Maigret in Holland, Georges Simenon 1931
Another one of the ten Maigret novels that Simenon sprung on the unsuspecting world in 1931 introducing his famous Inspector with the Police Judiciare. Again we find Jules Maigret in a strange place, sent from Paris at the request of a French professor to a small Dutch town to investigate a murder. Professor Duclos had given a lecture on criminal behavior in the town’s hotel and then retired to the home of his host, Claude Papinga, when the latter was shot and killed in his garden. The Dutch police were eager to blame a ‘foreign sailor’ in order to maintain the quiet, polite, and correct appearance of the town, but Maigret despite speaking no Dutch was not content to leave this crime unsolved. By his usual method of slowly becoming acquainted with the desires, frustrations, wants, and losses of the various players in this drama, Maigret identifies the murderer and then returns to Paris. As in his best novels, Simenon is less interested the ‘who done it’ than in the ‘why did they do it’. This novel showed the first inklings of Maigret’s methods. Not his best, but a reasonably good read.