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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 fiction.
When strange, blue chalk circles start appearing overnight on the pavements of Paris, the press take up the story with amusement and psychiatrists trot out their theories. Adamsberg is alone in thinking this is not a game and far from amusing. He insists on being kept informed of new circles and the increasingly bizarre objects which they contain: empty beer cans, four trombones, a pigeon’s foot, four cigarette lighters, a badge proclaiming “I Love Elvis,” a hat, a doll’s head. Adamsberg senses the cruelty that lies behind these seemingly random occurrences. Soon a circle with decidedly less banal contents is discovered: the body of a woman with her throat savagely cut. Adamsberg knows that other murders will follow.
"Like legions of other devoted readers, I've become addicted to the adventures of Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg. . . . If you've already discovered Adamsberg, this novel is essential reading. If you haven't, this is the perfect place to begin."
— Margaret Cannon, The Globe and Mail
"If you haven't cottoned on to Vargas's brilliant Adamsberg detective stories, you're missing a treat."
— Scotland on Sunday
"The Chalk Circle Man showcases Vargas' charms as a crime writer — it's hauntingly written, with intensely drawn characters and a plot that smoulders with psychological suspense."
— The Age