Title: The Little Roque Girl (also known as Little Louise Roque)
Date Read: 3rd May 2010
Available Online?: YES (although read for this review was the David Coward translation of the story in A Day in the Country and Other Stories (Oxford University Press)).
Briefly: Postman Mederic Rompel is on his daily rounds around the village of Carvelin when he stumbles across a gruesome murder scene in woods belonging to Monsieur Renardet, mayor of the village. Lying under a tree is the naked, strangled body of local girl Louise Roque, who went missing the previous evening.
Afterthoughts: Although fairly lengthy, this is a fine story from Maupassant; one which begins as something of a nineteenth-century episode of C.S.I. but ends as something entirely different. While the first half is more investigatory – looking into the crime that has been committed and its immediate affect – the second half is devoted to the girl’s murderer, and the unbearable feelings of guilt that the murderer is finding himself/herself (no spoilers :)) haunted by. If you’ve read The Horla, The Terror and to a lesser extent Who Knows? then you will be well aware that Maupassant is a master at storytelling ‘descents into madness’ (especially when he found himself on one of those himself), and this story is another one to add to that particular collection.
Notable Quote: All of a sudden he stopped short, as if he had struck against a wooden barrier. Ten paces in front of him lay stretched on her back on the moss a little girl, perfectly nude, her face covered with a handkerchief. She was about twelve years old.
*Story read as part of my Devouring De Maupassant reading challenge.