Maigret’s Revolver (Maigret 40) by Georges Simenon

Drinking like a fish out of water…

😀 😀 😀 😀 🙂

Madame Maigret is upset when a young man who had called to see Inspector Maigret steals the revolver Maigret had been given as a keepsake by the American police. Mme Maigret had taken a liking to the youth and is fearful that he may intend to take his own life. Maigret fears the gun may be used for different, more criminal purposes. Either way, he feels it necessary to try to track the young man down. But first he’ll have to find out who the boy is…

This is an enjoyable entry in the long-running Maigret series. The plot is rather light, though it does eventually involve a corpse in a trunk, but the characterisation is particularly strong, I felt. We see Maigret interacting with his wife more than in some of the others I’ve read, getting a good impression of how strong their marriage is, even if Maigret isn’t the most demonstrative of husbands. We also see them in the company of friends and this gives a more rounded picture of him as someone who has a life outside work. There is a femme fatale-ish female character, with the associated sexism of the day in the descriptions of her (and any other female character who happens along). There’s a rather pathetic character, who might be bad or might be mad or might just be terrified – I’m saying no more for fear of spoilers – but I thought he was very well depicted, and also gave an opportunity for Maigret to show his humanity.

What really made this one stand out for me, though, is that the story takes Maigret to London. Though he stays mostly in one location in the city, I thought Simenon did a good job of contrasting London and Londoners with Paris and Parisians, all with a touch of humour that lightened the tone and let us see Maigret feeling suddenly less secure in an environment of which he wasn’t as much the master as usual. He’s horrified by the strict licensing laws which prevent him from getting a drink in the mornings or afternoons, but happily this doesn’t stop him from putting away enough to sink a ship in the course of the day or so that he spends there.

When he finally does find the youth and the reason behind the theft of the gun, we again see the mix in his character of equal drives towards justice and sympathy – he is not prepared to overlook crimes but he is willing to listen to and understand the reasons, and to do what he can to help those he considers worth helping. But for those whom he considers truly wicked, then he has the patience to spin a spider-like web and wait for them to trap themselves.

Georges Simenon

Good fun. I’ve been reading these randomly – they work perfectly as standalones – and have only read a few to date. Although this isn’t the most exciting plot, I think it’s the one I’ve enjoyed most so far because I got a real feel for Maigret’s character, more than in my other choices, and as a result found I liked him more as a person.

I listened to the audiobook version narrated by Gareth Armstrong, who again does a fine job. He’s very good at giving different voices to each character, each with an accent suited to their class and position, and avoids the temptation to go overboard, especially with the female characters. Overall, an enjoyable book enjoyably narrated.

Audible UK
Audible US

12 thoughts on “Maigret’s Revolver (Maigret 40) by Georges Simenon

  1. Simenon really did a good job with characters, didn’t he, FictionFan? Even relatively minor characters are given actual personalities. And I’ve always respected his relative consistency across a long-running series. It’s not always easy to do that! I agree with you about Mme. Maigret, too. I like it when she plays a role in a story, instead of just existing as a few comments.

    • Yes, I noticed it more in this one than the others I-‘ve read. I think taking Maigret out of his familiar setting gave an added insight into his character. And this is the first one I’ve read where Mme Maigret had a role of her own, which I enjoyed too.

    • Thank you! Yes, I’ve never been blown away by the plots, but I do think he’s good at characterisation and setting, and it was fun in this one to see Maigret coping in London.

    • I hadn’t read any for years too and have been enjoying dipping my toe back in. This is the one I’ve enjoyed most so far – it was fun seeing Maigret coping with London, especially our restrictive licensing laws!

    • these work well for audio because they’re quite short, so they only last a few hours, and the narrator is very good. There’s over seventy of them, though, so be careful…! 😉

  2. It seems like the inspector is doing something out of concern rather than solving a case. I never hear a plot like that in detective fiction, but it’s got to give the character a deeper personality while still allowing him to use his detective skills.

    • The older detectives were often driven by personal morals – Poirot showed some sympathy with murderers quite often, and Holmes used to let the villain off if he thought they had a good reason for their crime!

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