The Saint-Fiacre Affair
Maigret savoured the sensations of his youth again: the cold, stinging eyes, frozen fingertips, an aftertaste of coffee. Then, stepping inside the church, a blast of heat, soft light; the smell of candles and incense. The last time Maigret went home to the village of his birth was for his father’s funeral. Now an anonymous note predicting a crime during All Souls’ Day mass draws him back there, where troubling memories resurface and hidden vices are revealed.
The Flemish House
She wasn’t an ordinary supplicant. She didn’t lower her eyes. There was nothing humble about her bearing. She spoke frankly, looking straight ahead, as if to claim what was rightfully hers. ‘If you don’t agree to look at our case, my parents and I will be lost, and it will be the most hateful legal error…’
Maigret is asked to the windswept, rainy border town of Givet by a young woman desperate to clear her family of murder. But their well-kept shop, the sleepy community and its raging river all hide their own mysteries.
The Madman of Bergerac
‘He recalled his travelling companion’s agitated sleep – was it really sleep? – his sighs, and his sobbing. Then the two dangling legs, the patent-leather shoes and hand-knitted socks . . . An insipid face. Glazed eyes. And Maigret was not surprised to see a grey beard eating into his cheeks.’
A distressed passenger leaps off a night train and vanishes into the woods. Maigret, on his way to a well-earned break in the Dordogne, is soon plunged into the pursuit of a madman, hiding amongst the seemingly respectable citizens of Bergerac.
The Misty Harbour
A man picked up for wandering in obvious distress among the cars and buses on the Grands Boulevards. Questioned in French, he remains mute …A madman? In Maigret’s office, he is searched. His suit is new, his underwear is new, his shoes are new. All identifying labels have been removed. No identification papers. No wallet. Five crisp thousand-franc bills have been slipped into one of his pockets. A distressed man is found wandering the streets of Paris, with no memory of who he is or how he got there. The answers lead Maigret to a small harbour town, whose quiet citizens conceal a poisonous malice.
It had a smell of holidays. The previous evening, in Cannes harbour, with the setting sun, had also had the smell of holidays, especially the Ardena, whose owner swaggered in front of two girls with gorgeous figures. Dazzled at first by the glamour of sunny Antibes, Maigret soon finds himself immersed in the less salubrious side of the Riviera as he retraces the final steps of a local eccentric.
Lock No. 1
Cars drove past along with the trucks and trams, but by now Maigret had realised that they were not important. Whatever roared by like this along the road was not part of the landscape…What really counted was the lock, the hooting of the tugs, the stone crusher, the barges and the cranes, the two pilots’ bars and especially the tall house where he could make out Ducrau’s red chair framed by a window.
Maigret shrugged his shoulders, buried his hands in his pockets and went off without answering. He had just spent one of the most wretched days in his life. For hours, in his corner he had felt old and feeble, without idea or incentive. But now a tiny flame flickered.
‘You bet we’ll see’ he growled. Maigret’s peaceful retirement in the countryside is disrupted when a relative unwittingly embroils himself in a crime he did not commit and the inspector returns to Police Headquarters in Paris once again.
Cecile is Dead
And yet she was still young.
Maigret had seen her papers: barely twenty-eight years old. But it would be difficult to look more like an old maid, to move less gracefully, in spite of the care she took to be friendly and pleasant. Those black dresses that she must make for herself from bad paper patterns, that ridiculous green hat!
In the dreary suburbs of Paris, the merciless greed of a seemingly respectable woman is unearthed by her long suffering niece, and Maigret discovers the far-reaching consequences of their actions.
The Cellars of the Majestic
‘Try to imagine a guest, a wealthy woman, staying at the Majestic with her husband, her son, a nurse and a governess …In a suite that costs more than a thousand francs a day …At six in the morning, she’s strangled, not in her room, but in the basement locker room’
Below stairs at a glamorous hotel on the Champs-Elysees, the workers’ lives are worlds away from the luxury enjoyed by the wealthy guests. When their worlds meet, Maigret discovers a tragic story of ambition, blackmail and unrequited love.
The Judge’s House
He went out, lit his pipe and walked slowly to the harbour. He could hear scurrying footsteps behind him. The sea was becoming swollen. The beams of the lighthouses joined in the sky. The moon had just risen and the judge’s house emerged from the darkness, all white, a crude, livid, unreal white.
Exiled from the Police Judiciare in Paris, Maigret bides his time in a remote coastal town of France. There, among the lighthouses, mussel farms and the eerie wail of foghorns, he discovers that a community’s loyalties hide unpleasant truths.
A small, thin man, rather dull to look at, neither young nor old, exuding the stale smell of a bachelor who does not look after himself. He pulls his fingers and cracks his knuckles and tells his tale the way a schoolboy recites his lesson. A mysterious note predicting the murder of a fortune-teller; a confused old man locked in a Paris apartment; a financier who goes fishing; a South American heiress …
Maigret must make his way through a frustrating maze of clues, suspects and motives to find out what connects them.
In everyone’s eyes, even the old ladies hiding behind their quivering curtains, even the kids just now who had turned to stare after they had passed him, he was the intruder, the undesirable. No, worse, he was fundamentally untrustworthy, some stranger who had just turned up from who knew where to do who knew what.