A Man's Head, Georges Simenon

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

Book 5 in the Maigret series, and part of a now stalled attempt to go right back through them all via audio books. Stalled not because of this particular entry, which was a much more interesting read than a couple of the earlier books. Stalled mostly because of the weight of the queues elsewhere.

In this outing, Inspector Maigret is of the view that a condemned man is not guilty of the crime he's been convicted of. Over the course of a very short 10 days, he sets out to confirm that somebody else did, indeed, kill two female victims in their own home.

This was well plotted, and whilst Maigret was his normal gloomy, introverted self, there was something spirited and committed about his determination that lifted this outing slightly. Set around the river Seine and the docks area, the sense of place was really strong as well. 

Listening to this series has been a bit touch and go, which seems silly really, given this is book number 5, originally published in 1931. Reminds me I need to get back to this quest.

Year of Publication
Book Number (in series)

Slowly the Czech was becoming animated, but in a muted way, so typical of the man. Maigret now noticed his hands, which were long, surprisingly white, and dotted with freckles. They seemed to reach out and take part in the conversation. 'Let's be clear that it's not your professionalism which I question. If you understand nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, it's because from the very start you've been working with facts which had been falsified.'

Set in the in the atmospheric and squalid streets of Paris, Maigret sets out to prove the innocence of a man condemned to death for a brutal murder. In another one of Maigret's unconventional and audacious plans, he arranges the escape of the condemned man in an attempt to prove his theory. The presumed murderer goes on the run across Paris and its suburbs, dropping misleading clues along the way and leading Maigret into the labyrinthine twists of the mystery. Maigret is in for more than he bargained for, as he encounters rich American expatriates, dangerous foreigners and their hidden motives.

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