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Monday, April 11, 2016

Review: The Hanged Man of St. Pholien by Georges Simenon

When I lived in Neuchatel, Switzerland for a couple of years while in high school, I fell in love with Inspector Maigret and read most of the series in French. My French being worse than dormant in my dotage, I have been pleased to see the release of the Maigret stories for my Kindle and have added several.

Hanged Man was the fourth of the series. Unlike most of the subsequent books, it’s less a police procedural as technically he doesn’t even has a case, and more of a psychological novel resembling his non-Maigret stories. Here, Maigret has been traveling and watching a man senses something peculiar in his behavior. He follows the man who then commits suicide. This leads Maigret to pursue assorted leads in order to understand the motivation behind the man’s suicide. I won’t give away more except to say the book is an interesting examination of guilt.

Maigret is such an interesting character. He can adopt a multitude of persona from the bumbling ignoramus to the brilliant and insightful detective while being compassionate or cruel as the situation demands.
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