Why is Maigret taking a room? Because Madame Maigret is visiting her sister, leaving Jules feeling lonely. Or perhaps just in need of someone to take care of him. So when his favourite inspector, Janvier, is shot in the chest while staking out an apartment building it’s only natural that Maigret himself should take a room in that same building. To find out who shot Janvier? That seems a stretch. More likely he just wants the maternal concierge (“her large breasts wobbling in her blouse like jelly”) to make a fuss over him.
There’s even less detective work than usual here. Maigret solves the crime by just looking out the window of his room and having the truth dawn on him in the usual, wholly inexplicable, way. It’s still an enjoyable outing though, especially in the way the two women who are hiding men rhyme with each other, and in the wonderful description of Maigret’s first visit to Madame Boursicault, where she attempts to lull him to sleep with her voice droning on “monotonously, like a running tap.”
I guess the Maigrets didn’t have any kids. This may help explain his need to find a surrogate family, whether it be among his stable of inspectors (he calls Lucas “son” even though he’s only about ten years older) or with the roly-poly concierge. Given it’s Janvier who takes a bullet here I was a little surprised that we got the gentle, forgiving Maigret at the end, but maybe he was just feeling a bit more fatherly toward everyone.