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Commissaire Adamsberg books in order

Looking for Fred Vargas’s Commissaire Adamsberg books in order? Look no further!

Commissaire Adamsberg is the creation of the French historian, archaeologist and author Fred Vargas.

Adamsberg is one of the Parisian police forces’ most unusual and unorthodox members. He tends to ignore clues and obvious suspects – and often arrests people with strong alibis. He is a dreamer, often seeming distracted, and colleagues are frequently baffled by his amazing success rate. He has a deep understanding of human nature, allowing him to predict suspect’s moves before they themselves make them.

Vargas’s writing is of the highest quality – she’s even won the CWA International Dagger for translated crime fiction, along with her translator Siân Reynolds, a staggering four times.

If you’re yet to discover this series then we promise you’re in for a treat. Here’s a taster of the Commissaire Adamsberg books in order…

Commissaire Adamsberg books in order:

The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas

1. The Chalk Circle Man

Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg is not like other policemen. His methods appear unorthodox in the extreme: he doesn’t search for clues; he ignores obvious suspects and arrests people with cast-iron alibis; he appears permanently distracted. In spite of all this his colleagues are forced to admit that he is a born cop.

When strange blue chalk circles start appearing overnight on the pavements of Paris, only Adamsberg takes them – and the increasingly bizarre objects found within them – seriously. And when the body of a woman with her throat savagely cut is found in one, only Adamsberg realises that other murders will soon follow.

Seeking Whom He May Devour by Fred Vargas

2. Seeking Whom He May Devour

In this frightening and surprising novel, the eccentric, wayward genius of Commissaire Adamsberg is pitted against the deep-rooted mysteries of one Alpine village’s history and a very present problem: wolves.

Disturbing things have been happening up in the French mountains; more and more sheep are being found with their throats torn out. The evidence points to a wolf of unnatural size and strength. However Suzanne Rosselin thinks it is the work of a werewolf.

Have Mercy on Us All by Fred Vargas

3. Have Mercy On Us All

Three times a day in a Parisian square, a curious modern-day crier announces the news items that are left in his box. Over the course of a few days he receives a number of disturbing and portentous messages of malicious intent, all of them referring to the Black Death. Strange marks have also appeared on the doors of several buildings: symbols once used to ward off the plague.

Detective Commissaire Adamsberg begins to sense a connection, even a grotesque menace. Then charged and flea-bitten corpses are found. The press seizes on their plague-like symptoms, and the panic sets in.

Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand by Fred Vargas

4. Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand

Between 1943 and 2003 nine people have been stabbed to death with a most unusual weapon: a trident. In each case, arrests were made, suspects confessed their crimes and were sentenced to life in prison. But each presumed murderer lost consciousness during the night of the crime and has no recollection of it.

Commissaire Adamsberg is convinced all the murders are the work of one person, the terrifying Judge Fulgence. Years before, Adamsberg’s own brother had been the principal suspect in a similar case and avoided prison only thanks to Adamsberg’s help. History repeats itself when Adamsberg is accused of having savagely murdered a young woman he had met. To prove his innocence, he must go on the run from the Canadian police and find the judge himself.

This Night's Foul Work by Fred Vargas

5. This Night’s Foul Work

On the outskirts of Paris, two men have been found with their throats cut. In Normandy, two stags have been killed and their hearts cut out. Meanwhile a seventy-five-year-old nurse who has murdered several of her patients has escaped from prison. Is there a connection between the three cases?

In this mystery, Commissaire Adamsberg is pitted against nemeses past and present: Ariane Lagarde, France’s foremost pathologist and Adamsberg’s enemy since they argued over a case twenty-three years earlier, and Louis Veyrenc, a new recruit with a grudge, who has been assigned the job of protecting the Commissaire’s ex-girlfriend. As the different strands of Vargas’s compelling story begin to intertwine, events move towards a gripping climax…

An Uncertain Place by Fred Vargas

6. An Uncertain Place

Commissaire Adamsberg has left Paris for a police conference in London, accompanied by anglophile Commandant Danglard and Estalere, a young sergeant. The city offers a welcome change of scenery until a gruesome discovery is made – just outside the gates of Highgate Cemetery a pile of shoes, all containing severed feet, is found.

Returning to Paris, the three men are then confronted with the violent killing and dismemberment of a wealthy, elderly man. Both the dead man’s son and gardener have motives for murder, but soon another candidate for the killing emerges. As Adamsberg investigates the links between these two unsettling crimes, he puts himself at terrible risk.

The Ghost Riders of Ordebec by Fred Vargas

7. The Ghost Riders of Ordebec

‘People will die,’ says the panic-stricken woman outside police headquarters. She refuses to speak to anyone besides Commissaire Adamsberg. Her daughter has seen a vision: ghostly horsemen who target the most nefarious characters in Normandy. Since the middle ages there have been stories of murderers, rapists, those with serious crimes on their conscience, meeting a grisly end following a visitation by the riders.

Soon after the young woman’s vision a notoriously vicious and cruel man disappears. Although the case is far outside his jurisdiction, Adamsberg agrees to investigate the strange happenings in a village terrorised by wild rumours and ancient feuds.

A Climate of Fear by Fred Vargas

8. A Climate of Fear

A woman is found murdered in her bathtub, and the murder made to look like a suicide. A strange symbol is found near the body. Then a second victim is discovered, who was also part of a group of tourists on a doomed expedition to Iceland ten years earlier.

How are these deaths, and rumours of an Icelandic demon, linked to the secretive Association for the Study of the Writings of Maximilien Robespierre? And what does the mysterious symbol signify? Commissaire Adamsberg is about to find out.

Read our review here.

The Poison Will Remain by Fred Vargas

9. This Poison Will Remain

After three elderly men are bitten by spiders, everyone assumes that their deaths are tragic accidents. But at police headquarters in Paris, Inspector Adamsberg begins to suspect that the case is far more complex than first appears.

It isn’t long before Adamsberg is investigating a series of rumours and allegations that take him to the south of France. Decades ago, at La Miséricorde orphanage, shocking events took place involving the same species of spider: the recluse.

For Adamsberg, these haunting crimes hold the key to proving that the three men were targeted by an ingenious serial killer. His team, however, is not convinced. He must put his reputation on the line to trace the murderer before the death toll rises…

There you have it – Fred Vargas’ Commissaire Adamsberg books in order! How many have you read? Let us know in the comments below…

20 Comments

    Have read them all and hope there are more to come. Great writing, characters and translating.

    I love these. There is something about them. The atmosphere. The characters. The misty darkness. The twilight. The humour. Even in translation.

    The great thing about being elderly (as I am) is that your memory starts to go. So, you can keep re-reading these wonderful books without knowing how they end. Second time round, I read them in the correct order and also enjoyed following the development of the secondary characters in all their interesting detail.

    Read all the books in English, brilliant translation and hoping for another one soon

    I have read them all in English. A great series. Keep them coming.

    I’ve also read them all in French and recently discovered an early success “Tales of Love and Death” which has a prototype Adamsberg character – interesting to see the development. Unbeatable for characterisation! I’m under the spell.

    I have read all of them in French. Nothing like a good page turner to improve one’s grasp of the language. I am horrified that there is not another one. I have also read some of the Three Evangelists but I prefer Adamsberg.

    All. Can’t wait for another in English to come out!

    I’ve read them all several times. Adamsberg is a stroke of genius. The translator has to be one of the best around to be able to convey the flavour of the originals so accurately.

    Just ended my first, “The Chalk Circle Man”. I too loved it, and I’ll be going on also.

    read 3 and with being “stuck at home” during this virus outbreak I am reading the rest. they’re
    delightful and quirky

    All of them. Twice.
    Wonderful characters, language and she sets the imagination on fire with mental images.
    Beautifully translated by Sian Reynolds so you loose nothing of the Vargas style and poetry.

    If you’ve never read Fred Vargas, give yourself a real treat. Reading you will find delicious.

    I have read 4 of Fred Vargas’ books which I then turned around and read again. I find her books thoroughly entertaining and her descriptions of her characters excellent. I am now searching for other in the series with the characters who appeared in the Evangalists…
    Thank you.

    When does the new Adamsberg book come out in English? Title has the word Hermit in it.

    I believe there is a new book due to be published in 2019! Watch this space 🙂

    Read them all. I love the quirkiness of this series. Adamsberg has a touch of Dirk Gently with the atmosphere of a Scandy Noir. Some of the other characters are really interesting. Well worth a read.

    Just ended my first “The Chalk Circle Man”. Loved it and going on.

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