Excerpt from The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

A Novel

by Joel Dicker

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2014, 656 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2014, 656 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Megan Shaffer

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


The whole country was able to watch the hearing live as Harry pleaded not guilty, and the judge ordered him remanded into custody in New Hampshire's State Prison for Men. But this was only the start of the storm. At that moment I still had the naive hope that it would all be over soon, but one hour after the hearing, I received a call from Benjamin Roth.

"Harry gave me your number," he said. "He insisted I call. He wants you to know that he's innocent, that he didn't kill anybody."

"I know he's innocent," I said. "Tell me how he's doing?"

"Not too great, as you can imagine. The cops have been giving him a hard time. He admitted to having a fling with Nola the summer she disappeared."

"I knew about Nola. What about the rest?"

Roth hesitated a second before answering. "He denies it. But . . ."

"But what?" I demanded.

"Marcus, I'm not going to hide it from you. This is going to be difficult. The evidence is . . ."

"The evidence is what? Tell me, for God's sake!"

"This has to stay a secret. No one can know."

"I won't say a word. You can trust me."

"Along with the girl's remains the investigators found the manuscript of The Origin of Evil."

"What?"

"I'm telling you, the manuscript of that damn book was buried with her. Harry is in deep shit."

"What does Harry say?"

"He says he wrote that book for her. That she was always snooping around his home in Goose Cove, and that sometimes she would borrow his pages to read. He says that a few days before she disappeared, she took the manuscript home with her."

"What? He wrote that book for her?"

"Yes. But that can't get out, under any circumstances. You can imagine the scandal there'd be if the media found out that one of the bestselling books of the last fifty years is not a simple love story, like everyone thinks, but based on an illicit affair between a guy of thirty-four and a girl of fifteen . . ."

"Can you get him released on bail?"

"Bail? You don't understand how serious this is. There's no question of bail when it comes to capital crimes. The punishment he risks is lethal injection. Ten days from now his case will be presented to a grand jury, which will decide whether to pursue charges and hold a trial. It's just a formality. There's no doubt there will be a trial."

"And in the meantime?"

"He'll stay in prison."

"But if he's innocent?"

"That's the law. I'm telling you—this is a very serious situation. He's accused of murdering two people."

I slumped back on the couch. I had to talk to Harry.

"Ask him to call me!" I said to Roth.

"I'll pass on your message."

"Tell him I absolutely have to talk to him, and that I'm waiting for his call."

Right after hanging up, I went to my bookshelves and found my copy of The Origin of Evil. Harry's inscription was on the first page:

To Marcus, my most brilliant student
Your friend,
H. L. Quebert, May 1999

I immersed myself once again in that book, which I hadn't opened in years. It was a love story, mixing a straight narrative with epistolary passages, the story of a man and woman who loved each other without really being allowed to love each other. So he had written this book for that mysterious girl about whom I still knew nothing. I finished rereading it in the middle of the night, and contemplated the title. And for the first time I wondered what it meant: Why The Origin of Evil? What kind of evil was Harry talking about?

---------

Two days passed, during which the DNA analyses and dental impressions confirmed that the skeleton discovered at Goose Cove was indeed that of Nola Kellergan. The investigators were able to determine that the skeleton was that of a fifteen-year-old child, indicating that Nola had died more or less at the time of her disappearance. But, most important, a fracture at the back of the skull provided the certainty, even after more than thirty years, that Nola Kellergan had died from at least one blow to the head.

From The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker. Copyright © 2014 by Joel Dicker. by Joël Dicker. Reprinted by arrangement with Penguin Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Éditions de Fallois, 2012.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  A Red Herring

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Goodbye Days
    Goodbye Days
    by Jeff Zentner
    Guilt can be a heavy burden for anyone to manage, but it's especially difficult for teenagers. ...
  • Book Jacket: The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
    The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
    by Hannah Tinti
    Hannah Tinti follows her spectacular 2008 debut, The Good Thief, with a novel of uncommon ...
  • Book Jacket: Music of the Ghosts
    Music of the Ghosts
    by Vaddey Ratner
    Music of the Ghosts is about healing and forgiveness, but it is also about identity and the revival ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    No One Is Coming to Save Us
    by Stephanie Powell Watts

    One of Entertainment Weekly, Nylon and Elle's most anticipated books of 2017.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Stars Are Fire
    by Anita Shreve

    An exquisitely suspenseful novel about an extraordinary young woman tested by a catastrophic event.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -