She Who Was No More

By Boileau-Narcejac, Translated by Geoffrey Sainbury

Available from Pushkin Press

 

Every Saturday evening, travelling salesman Ferdinand Ravinel returns to his wife, Mireille, who waits patiently for him at home. But Ferdinand has another lover, Lucienne, an ambitious doctor, and together the adulterers have devised a murderous plan.

Drugging Mireille, the pair drown her in a bathtub, but in the morning, before the "accidental" death can be discovered, the corpse is gone-so begins the unraveling of Ferdinand's plot, and his sanity...

This classic of French noir fiction was adapted for the screen by Henri-Georges Clouzot as Les Diaboliques (The Devils), starring Simone Signoret and Véra Clouzot, the film which in turn inspired Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. A second movie version, Diabolique, followed in 1996, starring Sharon Stone.

Pierre Boileau (1906-89) and Thomas Narcejac (1908-98) are two of  the most celebrated names in French crime fiction. Together they collaborated on more than forty thrillers, most notably Vertigo and She Who Was No More, turned into classics of noir cinema by Alfred Hitchcock and Henri-Georges Clouzot respectively.