Yes, it’s just Maigret. I wonder if Simenon was starting to have doubts about the project at this point, tossing off a title like that.
Well, the big guy is enjoying a cozy retirement with Madame Maigret when his nephew, a newly minted detective on the Paris police force, badly bungles a stake-out. So badly, indeed, that he’s charged with murder. So Maigret is dragged back into action to clear the poor idiot out.
A bit of a change from the usual fare, as we basically know whodunit from the start. It’s more along the lines of a crime story than it is a mystery. Amadieu, Maigret’s replacement, even explains how Maigret’s “usual method” doesn’t apply here: “Usually, you get involved in people’s lives; you try to understand their thinking and you take as much interest in things that happened to them twenty years earlier as you do in concrete clues. Here, we’re faced with a bunch about whom we know pretty much everything.”
Instead of using his powers of empathy and reasoning Maigret has to resort to some old-school trickery involving the use of a piece of broom handle and a telephone. Even then, he’s really flying by the seat of his pants. But does this mean he’s back?