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Pietr the Latvian is the first Maigret novel written by Georges Simenon in 1929. The author says,

“I recall sitting in a cafe one sunny morning…I’d had one,two, maybe three small schnapps laced with a dash of bitters. In any case, an hour later, slightly sleepy, I began to imagine a large powerfully built gentleman I thought would make a passable inspector. As the day wore on, I added various accessories; a pipe, a bowler hat, a thick overcoat and a velvet collar. And since it was cold and damp on my abandoned barge, I put a cast-iron stove in his office”.

This story sees Maigret as an already well established member of the flying squad in Paris. He is notified of the imminent arrival of the renowned frauster At the Gare de Nord, the information he is provided with gives an extremely accurate pen picture description of the criminal. When Maigret arrives at the station he sees a man fitting the description leaving with his luggage and then is warmed of an incident on the train, a body has been found in the toilet. This male also fits the description. Maigret chases around Paris for the next few days in the wind and rain, never going home, getting shot at, tailing people, going from fancy hotel to squalid bed sits. Until eventually s very calmly he solves the mystery. And gets to go home to bed!

What a great book this was, vintage crime fiction at its finest. The writing is remarkable and the scene paining really vivid. The fact Maigret is a stove fiend certainly helped the cause with me as I too love a stove! But this quiet detective is effective and what every force needs! I have to say most of the time I had absolutely no understanding of what was going on, what the crime was, who the criminal was or where this was going. But I loved it. Bizarrely. Simenon wrote many Maigret books and I’ll definitely read some more for the stove action and to hopefully understand the story!

Anyone else read any Maigret and understood it????