Poor Cécile! And yet she was still young. Maigret had seen her papers: barely 28 years old. But it would be difficult to look more like an old maid, to move less gracefully, in spite of the care she took to be friendly and pleasant. Those black dresses that she must make for herself from bad paper patterns, that ridiculous green hat!
In the dreary suburbs of Paris, the merciless greed of a seemingly respectable woman is unearthed by her long-suffering niece, and Maigret discovers the far-reaching consequences of their actions.
This novel has been published in a previous translation as Maigret and the Spinster.
Georges Simenon was born in Liège, Belgium, in 1903. Best known in Britain as the author of the Maigret books, his prolific output of over 400 novels and short stories have made him a household name in continental Europe. He died in 1989 in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he had lived for the latter part of his life.
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By Zaubermond on 27-12-16
Pathos in Paris
Cecile, an ill-favored and ungainly young woman, has been coming to the office to see Maigret with some frequency. So often that she has become a figure of fun, the boys calling her "Maigret's love bird." She claims someone has been moving things about in her apartment she shares with her disabled aunt, which only adds to her doubtful reputation.
One foggy morning, she shows up again. Maigret ignores her in favor of more urgent business, knowing she will sit there for hours as she has before. But this time, she doesn't hang about. He has a funny feeling about this and takes a tram to her apartment. There he finds her aunt dead. Several hours later, Cecile's body is found in a broom closet of the Police Judiciaire.
Meanwhile, Janvier and Luca have been keeping their eyes on a gang of Polish immigrants who are suspected of criminal activities, and there have been some axe murders.
This is a sad one, as so many Simenon stories are. We meet the many who barely get by and lead a joyless and meager existence in Paris, the city of beauty without mercy. The author's close observation brings each character to life and postwar France comes to life once again.
Another excellent Maigret, well-read, written, and translated.
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