Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Short Story Wednesday: More Stories from Maigret's Christmas by Georges Simenon



Two weeks ago, I covered the title story in Maigret's Christmas: Nine Stories. "Maigret's Christmas" is  a long short story at 60 pages in my edition.  


Since then I have read three more stories in the book: 

  • "Seven Small Crosses in a Notebook"
  • "Maigret and the Surly Inspector"
  • "The Evidence of the Altar Boy"


"Seven Small Crosses in a Notebook" is a Christmas story but does not include Maigret. It is another long short story, around 60 pages.

The character at the center of this story is Lecoeur, a policeman who works in a big room where all emergency calls for the city of Paris are tracked. This is the only police work he has done and he enjoys it. Lecoeur is working the night shift on Christmas Eve, and has even volunteered to cover the next shift for another police, since he has no wife or children.

On this night, one of the cases gets personal for Lecoeur. First an emergency call reports the death of a woman that he knows, but not well. Then he puts some clues together and realizes that his young nephew is breaking the glass at various emergency call boxes but leaving no message. He isn't sure what that means but he lets Superintendent Saillard know that he may have useful information.  

The story was well written and exciting.  


The other two stories are 30 pages each. Both include Maigret but are not Christmas stories. They are good stories but don't have the punch of that first one. They both reveal aspects of the relationship of Inspector Maigret and his wife, and are more humorous. 


Now I only have four more stories to read in the anthology.




18 comments:

George said...

I've been buying the Penguin Books new paperback editions of the Maigret series, but haven't gotten around to reading very many of them. MAIGRET'S CHRISTMAS looks good!

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think most of his non-Maigret work is stronger. Or at least darker. Haven't read these though.

TracyK said...

George, I recently bought the new paperback edition of the first book in the Maigret series and I have found a reprint of MAIGRET AND THE BURGLAR'S WIFE from a different publisher. Both of those will be easier on my eyes than other editions I have, both newish and old.

I could go for ebook editions since they are so short, except that is not much cheaper than the paperbacks.

TracyK said...

Patti, I would agree that the standalone books are different in style and darker. I haven't read any in a long time, and the one I remember was very dark and shocking to me at that time. So much so that I still remember the basic plot, which is very unusual for me.

The title was THE ACCOMPLICES and I am going to seek out a copy someday to see what I think of it now.

I have a couple of non-Maigret titles, THE MAN WHO WATCHED TRAINS GO BY and ACT OF PASSION. But have not read them yet.

Margot Kinberg said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Tracy. Many people associate Simenon with only Maigret. But he wrote very good non-Maigret stories, too. And you've reminded me that his short stories are excellent - I ought to read more of them...

Todd Mason said...

Thanks. I've read some Maigret, but not a hell of a lot. This sounds like an interesting collection so far, even with relatively slight novelets in the Maigret series, and a good novella (unless the text per page here is very slight!).

I note there might've been different arrangements of at least some of the same texts a few decades back, A MAIGRET CHRISTMAS, but I should look more closely at the latter to make sure there is an overlap.

Countdownjohn said...

I've just read Seven Crosses and whilst it doesn't feature Maigret, it does feature Janvier, one of his main supporting cast in the novels.

TracyK said...

Countdown John, I did notice Janvier as a character, but I have only recently begun rereading the Maigret series, and I was not sure how big a role he played in other mysteries by Simenon. Thanks for mentioning that.

TracyK said...

Todd, There was another book titled A Maigret Christmas and Other Stories that only had three stories, and the 2nd one in that book was Seven Crosses.

This book not only had two 60 page stories, it also included Maigret in Retirement (at 105 pages) which is the same as Maigret is Angry in the new reprint edition, although it is a different translator so maybe a bit different. And in the Penguin edition, the page count is 160.

Rick Robinson said...

Missed your comment on Lesa’s today. Re Patti’s comment, for me, darker isn’t stronger.

TracyK said...

Margot, I have enjoyed the short stories by Simenon that I have read so far and hope to someday get another book of his short stories. And read some of those non-Maigret books sitting on my TBR for so long.



TracyK said...

Rick, I am actually still working on a comment for Lesa's blog. We had to go out and do some shopping this morning and I got a late start.

I like to balance out both light and dark reads during a month, and I have heard that some of Simenon's non-Maigret stories are very dark. Right now I am reading a very light book, a humorous novel published in 1933, High Rising by Angela Thirkell.

Cath said...

This is a book I've been meaning to get for ages. I must get it. I hope you're enjoying High Rising? I've read so many Angela Thirkells and enjoyed them all.

Rick Robinson said...

Angela Thirkell? Have you been reading John’s Pretty Sinister blog?

TracyK said...

Cath, I am enjoying High Rising. I wasn't sure how much I would like it but I had heard of the Barsetshire series for years so decided to start at the beginning. And I decided to read it this month because at least some of it takes place at Christmas time.

TracyK said...

Rick, Angela Thirkell doesn't seem like an author that would be featured on John's blog. If she was mentioned there, I did miss it.

Sam Sattler said...

Have you seen any of the Maigret television series, Tracy? I've stumbled onto, I think, two different TV series lately but haven't taken the time to watch but about five minutes of one of them. It was all very atmospheric and all, but I stopped watching until I can read some of the books. Don't want my "image" of Maigret formed first by TV.

TracyK said...

I haven't seen any of the Maigret TV series, Sam. The Rowan Atkinson series sounded interesting, although initially I could not picture him in the role. Michael Gambon seems more physically like he would fit the role, but I haven't read any reviews of either series. I agree that reading a few of the books first would be best. And the books are very short.