Quick Take: The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau

The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau by Graeme Macrae Burnet
Rating: 4 stars

Note: I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Summary: Manfred Baumann is a loner. Socially awkward and perpetually ill at ease, he spends his evenings quietly drinking and surreptitiously observing Adele Bedeau, the sullen but alluring waitress at a drab bistro in the unremarkable small French town of Saint-Louis. One day, she simply vanishes into thin air and Georges Gorski, a detective haunted by his failure to solve one of his first murder cases, is called in to investigate the girl’s disappearance. He sets his sights on Manfred. 

As Manfred cowers beneath Gorski’s watchful eye, the dark secrets of his past begin to catch up with him and his carefully crafted veneer of normalcy begins to crack. Graeme Macrae Burnet’s masterful play on literary form featuring an unreliable narrator makes for a grimly entertaining psychological thriller that questions if it is possible–or even desirable–to know another man’s mind.

Quick take: 

The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau is an interesting mystery novel with an unreliable narrator, but also a stunning psychological portrait of an outsider. It’s unnerving how easy it is for an outsider’s shyness and socially awkward personality to be assumed as guilt. The snap judgments the regulars at the restaurant made ruined the narrator’s life before any investigation is completed.

Manfred Baumann is not a likable guy, and he is also guilty of lewd thoughts about Adele Bedeau. Personally, I find his attitude towards women sexist and repulsive. But does that mean he is guilty in Adele’s disappearance before foul play is even proven? 

I highly recommend this to mystery fans and anyone looking interested in the aftermath of declaring someone guilty before proven innocent.


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