The Carter of La Providence by Georges Simenon
What was the woman doing here?
In a stable, wearing pearl earrings, her stylish bracelet and white buckskin shoes!
She must have been alive when she got there because the crime had been committed after ten in the evening.
But how? And why? And no one had heard a thing! She had not screamed. The two carters had not woken up.
If the whip had not been mislaid, it was likely the body might not have been discovered for a couple of weeks or a month, by chance when someone turned over the straw.
And other carters passing through would have snored the night away next to a woman’s corpse!
These questions lead Maigret into an unfamiliar world of canals, with its run down cafes, shadowy towpaths, and eccentric inhabitants.
I have been enjoying the Maigret books and I read this one in one sitting as I couldn’t put it down.
Maigret finds himself investigating another murder case and this one is a big mystery. A very finely dressed woman has been found dead in a stable and nobody knows how she got there. Nobody heard a thing, not even the two carters who were sleeping in the stable with the horses. This means Maigret finds himself having to learn all about lock gates and the ways of the canal.
The people of the canal are an eccentric bunch and you can tell this annoys Maigret at times but not as much as having to stay in such a run down hotel. Maigret really does like his home comforts. This was another book that I felt sorry for Mrs Maigret who was not even mentioned in this book and Maigret never even bothered to ring her the whole time he was away on the case.
Maigret slowly pieces together all the evidence to eventually get to the answers he needs to find out who the murderer is. I will be honest the murderer was a complete and utter surprise to me and I did not see it until Maigret revealed who it was. There were so many other possibilities of who the killer could have been.
I will be honest the character I most despised was the Colonel in this story and to be honest I disliked the whole party from the yacht and found it all very suspicious and weird. Maigret also felt the same way I think.
My favourite part of the book was the very long bike ride that Maigret did to catch up with a boat and Maigret realising he had been cycling for hours and hadn’t even stopped for a beer. The bike ride was probably also the longest part of the book where Maigret did not have his pipe clamped between his teeth.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and give this 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.