Earwig got his nickname from his grandfather.
At the start of this story he is employed to look after a strange little girl in a flat in Liege. He spies on her, listens to her by holding a glass up to the wall.
But he never touches her except when, as part of his duties, he is required to is to make teeth of ice and insert them in her gums.
Earwig takes a rare day off, which he spends drinking by himself in Au Metro, a seedy bar full of drunks, dancers and eccentrics. It is St Martin's day and in the evening as crowds parade through the street carrying lanterns through the snow, he is drawn reluctantly into a conversation with a sinister stranger called Tyre. As a result Earwig accidentally maims a waitress with a broken bottle. He understands that on some level Tyre meant this to happen.
Shortly afterwards a black cat is delivered to the flat, unasked for. The girl forms an immediate bond with it, but Earwig identifies it as the enemy.
Travelling across country by train, transporting the girl and her black cat, Earwig is increasingly caught up in a web of unfortunate and increasingly violent coincidences.
Not since Edgar Allan Poe and the Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita has there been such a masterly tale of feline evil.