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M visits Jean Lenoir in his cell to tell him his reprieve wasn't granted. Lenoir starts to talk about someone who'd dumped a body in the Canal Saint-Martin, and how he and his friend Victor had seen him and blackmailed him. He'd lost track of him, but run into him once at in inn, the Guinguette à Deux Sous. Some time later, when M is buying a hat, he overhears a man planning to go to the inn, and follows him, winding up there himself. It was Marcel Basso, who a few days later shoots a man named Feinstein there. Feinstein's wife, Mado Feinstein, had been Basso's mistress, and when Feinstein had tried to get money from Basso, and threatened to kill himself if he couldn't, they'd struggled for the gun. Basso is arrested, but escapes.
James, who works in an English bank on the Place Vendôme, becomes a regular afternoon drinking partner of M's, at the Taverne Royale, and M returns to Morsang and the inn for a weekend, though he'd promised Mme M to come to Alsace. There he runs into Victor Gaillard, who he realizes had been Jean Lenoir's partner. But Gaillard won't tell who the man was. Meanwhile James has been helping Basso, and arranges for his wife and child to join him, so that they can leave the country. They're discovered, and Basso is arrested once more. M puts Basso in Victor's cell, and visits with James, who admits to the murder 6 years earlier, of Old Ulrich, a usurer he'd borrowed from and killed in anger when he couldn't repay, because of debts he'd accumulated... to go with Mado Feinstein.
Maigret of the Month: November, 2004
Maigret's Journeys in France