Friday, October 05, 2012

Maigret and the Yellow Dog by Georges Simenon (Harcourt Brace 1931)

“Yes. We have to go around the harbor. It should take half an hour.”

The fishermen were less interested than the townsfolk in the drama going on around the Admiral Café. A dozen boats were making the most of the lull in the storm and sculling out to the harbor mouth to pick up the wind.

The policeman kept looking at Maigret like a pupil eager to please his teacher. “You know, the mayor played cards with the doctor at least twice a week. This must have given him a shock.”

“What are people saying?”

“That depends. Ordinary folks—workers, fishermen aren’t too upset… In a way, they’re even kind of glad about what’s happening. The doctor, Monsieur Le Pommeret, and Monsieur Servières aren’t very well thought of around here. Of course, they’re important people, and nobody would dare say anything to them. Still, they overdid it, corrupting the girls from the cannery. And in the summer it was worse, with their Paris friends. They were always drinking, making a racket in the streets at two in the morning, as if the town belonged to them. We got a lot of complaints. Especially about Monsieur Le Pommeret, who couldn’t see anything in a skirt without getting carried away… It’s sad to say, but things are slow at the cannery. There’s a lot of unemployment. So, if you’ve got a little money… all those girls…”

“Well, in that case, who’s upset?”

“The middle class. And the businessmen who rubbed shoulders with that bunch at the Admiral Café… That was like the center of town, you know. Even the mayor went there…”