The Late Monsieur Gallet by Georges Simenon
In the second Maigret mystery, the circumstances of Monsieur Gallet’s death all seem fake: the name he was traveling under, his presumed profession, and, more worryingly, his family’s grief. Their haughtiness seems to hide ambiguous feelings about the hapless man. Soon Maigret discovers the appalling truth and the real crime hidden beneath the surface of their lies.
This was my fifth Maigret novel that I have read this year and I must admit this one did make me laugh. The best word to describe Maigret in this novel is ‘grumpy’.
It is the holiday season in Paris and this means that Maigret is left in charge with only a skeleton staff to keep law and order and when a royal visit takes away all the police officers but himself he is left to solve a murder without any of his usual staff to do the leg work for him in the scorching summer heat. It also means he has to stay in a second class hotel which really upsets him!
Maigret must find who murdered Monsieur Gallet but everything about the murder seems very wrong to Maigret and as he investigates he realises more and more that the facts don’t fit the crime. In his investigations Maigret meets Madame Gallet the wife of the deceased and dislikes her immensely, she appears very aloof, proud and cold to Maigret. In fact I have noticed in the Maigret novels that it is very rare to find a woman other than Mrs Maigret who Maigret actually thinks highly of. Although I did feel sorry for Mrs Maigret in this book because during all of his investigations Maigret never rang to tell his wife where he was even though he was staying in a different town and not coming home. Mrs Maigret must have the patience of a saint is all that I can say.
I loved how this story unfolded and due to several very well placed red herrings I never had a clue till the end of who was the murderer or why. Maigret follows the clues and builds the picture of what happened and he comes across as the most eccentric character at times, from standing on random walls to climbing through windows he really made me laugh. I give this book 4 out of 5 Dragons.
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About the author
Georges Simenon (1903-1989) was a Belgian writer who published nearly 500 novels and many short stories. Simenon is best known as the creator of the Maigret stories.