farrago, detached from reality."

After the last novel - which displaced our characters and their improbable commissaire, changed them almost beyond any recognition, and spoiled my fu
Amrit Grewal
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Well..... this book was interesting to say the best.
I was assigned this book for my one of my university classes, and had pretty much no opinion, but to read the book.
So as all my reviews go lets start with the Pros: One of my favourite aspects of this book was the layers that come with it. The book starts off with detective Adamsberg, and his colleagues investigating a murder of two big, bulky drug dealers. There were to so many characters, and past lives of the characters that it was definit
Mish Middelmann
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What particularly impressed me in this book is the way Adamsberg sees things - and particularly human relationships at work - for what they are, accepts them, and takes realistic action based on what he can do. As opposed to complaining about people behaving badly and whinging about what he wishes he could do "if only people were not so political at work."

A key example for me is the new recruit who comes into his team. It turns out that the boss (Adamsberg) and the new recruit (Veyrenc) have a
Oct 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice thriller/mystery, similar to other Vargas books.

For much of the plot I thought "this is way too simple/obvious" but then there's a twist at the end that makes sense, that can be guessed, and that I didn't guess. So... good job, you got me!

On the other hand, there's a sort of silliness that I find irritating at times; it is a little bit overwritten; and there are things that in my view are pretty close to being plot holes (Veyrenc remembering the text of the recipe; nobody thinking of aski
Andrea Susan
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has sat on my want to read shelf for a while as whenever I went to read it I was thinking it was might be more horror than crime. It was mired in the gothic, the poetic, the downright strange and the bizarre connections. The characters of investigative team are well represented in the writing and the threat to Commissaire Adamsberg from two protagonists from his past put them all under threat. What links a convicted mass murderer who has escaped, two men with their throats cut and the ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Something so very "French" about these novels -- the formula for the unconventional, rumpled detective tale contains a dash of je ne sais quoi. A whole helluva lot can happen in the final five pages of a Fred Vargas mystery. To say that the story stretches credulity would be an idiotic thing to say ... as these Adamsberg episodes already reside in a bizarre (almost) magic realism. Just gotta go with it. And what fun.
Vi Walker
Oct 06, 2017 rated it liked it
More a 3.5 read. The only other Adamsberg novel, or indeed Fred Vargas novel, I've read was the first of the series and the character has been greatly developed in the intervening instalments. Jean Baptiste Adamsberg has become yet more vague and the connections between events somewhat tenuous. However the story still manages to be gripping and surprising. The translation is excellent but, as ever, whenever I read a translated book I find myself wishing I could read it in the original.
David C Ward
The Adamsberg books are anti-detective novels since they’re based on intuition, superstition and events that are too fantastic. In this one, someone is killing people to create a forbidden potion from the 17th century that gives eternal life. And there are a lot of ghosts or ghost stories. And red herrings including a cop with a grudge from Adamsberg’s home region. All that aside, I guessed the killer as soon as they appeared.
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really fun little mystery. Tone-wise, it reminded me a lot of The Closer or Major Crimes, which is to say a lot of the fun involves the cast of quirky characters that make up the squad. Satisfying ending. If I can find more by this author, I will read them, despite the fact that they get the "I'm in love with a girl named Fred" song from Once Upon a Mattress stuck in my head.
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Five stars in the "novels about quirky detectives (non-animal)" category.

At their best, the novels in the Adamsberg series are so bonkers they tip into fantasy. In this one, Comissaire Adamsberg buys a haunted house, acquires a poetry-spouting frenemy, and chases a cat with a helicopter.

The Eiffel Tower is on the cover, but is not actually in the book.

Bill Burns
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really like Adamsberg. He is quirky and his intuition, while unlikely, is fun to read about. The writing (in my view) is sophisticated, not insulting the readers intelligence as some books do. Very much like it, although may not suit everybody's taste (my wife is not a fan, for instance). Not sure how many more there are in this series but I'll read the rest.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't aware of Vagas' work, and I will definitely check out some other Commissair Adamsberg novels. I happened upon this novel when I was cleaning out mom's house. I don't know if she ever read this book, but it certainly would have suited her tastes.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very engrossing French mystery with Commissaire Adamsberg. I am a bit obsessed with her at the moment, but am not finding the mysteries in order. This one reminds me a bit of Laurie R. King's A Darker Place, but here a medieval recipe for eternal life rather alchemy is involved.
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Vargas' colorful, off-beat, detective squad returns with a strange crime and lots of twists and turns to keep readers guessing. As always, the story is littered with the most peculiar collection of personalities and plenty of chuckles.
Rogue Reader
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-france
My first Vargas read is a good one! Convoluted plot with plenty of psychological insight, twists and turns - some woo woo and lots of good detecting. Intuitive, clever characters each unique. Lovely regional descriptions, as the action is not limited to Paris. Will read more!!
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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

Other books in the series

Commissaire Adamsberg (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • L'homme aux cercles bleus (Commissaire Adamsberg, #1)
  • 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)
  • Un lieu incertain (Commissaire Adamsberg, #8)
  • The Ghost Riders of Ordebec (Commissaire Adamsberg, #9)
  • Temps glaciaires
  • This Poison Will Remain

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