The debut mystery in the internationally bestselling Commissaire Adamsberg series-now available for the first time in the United States Fred Vargas 's Commissaire Adamsberg mysteries are a sensation in France, consistently praised for their intelligence, wit, and macabre imagination. This first novel in the series introduces the unorthodox detective Commissaire Adamsberg-one of the most engaging characters in contemporary crime fiction. When blue chalk circles begin to appear on the pavement in neighborhoods around Paris, Adamsberg is alone in thinking that they are far from amusing. As he studies each new circle and the increasingly bizarre objects they contain-empty beer cans, four trombones, a pigeon's foot, a doll's head-he senses the cruelty that lies within whoever is responsible. And when a circle is discovered with decidedly less banal contents-a woman with her throat slashed-Adamsberg knows that this is just the beginning.