11 February 2016

Review: LOCK NO. 1: Inspector Maigret #18

  • Vformat: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 646 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Tra edition (April 2, 2015)
  • Publication Date: April 2, 2015
    originally published 1933
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00OZ4XGGM
  • #18 in the Maigret series
Synopsis (Amazon)

A new translation of Georges Simenon's novel set in claustraphobic provincial town, book eighteen in the new Penguin Maigret series.

Cars drove past along with the trucks and trams, but by now Maigret had realised that they were not important. Whatever roared by like this along the road was not part of the landscape. ... What really counted was the lock, the hooting of the tugs, the stone crusher, the barges and the cranes, the two pilots' bars and especially the tall house where he could make out Ducrau's red chair framed by a window.

Penguin is publishing the entire series of Maigret novels in new translations. This novel has been published in a previous translation as The Lock at Charenton.

My take

Maigret is called to investigate what has happened in this small provincial town on the outskirts of Paris. Somebody has apparently attempted to murder Ducrau, a local businessman whose business concerns are the basis of the town's economy. He has been stabbed in the back and then tossed into the canal. By chance he is rescued and seems little the worse for wear but Maigret senses that events have not run their course, so he hangs around.

Indeed Ducrau's son then commits suicide and a lock keeper is murdered, so there is a case to sort out.

Maigret has applied for and been granted early retirement (that came as a surprise to me as this is relatively early on in the series), so this will very likely be his last case. He doesn't particularly want to return home as Mrs Maigret has been packing up the house, even the bed, and they are moving to a cottage on the River Loire. Ducrau thinks he sees a kindred spirit in Maigret and offers him a job on his retirement, more or less as a security officer. But Ducrau is not a nice man and Maigret can't see himself working for him. In fact he is looking forward to his retirement, he thinks.

This is quite a heavy, dark feeling, novel. While Ducrau runs his businesses in a very hands-on way, and is well known, he is far from popular. His family and servants live in fear of him, and many people have reason to wish him harm. This is a fairly "typical" Maigret novel, with lots of psychological overtones.

My rating: 4.3

I've also read
4.4, MAIGRET & the MAN on the BOULEVARD
4.5, MAIGRET & THE HEADLESS CORPSE
4.3, PIETR THE LATVIAN
THE LATE MONSIEUR GALLET
4.4, THE RULES OF THE GAME
4.2, THE MAN WHO WATCHED THE TRAINS GO BY
4.3, THE CARTER OF LA PROVIDENCE

3 comments:

George said...

I've been reading these newly translated PENGUIN Maigrets, too. They're like potato chips...I can't just stop at one!

Richard R. said...

I've read many - not close to all - Maigret novels, but only one of the new translations. Can you tell much, if any, difference?

Kerrie said...

I have no idea how translations compare

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