Penguin Books has acquired the French bestseller The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair for an advance the imprint claims is the highest it has ever paid. Penguin declined to provide a specific figure for the advance, but touted the deal in a press release as its "biggest" acquisition to date. The novel, by author Joel Dicker is, as Penguin described, "a fast-paced, tightly plotted, cinematic literary thriller, and an ingenious book within a book." Penguin's trade paperback original is set for May 27, 2014.

The novel follows two stories: that of a 15-year-old New Hampshire girl who disappears and, 30 years later, of a young American writer struggling to write his next book while working to clear his mentor's name.

John Siciliano at Penguin bought U.S. rights to the book at auction. Canadian rights to the book were acquired by Harper.

Dicker, who is 28 and was born in Switzerland, spent his summers in the U.S., in New England.