Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Lunchtime read: Maigret and the Idle Burglar

Maigret is not a traditional policeman in many senses. But the main one that differs from the norm is his ability to respect not just criminals but others operating on the wrong side of the law.

In his chase for the killers of the Swiss burglar he interviews the woman lodging next door, who happens to be a prostitute, and also manages to upset his superiors by suggesting that a wealthy ‘Friend of France’ might be involved in something criminal. He treats most people the same regardless of their social background. Because he has just a couple of years to go before retirement he is often found at home smoking his pipe and chatting with his wife rather than slumped up against a bar with other policemen talking shop.

Again that breaks the norm because he is almost at the end of his career and is still married whereas most fictional detectives and policemen tend to be loners unable of keeping a relationship going.

As the story moves to its conclusion there is a passage where the author signals that things are going to come to a climax. What leads up to it is the escalation in the gang raiding shops and banks with one of them being killed by an off-duty policeman. Tailing the gang leads them back to the suspect they have been after all along. Meanwhile with the Swiss burglar it looks like he was killed with a statue after being caught in the house of the rich friend of France.

Presumably the two cases are interlinked and there will be a twist at the end that has not been predictable? All will be revealed tomorrow…

No comments: