Maigret Takes a Room by Georges Simenon

Street life…

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

Following a robbery, the police are staking out a rooming-house where the suspect had been living in the hopes that he will return. But one evening, one of the police officers, Janvier, is shot outside the house. The police think it may have been the robbery suspect, Paulus, who shot him, so it’s even more vital now that they catch him. Maigret is on his own at the moment as his wife is away looking after her sick sister, so he decides to move into the rooming-house to be on the spot should Paulus return.

I enjoyed this one a lot. We know straight away that Janvier is still alive, so the plot isn’t quite as dark as it would have been had he been killed, but we still get to see the emotional impact of the shooting on Janvier’s wife. The rooming-house is run by the charming Mademoiselle Clément, a lady of middle years and twinkling eye, whose somewhat over-the-top personality provides a lot of fun and humour. As always, Simenon creates an authentic feel of Paris, and the rooming-house setting allows for there to be several characters, each with their own story. Maigret is at something of a loss without his wife though part of him is rather enjoying the adventure of living in the rooming-house, and he doesn’t seem averse to a little mild flirting with his landlady. He gradually chats to most of the people in the street, the shop and café owners as well as the neighbours, and while Maigret is gathering together clues that will lead to the solution, Simenon is building up an affectionate picture of life in one of the less fashionable streets of Paris.

Georges Simenon

I listened to the Audible version, narrated by Gareth Armstrong. He speaks more quickly than most narrators and I rather liked that and felt it suited the tone of the book – kept it going at a rattling pace. He gives different voices to the various characters, using English accents throughout and suiting them well to the class and position in society each holds. I prefer the use of English accents when “foreign” characters are supposed to be speaking in their own language – it sounds more natural than having the characters speak English in a faux foreign accent. His portrayal of Mlle Clément is a little caricatured, which works for her character and adds to the lightness in tone of the book. All-in-all, I think it’s an excellent narration.

The solution is more complex than it seems as if it’s going to be, and Maigret gets there by a nifty little piece of detective work. And the story behind the crime gives us a glimpse into darkness, so that in the end the tone is nicely balanced. The translation is by Shaun Whiteside, which means that it’s smooth and flawless. Most enjoyable – I’m looking forward to reading more of Maigret’s adventures, or listening to them.

NB This book was provided for review by Audible via MidasPR.

Audible UK Link
Audible US Link
Amazon UK Link
Amazon US Link

39 thoughts on “Maigret Takes a Room by Georges Simenon

  1. Hmmmm, I’m going to have to stop reading your posts because each time I pop past here my To Read list grows longer and longer 😉 Just teasing of course.

    By the way – have you heard of Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann. Something, possibly, for your To Read list. I’m busy with it at the moment and it is quite fun – something different for a change. It is available in English.

    • Haha! That’s my evil plan… bwahaha! 😉

      No, I haven’t come across that one, but I just checked it out and it sounds like a lot of fun… I must try to fit it in somehow. Thanks for the recommendation. 😀

  2. This sounds absolutely perfect! I am rarely tempted by audio books but this one really whets my whistle. If I ever get a holiday this year, I’m going to listen to this, most definitely.
    A beautiful review, by the way, for a short while there I was immersed in the book without even having read it! 🙂

    • Aw, thank you! I’m getting into the audio books a bit more now – it definitely requires training (for me) to be able to concentrate in them properly. These Maigrets are a good length for audio – I find full length novels quite hard to stick with. Hope you a) enjoy it and b) get a holiday! 😀

  3. So glad you enjoyed this one, FictionFan. I’ve always liked Simenon’s ability to create interesting characters, while at the same time keeping the plot itself going. That’s not easy to do. There’s a real sense of the culture, too, and I like the Maigret character. Can’t go wrong with a Simenon, for the most part.

    • I’ve really enjoyed the couple I’ve read recently so am looking forward to reading some of the rest. I love the shorter length too – great for one-session reading (or two-session listening!)

  4. Yay! So glad you enjoyed this. I’ve enjoyed Maigret’s adventures, and can’t help picturing Michael Gambon whenever I read one of Simenon’s books.

    • I really must see if I can get hold of a boxset of the Gambon Maigret’s – I only watched a couple when they were on. I’m enjoying them a lot – both reading and/or listening! 😀

  5. I don’t usually listen to audio books — there’s just something so fulfilling about seeing words on a printed page, touching the paper, and smelling a “real” book — but this one just might make me rethink my stance. Excellent review, FF. Nice to find one you can recommend so heartily!

    • Thank you! I’m finding the narrators are getting better – Audible has really shaken things up as far as audiobooks go. But I still prefer paper for the most part… or Kindle!

  6. I once read this book and it just grabbed me. I really love the work of Simenon. I did not listen to books before, but I think sometimes it’s convenient on a trip. Thanks for the review.

    • I’m enjoying Simenon, and am getting more into audiobboks these days, though paper would still be my preference. But audiobooks are certainly great when driving… 🙂

    • This is only my second since they started re-issuing them, though I read one or two many years ago. I’m enjoying them, and I thought this one was particularly good – lots of fun! 🙂

  7. I’ve never listened to an audio book and this series/author is new to me but I am intrigued.I’ll consider it if I get the chance.Glad you enjoyed it so much.Great review.

    • I’m enjoying the Maigret books – a little dated but not enough to spoil them, and he’s great at the Paris setting. Sometimes I find audiobooks quite hard to concentrate on, but these ones are reasonably short, which helps. If you do decide to try one, I hope you enjoy it! 😀

    • I’m getting better at it, but I do find them harder to concentrate on than normal books. But I’m enjoying the excellent quality of many of the narrators these days – Audible have really raised the standards, I think… 😀

  8. I’ve enjoyed your audio book reviews because lately I’m doing more audio book listening myself! I’m quick to hate narrators, I’ve found. Apparently, I’m sensitive to voices?

    • Oh, I’m very picky about narrators too, which is why you’ll rarely see me criticise one – if I don’t love their reading, I won’t listen to enough of the book to do a review! Same reason as why you’ll rarely see me do a negative review of a history book – too much committment if I’m not enjoying it. I always check the voice on the samples on Audible before deciding whether to get a book or not… 🙂

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