There are some incidents in our life that we mull over again and again. When it did happen we don't realize that it is an important incident, nobody earmarks events and tells us they are important or something that we are going to think about and dissect. What did she mean? What did I say? Why did I say it? Did I mean what I said? It was just another moment in the series of many such moments in our life. Then it becomes 'the moment', the moment that shapes our lives and something we couldn't help ponder, could it be done differently?
"It needed thinking about. It was not a thing that he had ever asked himself. Were there really people whose lives were devoted to self-examination, to gazing at themselves in a mirror, as it were?"
When Tony met Andrée at the Blue Room in the Hotel, it was just another clandestine encounter with her, after all he met her 12 times in the last 11 months. But this one incident he ponders not only by himself but is made to think by others too- the Judge and psychiatrist.
She asked him if he would leave his wife for her. He said, "Of course". He didn't really mean it. If he was serious he wouldn't say of course, would he? Not only that moment but the other moments that follow it, the other decisions that follow it are dissected. Why did you take the holiday with your wife? Can we give justifications to all our actions? He is made to analyse his feelings and motives and think of things that he hadn't thought before.
"How to put into words the difference between living through an experience, and stripping it bare layer by layer afterwards? Feelings and motives were imputed to him that he did not recognize. "
The story starts at 'the moment' and we know that defining moment led to something that involved a judge and psychiatrist. So what happened? Until the end we do not know what really happened and why Tony keeps going back. Tony is made to reveal intimate details about his life when we realize that when somebody is imputed of a crime they have no privilege to privacy.
This great crime classic is translated from French by Eileen Ellenbogen in 1964.