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First Sentence: Leaning his shoulder against the dark basement wall, Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg stood contemplating the enormous central heating boiler which had suddenly stopped working, two days before.
Comm. Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg and seven of his officers are getting ready for forensics training in Quebec, Canada. A few days before they are to leave, Adamsberg sees a news story about a murder where the victim received three stab wounds to the stomach and the accused has no memory of committing the crime.
A number of similar crimes, including one where Adamberg's brother was accused, occurred 16 years ago. Adamsberg is certain the true killer is back, except that Adamsberg attended the man's funeral. Now in Canada, another murder occurs, but this time it appears Adamsberg is the killer.
The most important element of a book, for me, is the characters. Vargas creates wonderful characters, although she does not provide as much background with each book as a reader coming into the middle of the series should have. However, once you do start to know the players, they become real and characters about whom you want to know more.
What is appealing about Adamsberg is that is he a very unconventional policeman, yet he gets results and has the loyalty of his colleagues and friends. Vargas' voice is wonderfully effective.
Originally written in French, I appreciate that the translation still has a Gallic undertone to the text. Her descriptions are vivid and her phrasing lush. She has an excellent ear for dialogue, and a delightful sense of humor.
The plot is so well done. Yes, there are coincidences--it is rare to find a book without them'but it is also very cleaver with excellent twists and a soup'on of poignancy that adds dimension to Adamsberg's character. It is also the first time I recall that we see Adamsberg really lose his temper, which humanizes him even more.
I've one criticism, which is that the fourth book has not yet been translated. This did cause a bit of confusion in terms of series plot continuity.
This was an excellent read. I highly recommend both it and the series which must be read in order'frustrating as the English versions were not published in series order.
WASH THIS BLOOD CLEAN FROM MY HAND (Pol. Proc-Comm Adamsberg-Paris/Canada-Cont) ' Ex
Vargas, Fred ' 5th in series (4th translated into English)
Knopf Canada, ©2004, Can. Hardcover ' ISBN: 9780676977981