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This Night's Foul Work Paperback – Jan 6 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada (Jan. 6 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030739686X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307396860
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #211,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


‘Stylish prose and strong characters’
James Urquhart, Financial Times

‘Humorous and original eccentricity’
- The Herald

‘If you haven’t cottoned on to Vargas’s brilliant Adamsberg detective series, then you’re missing a treat’
Stuart Kelly, Scotland on Sunday

This Night’s Foul Work goes beyond the suspense and plot twists expected of detective fiction as Vargas has created enthralling characters with very real emotions’
-French Magazine

‘I absolutely loved the latest offering from Vargas. The story is bizarre but the humour and lightness in the way it's written make it seem convincing in this alternative Adamsberg universe’

‘The narrative pace and the conglomeration of oddities and details make for a high level of entertainment and mystery’

‘In theory, Fred Vargas’s novels ought not to work. The storylines are, almost always, wholly unbelievable. The characters, with few exceptions, are weird, exaggerated and unconvincing. And yet, when she assembles her unique, unreal mixture, what emerges is irresistibly gripping, powerfully written and quite often frightening’
-Marcel Berlins, The Times

Praise for Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand:
“A celebration of the grand French tradition of crime writing. . . . It’s finely crafted, elegantly written and very modernist.” - The Globe and Mail

“Plenty of tense entertainment.” - Toronto Star

Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand establishes Vargas beyond doubt as a cool, clever, original and deeply humane crime writer.” - The Times Literary Supplement

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
First Sentence: By fixing his curtain to one side with a clothes-peg, Lucio could better observe the new neighbour at his leisure

Insp. Adamsburg has bought a new house which, according to a neighbor, is haunted. When two men are found with their throats cut, causing him to ask a favor from pathologist Ariane Lagarde, with whom he did not have a good working relationship in the past. Upon learning an elderly nurse, whom Adamsburg imprisoned as a serial killer, has escaped he starts to think the cases are connected.

Vargas has such a wonderful voice and way of bringing her characters to life, right from the beginning. Her natural dialogue (thanks, in part, to her excellent translator, Siân Reynolds) and wry humor “…I work in the Serious Crime Squad.” “I see,” said the old man after registering a slight shock. “My specialty was the bench.” He winked. “Not the Judge’s Bench, wooden benches. I used to sell them.”…enhance the delight of the reader.

Vargas’ characters are special and unique. Adamsburg, with his individual style of investigation, Young Lt. Veyrenc has a tendency to speak in 12-sylable lines and has a childhood enmity for Adamsburg; Commandant Danglad, Adamsburg’s right hand, who can’t stand unsolved questions; Lt. Retancourt, much valued by Adamsburg, can sleep anywhere and whose kidnapping leads to one of the most interesting hunts ever written; and all the other characters, no matter how minor. She even incorporated Mathias and a mention of Marc and Vandossler, characters from her wonderful book “The Three Evangelists”, into the story.

There are such wonderful descriptions that enhance the story and bring it, the locations and the characters to life. She delightfully anthropomorphizes the first day of Spring “…She’s touchy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By reuben poupko on July 1 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I gave this book 5 stars. I am devouring every Vargas novel I can find. The plots are superbly created and Detective Annanberg is my new "Wallender"
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Les carbonnades flamandes on Oct. 9 2010
Format: Paperback
This is the first Fred Vargas novel I have read, and I am now going to read everything she's written. What a treat to be treated intelligently, and to be given a stout meal of a mystery. And what a mystery --- and what a pursuit -- and what individual characters whom Vargas obviously loves just as they are. Larded with delicious titbits of arcane [but relevant] facts, and plot/action strung together with emotions authentic to the human characters --- "I could not put it down" may be cliched, but there was never a point at which I felt that I could maybe leave a bookmark in it for a day or two, as happens often enough. Wholehearted recommendation.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 24 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Ghost Story Aug. 28 2008
By Ted Feit - Published on
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.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Fred's my new fave! June 15 2008
By readqueen - Published on
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.')
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Bravo, Fred July 6 2008
By Dina M. Fischbein - Published on
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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Stalking a methodical maniac Jan. 6 2010
By Patto - Published on
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Vargas is wonderful July 17 2008
By J. Gabrielson - Published on
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.