Summary: Overworked and understaffed, Inspector Maigret has an obscure murder that doesn’t seem to make sense.
I keep hearing about the brilliance of Georges Simenon and his Inspector Maigret series. The first couple (realize that there are over 100 of these) were fine but nothing special. And even this one, which I think has been the best so far, isn’t really good enough to be top level. But I can see the glimpses of where Simenon can really shine.
Inspector Maigret does not really want to investigate this seemingly standard murder himself. It is the summer and other inspectors are on vacation and really no one else can do it except himself. But something seems off. Maigret’s image of the man does not really match the descriptions that others give of him. And then the facade starts to crumble. But was it murder or revenge, was the victim a crook, was the victim even who he said he was?
I have not read any of the original translations. I have picked up a couple of the new Penguin translations as they have been on sale. (Late Monsieur Gallet has been $2.99 for a long time now.) So I don’t know how they compare to the older translations. But this seems like good period piece mystery. Maigret is intelligent and intuitive, but not unbeatable or greater than everyone. He is determined to get to the bottom of the crime, but the crime is not everything, justice can be greater than the legal system.
That being said. If you are going to go through the expense of retranslating over 100 books because you think they are worth having a new modern transition, why not spend a few buck to make them look good. The cover here screams self published clip art. The audiobook is good (I alternated between audio and kindle). So they didn’t skimp there, but they did skimp on the cover. There are things I don’t ever really understand about business decisions.