According to its preface, Graeme Macrae Burnet’s The Accident on the A35 is the translation of an unpublished Raymond Brunet manuscript, released after his mother’s death. Burnet’s first novel, The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau, was presented as the translation of French author Brunet’s first novel, originally published in the early 1980s. But if this kind of meta-narrative element fries your brain, you needn’t worry; The Accident on the A35 can be enjoyed on its own merits as a character-focused mystery.

Clearly influenced by Georges Simenon’s Jules Maigret novels, The Accident on the A35 is less about the investigation of a crime and more about its resolution. The book opens with George Gorski, a detective in the sleepy town of Saint Louis, called to the scene of a road accident. It appears an open-and-shut case, but Gorski is encouraged by the dead man’s wife to dig deeper into precisely what her husband was doing travelling on the A35 that night. Meanwhile, the dead man’s teenage son, Raymond, happens across an address scrawled on a note in his father’s office, and decides to pay it a visit. There he meets a young woman named Delph, who he begins to obsess over, which changes the course of his friendships and relationships.

Despite its glacial pace, there is something remarkably seductive about the novel.  It succeeds because of its compelling portraits of its two main leads.

ISBN: 9781925603057
Format: Paperback (234mm x 154mm x 21mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: The Text Publishing Company
Publisher: Text Publishing Co
Publish Date: 30-Oct-2017
Country of Publication: Australia

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