A self-titled “Judge Penitent” living in Amsterdam tells his life story, over several days, to a man he meets in a bar, bizarrely called Mexico City. It is written as a first person monologue, with occasional asides and replies to the other man, which gives the narrative a very distinctive voice.
Although a very short book, it is not one to rush as so much philosophy, law and theology is explored. (It is certainly much heavier than The Outsider or The Plague.)
You discover how an apparently altruistic and upstanding citizen comes to live a very different sort of life, with no single turning point – which perhaps makes his subsequent depravity and duplicity more alarming.
The conclusion (for me) was that only fallen people can judge others – but that we are all fallen. Pretty pessimistic, really.