Fred Vargas – Wash This Blood Clean from My Hands

(Translated by Siân Reynolds.)

Washthisblood_1  In a nutshell: Paris based Commissaire Adamsberg’s team is in the middle of organising a visit to Quebec for a forensic training course.  But Adamsberg is pre-occupied with something else.

Between 1943 and 2003, nine people were stabbed to death with an unusual weapon, a trident; convictions were made, but each convicted murderer lost consciousness on the night of the murder and has no recollection of it.  Adamsberg believes these were wrongful convictions and that the murders are the work of one man: Judge Fulgence.

Adamsberg has personal experience of Fulgence, where his own brother had been the main suspect in a similar case and narrowly avoided prison due to Adamsberg’s help.

Another case comes up, but Adamsberg travels to Quebec, only to find that the case follows him and he too, experiences a night for which he has no recollection, leading to a need to flee from the Canadian police and pursue his own independent investigation…

"Wash This Blood…" is a very compelling, enjoyable and original read.

Adamsberg’s beliefs and rationale appear to defy all logic on times and so it understandable that many don’t believe him.  Any faith left in him is due to his reputation and personal relationships, but even these are severely stretched.  Has he finally lost the plot or is he the only one with the imagination to see the things that others miss?

There is tension in the case and tension in the relationships.  Adamsberg and his team make quite a collection of eccentric characters and this quirkiness also moves the plot along.

A great read for these dark winter nights.

On sale now in the UK.

4 thoughts on “Fred Vargas – Wash This Blood Clean from My Hands

  1. Maxine

    I know I’ve asked this before, if not of you, of Karen, but is this either a standalone or the first of a series? I know she has written some standalones and a trilogy. I like to read series in order, if I can. (Sometimes, eg Liza Marklund, Henning Mankell, it ain’t possible.)

  2. crimeficreader

    You’re asking the wrong person here, Maxine as this was the first novel of hers I’d tried…
    However, a quick review of Amazon suggests this is a series with Adamsberg featuring in: Have Mercy On Us All and Seeking Whom He May Devour. But I’m not sure what order they come in. Wash This Blood Clean From My Hands, is, I’m guessing the third in the series.
    Hope this goes some way to helping…

  3. Peter

    I’m a bit late coming to Vargas. I’ve just finished Wash This Blood … , the first of hers that I had read. I’ll read more.
    Among its pleasures are the suspense. One knows that Adamsberg will not die; he’s the hero, after all. But I do think Vargas does a good job building suspense over how he will escape.
    I’ve posted a few comments at, if you’d care to have a look.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    “Love Work, Hate Lordship, And Seek No Intimacy With the Ruling Power”

  4. Susie Levin

    It’s a series, A Commissaire Adamsberg Mystery. I’m not sure of the order, but I’m sure there aren’t enough of them.


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