A Man’s Head, Georges Simenon 1931
An unusual Maigret, lacking our Chief Inspector’s name in the title and even more than most of Maigret’s tales, more focused on the psychology of the murderer. The book begins with a contrived escape of a condemned murderer from Sante, the Paris prison where those to be executed are kept. Maigret, who engineered this escape, had found the perpetrator within days of the double murder of a wealthy American widow and her companion, but he didn’t feel comfortable with the resolution. The book takes the reader through Maigret’s efforts to find the real murderer and in the process introduces a fascinating and unusual character, a Czech named Radik. The book moves from Paris to nearby towns and ends with a satisfying conclusion. In finding the book cover to post on this site, I came across some blurbs from several famous authors who gave high praise to Simenon’s Maigret series: Gide, Faulkner, Spark, Banville, so it’s not just me who is pushing this incredibly productive and fascinating Belgian author. Enjoy!