The problem with reading series in the wrong order is that most of the information and backstory about the main characters has been covered in the following books.
Therefore some of the best moments in the novel as relationships are formed don't have the same impact and sense of discovery that they should have.
"I have to tell you, he added, with his back half-turned to Adamsberg, "that after four in the afternoon I'm not good for much-best you should know that."
And later in the story:
But Arlette [his daughter] knew he had worries at present, what with his almost empty bank account, the impossible investigation he was engaged in, and the unsettling character of his new boss.
The story is a little slow after a good start as the author establishes the eccentricity of Adamsberg and the unorthodox way he deals with Danglard and the various suspects, who include a beautiful blind man Charles Reyer, and an oceanographer who follows people, Mathilde Forestier.
Can either of them be the person who draws blue chalk circles in the streets?
Is the chalk circle drawer also a serial killer, or has someone else taken advantage of the circles to confuse the police by putting bodies inside the circle?
I am confused and intrigued by the story which has about seventy pages to go, but that is probably why Fred Vargas has won two International Daggers.