Hector Loursat, a lawyer in the town of Moulins, has lived as a drunken recluse since his wife left him eighteen years before. Estranged from society and even his own daughter, he shuts himself in his study, numbed by endless bottles of burgundy. But when a dead man is found in his house one night, the resulting police investigation unearths secrets that shake the town-and Loursat's seclusion-to the core. No longer able to ignore the outside world, he begins to feel new life running in his veins and emerges to take on the murder case himself.
In the progressive breakdown of Loursat's self-imposed isolation, Simenon brilliantly depicts the psychology of loneliness and a man's tortured re-engagement with humanity and its darkest acts