The Carter of La Providence by Georges Simenon
Original title – Le Charretier de la Providence
Translator David Coward
Source review copy
“He was somewhat of a loner by temperament–because though never wholly happy when alone, he was usually slightly more miserable when with other people.”
― Colin Dexter, The Wench Is Dead source good reads ,I was looking for a quote about why the boatmen were so badly thought of at the time ,but this quote struck me as how Maigret was at times in the book.
I was lucky to get sent two of the Maigret novels that Penguin are being brought out in their attempt to put all Simenon’s books out under one publisher .So I get to review two more from the series to add to the three books I have already reviewed this year.So as I’ve said before Simenon published over 400 books if not more in his life time .He like boats and in 1928 spent six months on the water living in a boat ,he wrote this book in 1931 in his own boat Ostrogoth ,which he had christen by a priest and spent many years travelling through Europe with it
For the first couple of days ,mary was the life and soul of the party .But on day three she disappeared .
“And do you know where we found her ? staying at an inn at Giens ,where she was happily passing the time playing mummies with a couple of unwashed brats .
They both had lovers and loved to party a lot .
Now this is a murder thriller from the Maigret series ,a body is found in the early hours of the morning in a stable near the canal .The body turns out to be an upper class women by the name of Mary Lampson ,who with her husband Walter Lampson are travelling through France on their pleasure boat the southern cross .Now Mary was known for her taking of lovers and partying .The body was discovered by Lock 14 (which happens to be the books original title and also the title of the first chapter ) ,records show there is only one other boat near by at the time she was killed a barge call La Providence .Now Maigret comes to the canal ,he is rather gruffer than in the other books from the series I have read .Now the prime suspect is of course the husband ,but what did the men on the La Providence see or hear that night ? And what happens when she died .Maigret dives into a world of boatmen ,cafe owners ,An upper class husband and lock-keepers .Who killed her and why ?
At four in the morning ,one of the Carters woke his mate ,and both began seeing to their animals .They heard the horses on the Providence being led out and harnessed .
At the same time ,the landlord of the cafe got up and lit the lamp in his bedroom on the first floor .He also heard the Providence as it got under way
The boat sets of just as Mary’s body is found that early morning .
Now this for me saw Maigret develop a little we see a side we hadn’t seen much before he is a little gruffier than in the earlier books .Now as for the novel as a whole well it is a classic country house crime moved on too boats ,but where as a lot of novels in this style focus on the upper class this is both about Sir Walter and the Late Mary’s connections and the rough boatmen of the Barge . The other thing that oozes of the page is the obvious love of Boats and canals that Simenon had ,the details of the boats ,running of the boats and locks and lock-keeper operations feel so real .Also a bit of Class issues surface as Maigret struggles to get the upper class ways at times .Now this isn’t the first book I’ve come across set on the canal of course Colin Dexter wrote the wench is dead which also follows the murder of a woman on the canal but in the 1850’s .Next up for me in the series is Yellow dog which is the first that is a reread .Have you read this book ?