Tuesday, 19 December 2017

A Maigret Christmas by Georges Simenon

translated by David Coward

review by Maryom

Madame Maigret is hoping for a quiet Christmas Day, spent peacefully at home with her husband, with no interruptions from his police work. She's out of luck! Inspector Maigret is barely up, and certainly not properly dressed, before two women from the opposite apartment block arrive with a tale of a man, dressed up as Father Christmas, having visited the daughter of one of them in the night. Whether or not he believes in Santa, Maigret immediately suspects something fishy is afoot, and sets out to investigate the matter, while barely moving from the comfort of his armchair.

This story featuring Georges Simenon's most famous character, Inspector Maigret, is one of a collection of three, all set in Paris at Christmas - the perfect read for a quiet moment (if there is such a thing) after Christmas Day dinner. For long-term fans of Maigret, it's a little festive gem. For those less familiar, it works as an introduction to the Inspector, his police team, and personal life; I was particularly impressed with how much of the Maigrets' family life was explored in such a short story without stealing the show from the investigation. A few words here and there from the author, and I felt like I knew this couple intimately.
The mystery itself is probably not all that complex, but after all this is a short story, not a full-length novel which has time for more false trails and diversions, and it makes an enjoyable festive crime read.

Maryom's review - 4.5 stars 
Publisher - Penguin Classics 
Genre - crime, Christmas 

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