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Enjoyable bleak Maigret story. Perhaps not vintage Simenon but still a cut above most other detective novels. Very well read.
Simenon likes to place his detective in moral dilemmas within a who done it, this of all I've read has M at his leat active,more ally no more than a spectator but for all that still rich in hateful, weak and very human characters
Maigret is back in Moulins, the place of his birth. The police have received a message: "A crime will be committed at the church of Saint-Fiacre during first Mass on All Souls' Day."
When the Comtesse de Saint-Fiacre is found dead in her pew, a search begins for her missal, which may hold the key to her death.
Why should anyone want to do away with this woman, whom Maigret remembers in her promising, lovely youth? Many villagers, the parish priest, and a series of the countess' secretaries who became her lovers, all have secrets to keep, and good reasons to misdirect attention elsewhere. But could this be the one case Maigret loses control of? He begins to wonder....
I loved this Maigret, probably because I felt something of a bond with my fictional friend in his memories, especially those of the Catholic Church. Waking up in a cold room, trudging to Mass before dawn's light, the smell of melting wax votives, the French lace upon my head. How the liturgical thread sews together memories of youth. But, as here, it is not a sentimental journey to recall them.
The mystery has a hint of Christie's "A Murder Is Announced," but just a hint. The story is pure Simenon otherwise. The way the author illuminates a character with the telling detail, the sensory vividness of setting and scene, and his understanding of the world in which he lived combine to make this a great one.
The mysteries are novellas, or perhaps long stories, just the right length for lots of listens. I love the concise way Simenon writes, without a word wasted.
Gareth Armstrong is, as ever, perfect here. I hope he will continue to narrate the Maigret books, as I've become so accustomed to him in the role I can't imagine anyone else in his place.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Margaret is faced by an ugly little problem, in his home town: even in his old home! You can't go home again, and Simenon makes that crystal clear. Don't want to give it away. I will tell you, dear reader that at this time, 1000 francs equaled about 600 US$. Bless you and keep safe, cousin.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful