The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau

The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau

Book - 2017
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Manfred Baumann is a loner. Socially awkward and perpetually ill at ease, he spends his evenings quietly drinking and surreptitiously observing Adele Bedeau, the sullen but alluring waitress at a drab bistro in the unremarkable small French town of Saint-Louis. One day, she simply vanishes into thin air and Georges Gorski, a detective haunted by his failure to solve one of his first murder cases, is called in to investigate the girl's disappearance. He sets his sights on Manfred. As Manfred cowers beneath Gorski's watchful eye, the murderous secrets of his past begin to catch up with him and his carefully crafted veneer of normalcy falters. His booze-soaked unraveling carries him from Saint-Louis to the back alleys of Strasbourg.
Publisher: New York : Arcade Publishing, 2017
ISBN: 9781510723092
Characteristics: 225 p. ; 22 cm


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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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