cover image The Chalk Circle Man

The Chalk Circle Man

Fred Vargas, , trans. from the French by Siân Reynolds. . Penguin, $14 (247pp) ISBN 978-0-14-311595-3

Fans of Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg, the sleuth who doesn’t do deductive reasoning, will welcome the first in Vargas’s inspired crime series (This Night’s Foul Work ; Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand ), originally published in France in 1990. Newly transferred from his home in the Pyrenees to Paris, the 45-year-old Adamsberg arrives with a reputation for solving big cases, though his diffident manner doesn’t impress his colleague and foil, Adrien Danglard. A solitary man drawing blue chalk circles at night around stray objects in Paris streets manages to create a media sensation, but Adamsberg senses evil behind the act. When the corpse of a woman is found encircled in chalk, he’s proven right. Adamsberg’s indirect approach, his ability to sense cruelty and to let solutions percolate to the surface make him one of the more intriguing police detectives in a long time. (July)