Hard to believe, but Maigret’s good friend Dr. Pardon has finally sounded the alarm about the detective chief inspector’s drinking problem. In order to spare Maigret’s liver, he’s recommended cutting down to just quaffing the odd aperitif instead of hitting the bar at all hours of the day while on a case.
Perhaps it’s the lack of lubricant that has made Maigret even grouchier than usual (as if getting old wasn’t bad enough). Whatever the cause, he does, as the title indicates, get angry at the end of this one. I had a hard time figuring out where things were going, but as it turns out the villain was running a kind of fake protection scheme, which is something Maigret takes personally as the protection being offered was from the police. To be honest, I thought it was a pretty good scam, and the guy running it was sympathetic, so maybe Maigret really did just need a drink.
A minor effort, but not bad, at least by the standards of the later books in the series. One point that caught my attention was that when Maigret, who doesn’t know how to drive, wants one of his lieutenants to take the suspect’s car he has to first check if he has “ever driven an American car.” In what way would driving an American car in 1963 be different from driving a French car? I’m guessing most cars at the time would have been standard transmission, so he’s not talking about that. I don’t think any mention is made of what make of car it is, only that it’s American and “big” (naturally). Which is, something that might have set him off too, come to think of it.