Friday, September 13, 2013

Maigret Mystified by Georges Simenon (Penguin Crime 1932)

The most disturbing thing, perhaps, was to see Monsieur Martin flung like an unconscious spinning-top into this labyrinth. He was still wearing gloves. His buff overcoat in itself implied a respectable and orderly existence. And his uneasy gaze was trying to settle somewhere, without success.

'I came to tell Roger . . .' he stammered.


Maigret looked him in the eyes, calmly and penetratingly, and he almost expected to see his interlocutor shrivel up with anguish.

'My wife suggested, you see, that it would be better if we should . . .'

'I understand!'

'Roger is very . . .'

'Very sensitive!' Maigret finished off. 'A highly-strung creature!'

The young man, who was now drinking his third glass of water, glared at him resentfully. He must have been about twenty-five, but his features were already worn, his eyelids withered.

He was still handsome, nevertheless, with the sort of good looks that some women find irresistible. His skin was smooth, and even his weary, somewhat disillusioned expression had a certain romantic quality.

'Tell me, Roger Couchet, did you often see your father?'

'From time to time!'

'Where?' And Maigret looked at him sternly.

'In his office . . . Or else at a restaurant . . . '

'When did you see him last?'

'I don't know . . . Some weeks ago . . . '

'And you asked him for money?'

'As usual!"

'In short, you sponged on him?'

'He was rich enough to . . . '