Jim's Reviews > Maigret Mystified

Maigret Mystified by Georges Simenon
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Jul 29, 12

bookshelves: simenon, mysteries
Read in July, 2012

Georges Simenon's early Maigret mysteries are almost uniformly splendid. Maigret Mystified, originally L'ombre chinois, was published in 1932, side by side with a number of other great titles.

The original French title means "Shadow play," and it was particularly appropriate considering the circumstances of the story. A murder takes place in a courtyard which contains apartments and a medical laboratory. Inspector Maigret concentrates his investigation on the residents of the courtyard, plus two or three others who knew the murdered M. Couchet intimately. It is a shadow play that doesn't take form until an event occurs that shakes the inspector from his lethargy, as he sees sudden marked changes in some of the suspects. From this point on, the plot unwinds as if it were on rails speeding downhill.

The characterizations in this novel are brilliant, especially of Mme. Martin, the ex-wife of the victim, who has remarried a petty official just before Couchet became a millionaire.

Simenon's Maigret novels is almost always worth reading. His are not tales of ratiocination. No, on the contrary, they are Gallic with a vengeance, as Maigret sees his role not so much as a detective who marshals his facts as a witness to a shadow play that suddenly becomes very real. Then he is there to pick up the pieces and, at times, execute justice on his own.

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message 1: by Justeenetta (new)

Justeenetta I've just finishe MFK Fisher's last? book: Last House. in one of the bits she writes about her men, they're all in this squib, litereary men, & one is maigret.


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