The Information meets While England Sleeps? Not exactly--but this sly fable manages to combine the scandals surrounding both of those wildly disparate novels. For 35 years, publisher Edward Destry has watched his beautiful, heartless friend Nicolas Fabry, a Martin Amis-like literary success born under an unaccountably lucky star, leave him further and further in the dust. Nicolas tossed off the juvenilia his friend published in his literary magazine (ending Destry's friendship with his coeditors), seduced and abandoned the women Destry was too tongue-tied to try his luck with, and churned out the increasingly successful novels Destry was content to publish. But the revelation that Nicolas's latest novel, which has won the Goncourt Prize, is based on the real-life suicide of one of Nicolas's first conquests, Destry's great lost love, spurs Destry to a diabolical revenge that Stephen Spender might well envy. If Nicolas can't be punished for making fiction out of the spent lives of his old friends, Destry resolves, then he'll be punished for making fiction out of somebody else's fiction. So Destry sets out to forge a prewar novel that Nicolas can be sued (by somebody else with a grudge against Nicolas, of course--plenty of them around) for plagiarizing. Alternately hugging himself for his ingenuity and sweating lest he get caught on some technicality he's forgotten, Destry lays his trap with all the dedicated envy anybody's ever felt for an unjustly successful writer and waits to see how it'll all come out. He won't be disappointed--even though he's right in worrying that he can't have thought of everything. Swiss writer Fiechter's suave, malicious first novel has already won the Grand Prize for Detective Fiction in France. Wonder what nefarious tale lies underneath that prize?