The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau

The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau

A Historical Thriller

Book - 2017
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Framed as a translation of a lost French work from 1982, this is a Simenon-influenced deconstruction of a crime story and a character study of the two men caught up in the titular disappearance. Manfred Baumann, a lonely and quiet man, is the last person to see Adèle Bedeau alive in the small French town of Saint-Louis, and between that fact and his obsession with her, he naturally becomes a suspect in the crime. Insp. Georges Gorski is still smarting over a case from years ago that he believes resulted in the wrong person being convicted, and he’s unaware that he’s not only right but that Baumann was the real culprit. The guilt Baumann feels over the crime he actually committed clashes with his desire not to be accused of making Adèle vanish.
Publisher: New York, NY : Arcade Publishing, 2017
Edition: First Arcade Publishing edition
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781510723092
Branch Call Number: FIC
Characteristics: 225 pages ; 22 cm


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Fans of Simenon mysteries will enjoy this historical thriller about a man implicated in the disappearance of a young woman.

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Jun 07, 2018

(Slight spoilers ahead) This is a bit of a meta-novel where the author invents another author who supposedly wrote the book and whose life parallels that of Manfred, the protagonist. Manfred overthinks everything, committed an accidental (but horrible) crime in his youth but was never charged (or, did he actually do it on purpose? Is he a reliable narrator?), and is growing increasingly paranoid -- because of this new, unsolved crime and a detective who uncovers the old one, and because he's really ill at ease with just about every aspect of life.

Not really a "mystery" story in the classic Arthur Conan Doyle / Agatha Christie tradition, this is more of an existential dreamscape, a discussion of the nature of evil, and a look at the idea of the novel itself. A quick read, though interesting and intense.

Oct 23, 2017

Really got hooked about 25 pages in. Reminded me of Simenon time and again. A total loser, Manfred is, and as he lives his claustrophobic life in an unlovely French town bordering Switzerland (where tourists never linger), his precarious existence slowly crumbles. This is a psychological thriller and a dandy one at that! Other characters are catalysts for his relentless imaginings: the waitress, Adele; his neighbor, who is rather odd herself, the police detective, the habitues of the cafe he frequents. Don't know where I found it but am glad I did.

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