Maigret’s Dead Man, Georges Simenon 1948

A classic Maigret investigation in which the Chief Inspector of the Police Judiciare spends most of his time quietly thinking about the victim, his habits, his interests, his clothing, his activities.  In this case, the victim had been in telephone contact with Maigret for the 24 hours before he was murdered, but Maigret had no idea who he was.  The gradual compilation of minor details led him to conclude that the man owned a bar, played the horses, was a fun-loving sort, etc which led the Chief Inspector to the victim’s bar and eventually the murderers, a gang of Czechs who had slaughtered and tortured old farmers in Picardy and were now operating out of Paris.  A fine story, rich in detail and a superb portrait of the Chief Inspector, a great student of the human condition and the lives of Parisians of all classes.