Maigret Gets Angry, Georges Simenon 1947
Even though I had read this Simenon/Maigret before, I loved every minute. Perhaps it’s because Maigret has retired from the Police Judiciare and at the outset of the book is found picking beetles from the eggplants in his wife’s garden at their country house. An elderly woman appears unannounced and ‘commands’ Maigret to follow her back to her country home where her grand-daughter had died last week under what, she considered, suspicious circumstances. Maigret ‘obeys’ and is soon embroiled in a complicated family saga dating back decades and ending with another death. This is vintage Maigret where he slowly and ponderously works his way into the inner thinking of the characters until the outcome inevitably becomes clear to him. As Simenon observes, “(Maigret) knew them. He had spent so many years dealing with people’s everyday doings that he knew them all—even people like Malik, who think they are more powerful or cleverer than the rest. With that type, there’s a difficult moment to get through, when, despite yourself, you allow yourself to be impressed by their beautiful house, their car, their servants, and their airs. You have to see them like the others, to see them naked….” This is vintage Simenon and not to be missed. I’ve been suggesting the 72 Maigret novels for years. Don’t wait and don’t worry about where to start. They’re all quite wonderful.