cover image Maigret's War of Nerves

Maigret's War of Nerves

Georges Simenon. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $13.95 (151pp) ISBN 978-0-15-155570-3

Expertly translated by Sainsbury, this novel remains as intensely absorbing as when it first appeared in 1939. Here again is Inspector Maigret, guided by humane feelings behind his stolid facade, putting himself at grave risk to arrange the escape of a condemned man from prison. Judged guilty and awaiting execution for the killing of a rich American woman, Mrs. Henderson, and her maid, Joseph Heurtin is innocent, as Maigret suspects. Unaware that the police have deliberately let him escape, Heurtin dodges about the streets, leading the inspector and his detectives to cafes where they observe their quarry's interest in Henderson's free-spending heir and the women with him, as well as Heurtin's concentration on a penniless, eccentric student. The results of Maigret's scheme are utterly unexpected. Without one unnecessary word, Simenon brings all the characters to life and keeps the reader engrossed right up to the shattering denouement. (March 11)