Monday, September 12, 2011

Meet Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg

Commissaire Adamsberg is a fictional detective in late 20th century Paris. He is a most unusual sleuth. He is described as zen like in his approach to crime solving, someone who seems to let the solution find him. He is a deep thinker and quite naive at the same time. He perplexes his co-workers with his unusual methods and seeming lack of urgency but he always delivers the goods.

Created by French author Fred Vargas, aka Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau, this series has won multiple awards, including three International Daggar awards. Vargas is a gifted storyteller and has created a wonderful cast of off-kilter characters. She has created a beguiling mix of noirish mystery and cozy characters.

This series is often compared to Georges Simenon's Inspector Maigret series, especially for it's character driven stories and strong sense of place. Vargas, who is also a historian and archaeologist, often injects a bit of history and mythology into the plots, adding an extra layer of intrigue.

There are six titles currently available in English translation, with a seventh title, L'Armée Furieuse, recently released in the original French. The Chalk Circle Man is the first novel in the series.

"Vargas's detective stories are so complex, yet simple, so cleverly nuanced, yet basic, so peopled with misfits, eccentrics and ne'er-do-wells that they grab the attention of any reader." - Ottawa Citizen

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