Number 41 in a series of 75. Maigret is on the trail of a murderer who, until the last minute was a man that spent a lot of time sitting on benches outside shops, observing the comings and goings. The prose is superb, characters believable and a plot that keeps the reader guessing until the end. Along the way there are some unexpected revelations.
This is a short book, some 184 pages, but worth the read.
This number 40 in a series of 75.
The book is relatively short, some 192 pages long and the prose is superb.
Maigret's revolver is stolen and then Maigret is slowly drawn into a case that doesn't appear to have anything to do with said disappearance. There is no physical description of Maigret in this book - as I expected - but his facial expressions, descriptions of what he is wearing, his habits and of his surroundings render this unneccessary. As Maigret investigates, the story slowly unfolds. There is enough here to keep the reader interested and also to keep the reader guessing until the very end. The descriptions of Paris are lovely and London, where the story also unfolds, fares very well too.
In spite of the fact that this is a story clearly set in the past (no mobile phones etc) it doesn't feel dated at all.
I thoroughly enjoyed this and will read more.
This is an early Simenon, written in the 1930s, and reissued as a Penguin Classic.
Maigret suffers a gunshot wound after jumping off the Paris-Bergerac train in 'helpful' pursuit of an obviously troubled man who was in the upper berth of his sleeper compartment. (Maigret had a few days off and was going to stay with an old colleague in the provincial town.)
Maigret then, for the whole of the novel, is in his sick bed in a hotel in Bergerac.
What is so enjoyable, besides establishing the murderer involved, is the gradual unlayering/unmasking of the supposedly so respectable bourgeoisie of the small provincial town, the sort of thing Simenon excels at. Simenon lets Madame Maigret help out with some of the practical issues.
Georges Simenon, Monsieur Monde Vanishes
Norbert Monde walks out on his bourgeois existence, leaving behind his second wife, his career and what the average person would call common sense and takes a train to Marseilles. His motives are not clear to the reader or himself; he simply knows he has to do it. He picks up a prostitute, moves on to Nice and by chance meets up with his first wife, now an opium addict. Chance is in control and that’s what he seems to have been missing in his 40+ years. He helps her because she is at the end of her tether, not because he has rediscovered love or anything silly like that. He seems drawn to the life of the streets, the shabby parts of cities, unrespectable people. He has no plan and no ambition; he is an obsessive mental traveller, seemingly making up for the unadventurous, unthinking life he has led. When his money is stolen by a chambermaid, he shows no anger, no surprise. The usual motives of the routine thriller or police procedural narrative are missing.
The writing is simple and factual, without any lingering on the marvels of nature or human beings. The third person narrative underlines the impersonal nature of the central character, a man who is seeking something, a truth about himself and the nature of existence. Monde needs to be detached and meticulous in his examination of people and his own feelings. He must not get involved, must constantly, as far as possible, remain on the alert. He is not and doesn’t wish to be seen as ‘sympathetic,’ yet strangely he is. He is essentially like us all – a man alone. He has hardly a Romantic bone in his body. Here he is at what in another novel would be called ‘a crisis of consciousness: ‘He was close to a truth, a discovery, he had begun to dive down again, then something brought him back to the surface.’
This book will not appeal to those who need action and answers. In spite of the movement through three cities and several poor hotels there is a kind of sameness about the environment – smoky, noisy, bustling, restless, but with the haunting stillness one gets from being in the mind of the detached hero,