cover image The Enigma of Room 622

The Enigma of Room 622

Joël Dicker, trans. from the French by Robert Bononno. HarperVia, $29.99 (592p) ISBN 978-0-06-309881-7

The discovery of a body in room 622 of the Hôtel de Verbier in the Swiss Alps propels this intricately plotted tour de force from Swiss author Dicker (The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair). Sixteen years after the unsolved murder, author Joël Dicker, who’s reeling from the recent death of his beloved publisher, arrives at the luxury hotel, where he and an aspiring author he meets by chance resolve to explore why there’s no longer a room 622. The present-day action shifts between their research about the cold case, full of the reminiscences of the few witnesses they can track down, and the story of Macaire Ebezner, whose planned succession to the presidency of his family bank—which was holding its annual gala at the hotel at the time of the murder—is being thwarted by a board who prefers his business rival, rising star Lev Levovich. Flashbacks to the days leading up to the murder include the points of view of Macaire, Lev, and Macaire’s wife, each of whom comes across as brilliant and bumbling in turn. Dicker’s quasi-autobiographical frankness, his heartfelt tribute to his publisher, and the pull between past and present keep the pages turning. This astonishingly smart, emotionally satisfying, and strangely intimate novel is not to be missed. (Sept.)