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Maak dat je wegkomt by Fred Vargas
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Maak dat je wegkomt (original 2001; edition 2003)

by Fred Vargas, Rosa Pollé (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,132397,240 (3.95)93
Member:marieke54
Title:Maak dat je wegkomt
Authors:Fred Vargas
Other authors:Rosa Pollé (Translator)
Info:Breda De Geus cop. 2003
Collections:favs from public libraries
Rating:****
Tags:dob, detective-thriller, paris

Work details

Have Mercy on Us All by Fred Vargas (2001)

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» See also 93 mentions

English (24)  French (6)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Italian (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (39)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Joss Le Guern has revived the ancient profession of town crier in a small square in Paris in 2000. He starts receiving strange messages which seem to point to the return of the Black Death. Mysterious signs are daubed on all the apartments except one in various apartment blocks. And then the residents of the unmarked apartments start to die off -- and flea bites are found on their bodies. Commissaire Adamsberg investigates.

Taut thriller. Impossible to put down. Interesting to get a French view of the Black Death, subtly different from the English view. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Jan 21, 2014 |
How to can you not like a detective who supervises 26 other homicide flics and needs to use mnemonics such as acne, prognathous, solicitude, Marcel to associate names with faces, and who indulges in self-examination along the lines of "You think you're a million miles away from the likes of Favre, and when occasion arises, there you are puddling about in the same pigsty." I won't provide any hints as to the nature of Favre because you should read the book. It's that good.

Chief Inspector Adamsberg and his assistant Danglard are a study in contrast. Adamsberg uses intuition while Danglard never trusts it and relies on facts and evidence. The two make a marvelous pair.

A modern town crier who collects little notes anonymously and then reads them from his soapbox in return for small change has been getting what appear to be nonsensical sentences. A woman comes to the police station to complain that someone has painted black backwards 4's with a fat foot and two little notches at the end 24 of the doors on her street. These are the beginnings of a nightmare for the inspector as the possibility of someone deliberately sprwading the plague begins to haunt him.

This is a very crafty police procedural that intertwines fear, revenge, tragedy, panic and faith in a complex story. Fred Vargas, a woman, writes in French and their are moments when one wonders a little about the translation (I have enormous respect for translators.) My French is so rusty I hesitate to quibble. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
Chief Inspector Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg has got what he really wanted, a murder squad to lead in Paris. The only problem now is that he has to learn 28 new names of the members of his team so it's a good job Danglard, his trusty no.2, has come along with him to help him out. While they're getting their new offices kitted out a woman comes in to report a strange case of graffiti, someone has been painting backwards 4's on the doors in her apartment block. Thinking nothing of it, Adamsberg fobs her off with some vague reassurances but is then more intrigued when the woman returns reporting other instances around different districts in Paris. Danglard has a fuzzy recollection of the symbol and Camille, Adamsberg's lover, also remembers seeing it in a history book of a friend. While all this has been going on, there's a town crier who's been getting some very strange messages, which seem to be snippets of old history books left for him to read. One of his friends manages to trace where the texts are coming from and what they portend they realise they should inform the police and as the friend in question has had dealings with Adamsberg before that's who they arrange to see and advise him that someone may be planning to release the black death at any moment. When he hears the tale, Adamsberg decides to track down the meaning of the backwards 4's and contacts Camille's historian friend, who turns out to be one of The Three Evangelists so if you've read that book it's a nice little cameo, and that also relates to the plague being used as a talisman to ward it off. Is someone seriously about to unleash the Black Death or is it just fear mongering or perhaps there's something else behind it all. Whichever, it's not long before the first victim is found and the pronouncements left for the crier are getting worse.

Adamsberg is not a typical detective, often following gut instinct even when there's no logic behind his feelings. He's somewhat absent-minded, especially with names and dates but he often sees more than even he realises at the time with pictures of events returning to him with a vital clue as to what he may be looking for. The author manages to use her knowledge as an historian to really help set the scene and ramp up the tension with each step. The story does meander along for a while at the beginning but Vargas' characters are so bright and varied I didn't mind one bit. Last time I visited this series I found the translation to be a bit clunky but even though it was done by the same person I had no problems this time around. An original voice in a genre that is increasingly difficult to find something that bit different, recommended for those looking for a more off-beat police procedural. ( )
4 vote AHS-Wolfy | Apr 10, 2013 |
That is a brilliant if somewhat quirky thriller. It's Adamsberg at the top of his game. Vargas writes an intricate tapestry of characters, a very scary bogey man, the threat of a black plague epidemic is a scary, scary thing. She uses history, psychology and an unorthodox way of putting things together that pulls the reader inside the story and you feel you have to read the next page and the next to find out the next clue, the next move of the killer and the next countermove of Adamsberg. It's a wonderful ride and you learn things too. Great bonus. ( )
  writerlibrarian | Apr 4, 2013 |
The profession of old-time town crier is alive and well in one of the arrondissements of Paris: former sailor Joss Le Guern occupies his time by reading, for a fee, news, weather and the sorts of announcements you find in the classified section of the local paper. However, lately he's had some very odd announcements showing up in his box: the style seems centuries old, and the tone ominous. Then signs start appearing on doors: a backwards 4, believed to be a talisman against the plague. THE plague. The "Black Death." But surely that can't be returning to Paris? Commissaire Adamsberg will have to find out what's behind this story…

I was intrigued from the start. Granted, the first third or so takes a bit of time to set the scene, but that seems to be par for the course with Vargas so I was prepared to invest the time required to become fully immersed in the story (which also had added to it the extra time I need when reading books in French, which is my second language). Vargas is also highly knowledgeable about the plague, having previously written a book about its epidemiology, so the parts dealing with past plagues felt especially vivid. And once the populace really started fearing that the plague was upon them, I couldn't stop reading.

This installment of the Adamsberg series is also the one where he and his lieutenant, Danglard, meet the crew of the Groupe homicide for the first time. Adamsberg's attempts to commit all of their names to memory serve as a running theme throughout the book and help us picture all of them as individuals. We also get a glimpse into his life with the elusive Camille, while Danglard's softer side is revealed in an unexpected way.

As to the writing style, I read more for content when I'm reading in French, so I don't really have too much to say about it, other than that the humour can be dry and very cutting in places (which is fine with me). And as mentioned, the narration can be a bit meandering while the story is first being set up. Still, it's worth a read if you are interested in the historical events referenced by the story or if you like mysteries with a dollop of weird. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jan 6, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fred Vargasprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Balmelli, MauriziaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bellos, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Botto, MargheritaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Celebini, DubravkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Churakovoĭ, O.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elligers, AnneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heckscher, EinarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kybal, TomášTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Luoma, MarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matchunakǭn, AthichāTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Melichárková, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pavlič, JanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pollé, RosaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reis, Augusto Afonso dosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riestra, BlancaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scheffel, TobiasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tang, JesperTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trà̂n, ĐĩnhTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
When manie woormes breede of putrefaction of the earth: toade stooes and rotten herbes abound: The Fruites and beastes of the earth are unsavoury: The wine becomes muddie: manie birds and beastes flye from that place.
Dedication
First words
Joss's settled view was that folks walk faster in Paris than they do in Le Guilvenec, the fishing village where he'd grown up.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Original French title = Pars vite et reviens tard
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
In a small Parisian square, the ancient tradition of the town crier continues into modern times. The self-appointed crier, Joss Le Guern, reads out the daily news, snippets of gossip, and lately, ominous messages — placed in his handmade wooden message box by an anonymous source — that warn of an imminent onset of the bubonic plague.

Concerned, Le Guern brings the puzzling notes to the bumbling but brilliant Chief Inspector Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg and his straight-edged, right-hand man, Adrien Danglard. When strange signs that were historically believed to ward off the black death start to appear on the doors of several buildings, Adamsberg takes notice and suspects a connection with Le Guern's warnings. After a flea-bitten corpse with plague-like symptoms is found in one of the marked buildings, Fred Vargas's inimitable genius chief inspector is under pressure to solve the mystery and restore calm to a panicked Paris. But is it a real case of the bubonic scourge, or just a sinister trick designed to frighten as the body count grows and the culprit continues to elude the police?

Peopled with charming and eccentric Gallic characters, and packed with gripping historical detail, Have Mercy On Us All is a complex, surprising, and stylish tale from France's finest mystery writer.

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743284011, Paperback)

In a small Parisian square, the ancient tradition of the town crier continues into modern times. The self-appointed crier, Joss Le Guern, reads out the daily news, snippets of gossip, and lately, ominous messages -- placed in his handmade wooden message box by an anonymous source -- that warn of an imminent onset of the bubonic plague.

Concerned, Le Guern brings the puzzling notes to the bumbling but brilliant Chief Inspector Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg and his straight-edged, right-hand man, Adrien Danglard. When strange signs that were historically believed to ward off the black death start to appear on the doors of several buildings, Adamsberg takes notice and suspects a connection with Le Guern's warnings. After a flea-bitten corpse with plague-like symptoms is found in one of the marked buildings, Fred Vargas's inimitable genius chief inspector is under pressure to solve the mystery and restore calm to a panicked Paris. But is it a real case of the bubonic scourge, or just a sinister trick designed to frighten as the body count grows and the culprit continues to elude the police?

Peopled with charming and eccentric Gallic characters, and packed with gripping historical detail, Have Mercy on Us All is a complex, surprising, and stylish tale from France's finest mystery writer.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:55 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Set in Paris, Fred Vargas's novel addresses a particularly serious and chilling case of murder. Superintendent Adamsberg loves mysteries but when the town crier begins reading disturbing messages that have been slipped in between the daily news, he knows this is no ordinary crime and no normal criminal.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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