Maigret: The Judge’s House

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.

Maigret index

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