Last year's Goncourt Prize winner (Nothing To Chance -- Reynal & Hitchcock) has also turned to the series genre, of which this is the first volume and which marks a considerable advance over his earlier books. This is a powerful book -- in theme and in handling -- with pages of unusual prose. The series (five in all) will each deal with a murder. This one tells of Noel Annequin's killing of his wife, an incurable cancer case, whose suffering becomes so intolerable that she compels him, through love of her, to give her release. This death brings his very bourgeois family into full play, his three brothers -- a priest, a doctor, and a lawyer, all determined to save the family from a deed which they cannot understand as truly Christian -- by committing him to an institution. In the Zola pattern of relentless realism -- but without his sordidity or extravagance. A moving and finely executed piece of work.