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The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau by Graeme…
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The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau (2014)

by Graeme Macrae Burnet

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Set in the small, sleepy French town of Saint-Louis near the Swiss border, this atmospheric novel follows the attempt of Inspector Georges Gorski to investigate Adele Bedeau’s sudden and unexplained disappearance. As the case drags on, with no obvious resolution or culprit, Gorski is once again reminded of his first murder investigation from twenty years before.
On revisiting the previous events, he realises that the two may be linked through Manfred Baumann. Baumann, a loner, who committed the original crime but was never charged, becomes increasingly disturbed at Gorski’s questions.
This is so much more than a murder mystery as Burnet’s writing deftly sketches the close atmosphere of the town, together with Baumann’s nervousness and the dilemma of Gorski trying to resolve the situation, which builds to a tense and surprising finale.
  camharlow2 | May 3, 2018 |
This is a French murder mystery that is considered a cult classic. It reminds me of the book Felicia's Journey where the main character is a pervy middle aged guy. Not the best subject matter, the book is well written. It's a wonderful character study of Baumann, the suspect in the disappeance of a young waitress, and Gorski, the detective who pursues him. I was not crazy about the ending, but it just shows how disassociated Baumann was. ( )
  kerryp | Mar 6, 2018 |
Adele, a waitress in the Restaurant de la Cloche, disappears. Manfred, a regular at the restaurant lies to the police about the last time he saw her. The novel focusses mostly on Manfred, a friendless bank manager who lives a life of routine, obsessed with what others must be thinking of him. Other chapters are from the perspective of the police chief Gorski, an unassuming man with a bit of an inferiority complex himself, who is haunted by a murder case he failed to solve 20 years ago.

The writing was excellent, although unremittingly downbeat, and the picture of the town of Saint-Louis well-drawn. Manfred's character was excellent and believable, even at his most self-conscious and paranoid. Adele's fate was surely inevitable. I did not feel that the conceit that the text was in fact written by the French-sounding Raymond Brunet and only translated by Burnet really added anything.

Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote pgchuis | Jan 12, 2018 |
3.5 incredibly dark and insidiously creepy. Manfred, such an unlikable character, a man who is immersed in his routines, socially awkward, and well, extremely dull. When a young woman, a waitress at a restaurant Manfred visits daily, goes missing, he finds himself subject to police scrutiny. Gorsky, whose first case as a young policeman, was never solved to his satisfaction, relentlessly pursues Manfred.

A very thought provoking, though slowly paced, psychological study of a man whose tightly controlled life begins to unravel. It was interesting to see how many reacts to this new pressure brought to bear on his life. As I said none of these characters are particularly likable, but in this story that didn't seem to matter, though usually I do have a harder time connecting to a story when there is not a character in which I can relate. Here though it made the story even more interesting. Seeing inside the thoughts of this man as well as those of the policeman give the reader a first hand look at the destruction of a person's psyche. The ending, well let's just say I didn't expect it, but as in the novel, a truisms because regardless of the trauma suffered by some, for others life goes on as normal..

ARC by Edelweiss. ( )
  Beamis12 | Nov 26, 2017 |
A smart, stylish story dissecting the life of one Manfred Baumann a strangely introverted man who works at the bank in Saint-Louis and dines most lunchtimes and evenings at The Restaurant De La Cloche. He regards, in an almost salacious way, a young waitress called Adele Bedeau and when she disappears Manfred becomes the chief suspect and is pursued relentlessly by Inspector Gorski of the Saint-Louis police.

This delicious novel is really the study of human behaviour, in all its quirks and oddities, and you the reader have a front row seat to observe and judge. Manfred is a wonderful character, socially inept, reserved, withdrawn, indeed some of his working and socializing colleagues are of the opinion that his preference may be towards a male rather than a female partner. He is fastidious almost a perfectionist in his approach to daily tasks... "He dressed, combed his hair and put on his watch. Back in the kitchen he laid out two croissants in a basket, butter and jam, a plate and a knife. He poured coffee into a large bowl and sat down at the table.".....

Inspector Gorski has a troubled marriage. His wife Celine, who manages and runs a fashion boutique in town, views Gorski as socially inferior but still insists that he attends social gatherings in order to "establish the Gorskis as part of the Good Society of the town." The Inspector therefore preferred to spend his day policing, and the pursuit of Manfred Baumann proves a welcome distraction.

I loved the unhurried telling of this story the unravelling of the everyday orderliness of Manfred and by doing so expose a dark secret. Can a wise and wily Gorski utilize this secret to expose the truth of Adele's disappearance and by so doing will this set in process a chain of events that may end in disaster? With a very neat and unexpected ending I was delighted, amused and thoroughly entertained by this literary work form a great writer. ( )
  runner56 | Oct 8, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
A longtime fan of Georges Simenon, Burnet seems to have preferred to invent his own French novelist to tell the story than take the credit himself.

And this novel does indeed have the feel of a classic tale that's been knocking around for decades. Inspired by a visit to a brasserie in the very real town of Saint-Louis, where he discerned that the regular customers were locked into static daily routines, he came up with the character Manfred Baumann, a bank manager who has never fitted in, not with the boys at school, not even with the other habitués of the Restaurant de la Cloche. "Among those who lunched daily at the Cloche," Burnet writes, "there was, like railyway commuters, a tacit understanding of the boundaries of communication."
 
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It was an evening like any other at the Restaurant de la Cloche.
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Manfred Baumann is a loner who spends his evenings surreptitiously observing Adele Bedeau, the sullen but alluring waitress at his local bistro. But one day, she simply vanishes. When Detective Georges Gorski begins investigating the case, Manfred's repressed world is shaken to its core and he is forced to confront the dark secrets of his past.… (more)

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