This sequel to Kristeva's celebrated allegory "The Old Man and the Wolves" returns to the corrupt, seaside resort of a mythical town, where the boundaries between East and West, civilization and barbarism, and good and evil are erased. Part mystery, part meditation, this engrossing tale features the return of Parisian amateur detective and newspaper reporter Stephanie Delacour (Kristeva's alter ego), drawn into the mystery of a friend's murder.
A sequel to the celebrated French critic and semiotician's eerie allegorical novel The Old Man and the Wolves (1994, not reviewed) fuses a neatly constructed murder mystery with a series of brief meditations on linguistic and philosophical topics that will be familiar to readers of Kristeva's nonfiction. Though the whole enterprise seems just a tad self-indulgent (if not self-important), it must be said that journalist Stephanie Delacour, who unofficially investigates the grisly murder of a close friend, displays a beguiling savoir-faire, and that the parade of suspects she encounters, including a pompous psychiatrist, a bad-tempered maid, and a guilt-ridden lover, whose "confession" doesn't fit the facts of the case, give this occasionally overburdened intellectual jeu some of the welcome specificity of a down-to-earth old-fashioned whodunit. (Kirkus Reviews)