Translated by Jonathan Lynn
Must each man kill the thing he loves?
For Victor Cox, a professor of film history, the Hollywood films noirs of the 1940s and 1950s are more real than his daily life. When his wife is found drowned, Cox is the first murder suspect. He falls in love with a student who looks like the 1920s film star Louise Brooks, but she disappears at a Belgian seaside resort. Smeared in lipstick in their hotel room are the words “No Sale”, the same words Elizabeth Taylor wrote on a mirror in Butterfield 8 (she won her first Oscar in that film). Subsequently, a series of gruesome killings of young women, all modeled on violent deaths in films that he knows and loves, lead the police back to Cox, who starts to doubt his own sanity and innocence.
With its stylish writing, pointed references to cinema classics, and blend of horror and humor, this is a powerful psychological thriller. It won the Diamond Bullet Award, the Dagger award for Belgium.