The Strangers in the House
by Georges Simenon, introduction by P.D. James, translated by Geoffrey Sainsbury
Dirty, drunk, unloved, and unloving, Hector Loursat has been a bitter recluse for eighteen long years—ever since his wife abandoned him and their newborn child to run off with another man. Once a successful lawyer, Loursat now guzzles burgundy and buries himself in books, taking little notice of his teenage daughter or the odd things going on in his vast and ever-more-dilapidated mansion. But one night the sound of a gunshot penetrates the padded walls of Loursat’s study, and he is forced to investigate. What he stumbles on is a murder.
Soon Loursat discovers that his daughter and her friends have been leading a dangerous secret life. He finds himself strangely drawn to this group of young people, and when one of them is accused of the murder, he astonishes the world by taking up the young man’s defense.
In The Strangers in the House, Georges Simenon, master chronicler of the dark side of the human heart, gives us a detective story that is also a tale of an improbable redemption.
Like Patricia Highsmith, Simenon grasped the psychopathology of the twentieth century at its intractable roots.
— Gary Indiana, New York
The greatest literary discovery I have made in recent time is Georges Simenon—his "hard" novels, such as Dirty Snow and The Strangers in the House. So impressed was I by these books that I was determined to write one. The result is Christine Falls.
— Benjamin Black (John Banville), Publishers Weekly
A master storyteller...Simenon gave to the puzzle story a humanity that it had never had before.
— Daily Telegraph