The Madman of Bergerac (Maigret Travels South), Georges Simenon 1940

This Maigret reads a bit like Lee Child’s Reacher novels in which the hero inexplicably finds himself in a dangerous place and situation that appears to be not only random but improbable.  In this case, Inspector Maigret is on the overnight train from Paris to a small town near Bordeaux to visit a retired colleague and to clear up some minor police business when he finds himself sharing a second class sleeping compartment. The man in the top bunk is restless and when he leaves the compartment shortly before the train reaches Maigret’s destination, Maigret follows him. (Duh!).  When the man jumps from the slowing train, Maigret jumps after him (double DuH!) and is promptly shot in the shoulder.  The rest of the book has Maigret solving the mystery of who the man is as well as the two murders by the ‘madman’ of the title in this tiny French village.  I much prefer the Paris Maigret’s.  This one, to my surprise, was a little silly, the first time in my 60plus Simenon’s that I was disappointed.

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