The Inquisitory consists entirely of the interrogation of an old, deaf servant regarding unspecified crimes that may or may not have taken place at his master's French chateau. The servant's replies - which are by turns comic, straightforward, angry, nostalgic, and disingenuous - hint at a variety of seedy events, including murder, orgies, tax fraud, and drug deals. Of course, the servant wasn't involved with any of these activities - if the reader chooses to believe him. In trying to convince the inquisitor of his innocence, the servant creates a web of half-truths, vague references, and glaring inconsistencies amid "forgotten" details, indicating that he may know more than he's letting on.
About the Author
Robert Pinget was born in 1920 in Geneva. His first collection of stories, Between Fantoine and Agapa, was pubished in 1951. Pinget has written more than 30 books: novels, plays, and "notebooks." His last book, Taches d'Encre came out in 1997, the year he died.
Donald Watson, FAIA, NCARB, is a well-known architect, author and educator and the editor-in-chief of Time-Saver Standards for Architectural Design Data, 7th Edition. He is Professor of Architecture and former Dean at the School of Architecture, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
To me the masterwork of Pinget's novels. The format of 'The Inquisitory' is entirely question and answer revolving around the transcription from a retired butler or servant who throughout the text of the book is being interrogated by some nameless authority who has the power over him to demand answers to everything it asks. As we go deeper and deeper into the book the sometimes reluctant and embattled and flustered old man fleshes out not only every room in the chateau he formerly worked at for many years--painting by sculpture by knickknack, chair by table by loveseat, item by item, but also glimpes into the lives of those for whom he formerly worked (as it turns out 2 gay men), but also their friends and acquaintances, the other servants--branching also out to other local people and the small towns and villages that surround the chateau--characteristics being drawn on a wide variety of different people in the past and observations being made on landscapes and landmarks--descriptions of streets, shops, taverns in the surrounding villages and towns. Pinget literally creates through his mouthpiece of an old servant several towns and occupying them with all kinds of people in a variety of occupations including those who are criminal and/or political. Behind all this is a mystery brought about by the disappearance of his employers' former secretary and an apparent coverup by a group of prominent citizens with a somewhat satanic agenda. A fascinating and unique book and very entertaining. Probably the closest book I could compare it to would be Perec's--Life: A user's manual. IMO one of the best books published in the French language in the 20th century.