Maigret’s Doubts by Georges Simenon (1958)

A man comes to Maigret’s office saying he believes his wife is trying to poison him but leaves before giving his name. Later that day the wife visits Maigret to give her version of events. Maigret is concerned but as no crime has been committed what can he do?

As it is the quiet period just after Christmas, Maigret does some digging and finds that both husband and wife have reasons for wanting the other dead. For once can he solve a murder before it occurs?

I am reading through the whole series of Penguin’s new translations but haven’t picked one up for what feels like a long time. Happily, this felt like putting on a comfortable pair of old slippers. The nicest touches here are when Maigret thinks about his marriage and the affection that exists between him and his wife, which seems to be absent from that of his potential suspects.

Although this was written thirteen years after World War II this is the first time that I’ve noticed any reference to it having taken place. But then the series does not place in a systematic world. Lapointe remains permanently young and here has only been working with Maigret for two years. There is some reference to Maigret having been working for only twenty years. This whole idea is dealt with in “Maigret’s Memoirs” where it is shown that Simenon has essentially fictionalised Maigret’s real cases for the benefit of the public.

A solid entry in the series to be enjoyed by existing fans but probably not by those that aren’t.

Vintage Mystery Challenge

Fulfils “Who – Main sleuth is a professional”.




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