I guess this one is from the Maigret files before he retired, because otherwise I don’t know why he’d be on holiday. Either way, it’s not much of a getaway since Madame Maigret immediately comes down with appendicitis, which lands her in hospital for surgery. While visiting her there the Chief gets drawn into yet another squalid, and murderous, family drama.
Unlike Saint-Aubin in Inspector Cadaver, in the seaside town of Les Sables d’Olonne everybody knows who Maigret is. Unfortunately, this turns out to be just as irritating as not having anyone recognize him. Celebrity is tough.
Good atmosphere that I thought was building up to something special but it kind of fizzles at the end. I’m not really sure what clues Maigret was drawing on, or if he was just following his inimitable “method” of putting in the legwork, knocking on doors and interviewing subjects, until the solution reveals itself. “Had he ever bothered with footprints?” he wonders at one point. Probably not. Or fingerprints. He has almost no interest in forensics. Certainly far less than Sherlock Holmes or Charlie Chan. This leaves an awful lot up to intuition. But then he’s French.