giovedì 2 agosto 2018

SIMENON SIMENON. ON WHODUNIT IN “THE KRULL HOUSE” / 2

About the rape and murder suspect #2 

SIMENON SIMENONSUR QUI A FAIT ÇA DANS CHEZ KRULL / 2 
A propos du suspect numéro 2 dans le viol et le meurtre
SIMENON SIMENON. SU CHI HA FATTO COSA IN "CHEZ KRULL" / 2
A proposito del sospetto numero due  per il furto e per l'omicidio  


In The Krull House, (Chez Krull), the second suspect to consider as the possible rapist-murderer of the young girl is Hans Krull, the cousin who descends from Germany and wreaks havoc on the Krull family in France.
Hans displays an anti-social personality disorder throughout the entire novel. He simply does not care about anybody except himself. As an amoral, corrupt, and dishonest individual, most of his actions are egocentric when not criminal. 
What follows, repositioned chronologically, is some documentation of his character: Hans was on the run from the German police. He caught trains and a boat on the fly to get to France without paying. On the way, he aided a “pretty girl” in customs fraud and then bedded this married woman down. He entered France illegally. He forged a letter of introduction to the Krulls, pretending his father was still alive. He (probably) lied about studying law, quitting the university, being a musician, and working in movies. In the course of the novel, the freeloader lies to his aunt Maria hoping to get money although without success. He lies to wheedle money from his cousin Liesbeth. He lies to scam 5000 francs from family friend Schoof. He lies repeatedly during his interrogation by the police.
Especially significant, it seems to me, is the fact that Hans is a sexual predator and a violent one. 17-year-old Liesbeth is an immediate victim upon his arrival, and he leaves their first, forced intercourse “with a long scratch on his face” but “with more merriment than ever in his eyes.” He continues to exploit her sexually with false promises. At the same time, he comes on sexually to her 30-year-old sister Anna although without success. Sexually attracted to 16-year-old Sidonie, who “plays the elegant whore” and is the soon-to-be raped and murdered victim, he imagines “dragging her—possibly!—into some dark corner.” So, too, he eyeballs her friends sexually, lusting in particular after Germaine, “involuntarily” attracted to that “young girl” with “the big breasts and big buttocks” throughout the novel.
Notably, Simenon provides some strong indicators that point to Hans as the likely rapist and murderer. He gets out of bed, goes out in his pajamas in the rain, and just happens to “discover” the body. That this sequence occurs “without any reason” actually suggests the opposite to me: that “the event, the dishonest discovery” is predetermined, premeditated, and deliberate. How else is Hans able to go back home and announce that the dead girl “is Sidonie” before she is, in fact, identified? Those who pulled the corpse out of the water had only “had the chance to see it was a woman or, more precisely, a young girl.” As well, when Joseph’s mother later affirms that she suspected he was the killer all along, Hans “savors his little victory.” And Simenon seems to incriminate Hans directly in stating “Only Hans could have told the truth” while referring to “the evening he [Hans] triggered the Sidonie affair, perhaps unintentionally, perhaps out of wickedness…” Having seen how Hans “played the innocent,” it is time to leave him for the time being and move on to examining the final two suspects…. 

David P Simmons

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