It’s an interesting enough idea. A married couple come to see Maigret during the dog days at Quai des Orfèvres (which happens to be mid-January). The fact that they make separate visits tells you something’s wrong. He sells toy trains and thinks his wife is planning to kill him. She sells lingerie and thinks her husband is going crazy. They may both be right. Complicating matters – a lot – is the fact that her sister is also living with them, and she’s “the sort of woman who turns men’s heads in the street.” Well, we know this isn’t going to end very happily.
Quite readable, as always, but this one didn’t speak to me. Maigret refers to some professional literature but “none of the textbooks on psychology, psychoanalysis and psychiatry [are] of any use to him.” And an arrogant psychiatrist who’s introduced in the early going is simply dropped as things go on. It seems that what all these shrinks “expressed in difficult language and complicated phrases was in the end merely human.” The human, of course, being Maigret’s favoured hunting ground, he just has to sit back and observe how the players interact with each other to understand what’s really going on.