|M. Gallet, décédé - 1|
|M. GALLET, DECEDE - Maigret Stonewalled - The death of Monsieur Gallet - Georges Simenon, 1930 (Morsang-sur-Seine)|
|For more background information on the story and Sancerre, visit also the Travel Log:|
|The story - a summary|
|In the Hôtel de la Loire in Sancerre,
where he was known as
Monsieur Clément, Emile Gallet, actually living in Saint-Fargeau, was
killed by a gunshot in the face, followed by a stab in the heart.
All this happened while his wife believed him to be in Rouen, working as a sales agent.
starts his investigation and discovers that the day of the crime Gallet
had a dispute with Tiburce de Saint-Hilaire, lord of a
manor close to the hotel, and another with his son Henry. He met his
son by chance. Henry was there to visit his mistress , Eléonore
Boursang, who was on holiday in the region.
It soon becomes clear that none of these three characters could have committed the crime.
Actually, Gallet had not been a sales agent anymore for eighteen years. He made a living out of deceiving and extorting money from the royalists nobility who were hoping for the re-establishment of the Bourbons on the throne of France.
|La nuit du
à deux sous
|With the money acquired, Gallet, who was in poor health, had contracted a life insurance in favor of his wife.
However, for three years, a certain monsieur Jacob had discovered the swindle of Gallet and blackmailed him.
In fact, Jacob was the man of straw of Gallet's own son Henry and his mistress (1) who, in that way, regularly demanded money from the father.
Little time before the crime, Jacob, so in fact Henry and Eléonore, had claimed 20,000 francs with Gallet.
Gallet went to Saint-Hilaire to beg him for the money.
Saint-Hilaire refused and in despair Gallet committed suicide, camouflaged as a crime, so that his wife could touch the life insurance benefits.
|Vente à la
relationship between Gallet and Saint-Hilaire remains very obscure.
Maigret pushes his investigations further and discovers a fact
of great importance which he will keep secret in the interest of the
In reality Tiburce de Saint-Hilaire is no one else than the true Gallet and Emile Gallet, alias Clément, is the last descendant of the Saint-Hilaires.
After an unhappy childhood and a youth full of restrictions he sold his name to Gallet. This one had learned in Indo-China that Saint-Hilaire was to receive a significant heritage soon. A little later the false Saint-Hilaire touched a colossal fortune and Gallet - forged and frustrated - , unceasingly returned to him to claim the money that he thought to be his.(2)
|Le notaire de
décédé - 1
|Japanese cover of M.Gallet, décédé|
décédé - 2
décédé - 3
victim, M.Gallet, lives in Saint-Fargeau. That is where Maigret goes to
on the first pages of the novel to notify the wife of her
husband's death and to accompany her to Sancerre where he was found
Saint-Fargeau to-day is part of the municipality of Saint-Fargeau-Ponthierry in the department of Seine-et-Marne, a group of small hamlets and villages in a curve of the Seine-river 45 km (28 mi.) South of Paris.
|Le charretier de
was one of Simenon's favorite areas. Saint-Fargeau and the neighboring
villages (Morsang-sur-Seine, Seine-Port, Corbeil-Essonne,
Le Coudray-Monceaux) appear in several of his works.
Leaving the train station Maigret has to walk two kilometers to "Les Marguerites" , the residence of the Gallets, all the way through a new housing estate.
"- M.Gallet?... All at the end of the central avenue of the housing estate... There is a signboard on the cottage on which is written "Les Marguerites" ... Anyway, it is about the only house that is completed.....
|Train station building of Saint-Fargeau|
new housing estate was nothing else than a vast forest that once must
have belonged to a manor. One had been satisfied to trace a
geometrical network of avenues in it, as with a grass-mower, and to put
in the cables which would provide the future cottages with electric
At two kilometers of the train station, at the very least, he found "Les Marguerites", a small country house in a vaguely English style.... " 
|The village of Saint-Fargeau is to the South of the train station.
To the west of the station lies the housing estate on which were barely any buildings in 1930.
Now there are hundreds of houses in many different styles, on spacious parcels of land, with mostly nice laid out gardens and lots of trees. Many of these houses are second residences for Parisians, fleeing the French capital on weekends and holidays.
Dozens of these houses correspond with the description in the novel. Almost all have names. Flowers and other plants seem to be very popular.
|For more information on the localities go to the Travel Log.|
|Saint-Fargeau, the lane from the station into the new housing estate.
||Saint-Fargeau, this is what the Gallet' house must have looked like, only this is called: "La Miraudière"|
|A 2 hour train ride from Saint-Fargeau brings Maigret and Madame Gallet in Sancerre.
The train station of
Sancerre is in Tracy-sur-loire, in fact the same Tracy, where the
destutt de Tracy family (see l'Affaire Saint-Fiacre) has its second
estate and vineyards.
Sancerre, in the department of the Cher, 200 km (124 mi) south of Paris lies near to the banks of the Loire river.
Although this village is very well known, especially by wine enthusiasts, it is small, with only 2000 inhabitants.
The center of the village of Sancerre is situated on an isolated, 312 meters (1024 ft) high hill and is still enclosed by a medieval fortification wall.
was seven o'clock in the evening when the train stopped in station of
Tracy-Sancerre. They still had to walk a kilometer on the
main road before crossing the suspension-bridge that spans the Loire.
The river did not offer the majestic spectacle of a large watercourse,
but showed an infinity of small brooks streaming between sand banks
with the color of overripe corn....
One saw the Hôtel de la Loire, whose yellow frontage was drawn up along the quay..... "(4)
|Sancerre, a remarkable landmark|
|The Loire at St.-Thibault (Sancerre)||Bridge over the loire, coming from Tracy station|
|This description raises some questions about the actual locality where the novel is set.
Sancerre is not situated on the banks of the Loire river. It lies about 5 km from the river. Coming from the station of Tracy, crossing the bridge over the Loire one arrives in the tiny hamlet of Saint-Thibault. In Saint-Thilbault the Quai de la Loire and the Hôtel de la Loire are to be found. This hamlet is not even part of Sancerre, it belongs to the municipality of Saint-Satur, a village on the foot of the hill on which Sancerre is situated.
is no doubt that the Hôtel in Saint-Thibault is the hotel from the
novel. Its position fully corresponds with the description. In
1930 it was called Hôtel de l' ?toile and the owner was Monsieur
This hotel was very familiar to Simenon because in 1923, during the time he was employed by Raymond de Tracy and while he resided with the marquis in the castle at Tracy, his wife Tigy stayed in this hotel. 
So why does the novel suggest Sancerre as the place of the action? Probably for reason of proximity and because this notorious landmark is far more recognizable than Saint-Thibault that is so small it is not even on most road-maps.
|Go to: M.Gallet, décédé - 2|
|From top to bottom:
- WebSite logo: Adaptation by G. de Croock of a drawing of Maigret's silhouette from the cover of: Georges Simenon, "Maigret hesite", Presses de la Cite, Paris.
- Map by:Route 66, Route Europa 2000, Copyright Route 66 Geographic Information Systems B.V., Ede (NL). Adaptation by G. De Croock .
- From Steve Trussel's Inspector Maigret's WebSite: "There is also a reference to him in Francis Lacassin's pamphlet, Simenon 1931, La naissance de Maigret [The Birth of Maigret] accompanying the Tout Simenon set by Presses de la Cit?, which includes the photograph at left, captioned "Two models for Maigret: Commissioners Massu and Guillaume." [Deux mod?les de Maigret: les commissaires Massu et Guillaume]". Ph. Keystone.
- Maigret's silhouette: Logo of Steve Trussel's Inspector Maigret's WebSite.
- Cut out of a photograph of Simenon with Johnny and Marie-Jo, from the WebSite of the Fonds Simenon: Ch?teau de Colonster, All?e des Erables,B-4000 LIEGE, BELGIQUE.
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