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(Commissaire Adamsberg #1)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  6,762 ratings  ·  686 reviews
Under flera månader rapporterar tidningarna om ett fenomen som förbryllar parisarna. Stora cirklar ritas med blå krita på trottoarer runt olika vardagliga föremål och bredvid står en mystisk fras skriven med vacker handstil. Kommissarie Adamsberg oroar sig. Något säger honom att detta bara är början och mycket riktigt återfinns snart en kvinna med avskuren hals i en av cir ...more
Danskt band, 300 pages
Published March 12th 2015 by Sekwa (first published 1991)
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Iza Yes, it's called "The chalk circle man" - Ed : Vintage :)
Janell Simpson I also struggled to place her early on, but soon guessed her link to one of the characters.
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3.66  · 
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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
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
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
At first glance, Chalk Circle Man seemed like the kind of mystery novel I'd enjoy. Sadly, though, it turned out to be not for me. I don't think there's something particularly wrong with the book. It just wasn't my cup of tea. If I had to put my finger on why, I'd say it was too offbeat for me. I get that Commissaire Adamsberg is supposed to be a kind of anti-Sherlock (think gut feelings instead of deduction), but for me the overall effect was on the woo woo side. Plus, none of the characters fel ...more
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
Feb 22, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Apr 01, 2017 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
Paul Secor
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some (very) random thoughts:

An enjoyable read, though it bogged down in places and could have used some editing.

Commissaire Adamsberg is an interesting character. However, he ain't no Maigret.

The solution to the crime was very far fetched, although within the context of the characters, it almost seemed believable.

Adamsberg and Mathilde seemed to me like a better pairing than Adamsberg and Camille, but perhaps that's just me.
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
Looking around for a new series, and was intrigued by Fred Vargas. However, I did not care for the slow pace and writing style, which may be Vargas or her translator. Someone is drawing chalk circles on the streets of Paris. Objects appear in the circles, worrying Commmissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg, and then a dead body is in one of the circles. Adamsberg has an odd air about him, seeming to follow unorthodox lines of inquiry. I liked his #2 Danglard. 2.5 stars, rounded up.
Lilian Nattel
Oct 13, 2009 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
Sep 12, 2009 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 t
May 23, 2016 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
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Too much writerly writing, but something promising and hopeful draws me on. A little like Inspector Montalbano, but the prose here is so heavy and repetitious. It is a first, though, and there is hope. What will the second one be like?
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
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I came here to write my review of this crime novel and found myself first reading the GR bio of Fred Vargas. I didn't get very far because the first paragraph includes "the sister of the historian Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau, a noted specialist of the First World War who inspired her the character of Lucien Devernois." Who is Lucien Devernois? Oh, he is one of the characters in Vargas' other series, Les Evangélistes. Yes, I want to read all of the crime fiction by this author.

This opens with the rep
Sid Nuncius
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a slightly odd book. I liked it but I have my reservations.

Fred Vargas introduces us to Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg, a successful provincial policeman who is transferred to Paris and is confronted with a rather bizarre series of events which culminate in murder. We are slowly introduced to Vargas’s main characters, especially Adamsberg himself, who is an introspective, intuitive man to whom normal logical deductive methods are a bit of a mystery. As a result, the book is digress
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent mystery and Sian Reynolds' translation was very good. The one thing holding me back from a higher rating is Commissaire Adamsberg. He solves cases more by intuition (or, to put it another way, a strong sense of people's character) than by detection. This doesn't allow the reader a chance to solve the case independently; even though I am generally not good at doing so, I enjoy trying so this lack lowered my rating of the book.
Avid Series Reader
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
Walt Giersbach
Dec 07, 2012 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 Dang
Mar 29, 2012 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
Sharon Mensing
Feb 11, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
Well, this one had such good reviews, and I'd been looking forward to reading it. But after about 70 pages, I was still feeling as though it was all about the author showing an obtuse philosophical bent, and the language wasn't even allowing me to feel as though the characters were real. Rather, they felt like mouthpieces. I didn't care enough to stick with these characters, and so I didn't.
Barth Siemens
This book just didn't work for me. After reading one-third, the characters still feel flat and washed-out. Character dialogue seems senseless. Actions are meaningless and other characters request for explanation are waved off. There may indeed be some sort of meaningful development, but not quickly enough for this reader.
Tanja Berg
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: murder-mystery
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.
Mar 14, 2016 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
I've wanted to try Fred Vargas for a little while now as the stories, featuring Chief Inspector Adamsberg of the Paris police, seemed interesting. I found a copy of the first book and there you go, gave it a try. It definitely was interesting. I didn't particularly like the writing style, kind of reminded me of Cara Black's Murder in the Marais, just a bit all over the place. However, with that complaint out of the way, it did hold my interest and was an interesting plot; somebody making chalk c ...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
Aug 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
English title - The Chalk Circle Man

This book is very different. Vargas has done that really difficult thing in creating a new type of detective. This is the first in a series of macabre stories featuring the engaging but strange and unorthodox Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg.

Blue chalk circles start appearing on the streets of Paris with various strange objects inside them. Somehow Adamsberg's sixth sense tells him that they will lead to murder and so they do.

I now eagerly await the public
Dec 02, 2015 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.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I want to preface this review by saying that this is not the sort of thing I normally read. So, I might not be the best source of whether or not this is a "good" book from the genre. I mean, I enjoyed it well enough, but it certainly didn't wow me.

I loved the premise, though. And I loved the idea of the detective who does everything by his gut. But, I felt that a lot of the execution was lacking. It wasn't a very long book. Less than 300 pages, but it felt much longer. There was so much chatter,
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Relevance of the "Victor" quote 2 29 Apr 21, 2014 01:39PM  
Is this sad or funny? (translated book title = The Chalk Circle Man) 3 40 Apr 21, 2014 12:07PM  

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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)
  • 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)
  • Quand sort la recluse (Commissaire Adamsberg #11)
“Les adultes-enfants m'ennuient, ce sont des cannibales. Ils ne sont propres qu'à se nourrir de la vitalité des autres. Ils ne se perçoivent pas. Et parce qu'ils ne se perçoivent pas, ils ne peuvent pas vivre, et ne sont rien d'autre qu'avides, du regard ou du sang de quelques autres.” 4 likes
“Oamenii care te părăsesc cu adevărat nu-și dau niciodată osteneala să te înștiințeze printr-o scrisoare de șase pagini.” 2 likes
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