Maigret's Dead Man by Georges Simenon

by on February 10, 2019 under , , ,

When I picked up this book at the Jurong Regional Library, I didn’t know the extend of Inspector Maigret’s reputation. So far the only French-speaking detective I’m aware of was Hercule Poirot. And then upon googling, found out this one was had a huge series of his own. Did Inspector Maigret become my favourite too after reading this one, “Maigret’s Dead Man”? Possibly.

He’s a different style of detective. Cool, collected and patient with a group of loyal men with him who’d do as per instructed considering he is the detective chief inspector. Throughout the book, I saw the efficiency of Maigret’s work and his thinking despite being ahead in his years but experienced had allowed him to stew and linger in his thoughts, to take his time, or perhaps it was a French thing but Maigret did not dismiss any urgent phone calls when he received one just as the story started.

Up to the end, I enjoyed the story, pulling me along with its fluid narration. There weren’t any highly tensed moments  that made me gripped the pages tightly like modern detective novels of today. It was written in the late 40s so things moved a light slowly and carefully. Just like Maigret is. And that is what a real police investigation is about: lots of following false leads, lots of asking questions, lots of politics with upper management.

The plot was simple and being only 225 pages or so, it was an easy read. A relax read despite following the inspector to solve a murder case that led to a bigger one. The deduction wasn’t anything impressive like Holmes. Maigret was a practical man, getting stuck at times, hiding away in his apartment with his wife with a ‘bronchitis’ when it gets too much. I heard that are 75 books in total. So many! There are possibly only ten or so in the library. I might just continue with his adventures.

What attracted me most to this novel was the fluidity of its narrative. Perhaps it was due the translater, David Something, interpreting the French language into Enlish superbly. There was an excellent flow from one sentence to another like being pulled along by the river current from one page to another. There is a subtle humour undertone to the words perhaps it being a French-style of talking but the situation was a serious one. I couldn’t stop reading and just let myself go along with Simenons’ flow of words.

There was a plenty of French names for restaurants and streets that I felt like a tourist being just pulled along by the French tour guide who is simply excited to show off his culture. I enjoyed that part a lot even as I was confused but the simple description was enough for me to understand the meaning within context. Truly different from a British or an American writer.

This was a wonderful reading experience, an easy start to my upcoming days of reading up mystery novels again to improve my own writing.

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