Maigret and the Death of a Harbor-Master, Georges Simenon 1932
Once again, our author has sent Chief Inspector Maigret off into the hinterlands, in this case a small Atlantic coast harbor village where the shipping canal to Caen originates. Maigret has been tasked with returning Captain Jolis to his home after Jolis had been found wandering, amnesic, and lost in Paris. After much effort, Jolis is identified as the former Harbor-Master in Ouistreham and his housekeeper travels to Paris to identify him. Julie and Maigret and Jolis take the train back to his town, but within 24 hours, Jolis is dead, poisoned by strychnine placed in his water jug. Maigret then launches into his usual method of learning through his ‘hanging around experience’ what Ouistreham and Jolis are all about. Days go by, and at one point Maigret is tied and gagged and spends the night in the rain on a pier, but he finally sorts out the passions and family dynamics that resulted in the harbor-master’s death.
Again, not one of Simenon’s best, but another interesting waypoint on the progression of this incredibly productive author and his primary character, Jules Maigret.