Maigret Loses His Temper, by Georges Simenon

Second paragraph of third chapter:

Elle était grande et mince, du calibre des girls de music-hall. Traversant la rue en courant, sur ses talons trop hauts, elle pénétrait dans un petit bar où elle allait sans doute boire un café et manger des croissants. She was tall and slim, with the build of a music-hall dancer. Running across the street on extremely high heels, she went into a little bar where she was probably going to have a cup of coffee and some croissants.

I had never previously read any of the works of Georges Simenon, one of the best-known writers of my adopted country (though actually his famously active career took off only after he moved to Paris, aged 19, in 1922). I really enjoyed this police procedural, set in the Parisian underworld, where honour and dishonour are sometimes to be found in unexpected places – the murdered night-club owner’s family are initially suspect because of being foreign,but it turns out that they are innocent, and the villain is the very respectable top lawyer who took bribes from his clients, pretending that they were actually for Maigret – this is the cause of Maigret losing his temper when he finds out. And yet, Maigret allows the murderer to escape by suicide, rather as Agatha Christie sometimes did. A short book which punches well above its weight. You can get it here. There has not been an English dramatisation, as far as I can tell, but here’s a version in French from 1983 (though black and white), starring Jean Richard.

This was my top unread book acquired in 2012. Next on that pile is The Laertian Gamble, a Star Trek tie-in novel by Robert Sheckley.