There are many strands and many characters in this very long novel, but basically it's a 35-year-old murder mystery. The setting, in a small 1970's New England town, is very atmospheric and convincing. The are other themes running through the book - the novelist's academic history, the writer's block and the unscrupulous publisher. Originally published in French and a huge success in Europe. Worth persevering for the murder's solution.
'Somerset Police. What's your emergency?'
'Hello? My name is Deborah Cooper. I live on Side Creek Lane. I think I just seen a man running after a girl in the woods.'
'Could you tell me exactly what happened, ma'am?'
'I don't know! I was standing by the window I looked over toward the woods, and I saw this girl running through the trees. There was a man behind her. I think she was trying to get away from him.'
'Where are they now?'
'I can't see them anymore. They're in the forest.'
'I'm sending a patrol over right now, ma'am.'