THE INVESTIGATION, Philippe Claudel

The Investigator is despatched to a provincial town to find out the truth behind a disturbing spate of suicides amongst employees of The Firm. But from the moment he steps off the train, he finds himself in a world that is alien, unrecognisable, and diabolically complex.

From the hostile weather and the fickle hospitality at Hotel Hope to the town's bewildering inhabitants, everything seems to be against him to the point where he wonders whether he is trapped in a recurring nightmare, or has passed into the realm of death itself.

Cold, hungry and humiliated, and always one step behind, he nevertheless remains determined to find the only man he can hold to account - The Firm's legendary but elusive founder.

The Investigation is an enthralling fable in which our own world is turned on its head, and where the only answers are more questions. Philippe Claudel - author of Brodeck's Report and Monsieur Linh and His Child - is one of Europe's most daring and versatile novelists.

Translated from the French by Daniel Hahn

Paperback - B-format - 224p - £8.99 - 02/01/2014

Elise Williams