Have Mercy on Us All

Have Mercy on Us All

Book - 2005
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The popular Parisian mystery by the international bestselling mystery writer, Fred Vargas, whom the French have hailed as the next Henning Mankell.

In a small Parisian square, the ancient tradition of the town crier continues into modern times. The self-appointed crier, Joss Le Guern, reads out the daily news, snippets of gossip, and lately, ominous messages--placed in his handmade wooden message box by an anonymous source--that warn of an imminent onset of the bubonic plague.

Concerned, Le Guern brings the puzzling notes to the bumbling but brilliant Chief Inspector Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg and his straight-edged, right-hand man, Adrien Danglard. When strange signs that were historically believed to ward off the black death start to appear on the doors of several buildings, Adamsberg takes notice and suspects a connection with Le Guern's warnings. After a flea-bitten corpse with plague-like symptoms is found in one of the marked buildings, Fred Vargas's inimitable genius chief inspector is under pressure to solve the mystery and restore calm to a panicked Paris. But is it a real case of the bubonic scourge, or just a sinister trick designed to frighten as the body count grows and the culprit continues to elude the police?

Peopled with charming and eccentric Gallic characters, and packed with gripping historical detail, Have Mercy on Us All is a complex, surprising, and stylish tale from France's finest mystery writer.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2005.
Edition: 1st Simon & Schuster pbk. ed.
ISBN: 9780743284011
Branch Call Number: VARGAS F
Characteristics: 353 p. : maps ; 22 cm.
Additional Contributors: Bellos, David


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Dec 04, 2016

I think Fred Vargas is one of the best detective fiction writers going. Her characters, albeit quirky, resonate as most seem to have human failings and problems and still manage to function effectively as a team. The chief protagonist, Adamsberg, is a philandering, dishevelled chief inspector with a taste for the drink, yet with many admirable qualities.

If you like "American" style detective books with superhero type characters, this is not a book for you. However if you like the Simenon type of French detective, then this is an excellent series. Although stand alone, a chronological reading is best.

Nov 05, 2016

The fourth book in the Commissaire Adamsberg series

Jul 11, 2011

Although this was the first book by Fred Vargas to be available in an English translation, it falls about midway in the series. Her Wikipedia page has a chronology with dates for both French and English versions, to help with reading order for Anglos.


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