Tony's Reviews > Maigret and the Man on the Bench

Maigret and the Man on the Bench by Georges Simenon
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's review
Jul 02, 09

bookshelves: fiction-crime-detection
Read in July, 2009

Simenon, Georges. MAIGRET AND THE MAN ON THE BENCH. (1953). ****. The similarity of plot twists between this novel and “Maigret and the Wine Merchant” is amazing. This, too, involves a man who has lost his job and is afraid to tell his wife about it. He manages to continue to leave the house at the same time every morning and to come home at the same time every evening, and also manages to give his wife the same amount of money at the end of each month as if he was still receiving his regular salary. This continues on for almost three years. Suddenly, however, the man was discovered in a small alley, stabbed to death. Maigret is on the case. He learns that the man has been out of work and spent most of his time sitting on park benches. He also learned that the man had taken up with a mistress and always seemed to have lots of money to spend. The murdered man managed to live two lives, but with no apparent source of income. We meet the man’s family and learn that he had been brow-beaten by his wife and unfavorably compared to the husbands of her sisters, who were held up to him as ideals of success. We also learn that he had a daughter that he adored that wanted to get away from the house in the worst way. All of these disparate characters led the murdered man to lead his double life and, in some way, manage to earn a living somehow. Suddenly, however, Maigret learns that his way of earning a living was on the wrong side of the law, and forces Maigret to come to terms with a whole new cast of characters. Recommended.
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Antonio Ippolito There is also much similarity with the novel "On ne tue pas les pauvres types", from "M. et l'inspecter malgracieux": there too a man is casually killed, who is then discovered to have been leading a mysterious double life, pretending to his wife he is the usual humble clerk.. and the district of Juvisy, slightly derided for its newly-built banality, was also home to the character in the novel "Le client le plus obstiné du monde", in the same collection.

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