The team at Penguin were kind enough to send me a copy of Death Threats and Other Stories by Georges Simenon. I remember my grandma calling me “Inspector Maigret” when I was small and nosy, and I know he was a famous book character, but this memory somehow fogged up, until I encountered the name again. And I knew I was going to be in for a ride.
About The Book:
Format I read it in: Paperback
Publisher: Penguin Books
This new selection of short stories featuring Inspector Maigret – three of which are published in English for the first time – takes the detective from a mysterious death in a Cannes hotel to a love triangle in the Loire countryside and a bitter rivalry within a Parisian family.
As a whole, I really enjoyed the short stories. I met Inspector Maigret and I really loved his approach to the murders and investigations. He has certain ways of doing things that intrigue me. He takes the “thinking outside of the box” and brings it to a whole new level. Below I have listed all the short stories in this collection, alongside with a brief description of the synopsis and my thoughts for each story. There are NO spoilers, however, as these are short stories, sometimes even the synopsis can be too much, so read at your own risk. 🙂
The Improbable Monsieur Owen
When a murder happens in a hotel where Inspector Maigret is staying at, he tries not to be involved. However, his curiosity gets the better of him. I love how he planned to find out the killer and his execution. However, I wasn’t too happy with the fact that the guilty person didn’t get the punishment they deserves. I found this to be a very interesting frustration, because in other books we don’t always get the information of what happens after. We just assume someone gets a proper punishment – and I found this only bothered me just now.
The Men at the Grand Cafe
Inspector Maigret goes to the Grand Cafe regularly to play cards with the locals. One day, the butcher is murdered as he was returning from the Cafe. As soon as the news spread, the inspector decides that he wants nothing to do with the investigation. Various people visit him at home; to share secrets, alibis, ask him for help, but he refuses to say anything. It’s very interesting to see that despite him being uninterested, he very much enjoys the attention he gets with people coming to him. I enjoyed how the story unravelled, although I can’t understand the reason why someone would decide to act in such a way, when everything could have been less impactful.
The Man on the Streets
A murder happens and Maigret is doing a re-construction and fake arrest the next day. One guy is interested and the follow him around for days. After a few days of these shenanigans, inspector Maigret thinks of something very clever that makes this guy to start talking. I liked the inspector’s unorthodox approach to this case and the mind games he was also playing. I wonder if practices like these are today forbidden due to the distress it may cause to some individuals, but it was cleverly written and I certainly enjoyed it.
The night before an auction happens in the small town, a guy full of cash is murdered. Inspector Maigret is asking all people that were in that inn to keep doing whatever they were doing that night. This way, he can reconstruct the night before the murder. After a series of events, the inspector is able to find the guilty person and close the case. It was a very short story, but one of the most captivating ones in the book.
The chief speaks with inspector Maigret and tells him about the unusual case: Monsieur Grosbois received a death threat. Maigret spends some time in the house. He gets to find out about all the family members and their dirty family secrets and arguments. What I found interesting was that none of the family members were trying to hide what went on in the family and they argued as if the inspector was never here. Usually, even if you don’t get along with someone in your family, when a guest comes over, you do your best to be friendly and keep the peace, but this wasn’t the case with this family and I was intrigued by that. Emile, scared of the death threat, makes the whole family sit on the terrace the whole day. In the evening, a murder attempt does happen – and inspector Maigret gives an interesting explanation.
Overall, I really enjoyed this collection of short stories, and I am definitely a fan of Maigret’s way of investigation and the way his thinking process works. He comes up with clever ideas to trick the murderers into falling into his trap. It’s very easy to read the stories as they are very gripping. I would warmly recommend this collection as the perfect introduction to Inspector Maigret’s adventures!
About The Author:
Georges Joseph Christian Simenon (1903 – 1989) was a Belgian writer. A prolific author who published nearly 500 novels and numerous short works, Simenon is best known as the creator of the fictional detective Jules Maigret.
Although he never resided in Belgium after 1922, he remained a Belgian citizen throughout his life.
Simenon was one of the most prolific writers of the twentieth century, capable of writing 60 to 80 pages per day. His oeuvre includes nearly 200 novels, over 150 novellas, several autobiographical works, numerous articles, and scores of pulp novels written under more than two dozen pseudonyms. Altogether, about 550 million copies of his works have been printed.