The discovery of a dismembered body in the Canal Saint Martin leads Maigret into a tangled, baffling case involving a taciturn bistro-owner and a mysterious inheritance.
'There was no lack of picturesque individuals in a neighbourhood like Quai de Valmy. But he had seldom encountered the kind of inertia he had seen in that woman. It was hard to explain. When most people look at you, there is some sort of exchange, however small. A contact is established, even if that contact is a kind of defiance.
With her, on the contrary, there was nothing.'
'His artistry is supreme' John Banville
'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