In the pitch-black cell of an asylum - possibly in nineteenth-century France - an extended dialogue between the 'baron' and a disembodied 'voice' ensues. Arrested for a crime that he has no memory of, the baron swears his innocence throughout. In contemporary France a man and his wife push one another into increasingly violent and extreme situations in what is evidently a deeply twisted marriage. There is only one possible outcome as the stakes get higher and higher. And where there is murder, there must be a murderer . . . A book where nothing is quite as it first seems, Bernardo Carvalho's ingeniously structured novel raises disturbing questions about man's capacity to deceive and damage. This is the second of several novellas featuring deceased literary figures at the heart of a murder mystery, based on a highly acclaimed Brazilian series entitled Death or Literature. Fiction in this occasional series also comes from Louise Welsh (Tamburlaine Must Die, on Christopher Marlowe) and Alberto Manguel (Stevenson Under the Palm Trees).