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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand (Commissaire Adamsberg, Book 4) Paperback – July 31, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

It gets personal in the third Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg mystery to reach the U.S. Previously, the eccentric commissaire of the French national police has maintained a disconcerting detachment, solving cases "like a lone ranger or a Zen archer who went straight to the target." This time, though, Adamsberg faces his personal demon, a serial killer called the Trident who, 30 years previously, framed the commissaire's brother for a murder, successfully avoiding prosecution for that and numerous other slayings. Supposedly dead for more than 15 years, the Trident has risen from the grave—or so Adamsberg believes after encountering a new victim whose corpse bears the tell-tale signs of the Trident's work. Convincing anyone of this fact is impossible, of course, and—distracted by a trip to Ottawa to attend a forensics course—Adamsberg returns to Paris to find himself well and truly framed for the murder of a young woman. Vargas continues to mix styles effectively, combining the light, comic touch of the best Simenon with much darker themes. This time, too, with the hero forced to look deep into himself, the novel adds an extra pinch of Rendellian psychology to the stewpot. Ott, Bill

Review

Fred Vargas is the hottest property in crime fiction. . . . Poetic, offbeat and genuinely addictive. [Her] prose has an unusual deftness, a wry humour. A unique voice. (The Guardian, London)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 388 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 1st edition (July 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143112163
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143112167
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Avellanet VINE VOICE on April 29, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Vargas yet again proves why she is probably the #1 mystery writer in the world with this book, the 3rd of the Commissaire Adamsberg series.

The book takes place in France and in Canada, but much of it explores the genius of a methodical killer who's mind clearly outmatches the protagonist Adamsberg - in fact, in many ways, that's the true brilliance of the book. How many mysteries can you recall where the main investigator was aware of how he simply could not get ahead of the killer no matter what he tried? Where each time the killer struck, the investigator was a day late and a dollar short? Where the clues began to add up, but were completely open to multiple interpretations?

And, as the story goes on, you begin to even distrust some of the Commissaire's colleagues, wondering what's going on - you feel true empathy with Adamsberg, the protagonist. And that is the result of a master writer at work.

Hopefully, as Vargas becomes more recognized in the US, her books will become easier to obtain. For now, the wait is more than worth it.

J. Avellanet, Co-Founder of Cerulean Associates LLC
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Fred Vargas is in a league of her own when it comes to crafting a book of Continental crime. As attested by my manic list elsewhere, the wealth of crime fiction translated from Europe over the past few years is American readers' good fortune. These books from Scandinavia,Italy, France, Germany have a bracing tone of their own. They are poetry for insomniacs, exercising the mind, bracing the spirit at the end of the day -- with an egg-flip of humor lacing each page. Vargas populates her plots with a cabinet of curiosities, most a bit broken and peculiar but with powerful heart and mind: and her evil villains are so much like her good guys, she keeps you tantalized throughout.

What floats her books far above the rest, however, is that they're saturated with the rich brown jus of historical humanism--so satisfying!-- like a meaty cassoulet that's been simmering all week. Taste and see! These are great books for readers bored by the pulpy gruel of American mysteries, serial killers and mawkish macho detectives.

(And if you haven't read her yet, I'd suggest starting with "Seeking Whom He May Devour" or "The Three Evangelists." It's amusing to watch the characters develop. This book is the 4th translated into English. I hope we don't need to wait another whole year for the next one.)
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The 4th Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg mystery.
A woman is found dead with three stab wounds in her stomach. This matches other murders in France that occurred over a thirty year period. In each case, the three wounds form a perfectly straight line and the convicted murderers are vagrants who got drunk and couldn't remember what had happened. A knife is always found nearby with their fingerprints.

But the most disturbing similarity of them all is that it matches a murder thirty years earlier in which Inspector Adamsberg's older brother was convicted for the crime. Adamsberg has always been convinced of his brother's innocence. Adamsberg and his colleagues fly to Canada to consult with fellow police officers about DNA procedures.

Then, Adamsberg wakes up after having gotten drunk and passing out on his favorite path through the woods. His hands are bloodied and a woman has been killed with three stab wounds all in a line, but Adamsberg cannot remember what happened. He now must run from the Canadian police in order to catch the real killer.

He knows who it is, a reclusive judge who kills with no apparent pattern, and who has left no trace of evidence. Adamsberg is aided by a great cast of colorful characters, including his older brother, who still wonders if he committed a crime years ago. This is the type of story you can't wait to finish.
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I have recently found myself reading more crime novels by European authors like Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbo as many of the American writers seem to create interesting plots but one-dimensional characters. Kurt Wallander and Harry Hole, on the other hand, make for very interesting main characters. When I got into the beginning of this novel, I was excited to have discovered (from a list of recommended crime novels in translation) a new author who wasn't afraid to slow down and flesh out the personalities of the cast. Then I waited for her (not really a "Fred") to move back into developing the plot. And I waited . . .and waited. For my tastes, this author swung the pendulum to the other extreme: complicated characters in a tedious plot. Guess it's harder to find that balance than I thought.
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Well, it's Vargus. If you've read Fred(erica) Vargus before you have a good idea what to expect. I find the most interesting part of Vargus' writings to be the settings and characters - moreso than the plot. If you are a Vargus fan you will enjoy it.
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Inspector Adamsberg is up against a monomaniac he's been tracking since he was a kid: a judge from the small Pyrenees village where Adamsberg grew up. The judge killed his brother's girlfriend and framed his brother for the murder.

The inspector is always one step behind the judge, who stages the same crime again and again. The judge uses a trident-like weapon that leaves three identical puncture wounds across the victim's stomach. And in every case he sets up a blacked-out drunk to look like the murderer.

Unfortunately it's not easy for Adamsberg to convince anyone of the judge's diabolical proceedings, and he drops the chase once the man is dead and buried. Sixteen years later, as this book opens, the inspector reads a story about a crime in Alsace that sounds just like the Judge - and he resurrects the hunt.

Adamsberg is almost vanquished by the devilish cleverness of this killer. But an interesting thing happens. The inspector, always a loner, is deluged with advice from other people - and for once he tries listening. He lets others take a leading role, among them an eccentric granny, a fragile old lady hacker and an enormously fat and resourceful woman officer.

Key to the plot is a DNA conference in Quebec that Adamsberg and his team attend. The temperamental differences between French and Canadian officers are quite amusing.

If you haven't read Have Mercy on Us All, you might want to get that along with this book, since a wonderful supporting character appears in both.

I'm deeply impressed by the stylistic brilliance of this author, her quirky sense of humor - and her ability to portray the caprices of the human mind.
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