New US mystery The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair feels very much like a chick flick whodunnit, if told from a male perspective.
Ben Schnetzer stars as feted first-time novelist Marcus Goldman whose best-seller netted him fame, money, a swanky New York apartment and the pressure to deliver a killer follow-up. Just one problem: inspiration.
So he turns to his former college professor Harry Quebert, a greying Patrick Dempsey now spending his evergreen years in the quiet haven of Sommerdale, Maine.
Spending a weekend with his mentor, Marcus inadvertently stumbles onto evidence of a secret Harry is hiding which is subsequently followed by a scandal: Harry has been arrested for the murder of Nola (Kristine Froseth), a 15 year old girl who went missing decades earlier. She appears in flashback form of a woozy, spellbinding writer’s muse, barely kept at inappropriate distance….
The news leaves Marcus torn over his idol protesting his innocence, but potentially delivering the makings of a new bestseller book.
Before long Marcus turns small-town investigator, trying to piece together the controversial relationship between Harry and Nola, juxtaposed in flashback.
Also in the mix are local detective Sgt. Perry Gahalowood (Damon Wayons Jr.), who acts as something of a foil to our young hero, and attorney Benjamin Roth (Wayne Knight) who largely facilitates his access to all-things-Harry-related.
Yet while the romantic setting is inviting and traditional, the directing signposts a lot, and there is little that hasn’t been seen before from the genre. The lack of key female characters is also concerning. Not much room for female intuition here….
That said Ben Schnetzer is promising in his lead role as a young writer torn between his emotions and his nose for a good yarn.
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair makes for a light weekend read if you don’t manage to skip to the end to see whodunnit.
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair screens on Stan from Friday September 28.