When a psychoanalyst’s wife is murdered, one of his patients is so determined to prove his innocence that she becomes entwined in the case herself in this Argentina-set psychological thriller.
In 1987 Buenos Aires, the young wife of a prominent psychoanalyst plummets to her death from their sixth-floor apartment. Vittorio and Lisandra Puig’s relationship wasn’t always the most loving, and he’s soon arrested for her murder, much to the shock of Eva Maria Darienzo, one of his longtime patients. Grémillon (The Confidant, 2012) seamlessly weaves in Argentina’s bloody political history as Eva Maria grapples with the disappearance and murder of her daughter, Stella, five years earlier, presumed to be one of the desaparecidos killed during the country’s “dirty war.” Eva Maria begins her own unofficial investigation after Vittorio directs her to a secret stash of cassette tapes in his office, recordings of all his patients. As she listens to the sessions, which Grémillon expertly captures with the perfect mix of clinical specificity and voyeurism, Eva Maria becomes convinced that each successive patient—Alicia the despondent divorcée; Felipe the ex-junta wife-beater; even Miguel the musician, whose passion for the piano was beaten out of him during the war—could be Lisandra’s killer. Vittorio is equally convinced of their innocence, and the reader is soon unsure whom to trust, particularly after it’s revealed that Eva Maria turns to alcohol for comfort, much to the consternation of her surviving child, Estéban. One thing is clear, though it does not help narrow down a perpetrator: infidelity and jealously have poisoned Vittorio and Lisandra’s union.
Full of truly unexpected twists and poignant turns, Grémillon’s subtly political drama reverberates long after the killer is unmasked.