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A tough, smart, unsettling novel--Smith's third, following The Man From Marseilles (1986) and Body and Soul (1987)--about a young man's tortured reactions to his wife's mysterious disappearance. Adam Fust is the Hungarian assistant to the controversial film-director Gabor; his wife Honnie, who restores frescoes, hasn't worked in several years. One evening, in the blue hour of dusk, Adam comes home to find Honnie missing, though her scent (L'heure bleu, naturally) still lingers in their apartment. Has she walked out on him, as she did once before? Run off with another man? Been kidnapped or killed? As Adam pursues his desultory inquiries about Honnie--he doesn't even report her disappearance to vaguely threatening Inspector Cuvillier until six days have passed--telltale events in his life form a shifting series of patterns around her. He sees her in his musician friend Johnny Vodo's disturbingly silent wife Eva; in his memory of an aggressively sexual invitation she'd received from surveillance expert Tote Roget; in the death of an epileptic named Borrel, whom Tote had linked to Honnie; in the plot of Gabor's new S/M film and the English actress who plays the heroine; in his own dalliance with Gabor's secretary LouLou. Gradually realizing that Cuvillier suspects he had some part in Honnie's disappearance and that he has never known what she was really like, Adam--dissolving in bewilderment and grief--is helpless to forestall the inevitable grim climax. The climax itself is a minor letdown to a skillfully sustained nightmare worthy of a Polanski film.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1989
Publisher: British American--dist. by Simon & Schuster