Based on an American novel (Charles Williams' The Long Saturday Night, but set in small-town South of France, the plot introduces Trintignant as the owner of an estate agency and Ardant as his long-suffering secretary. Trintignant is first implicated in one murder. Then his wife is killed. While he is on the run, it falls to Ardant to solve the crimes, with the neat role reversal allowing Truffaut both to cover familiar genre ground in unfamiliar manner, and to reflect on the fragility of the male ego. Thoughtfully composed, elegantly performed, and shot atmospherically in black-and-white, it could so easily have become a brittle exercise in form. But the sentimentality is constantly undercut, and almost every scene is infused with deft, sometimes dark humour, even as the corpses pile high on the sidewalks of those not particularly mean French streets.