Maigret arrives home exhausted after cracking an especially difficult case, only to be awakened within hours by the news of a nearly successful attempt on the life of a colleague. Plainclothes Detective Lognon, known to Maigret as “Inspector Hapless,” has become involved beyond his depth in an international art fraud and is suffering the consequences. Maigret’s only clue to Lognon’s assailant is the single word “apparition” spoken by the victim as he emerges from the operating room. The apparition leads Maigret to the highest echelons of the Parisian art world–and the depths of greed and cruelty.
Maigret is a registered trademark of the Estate of Georges Simenon.
When it comes to foreign language detective novels that were written in 1940’s, 50’s and early 1960’s I tend to enjoy the Maigret books more than the other in this genre during this era.
The characters in this, as in other Maigret novels, are ones that a newcomer can easily feel comfortable with and a die-hard lover of this series can welcome back like an old friend; there is nothing too deep or complicated in their construction and none of them reveals any inner turmoil or traits to the reader that could be misconstrued as weakness; a journey back in time to the days when men were men, and women were there to make their lives easier and more attractive.
The location for this little whodunit is an older Paris, set in the days when not everyone was plugged into a phone, or even owned one at home, smoking was common, and files and cases were researched using leg work and taking manual notes. Because of this the novel can at times seem a little disjointed and makes Maigret seem somewhat irrational in his handling of this case; I tend to regard it as the Author allowing the reader into the Detective’s thought processes, complete with all its twists and turns from a straight path.
At a 164 pages, this little book is something that can be read at bedtime, as it probably takes no longer to read than an episode of a TV series would take to watch. It is a darn good story that will not fill your slumbers with gory and disturbed dreams, and may even leave you wanting to read some more novels by this Author.
I would highly recommend this and other Maigret novels to anyone who enjoys this genre, and is looking for a quick and satisfying read to round off the day.