"In a quiet rural village in late-nineteenth-century France, an eleven-year-old boy is found dead in his room, sexually molested and strangled by an unknown assailant. The shocked townsfolk erupt in outrage: Who could have committed this horrible crime? Rumors immediately begin to fly and suspicion shifts from one person to another as conjecture begins to feed on itself." "At first a vagrant is suspected; he could have come in through the open window while passing through the town at night. But in a matter of days another story begins to circulate: the culprit must be Simon, the Jewish schoolmaster, and the murdered boy's uncle and guardian. Did he not resent the fact that the boy was a product of a mixed marriage? As a Jew in the midst of a predominately Christian community, Simon is vulnerable."--BOOK JACKET.