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When Mme M noticed a man sitting across from their flat in the Place des Vosges every day, M took to kidding her about him, calling him "her secret admirer". She noticed that when he was there, there was usually a young blonde governess on an opposite bench. One day M is surprised to see the man there while he is at home, seemingly asleep. At closing time of the park, the man still hasn't moved, and M goes down and discovers he's been shot dead. M has Mme M scout the neighborhood for gossip, and he learns that the blonde girl was Rita, a maid at Boris Krofta's, 17b. The concierge there says she hadn't seen Rita come out. Mme M reports that Rita doesn't seem to have been a real maid, and M goes to the Krofta's to discover they've just reported Rita missing, along with their jewels.
No information is available from Records about the man, about 28, who'd been dressed as an older man. M realizes that Rita might be alive and still in the house, so returns with a search warrant, to discover Mme M in a flat next to the one a piano was delivered to, talking to a neighbor. M opens the piano case to discover a bound and gagged Rita, but a call from his Chief comes in saying that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has declared hands off. Lucien, who rented the apartment, had worked for Krofka, killed Rita's accomplice when they'd discovered them spying on them. Krofta is himself a spy, and it is now a matter for Intelligence.
Maigret of the Month: February, 2011