Dirty, drunk, unloved, and unloving, Hector Loursat has been a bitter recluse for eighteen long years—ever since his wife abandoned him and their newborn child to run off with another man. Once a successful lawyer, Loursat now guzzles burgundy and buries himself in books, taking little notice of his teenage daughter or the odd things going on in his vast and ever-more-dilapidated mansion. But one night the sound of a gunshot penetrates the padded walls of Loursat’s study, and he is forced to investigate. What he stumbles on is a murder.
Soon Loursat discovers that his daughter and her friends have been leading a dangerous secret life. He finds himself strangely drawn to this group of young people, and when one of them is accused of the murder, he astonishes the world by taking up the young man’s defense.
In The Strangers in the House, Georges Simenon, master chronicler of the dark side of the human heart, gives us a detective story that is also a tale of an improbable redemption.
|Publisher:||New York Review Books|
|Series:||NYRB Classics Series|
|Product dimensions:||5.05(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.46(d)|
About the Author
P.D. James is the author of eighteen books. She served in the forensics and criminal justice departments of Great Britain’s Home Office, and she has been a magistrate and a governor of the BBC. In 2000 she published her autobiography, Time to Be in Earnest.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Strangers in the House follows Loursat, a formerly respected lawyer from a prominent family who has retreated to his bedroom, his books, and his wine since the sudden departure of his ex-wife decades earlier. The man is now pitied or despised or unloved by virtually everyone, including by his daughter who lives in his decrepit old house but with whom he rarely speaks. One evening, Loursat’s decades long stupor is suddenly shaken when he hears a gunshot, finds a murdered man in his home, and discovers that his daughter has managed, to his amazement, to build a life for herself. Slowly, the events of that night begin to draw Loursat himself back toward life. The Strangers in the House is the first novel I’ve read by Georges Simenon, and I wouldn’t be surprised if, when I reach next January, it’s still the best novel that I’ve read for the year. Simenon’s style is direct and subtle. With the slightest of images, Simenon can open up a character’s inner world. I appreciated this plot, too. It’s a mystery, in a way, but it’s not any sort of procedural with the detective unturning and piecing together clues. Instead, it’s a psychological sort of mystery, with Loursat studying himself and the characters of those around him, to reach an understanding. In the end, I found the novel to be pretty well entirely satisfying. It’s a subtle mystery story. But more than that, I found the novel to be a rich, realistic, and oddly hopeful study of character. I’m already hooked on reading Simenon, but I’m not sure that I’ll enjoy any of his novels more than I did this one.
The prose of this translation is very good, a true joy to read.