The latest addition to my website is Laurent Mauvignier‘s Histoires de la nuit (The Birthday Party). The book is set in a small French hamlet called Three Lone Girls. There are three houses: one empty, one inhabited by Christine, an elderly artist and the third inhabited by Patrice Bergogne, his wife, Marion and their daughter, Ida. While all seems fairly smooth, there are problems – Patrice’s debts, Marion having job problems, Christine struggling with her painting. In particular she has been receiving anonymous, threatening letters. It is Marion’s fortieth birthday and the other three have been planning a birthday party for her. However, things gradually start going wrong and then go very wrong, as the past rears its ugly head as the lives of all four will be irrevocably changed. Mauvignier superbly builds up the tension in what is a very dramatic work.