cover image Vertigo


Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, trans. from the French by Geoffrey Sainsbury. Pushkin Vertigo, $13.95 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-78227-080-5

On the eve of WWII, Roger Flavi%C3%A8res, the hero of this intricately plotted thriller (the basis for the Hitchcock classic of the same name), has been forced out of the Paris police force because his fear of heights caused him to botch a case. An old friend, the rich industrialist Paul G%C3%A9vigne, approaches Flavi%C3%A8res with a strange proposition: observe and follow his wife, Madeleine, who's recently been acting strangely. Flavi%C3%A8res reluctantly agrees, and, of course, can't keep his distance from the entrancing Madeleine. The two strike up an odd friendship, and Flavi%C3%A8res thinks it's romance. The two become closer%E2%80%94he even saves her from a possible suicide attempt after she walks into the river%E2%80%94and eventually Madeleine seemingly kills herself by throwing herself off a church tower, while the helpless Flavi%C3%A8res watches the whole thing. The detective sinks into a deep depression and leaves the city, just as the war commences. He returns a broken man and encounters a woman whom he swears is his lost love, but who claims to be Ren%C3%A9e Sourange. Boileau and Narcejac weave an increasingly clever suspense narrative with a truly inventive take on identity, obsession, and desire. (Sept.)