Skip to main content

Bibliophile reviews Maigret and the Burglar's Wife by Georges Simenon

Original French title: Maigret et la grande perche
translator: J. Maclaren-Ross
Series detective: Chief-Inspector Maigret
No. in series: 66
Year of publication: 1951
Type of mystery: Missing person/possible murder
Type of investigator: Police
Setting & time: Paris, France; 1953s

Story: A woman who once embarrassed Maigret when he was a young policeman comes to him with a fantastic story: her husband, a safecracker famous for his bad luck, found a murdered women in one of his break-ins and has fled the city for fear of being suspected of the murder. However, no murder has been reported in the suburb where it happened, and Maigret is unsure as to whether to believe the story or not. After speaking with the inhabitants of the house, a middle-aged man and his mother, his policeman's sixth sense is aroused he begins to believe the story and starts an investigation.

Review: It was interesting to read this book so shortly after having watched the same story unfold in an episode of the British TV series (with Michael Gambon as Maigret). Story and TV show could easily be used to show how an original written story can both lose and gain a lot in the adaptation. But I'm not going to discuss the adaptation here, just the story as it is in the book. It is a fine story about psychological warfare between Maigret and a suspect, and has an interesting twist in the tale, which, while not entirely unexpected, is put forward in such a way as to leave it up to the reader whether she believes the solution or not. It may just be the translation, but I got the feeling this doubt was entirely intentional.

Rating: Another fine tale of psychological warfare and human nature from the French master of mystery. 4 stars.


Popular posts from this blog

Book 40: The Martian by Andy Weir, audiobook read by Wil Wheaton

Note : This will be a general scattershot discussion about my thoughts on the book and the movie, and not a cohesive review. When movies are based on books I am interested in reading but haven't yet read, I generally wait to read the book until I have seen the movie, but when a movie is made based on a book I have already read, I try to abstain from rereading the book until I have seen the movie. The reason is simple: I am one of those people who can be reduced to near-incoherent rage when a movie severely alters the perfectly good story line of a beloved book, changes the ending beyond recognition or adds unnecessarily to the story ( The Hobbit , anyone?) without any apparent reason. I don't mind omissions of unnecessary parts so much (I did not, for example, become enraged to find Tom Bombadil missing from The Lord of the Rings ), because one expects that - movies based on books would be TV-series long if they tried to include everything, so the material must be pared down

List love: 10 recommended stories with cross-dressing characters

This trope is almost as old as literature, what with Achilles, Hercules and Athena all cross-dressing in the Greek myths, Thor and Odin disguising themselves as women in the Norse myths, and Arjuna doing the same in the Mahabaratha. In modern times it is most common in romance novels, especially historicals in which a heroine often spends part of the book disguised as a boy, the hero sometimes falling for her while thinking she is a boy. Occasionally a hero will cross-dress, using a female disguise to avoid recognition or to gain access to someplace where he would never be able to go as a man. However, the trope isn’t just found in romances, as may be seen in the list below, in which I recommend stories with a variety of cross-dressing characters. Unfortunately I was only able to dredge up from the depths of my memory two book-length stories I had read in which men cross-dress, so this is mostly a list of women dressed as men. Ghost Riders by Sharyn McCrumb. One of the interwove

First book of 2020: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach (reading notes)

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I loathe movie tie-in book covers because I feel they are (often) trying to tell me how I should see the characters in the book. The edition of Deborah Moggach's These Foolish Things that I read takes it one step further and changes the title of the book into the title of the film version as well as having photos of the ensemble cast on the cover. Fortunately it has been a long while since I watched the movie, so I couldn't even remember who played whom in the film, and I think it's perfectly understandable to try to cash in on the movie's success by rebranding the book. Even with a few years between watching the film and reading the book, I could see that the story had been altered, e.g. by having the Marigold Hotel's owner/manager be single and having a romance, instead being of unhappily married to an (understandably, I thought) shrewish wife. It also conflates Sonny, the wheeler dealer behind the retireme