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This Night's Foul Work: A Commissaire Adamsberg Mystery (Chief Inspector Adamsberg Mysteries) Paperback


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This Night's Foul Work: A Commissaire Adamsberg Mystery (Chief Inspector Adamsberg Mysteries) + Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand (Commissaire Adamsberg, Book 4) + Have Mercy on Us All: A Novel (Chief Inspector Adamsberg Mysteries)
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Product Details

  • Series: Chief Inspector Adamsberg Mysteries
  • Paperback: 409 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143113593
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143113591
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The outstanding fourth whodunit to be made available in the U.S. from Vargas (Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand) makes it’s easy to see why she’s twice won the CWA’s International Dagger Award. Paris Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg, an endearing oddball sleuth in the tradition of John Dickson Carr’s Henry Merrivale, is convinced that the two narcotics dealers recently found with slit throats weren’t the victims of business rivals, relying largely on his intuition and the unexplained presence of dirt under the dead men’s fingernails. Adamsberg’s dogged pursuit of small details leads him to a series of unusual mutilations of wild deer as well as to a serial killer who targets virgins and may be seeking the ingredients to an elixir for eternal life. While the final twist will be less than shocking to some readers, the immensely enjoyable prose, seasoned liberally with humor, should help the author gain the larger American audience she deserves.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In her fourth Commissaire Adamsberg mystery, Vargas overloads her story with so many quirky, fascinating characters, and so many intermingled subplots, as to nearly sink an otherwise seaworthy ship. And, yet, somehow, everything stays afloat in the end, a testament to one of the crime genre’s most inventive writers. It begins quietly enough with two murdered thugs; a drug deal gone bad? Then Adamsberg finds himself in Normandy, sharing a glass with a group of idiosyncratic locals who report on the peculiar mutilation of a stag in the nearby forest. Relying as always on intuition, Adamsberg stumbles his way from thugs and stags to a bizarre case involving a serial killer intent on achieving immortality by following a medieval formula (which requires, among other things, securing a small bone from a pig’s snout). The details would be overwhelming if they weren’t all so fascinating, and the enormous cast would be dizzying if each one of them wasn’t so richly portrayed. Is there too much going on here? Certainly, but will Vargas’ growing legion of fans care? Not a whit. --Bill Ott

More About the Author

Fred Vargas was born in Paris in 1957. As well as being a best-selling author in France, she is an historian and archaeologist.

She worked at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), which she joined in 1988. She later joined the Institut Pasteur, as a eukaryotic archaeologist.

She mostly writes police thrillers (policiers). They take place in Paris and feature the adventures of Chief Inspector Adamsberg and his team. Her interest in the Middle Ages is manifest in many of her novels, especially through the person of Marc Vandoosler, a young specialist in the period. Seeking Whom He May Devour was shortlisted by the British Crime Writers' Association for the last Gold Dagger award for best crime novel of the year, and the following year The Three Evangelists won the inaugural Duncan Lawrie International Dagger. She also won the award for the second year-running with Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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She leaves me wanting more and more of these wonderful plots and the amazing Adamsberg.
J. Gabrielson
It's wonderfully atmospheric, the characters are complex and believable, and the plot is engrossing and completely unpredictable.
Dina M. Fischbein
Vargas has such a wonderful voice and way of bringing her characters to life, right from the beginning.
L. J. Roberts

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ted Feit VINE VOICE on August 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
Commissaire Adamsberg is a wistful protagonist who, while leading his Parisian crime squad, intuitively grasps unrelated clues where others see none. In this installment of the series, he is confronted with the murders of two unrelated toughs which are presumed to be drug related, and, therefore should be handled by the drug squad.

However, the Commissaire holds on to the investigation, amassing clues and insights to move it in directions other than the assumption of drug involvement. Meanwhile, he also has to fight a new recruit who holds a boyhood grudge against his new boss, as well as supernatural sightings of ghosts both in his new home and in a Normandy cemetery. Are these all related? Is he following real clues, or being led down the proverbial primrose path?

Written in droll prose, the novel is excellently translated by Sian Reynolds who captures the language and offbeat comments with accuracy. The plot certainly is offbeat and inclusion of Racine-like poetry is an excellent touch. The crimes described are among the more unusual in this type of mystery and the reader has to keep turning pages to keep up with events and the eccentric characters. Recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By readqueen on June 15, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I discovered Fred Vargos last year and have read everything that's been published in English. This particular book, like the rest of this series, was excellent! I love the central character since he's unlike any of the detective types in the U.S. or England. I know that I'm going to be surprised by 'who did it' which is a delight since 99.99% of the time I always have figured it out, sometimes in the first 2 chapters which makes the read uneventful. Fred always surprises me and her characters are so unique yet believable. I hope that there is a push to get everything she's done translated asap! (And you gotta love a female named 'Fred.')
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dina M. Fischbein on July 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
People who love Fred Vargas's Chief Inspector Adamsberg mysteries will really enjoy THIS NIGHT'S FOUL WORK. It's wonderfully atmospheric, the characters are complex and believable, and the plot is engrossing and completely unpredictable. I think it's one of the best of the series.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Patto TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Stands to reason," wise old men keep saying in this novel. But there's nothing reasonable about the crimes Commissaire Adamsberg is investigating, or the methodical maniac behind them.

Adamsberg is at an interesting point in life. He's just moved into a house that's haunted by a long-dead bloodthirsty nun. His beloved Camille, who has rejected him, is treating him as a mere friend and convenient babysitter for their son. And the new recruit in his office from his native village is nursing a possibly murderous grudge against him.

Meanwhile Adamsberg is encountering crimes that are not what they seem. In Paris, two young men with dubious occupations are found with their throats slit. In Normandy, the grave of a thirty-something virgin is desecrated, and a stag is killed in an unsportsmanlike fashion, with its heart cut out.

As events unfold, Adamsberg is obsessed with minutia and absurdly hypothetical by turns. His wild and wooly mental processes find a match in the elaborate planning and staging of crimes by the killer, whose bizarre purpose is beyond even Adamsberg's imagination.

The eccentric members of Adamsberg's Murder Squad add to the fun. Danglard, the walking encyclopedia, is hitting the bottle harder than ever. Retancourt, the tank-like woman officer who saved Adamsberg's life in a previous book, continues to "channel her energy" in mysterious ways. Kernorkian is afraid of dogs, germs and the dark. The narcoleptic Mercadet, when awake, demonstrates a real genius for figures. And the new recruit versifies compulsively in twelve-syllable Alexandrines.

As always Vargas keeps the reader spellbound throughout an incredibly convoluted plot by the sheer power of her dazzling prose style. In her photo on the back of this book, Vargas looks young enough to produce a lot more Commissaire Adamsberg mysteries. I sincerely hope she does, and soon.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Gabrielson on July 17, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is no writer out there who does what Fred Vargas does. Her ability to describe the unreasoning and unconscious aspects of the human mind within the constraints of the crime/thriller/mystery genre is unlike any other modern writer. She holds my attention at all points in her tales, weaving contrasting and compelling portraits of not only her hero, Adamsberg, but the other players in her dramas. She leaves me wanting more and more of these wonderful plots and the amazing Adamsberg. She has some formidable fellow authors out there; but, quite frankly, she is in a league of her own.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sushi Wellington on December 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
Finding out that the author was a woman was as much of a surprise as ascertaining who the villain of the novel was. Vargas has a hold on the inner workings of her Commissaire Adamsberg. The book is chock-full of beautifully drawn characters that you come to care for deeply. This is not done at the expense of plot however.

I tend to read a lot of British, Scandinavian and Scottish mysteries. It was fascinating to take a look into this French world, not seen from tourists but residents.

I had intended to only sit with the book for a short time one afternoon and ended up motoring to the end...just HAVING to find resolution.

I will now be searching out more Vargas books.
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