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Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand (Commissaire Adamsberg, Book 4) Paperback – July 31, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
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
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.)
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a great way to spend the time if flying to or from France
Great old fashioned brilliant mystery. Makes the time fly by
Well-written and gripping. Not my usual sort of book, but it definitely grabbed me.Published 3 months ago by Janet Draper
Fred Vargas is brilliant. No way to go wrong with any of the Commissaire Adamsberg series. I only and ever suggest going in the proper order. I am a huge fan.Published 10 months ago by Joan
I love Vargas' Adamsberg novels but one thing is bugging me. On Page 51 of the paperback, a wound created by a three pronged pitchfork is described as 16.9 cm wide with 4. Read morePublished 13 months ago by William H Kirchhoff
The tension and drama of this story reaches a highpoint. Fred Vargas has given us such a wonderful and memorable group of characters. Fun, fun, funPublished on December 16, 2013 by Eugene B. Lefevre
I've enjoyed the other three books I've read in this series, but I always felt that Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg was maintaining a distance between us. Read morePublished on December 13, 2013 by Cathy G. Cole
This is the second Adamsberg mystery that I have read. My first one was in the original French, and I was wondering how the commissaire would sound in translation. Read morePublished on October 8, 2013 by erisgeenhoop
Mysteries are not generally considered literature, but perhaps an exception will have to be made in this case. Read morePublished on March 14, 2013 by Sheila C. Ivary