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The Chalk Circle Man (1991)

by Fred Vargas

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Chief Inspector Adamsberg (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,372749,842 (3.57)153
When blue chalk circles begin to appear on the pavement in neighborhoods around Paris, detective Commissaire Adamsberg is alone in thinking that they are far from amusing. As he studies each new circle and the increasingly bizarre objects they contain, he senses the cruelty that lies within whoever is responsible. And when a circle is discovered containing a woman with her throat cut, Adamsberg knows that this is just the beginning.--From publisher's description.… (more)
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» See also 153 mentions

English (55)  French (5)  Spanish (5)  Italian (3)  Danish (2)  German (2)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (74)
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this totally compelling mystery. Seems Vargas has taken mystery writing to a new level.

I found The Chalk Circle Man refreshingly different than most of the mysteries I've read. Not formulaic like most, and doesn't rely on using too many characters to confuse the reader. A good amount of red herrings. Slower paced than most mysteries I've read which requires more of the reader's attention.

Not sure how I feel about Adamsberg. I think Vargas believes using a strategy of making him inscrutable to his team, and to the reader will add to the mystery. Until I read a few more of Vargas' titles I can't be certain that I appreciate the method of overcomplicating the protagonist. I wonder if this is a French style ploy, or just Vargas'.

Good read.
  Bookish59 | Sep 9, 2020 |
Auf Pariser Bürgersteigen erscheinen über Nacht mysteriöse blaue Kreidekreise, und darin stets ein verlorener oder weggeworfener Gegenstand: ein Ohrring, eine Bierdose, ein Brillenglas, ein Joghurtbecher ... Keiner hat den Zeichner je gesehen, die Presse amüsiert sich, niemand nimmt die Sache ernst. Niemand, außer dem neuen Kommissar im 5. Arrondissement, Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg. Und eines Nachts geschieht, was er befürchtet hat: es liegt ein toter Mensch im Kreidekreis.
  Fredo68 | May 14, 2020 |
I can't tell if the awkwardness of the text is due to the translation or the source material. Decent mystery that was worth finishing but will not read another of the series. ( )
  Skybalon | Mar 19, 2020 |
Translated from the French, this first in the Chief Inspector Adamsberg series is original and satisfying. Vargas doesn't follow the Dorothy L. Sayers rules of mystery writing so the solution took me by surprise. But let's face it, even if she had followed those rules, I might not have seen this one coming. Throughout Paris there are blue chalk circles being found, circles with an apparently random series of objects inside them: a wine cork, a doll, a man's belt, a dead cat. Bemusing at first, when the body of a murdered woman is found in one of the circles, the police find the circles to be clues in an increasingly frustrating series of murders. Adamsberg is a thinker but one who uses his gut and trusts his instincts. He is determined to find this murderer despite the apparent lack of pattern in the emerging evidence. He is also determined to get over the lost love of his life, a plot element which adds interest to the story. The story is interesting and the characters appealing; the translation is at moments awkward but I settled into it as the novel progressed. I'll certainly be continuing this series. ( )
1 vote EBT1002 | Feb 11, 2020 |
Given the psychological realism of the characters, the logistics of the murder plots turned out to be deeply unconvincing. ( )
  being_b | Jan 8, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fred Vargasprimary authorall editionscalculated
Amo, Helena delTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bruchard, Dorothée deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chen, ZhenmeiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elligers, AnneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoger, HanneloreNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Luoma, MarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Melaouah, YasminaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Öztürk, DenizTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pavlič, JanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pollé, RosaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reynolds, SiânTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saʻīd, SaḥarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scheffel, TobiasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szeżyńska-Maćk… KrystynaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tang, JesperTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tarusinoĭ, E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Torcal, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yang, Yŏng-nanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Mathilde took out her diary and wrote: 'The man sitting next to me has got one hell of a nerve.'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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When blue chalk circles begin to appear on the pavement in neighborhoods around Paris, detective Commissaire Adamsberg is alone in thinking that they are far from amusing. As he studies each new circle and the increasingly bizarre objects they contain, he senses the cruelty that lies within whoever is responsible. And when a circle is discovered containing a woman with her throat cut, Adamsberg knows that this is just the beginning.--From publisher's description.

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Book description
The first novel in this critically acclaimed series, The Chalk Circle Man introduces the irresistibly unorthodox detective Commissaire Adamsberg — one of the most engaging characters in contemporary crime fiction.

When blue chalk circles begin to appear on the pavement in neighborhoods in Paris, Adamsberg is alone in thinking that they are far from amusing. As he studies each new circle and the increasingly bizarre objects they contain — empty beer cans, four trombones, a pigeon's foot, a doll's head — he senses the cruelty that lies within whoever is responsible. And when a circle is discovered with decidedly less banal contents — a woman with her throat slashed — Adamsberg knows that this is just the beginning.

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