Book Review: A Maigret Christmas by Georges Simenon

 What’s it about?

Three seasonal stories set in Paris at Christmas, from the celebrated creator of Inspector Maigret. It is Christmas in Paris, but beneath the sparkling lights and glittering decorations lie sinister deeds and dark secrets… This collection brings together three of Simenon’s most enjoyable Christmas tales, newly translated, featuring Inspector Maigret and other characters from the Maigret novels. In ‘A Maigret Christmas’, the Inspector receives two unexpected visitors on Christmas Day, who lead him on the trail of a mysterious intruder dressed in red and white. In ‘Seven Small Crosses in a Notebook’, the sound of alarms over Paris send the police on a cat and mouse chase across the city. And ‘The Little Restaurant in Les Ternes (A Christmas Story for Grown-Ups)’ tells of a cynical woman who is moved to an unexpected act of festive charity in a nightclub – one that surprises even her…

My thoughts

As an intro I’m just going to say that I’ve never read Maigret before or watched any of the TV drama adaptations.  I was drawn to this book by its cover and because I was looking for a Christmassy crime mystery novel so this seemed to fit the bill.

Unfortunately I only received one story as part of the advanced reader copy which was the title story ‘A Maigret Christmas’ so I have little to comment on.  I enjoyed the 1950s Parisian setting and the glimpse into a French Christmas Day…the bakeries being open to buy fresh croissants etc  (wonder if this is still the same).  Given the era and lack of technology all you have is basic good old-fashioned police work; questioning and intuition.  However, there were no deductions or explanations as to where Maigret’s suspicions lay or how he had worked out what had happened (its no Columbo!).  Given that there were  only had a handful of characters to choose from it was all a little too cut and dried.  Having said that I didn’t quite work out all that was going on….nothing new there!

Overall I enjoyed what I read and would have liked to have been able to read the other two stories in the collection to see if they were of a similar style and to be able to give a more rounded view.  Just this one didn’t massively inspire me to read more of the series.

Book links: Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon

Author link: Penguin Books

Small print for info
Source: Netgalley – ARC
No of pages:  224
Publisher:  Penguin Classics

5 Comments

  1. 19th December 2017 / 1:28 pm

    Simenon is such a classic, our bookstore sells plenty of his stories for Christmas! I’ve never tried the books myself, but it’s only because I have the images from the TV adaptation in mind, and it looks so old it doesn’t make me want to read them! I can’t remember if our bakeries are open on Christmas day, and I have lived here all my life xD

    • 24th December 2017 / 4:51 pm

      Well I went in with an open mind having not read any or watched on TV before but in all likeliness will stick to Agatha Christie mysteries 🙂
      Happy Christmas! x

  2. 24th December 2017 / 2:42 pm

    Maigret is a classic, I love Georges Simenon’s ‘read in one sitting’, short novels of him. Haven’t read this one, he wrote like 75? I think I’ve read 3 or 4!
    Have you seen Rowan Atkinson as Maigret? Can’t wait to see it. This one sounds interesting, thanks for the review!

    • 24th December 2017 / 4:42 pm

      I haven’t watched the Rowan Atkinson Maigret programmes but I notice there’s one on tonight which I might have a look at. I find it hard to watch RA in straight acting roles!
      Happy Christmas! 🙂

      • 24th December 2017 / 4:46 pm

        I know!! When I heard he’ll be Maigret I said no way, but he looks perfect. I am intrigued.

        Merry Christmas!

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