Roger Ebert wrote the introduction for Act of Passion by Georges Simenon, the recent addition to our series of his roman durs (hard novels). Here’s half of a paragraph that explains the book very well:
Act of Passion is essentially a question posing as an answer. As Charles Alavoine [the protagonist and narrator] writes his long letter to an examining magistrate, he implies that if the judge could understand him and knew the conditions of his life, it would become clear why he committed murder—why anyone would have. The novel expresses the faith of the narrator that to understand him would be to forgive him. Not to exonerate him—he accepts his guilt—but to understand why he did what he did, and to accept that we might have done the same thing. ‘You are afraid to be precise, of what has happened to me,’ he writes to the magistrate.