this is the 195th in my series of forgotten or seldom read books
Maigret’s Pipe by Georges Simenon, Harvest [Harcourt Brace], 1985, trade paper, original ©1977, translation by Jean Stewart, mystery – 17 short stories, Inspector Maigret
“It was half past seven. In the Director’s office Maigret had heaved a sigh of mingled relief and exhaustion, the sigh of a heavy man at the close of a hot July day, and he had automatically pulled his watch from his waistcoat pocket.”
I’m not sure how I first discovered Maigret. I’m pretty sure I’d come across the name in my mystery-genre reading and in mystery reference books, but it took some catalyst before I bought a Maigret book. My guess is I read a review of one of the books in the mystery fiction apa, DAPA-Em, or at least I may have read comments on one of the books, as several members read and liked the Maigret books. However it occurred, I bought a few paperbacks and read them over the next few months. I really, really liked them.
On a return trip to the bookstore, a place called BookStar, which was near my home in Tustin, I came across this trade paper collection of short stories. I’d just finished a book so the timing was right and I started right away. I gobbled it up in a couple of days. That was about ten years ago, and it remains one of my favorite Maigret books.
My impression now, thinking back, is that whatever it was I read was well written and translated, gave me a picture of Paris unlike any I’d encountered before and I liked the way Maigret solves cases.
The stories are of a length to get your teeth into, none of that 4-page stuff here. The character of Maigret is the strength throughout and we get to see him in the latter part of his career and after his retirement to a country home on the banks of the Loire. Some of the stories include his wife and one of his nephews. All pose intriguing problems for him to solve in his special combination of fact digging and intuition.
This is easily found new or in the usual used book places, and worth looking for. If you haven’t read these stories you’re in for a treat. This is very good indeed.