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Maigret et le corps sans tête

(Inspector Maigret #47)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  741 ratings  ·  66 reviews
L'un après l'autre, les morceaux d'un cadavre, découverts par des mariniers, sortent des eaux du canal Saint-Martin, au-dessus de l'écluse des Récollets. Seule la tête demeure introuvable. C'est dans un bistro voisin, sur le quai de Valmy, que Maigret va entreprendre de humer les mystères du quartier. Le patron du café, Omer Callas, est absent : au dire de sa femme Aline, ...more
Paperback, 190 pages
Published 2002 by Livre de Poche (first published 1955)
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Ellie
This is my third--and, so far, favorite--Maigret. The other two I read were place outside of Paris; this one is in the heart of Paris, in a seedy, rundown district. Parts of a body are found in the river by a boat running aground; only the head is missing. Apparently, dismembered women are frequently found but this one is a man: much more unusual.

In his quest to discover the identity of the man and the person who killed him, Maigret meets my favorite character (outside of Maigret himself) in the
...more
Gary
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Again, Simenon writes the human story. I could rave about it, but that would be totally out of place. More likely, I should see if my cat has water.
Ivonne Rovira
Chief Inspector Maigret spends more time philosophizing than detecting in the 47th novel in Georges Simenon’s usually excellent series. A dismembered corpse turns up in a Parisian canal, and Maigret tries to determine if he’s a missing bistro owner. Some pretty surprising discoveries at the end, but not enough to save this novel. A rare Simenon miss.
Richard
Nov 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: previously-read
This is a classic in the Maigret series in my opinion, as it reveals the methods of the detective and demonstrates his unwillingness to proceed until he is ready.
""To tell the truth, he didn't yet know what he was going to do with her. It was quite likely that with another examining magistrate he wouldn't have acted as he had done so far and would have taken more risks. With Coméliau that was dangerous. Not only was the magistrate finicky, ....................but he had always viewed Maigret's
...more
Madhulika Liddle
A barge, overloaded and with its bottom scraping the floor of a Paris canal, catches on something—and the boat hook that’s used to bring up the obstruction reveals a gruesome find: a man’s arm, wrapped in a neat package with string. A diver appointed by the police to search further finds the rest of the body, in bits and pieces, but no head. Chief Superintendent Maigret sets out to investigate and chance brings him to a small bistro owned by a husband and wife.

The owner, Omer Calas, is away
...more
John Defrog
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In which Inspector Maigret investigates the discovery of a man’s dismembered corpse in a canal. All pieces are recovered except the head, which makes identification tough. And the only lead (and a weak one at that) seems to be Madame Calas, an alcoholic who runs a nearby bistro whose husband is away on business. As is true of most of the Maigret novels I’ve read so far – but particularly the later ones in the series – the emphasis isn’t on the crime so much as various characters Maigret ...more
John Frankham
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-detective
One of the best Maigrets. Real Parisian low-life by the canal as Margret ponders and probes and unfolds the mystery of a death that stems from events way back and far away. Masterly.

The GR blurb:

‘A decapitated corpse, found in a Paris canal, leads Inspector Maigret to visit the eccentric owner of a small bistro.’
Rhys
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another powerful and compelling 'Maigret' novel in which the solution turns out to have elements of tragedy as well as justice and in which certain characters who seem devoid of dignity actually reveal themselves to be stronger on the inside than one might have imagined.
Keith
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-thriller, 2018
Book four on my current binge of Georges Simenon mysteries. The first three were excellent reads but this is a notch better. This one is from 1955 while the others I've read are earlier. Perhaps a suggestion that Simenon got better as he went on? What's particularly interesting about Maigret and the Headless Corpse is that it sees like such a simple mystery but of course it turns out to be anything but. Written in Connecticut interestingly enough.
Jim Puskas
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, mystery
I picked this up as a bit of light entertainment to counterbalance the weightier material I'm currently reading. Somewhat disappointing. A fairly routine police investigation. Mostly stock characters (Paris gendarmes & local residents).
I have a structural complaint: Almost no intriguing clues, hints ot red-herrings are dropped along the way to keep us guessing or deceive the reader. Near the end, a whole explanatory backstory is revealed; until then, there is no hint as to the motivation
...more
Mikee
Nov 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: maigret, mystery, simenon
Intriguing. A murder, discovered by the finding of body parts in a canal, is central to the book, but in fact is of secondary significance to Maigret compared to the history and motivations of the other main characters. Mme Maigret and the ginger cat (particularly the cat) add immeasurably to Maigret's humanity.
John
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with a lot of Maigret stories, who actually committed the murder is less important than why it was committed.

Maigret's need to understand the protagonists motives, feelings and background give the story a masterly human touch.
Steven
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the more terrific Maigret mysteries. Body parts have been found in a lock in Paris, and it is up to Maigret, under the merciless supervision of Inspector Coméliau, to justify his methods of investigation. The deceased turns out to be the husband of Madame Calas, a woman with an iron disposition and very little desire to disclose anything....but Maigret discovers she has a drinking problem and lovers of many types, both young and old. So there are good reasons for her to dispose of her ...more
Meredith
When a dismembered body sans head is discovered in a canal, Inspector Maigret is called in to investigate.

When chance leads Maigret to the man's identity, he is completely stumped by the victim's wife whose essential character he is unable to comprehend and whose guilt he is, therefore, unable to ascertain. Inspector Maigret operates using a theory he calls “the crack in the wall” where he waits for a person's mask to slip and reveal his human nature through which Maigret can understand both
...more
Megan
"When he was young and dreaming of the future, hadn't he imagined an ideal profession which unfortunately doesn't exist in real life? He hadn't told anyone, and never uttered these words aloud, even to himself, but he would have liked to be a 'mender of destinies.'"

I liked this slim, thoughtful procedural quite a bit. These Maigret mysteries aren't particularly substantial, but they're enjoyably atmospheric and have an agile tone that lets the story get a little wry but never mean, and the
...more
Alonzo Church
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maigret, the celebrated Parisian police inspector, figures out whose headless corpse was tossed into a canal, and then finds the perpetrators. As usual, the case is complex, but the method of telling the story is simple. And, even though so much of these stories is dialogue, or minimalist, we get the feel of Paris in the early Spring, Maigret’s frustrations, and lower middle class life. This is so artfully done, that it’s easy to miss that a lot of the police work here is shrewd guesswork and ...more
Jake
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the details of Paris in the recent past, the ways the phones worked, the way the police worked, and so on. That's all fine. But this is a detective/mystery story, and that part didn't work for me at all. Maigret steps into a random bistro to use the phone, and the person he meets there just happens to be key to solving the mystery. He becomes convinced he knows who the dead man is, even though the corpse has no head--it does have a distinctive scar, but nobody can confirm that the man ...more
George
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A concise, vividly described, engaging, short crime fiction novel that finds detective Jules Maigret trying to solve the mystery of the headless corpse found in a canal near the Quai de Valmy, Paris.

Here is an example of Simenon’s writing style:
‘She must have been pretty once. At least, like everyone, she had been young. Now her eyes, her mouth, her whole body exuded weakness. Could it be that she was ill and waiting for her next attack? Some people who know that at a particular hour they are
...more
Tony Fitzpatrick
Pieces of a man are discovered in a Parisian canal, unfortunately without the head. Maigret investigates what he suspects is a crime, but has no proof. In doing so he is forced to deal with a difficult and persnickety presiding Judge who loathes Maigret's methods, and finds it hard to relate to anyone outside of his society. Maigret is puzzled by the woman who runs a bistro close to the location where the body parts were discovered, and spends much of the novel trying to construct a picture of ...more
Richard Smith
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Normally I steer clear of detective novels as I find them too formulaic, but in my doomed attempt to taste as many of the world's greatest writers as I can I thought that I ought to read at least one Simenon. I searched on Google for what was thought to be the best Maigret and came up with this one. I liked it very much. It evokes 50s Paris powerfully with few words, and the key question was not who did it but why they did it. The centrepiece of the book was a psychological tussle between ...more
Jrobertus
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aaahhh, another fine read for cold winter days. A dismembered corpse is churned up by a canal barge and Maigret needs to do some hard nosed detective work to find out who it is, who dunnit, and why. As usual, Simenon's descriptive writing is evocative and you the reader feel like you are sitting down at a bistro with the great detective, watching the street traffic and turning over the evidence while having a pernod or a beer and a sandwich. As usual, Maigret is an excellent psychologist ...more
Luca
Jun 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
this was the first Maigret book I've read (I know, why did I start with the 47th book?!?)
to be honest I expected this to be better. my parents always said great things about the old TV show and I saw the first Rowan Atkinson TV movie which was great. but this book... nothing happened, no detective work, just Maigret obsessing over a woman. such a pity. maybe I should give the first book a try. maybe...
Jennifer heacox
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like a good mystery and this book fit the bill! It was fun to read a novel written Long ago when people smoked pipes often, and female and male roles were very traditional. I thought the story was well told and logical while not being very lengthy. A fun quick read to introduce some variety into my day.
David C Ward
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For Maigret it’s always the psychology of the criminal. This one has more to say than usual about his methods and even that he wanted to be a ‘mender of lives’, almost like a psychologist but more intuitive and kinder. He alone understands why a woman who inherited a fortune would not want to change. Also details M’s fraught relations with the judge Comileu; their last exchange is a killer.
Christopher Tower
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first Maigret book. Simeon is a deft and talented writer with a light touch and a canny attention to his tools. I am inclined to read more Maigret. I was not blown away by the novel, but it was enjoyable and brief. The audio narration is top notch. I learned of these books from author Warren Ellis' Orbital Operations newsletter.
Agnès L.
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: murder-mystery
Excellent! And to think he wrote it all in about ten days in January 1955 while ensconced, holed up, in a hotel in Lakeville, Connecticut, USA. Simenon was an inveterate world traveller like that, apparently. We studied him, when we covered styles of writing.
Martin
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is the classic of this series ~ the French detective with all his foibles and his delicious French idiosyncratic nature ! How could one NOT enjoy reading this series and be taken to the streets we all know in Paris and then add those dark laneways. I can even smell the bread !
Kristen
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
My first Maigret. A good, snack-size mystery, somewhere at the midpoint of golden age and hard-boiled. The likening of Maigret's work as a detective to the job of the psychoanalyst ("to bring a man face to face with his true self") is at the heart of the story.
Orlaith
Apr 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
3.5 stars
Tony Bertram
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty standard Maigret. Always an unusual conclusion.
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Simenon was one of the most prolific writers of the twentieth century, capable of writing 60 to 80 pages per day. His oeuvre includes nearly 200 novels, over 150 novellas, several autobiographical works, numerous articles, and scores of pulp novels written under more than two dozen pseudonyms. Altogether, about 550 million copies of his works have been printed.

He is best known, however, for his 75
...more

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“Maigret had often tried to get other people, including men of experience, to admit that those who fall, especially those who have a morbid determination to descend ever lower, are almost always idealists.” 1 likes
“She must have been pretty once. At least, like everyone, she had been young. Now her eyes, her mouth, her whole body exuded weakness. Could it be that she was ill and waiting for her next attack? Some people who know that at a particular hour they are going to start suffering again have that expression, subdued and yet tense, like drug addicts waiting for the hour of their dose.” 0 likes
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