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The body of a young girl is found in the Place Vintimille, in Montmartre. M goes over with Janvier, hoping that he won't meet Inspector Lognon, for it's his territory, and he'll feel he's being usurped, as usual. However, he's there. There's hardly a clue to the girl's identity except a label on her dress. M arranges to have her picture published in the papers, and goes to the dress shop, Mlle. Irène's with Lognon. She remembers the girl, but not her name. Eventually a call comes in from a young girl with an address, Mme Crêmieux in the Rue de Clichy. The girl, Louise Laboine, had been boarding there for two months. Lognon had found a taxi driver who'd seen her outside the club Roméo, and later walking towards the Étoile. At the Roméo that night had been the wedding of Marco Santoni and Jeanine Armenieu.
A call comes in from Detective-Sergeant Féret, of the Nice Flying Squad, who'd worked with M before. He'd gotten a call from a woman who recognized Louise Laboine's picture and knew her mother. He'd check on the mother. Superintendent Priollet, who M had asked to check on Jeanine Armenieu said one of his men knew of her she'd lived next door to his wife's shop in the Rue du Chemin-Vert at Mlle. Poré's, who turned out to be her aunt. Lognon was already there when M arrived, and it seemed Louise had lived with her there. Féret located the mother, Germaine Laboine, in the Casino at Monte Carlo. She'd married Julius Van Cram in Turkey, who disappeared soon after, though he sometimes sent money for his daughter, Louise. There was no record on him, but one that seemed similar, of a con man known as Hans Ziegler, with many aliases. Priollet came up with another lead of where the two girls had lived, and there M learned someone had left her a letter.
A call to Jeanine Armenieu in Florence led to Pickwick's Bar in the Rue de l'Étoile and the information that Lognon, off on his own somewhere, had already called. M went to the bar with Janvier and recognized the barman, Albert Falconi, who he'd arrested before. Falconi told him Lognon had been there, as had the girl, and Lognon had no doubt gone to Brussels to check on the American she'd gone out with. M has Janvier call Brussels to get Lognon to return, and arrests Falconi: he hadn't bought his story. At the Quai des Orfèvres, Falconi tells that the girl had come in for the letter from her father, brought by Jimmy O'Malley, which said she could get money in the US if she showed up with her passport at a tailor's in Brooklyn. Falconi had read the letter, and set up with Bianchi to steal the girl's purse and get her ID, so they could claim the money. But her purse had a chain and stayed on her arm, whereupon Bianchi had struck her, killing her, and dumped the body in Montmartre.
Maigret of the Month: October, 2007