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1. Maigret has a special feeling for the helpless and vulnerable in the big city, such as a murdered girl found on the sidewalk, wearing a cheap rented evening gown. Maigret knew the barman was lying when he said she had been drinking martinis while waiting for someone in his bar: such a girl did not drink martinis.
Maigret et la jeune morte (Inspector Maigret and the Dead Girl; Maigret and the Young Girl)
2. Maigret understood the striptease dancer of a shabby Montmartre boîte, a luscious wanton who drank too much and yet kept her little flat immaculate like a respectable bourgeois housewife. She tried to warn the police that some countess was going to be murdered for her jewels and they did not take her seriously. Maigret would have believed her, even before she was strangled for attempting to forestall the murder.
Maigret au Picratt's (Inspector Maigret and the Strangled Stripper; Maigret in Montmartre)
3. One of Maigret's greatest cases was that of an aged and wealthy American widow who with her maid-companion was brutally stabbed to death in her luxurious Saint-Cloud villa. A delivery boy was convicted on circumstantial evidence and condemned to the guillotine.
Maigret did not believe in the youth's guilt. He was far more interested in the dead woman's ne'er-do-well nephew who was in debt yet lived luxuriously, and a strange Czech medical student who appeared to have some link with the nephew. For days Maigret and the student played a cat-and-mouse game, each one trying to outwit the other, and a curious bond grew up between them. In the end, Maigret sprang a trap and the student turned out to be the murderer, having been paid by the nephew to commit the crime. He went to the guillotine and his last request was that Maigret attend the execution.
La tête d'un homme (A Battle of Nerves; Maigret's War of Nerves)
4. Maigret was an idealistic novice when his first case led him into the purlieus of privilege and nearly ended his career before it had begun: he was 22, precinct secretary in the elegant Saint-Georges district of the city, when he investigated a midnight call for help from one of the great mansions. He found no corpse, nor any sign of a struggle, and the son of the family who showed the young detective through the house sarcastically commended him for his zeal. On his own, the youthful Maigret solved the case of the heiress, and her slain lover, but the scandalous truth was suppressed and Maigret, about to resign in indignation, was instead given his heart's desire, a transfer to headquarters and the homicide squad. There he has remained ever since, rising through the ranks to become the world renowned chief inspector.
La première enquête de Maigret (Maigret's First Case)
5. One of Maigret's most ambiguous cases began when a distraught husband came to reveal that his wife was planning to poison him, and later the wife arrived and reported with cool composure that her husband was the would-be poisoner and she the prospective victim.
Maigret is often besieged by persons suffering from paranoid delusions, but in this instance he felt he might indeed be confronting a crime before it was committed. In the end it was the husband who died, and Maigret unraveled a most ingeniously plotted murder in which the murderer had sought to use him as an unwitting accomplice.
Les scrupules de Maigret (Maigret Has Scruples)
6. A visitor whose appearance in Maigret's office gave him peculiar delight was a tall bony prostitute he had known in the past as La Grande Perche.3 Once as a young sergeant he had been sent to arrest her for petty thievery, whereupon she had stripped to the skin before his eves and refused to budge from her bed, so that the blushing Maigret was obliged to call two gendarmes to help him wrap her up and carry her to the police station.
This time La Grande Perche came clad with utmost propriety, a respectable married woman asking help for her husband who, in pursuit of his not so respectable profession, had discovered a murdered woman on the floor in a rich dentist's house where he had broken in to crack the safe. No corpse was found, and the dentist and his elderly widowed mother knew nothing even of an attempted burglary. But Maigret believed the retired prostitute and her burglar husband, and by dint of patient probing he had the satisfaction of once more penetrating a facade of unassailable virtue to the evil hiding beneath.
Maigret et la Grande Perche (Inspector Maigret and the Burglar's Wife)
7. Maigret is implacable with privileged hypocrites but gentle with small people struggling for survival; he has shown sympathy even for murderers. Once he sent flowers to the hospital room of a splendid, savage young woman and cruel murderess, simply because she had just given birth to a child.
This was an incident in a nerve-racking case that began with a series of frantic telephone calls from a man who said he was being followed and was about to be killed. Maigret sent his men to each spot, tracing the calls, only to learn that the man had just left; that night his body was found, stabbed and mutilated, on the pavement of the Place de la Concorde. Feeling personally at fault because the little man had called on him in vain, Maigret followed the involved trail to the victim's small cafe, found his plain but appealing wife, his friends who knew more than they dared tell, finally discovered the killers whose well-concealed leader the unfortunate man had accidentally identified.
Maigret et son mort (Maigret's Dead Man; Maigret's Special Murder)
8. ? Maigret once tried haltingly to describe his method to his superior: "You know, chief.... I come and I go and I sniff around. You'll hear people say I'm waiting for inspiration.... What I'm waiting for is the one significant event that never fails to happen. The whole thing is to be there when it does, so that I can take advantage of it."
Where does he say this?
9. Maigret's patience is legendary, his record is dotted with endurance records: an interrogation that he pursued for 26 hours without pause
mentioned in: Maigret à New York (Maigret in New York; Inspector Maigret in New York's Underworld) [M remembered the interrogation of Mestorino, the longest and hardest, almost a classic, no less than 26 hours. (also in: Mémoirs, as 28 hours; in: Piège, as 27 hours]
10. Maigret's patience is legendary, his record is dotted with endurance records: a vigil that he kept beside a garden gate for two nights and three days in the rain. On that occasion he was simply waiting for a man to come out of a house; he had neither food nor drink but to him the worst of the ordeal was that he ran out of matches for his pipe.
Pietr-le-Letton (The Strange Case of Peter the Lett; Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett)
11. Once Maigret crouched on the roof of a small seaside hotel in the teeth of an icy gale from noon to midnight, watching through the window of a deserted house for two lovers to meet. He held his revolver ready in case the man's anger might drive him to do violence to the girl, and he ended his watch with a satisfied sigh when at last the two fell into each other's arms. This was the event he had waited for, while an anomalous, nonpracticing physician sat willingly in jail in apparent fear of his life and the mayor raged that the great man from Paris was doing nothing to solve a run of crimes that were terrorizing the little Breton town.
Le chien jaune (A Face for a Clue; Maigret and the Concarneau Murders; Maigret and the Yellow Dog)
12. Moers, who specialized in handwriting, was once able to tell Maigret that the writer of a certain anonymous note was a foreigner of exceptional intelligence who knew several languages and was suffering from an incurable disease.
La tête d'un homme (A Battle of Nerves; Maigret's War of Nerves)
13. Among Maigret's cases involving physicians was one in which the chief suspect was a world-renowned brain surgeon and the victim a girl of the streets whose life the surgeon had saved by a skillful operation and whom he afterward made his mistress. Maigret was baffled by this gifted man's dedication to his work and his Olympian aloofness from human concerns; he put off interrogating the physician until near the end of the case, and forever after when this man's name comes up in conversation Maigret pretends he never heard of him.
Maigret se trompe (Maigret's Mistake)
14. One case, involving two physicians and the murdered wife of one of them, came up while Maigret was on a holiday prescribed by his own doctor, after a lingering bronchitis and a specialist's finding of a slightly elevated blood pressure. Barred by doctor's orders from setting foot in police headquarters, he followed the case in the newspapers and sent anonymous block-printed notes to his assistant Janvier, like the notes he always gets from newspaper readers when he is handling a sensational case.
Maigret was concerned that the younger physician, who was promptly arrested, should not be victimized because of his youth and good looks. His one foray into direct investigation, in which he learned of the young man's old-fashioned sexual modesty from his more emancipated fiancée, gave Maigret the key to the truth. At the end Maigret in his turn received a block-printed anonymous picture postcard of police headquarters, saying: "Thanks, chief."
Maigret s'amuse (Maigret's Little Joke; None of Maigret's Business)
15. Maigret has been wounded four times, most recently when pursuing a man who jumped from a train in southern France. He woke up in the hospital to find himself accused of being the madman who was murdering women in the district. A gifted surgeon with a dubious past was a leading figure in this case which Maigret solved while confined to his bed.
Le fou de Bergerac (The Madman of Bergerac)
16. Maigret is often called out of Paris and once he was summoned on a nostalgic journey to his boyhood home at Saint-Fiacre, to the very chateau and estate of which his father had been the manager. The summons was an anonymous warning that a crime would be committed in the church at first mass on All Souls' Day: as predicted, the elderly countess, who in his boyish eyes had been the beautiful princess in the fairy tales, was found dead in her pew.
Maigret was saddened to see the chateau in disrepair and to learn that his boyhood heroine in her late years had taken a series of young lovers, driving her disgusted son to become a wastrel. But with Maigret's subtle support the crime was solved and he had the satisfaction of seeing that the family he had admired could now regain its lost dignity.
L'affaire Saint-Fiacre (Maigret and the Countess; The Saint-Fiacre Affair; Maigret Goes Home; Maigret on Home Ground)
17. Maigret has followed trails to Holland...
Un crime en Hollande (A Crime in Holland; Maigret in Holland)
18. Maigret has followed trails to Belgium...
La danseuse du Gai-Moulin (At the "Gai Moulin"; Maigret at the "Gai Moulin"); Chez les Flamands (The Flemish Shop; Maigret and the Flemish Shop); Le pendu de Saint-Pholien (The Crime of Inspector Maigret; Maigret and the Hundred Gibbets); Peine de mort (Death Penalty)
19. Maigret has followed trails to Germany...
Le pendu de Saint-Pholien (The Crime of Inspector Maigret; Maigret and the Hundred Gibbets)
20. Maigret toured the United States but dealt with only one case in New York, involving an émigré Frenchman who made a million dollars in jukeboxes and acquired some dubious associates in the process. Maigret felt at home only after he had left the deluxe Fifth Avenue hotel for a shabby hostelry near Times Square and was eating in a small French restaurant nearby. Despite a slender knowledge of English and the baffling American humor of his FBI friend, the redheaded O'Brien, Maigret broke up an American blackmailing gang, uncovered an old crime of passion and settled the case with a trans-Atlantic telephone interrogation of a respectable Frenchman who was in the end the true villain.
Maigret à New York (Maigret in New York; Inspector Maigret in New York's Underworld)
21. American gangsters have also given Maigret trouble in Paris, particularly in one case in which he and his men were caught between killers bent on eliminating a fleeing witness and an assistant district attorney trying to bring his witness back alive. Maigret finally ran down the killers and saved the witness, but not before he had become thoroughly enraged at the Americans, good and bad, who stole a car as they would hail a taxi and treated the French police "as though they were children in Kindergarten!"
Maigret, Lognon et les gangsters (Inspector Maigret and the Killers; Maigret and the Gangsters)
22. Maigret often asked his wife some irrelevant question, like: why would a woman take a long bus ride to market in one neighborhood when she lives in another?
Un Noël de Maigret (Maigret's Christmas)
23. Maigret often asked his wife some irrelevant question, like: at what point in a relationship would a woman walking with a man not her husband casually take his arm?
Les scrupules de Maigret (Maigret Has Scruples)
24. Only once in her husband's long career did Mme Maigret become involved in what Maigret likes to call Mme Maigret's own case. Loving children and having none of her own, she fell into the habit of stopping en route to the dentist to watch a little boy playing in the park, until one day the child's mother abruptly left him in her care, returning hours later to fetch him without explanation. By that time Mme Maigret had missed her dental appointment and, what was far worse, Maigret's lunch had burned on the stove.
Piqued, Mme Maigret recalled that the young mother's dress was inconsistent: her custom-made shoes and millinery shop hat were out of key with her inexpensive ready-made suit, as though she were attempting a disguise. So the timid Louise set out on her own investigation, with surprising discoveries that led Maigret to the solution of his own sensational case, of a bookbinder accused of burning a man's body in his furnace.
L'amie de Mme Maigret (Madame Maigret's Own Case; Madame Maigret's Friend)