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M is called to the apartment of Maurice Tremblet, where, according to his wife, Juliette Tremblet, he was getting ready for bed, when she heard a strange pshuittt sound, and he fell over dead. He seemed like such an average person, M couldn't conceive of his being killed, but in fact it had been by an airgun from the hotel across the way. Dr Paul said it was just an accident he was killed by that shot, as the bullet had hit a soft spot and bounced into his heart. When M went to Couvreur et Bellechasse where he was a cashier, it turned out he hadn't worked there for seven years. Yet he had "gone to work" every day, and returned on time every night. M questioned his daughter, Francine Tremblet, 17, and learned that she too had secretly quit her job, and was supported by her father, who she learned by accident was no longer going to his old job, but had a "new, better one". A shopkeeper, Théodore Jussiaume, who sold canaries recognized the picture in the paper, and said he was "Monsieur Charles", a good customer, who'd bought hundreds of birds from him. But he didn't know where he lived.
And then old Cerise, who lived under a bridge on the Seine, found the house on the Quai de la Gare where Tremblet had secretly spent his days, reading or fishing, with his canaries. Soon his mistress, Olga Poissonneau, 29, came forward. She been meeting him twice a week for two years at the Hôtel Beauséjour. But there was no connection to the murderer. Finally a café waiter, returned from vacation, remembered the picture in the papers and contacted M. He remembered Tremblet playing billiards with a man named Théodore, and when M checked Tremblet's old workplace, he found there'd been a Théodore Ballard there at the same time. He was finally caught, trying to break into the house on Quai de la Gare. He explained that Tremblet had lost interest in him, no longer wanted to meet him, and he was insulted, so he shot him. Eventually the the remainder of the 3,000,000 francs, which Tremblet had secretly won in the National Lottery seven years earlier was found in a closet in the house.
Maigret of the Month: June, 2012