'His artistry is supreme' John Banville
'This was natural. It is the same everywhere. Rarely, however, had Maigret had such a strong sense of a clique. In a small town like this, of course there are the worthies, who are few and who inevitably meet each other several times a day, even if it is only in the street.
Then there are the others, like those who stood huddled on the sidelines looking disgruntled.'
Maigret's impromptu visit to an old college friend draws him into a murky investigation in a small provincial town ruled by snobbery, fear and intimidation.
'One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century . . . Simenon was unequalled at making us look inside, though the ability was masked by his brilliance at absorbing us obsessively in his stories' Guardian
Hyper-prolific yet critically adored, the Belgian writer took crime novels into new terrority with his 75 books series – newly translated this week – winning devoted fans from Muriel Spark to Alfred Hitchcock in the process.
The crime writer and Maigret inventor's books were all composed in the same intense mood, as if he were gripped by a fever