Maigret: Maigret’s Patience

I mentioned in my notes on Maigret Defends Himself that it was basically the first of a two-part story arc, which concludes with Maigret’s Patience. The action picks up here a week later, with Maigret still on the trail of a gang of Paris jewel thieves, and re-visiting the Rue des Acacias apartment that’s home to the crippled ex-gangster Manuel Palmari and his saucy girlfriend Aline. Alas, it’s not a happy occasion, as someone has just shot Palmari and it’s up to his old not-quite-friend but not-quite-adversary to find out whodunit.

This turns out to be not much fun. The fact is that in these later Maigret books none of the killers are terribly interesting case studies. Here they are just the same “wild animal” types we met back in Maigret and the Saturday Caller. I even thought I was well on my way to figuring things out ahead of schedule, but then things took a bizarre swerve into a crazy back story and it turns out I was wrong. Though the explanation I was coming up with would have been better. I hate it when that happens in a mystery novel.

Some odds and ends: (1) Champagne is “more or less the only drink that doesn’t tempt” the hard-drinking Maigret. (2) Palmari has a maid in to clean his apartment two hours a day every day, and all morning on Mondays and Saturdays. That seems like a lot of maid service. (3) Maigret, as is often noted in the series, can’t drive, and we’re told here it’s because he has a tendency to let his mind wander into reverie while working on a case. He’s a man who knows his limitations. (4) The concierge in an apartment building is a ubiquitous figure in many of these novels. It’s a job that never seems to have caught on in North America. Given how grumpy they all seem to be in Paris, that may be for the best.

Maigret index

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