Blurb (as on Goodreads):
Manfred Baumann is a loner. Socially awkward and perpetually ill at ease, he spends his evenings quietly drinking and surreptitiously observing Adèle Bedeau, the sullen but alluring waitress at a drab bistro in the unremarkable small French town of Saint-Louis. But one day, she simply vanishes into thin air. When 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, Manfred’s repressed world is shaken to its core and he is forced to confront the dark secrets of his past. ‘The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau’ is a literary mystery novel that is, at heart, an engrossing psychological portrayal of an outsider pushed to the limit by his own feverish imagination.
The name might sound like a Crime and Mystery novel, but I can assure you, this book is more than that. Its a glimpse into the thought process of a man whose bizarre fantasies had led to a crime years ago and a cop who isn’t quite sure if he should arrest the man for a crime he did more than 10 years ago, because hasn’t he already suffered much?
Meet Manfred Baumann, a socially handicapped man, who has a very simple routine and likes to stick to it. He is good looking yet single. He has a huge crush on Adele Bedeau, the waitress at Resturant de la Cloche, where Baumann is a regular. There’s another interesting side to Baumann, his creepy and dark sexual fantasies, and fetishes. Baumann was always a loner and this turned him into a person who has no idea how to approach anyone and start a conversation
Inspector Gorski, a not-so-young detective who lives with the guilt of one unsolved murder, which happened when he had just joined the police force. Weighed down by the guild, Gorski decided not to rest until he finds the reason for Adele disappearance.
All fingers point towards Manfred, but did he kidnap Adele? This book presents us the mental condition of the suspect rather than hardcore fact. Manfred appears scared but there might be other reasons considering his past and his mental state. The judgment is left to the readers, and the author paints both the good and bad side of the matter and the characters. The writing style is classical, with information about the place- a general history and present scenario, and the background of each character. The characters are quite like our everyday characters, hence its easier to relate. The mystery is extremely measured and it acts as a shadow, ever present, yet non-persistent.
The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau is a character-driven plot and is extremely engrossing. With detailed analysis of the mental state of the accuser and the accused, the author left it to his readers to form a conclusion and live with it.
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