Maigret and Monsieur Charles by Georges Simenon

Maigret and Monsieur Charles by Georges Simenon

Belgian fiction

Original title –  Maigret et Monsieur Charles

Translator – Ros Schwartz

Source – review copy

I was pleased I was sent this title which is the last of the novels of the Maigret series that Penguin has been putting out in new translations. I was in at the start and have reviewed nine of the new title including this one. In fact, it was six years ago yesterday I posted my review of Pietr the Latvian which came out in 1931 this his last novel featuring Maigret was written in 1972 with many years Simenon publishing two Maigret books I still have  66 of the new series to read. But it has been a great achievement from Penguin to bring this and many of his novels out in new translations. I do hope we see more of these in the Rowan Atkinson series that has done bur it seems to have been cancelled which is a shame.

“You are Detective Chief Inspector Maigret, are you not?”

“Yes”

“I Imagined you fatter”

She was wearing a fur coat and matching hat,was it mink? Maigret had no idea, because the wife of a divisionary chief inspector genrally had to be content with rabbit or, at best , muskrat or nutria

Madame Sabin-Levesque’s eyes roved slowly around the office as if making an inventory. When Lapointe sat down at the desk, with his notebook and pencil,she asked

“Is this youngmany going to stay in the room?”

“Of course”

“Is he going make a not of our conversation?”

“It’s the rule”

Her brow furrowed and she gripped her crocodile sjin hand bag tighter

She reports Gerard disappearance and seems to be a lady by the description but there is more than fur and crocodile skin.

Maigret is nearing his retirement and is on the verge of an office job when this case comes across his desk. When Nathalie Sabin- Levesque whose husband Gerard but then Maigret and Lapointe discover that he is well known around the town and often leaves his wife for days drinking and is known to the girls of the night he meets as  Monsieur Charles. So he had disappeared a month earlier than they expected when Nathalie first came to them due to his habit of disappearing for days. Charles /Gerrard works for successful lawyers this shows the other side of his life the people he works with aren’t fans of his wife. WHo had said she was a legal secretary when she met Gerrard but who it turns out was a call girl that he married and she has tried to take up the mantle of a rich wife. But she has her ghost from her past trying to threaten her. In turn, has this effect her husband when he turns up dead Maigret is faced with a choice in what is maybe the last time he can tread those dark alleys, bars, cafes of Paris.

“Do you haveany news?” He asked

“Not news, exactly. As far as I know, the last person who saw your boss was hostedd at the cric-Crac in Rue Clement- Marot, And when he left her he was supposed to go to Avenue des Ternes, where a young woman was expecting him… That was in the middle of the night of the 18th of feburary… He never turned up at the Avenue des Termes … Perhaps he changed his mind on the way?

Charles had a habit of disappearing for days.

The feeling is the later Maigrets are weaker than the earlier ones but like Doyle when he wrote the Holmes stories they just run out of material for their character to do. So there is common threads in the books to earlier works fallen woman ladies of the night is a recurring character in Maigret. The rich doing wrong is another recurring theme in Maigret. When Maigret and Lapointe head out to find Monsieur Charles and what he is like it seems old times as they hunt the dark underbelly of Paris. It has a poor marriage at its heart a husband that married a call girl and carried on as he always did a wife that wants the world he lived in but instead is caught in a limbo. It is a story that has many twists and turns in it but maybe isn’t as original as the earlier books seemed.

January 2020
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