Today we are publishing Georges Simenon’s Act of Passion and wanted to share the opening lines of the novel:
“Monsieur Ernest Coméliau
22 bis Rue de Seine
I should like one man, just one, to understand me. And I would like that man to be you.
We spent many long hours together during all the weeks of preliminary investigations. But at that time it was too soon. You were a judge, you were my judge, and I would have seemed to be trying to justify myself. But now you know, don’t you? it has nothing to with that?
I have no idea what your impression was when you came into the courtroom—familiar to you, of course. As for me, how well I remember your arrival! I was alone between my two guards. It was five o’clock in the afternoon and the twilight was beginning to gather in clouds, as it were, around the courtroom.
It was one of the reporters—their table was near the prisoner’s dock—it was a reporter, as I say, first complained to his neighbor that it was getting too dark to see clearly. The neighbor spoke to the journalist next to him, a rather sloppily dressed old man with cynical eyes, probably a habitué of the law courts. I don’t know whether I am mistaken, but I think he was the one who wrote in his paper that I looked like a toad in ambush.
Perhaps this is why I wonder what impression I made upon you. Our dock—that is, the prisoner’s dock—is so low that only the head can be seen above it. It was therefore perfectly natural to keep my chin resting on my hands. I have a wide face, much too wide, which gets shiny easily. But why a toad? To make his readers laugh? Through pure malice? Because he didn’t like my looks?”