Lausanne, September 26, 1979.
M. and Mme Maigret, retired
My dear Maigret,
You will probably be surprised to receive a letter from me, since we have been separated for about seven years. This year is the fiftieth anniversary of the day when, in Delfzijl, we first met. You were about forty-five, while I was twenty-five. But you've had the luck, since then, to pass a number of years without aging. It wasn't until the end of our adventures and meetings that you had reached the age of fifty-three, because at that time the retirement age for policeman, even Divisional Commissioners, was fifty-five.
So how old would you be today? I have no idea, given this privilege of which you have benefited for so long. On the other hand, I have aged, much more quickly than you, as a common mortal, and I have now passed seventy-six. I don't know if you still live in your small house in the countryside of Meung-on-Loire, nor whether you still fish; or whether, wearing your floppy straw hat, you still take care of your garden; or if Mme Maigret still simmers those small dishes that you like, or if, as I did at your age, you go to play cards in the village bistrot.
So here we are, two retirees, and, I hope, both of us savoring the small joys of life, inhaling the morning air, observing nature and those around us with curiosity.
I was anxious to wish you a Happy Anniversary, both you and Mme Maigret. Tell her that, thanks to
a certain M. Courtine1, who deserves the title of the king of gastronomes, her recipes have traveled around the world, and that, for example, whether in Japan or in South America, the gourmets don't skip those few drops of plum brandy in their coq au vin.
As for your successors at the Quai des Orfèvres, there are many who have adopted your processes and habits, and some among them, even after their retirement, have written their Memoirs
following their name with "alias" Commissioner Maigret.
You deserve it. I embrace you dearly, you and Mme Maigret who probably doesn't suspect that there are many women who envy her, that many men would want to have married a woman like her, and that a charming Japanese, among others, plays her role on television, while a Japanese plays you yourself.
1. R. Courtine, Madame Maigret's Recipes , Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975.