Are these Maigret novels really that well written? They’re prefaced in this series by testimonials from authors ranging from William Faulkner to John Banville, so Simenon clearly had, and has, a lot of prominent fans.
I have to say I’ve been less impressed by the literary quality of the series thus far, but in chapter 6 of The Judge’s House the abbreviated style achieves a remarkable effect as Maigret follows up the leads given to him by Judge Forlacroix the night before. Maigret himself recognizes that “it was a little like the reality of a film. A documentary film, for example. Images unreel on the screen. At the same time, the voice of an off-screen narrator comments on them . . .” That’s a passing of the narrative guard that was still pretty new, I think, in 1942.
Unfortunately, the plot here is nonsense from start to finish. I wasn’t even sure what Lise’s problem was. Nymphomania? Whatever. The old busybody Didine was a bit of fun, but in the end she’s tangential to the melodramatic goings-on in the judge’s house.