Adrift, and troubled by her recent divorce from her bourgeoisie husband, we meet Betty alone in a bar. When she is embraced by an older woman, we learn of Betty's adulterous past. Feigning as a victim of high society exclusion, the truth of Betty is eventually revealed; that of a sinister woman overwrought with jealousy who cannot help but ensnare innocents into her dark webs of deception.
Originally published in 1961, this psychological thriller caused a sensation and became an instant classic which inspired a film adaptation of the same title.
Hyper-prolific yet critically adored, the Belgian writer took crime novels into new terrority with his 75 books series – newly translated this week – winning devoted fans from Muriel Spark to Alfred Hitchcock in the process.
The crime writer and Maigret inventor's books were all composed in the same intense mood, as if he were gripped by a fever