Maigret and the Saturday Caller by Georges Simenon

Maigret and the Saturday Caller

Lately, I have been having marvelous luck with my Crime Classic picks! I loved Michael Gilbert’s Death in Captivity, which I read a couple of weeks back. Set in a POW camp during WWII, it is one of the most unusual whodunits I’ve read. And now with Maigret and the Saturday Caller, I have a new addition to my favorites list.

If you have read any of the Inspector Maigret novels, you’d know Maigret is a brilliant sleuth with a sympathetic eye. These traits have made Maigret well-known and well-liked in Paris, to the extent that sometimes people hang around the Police Judiciaire waiting to consult him.

Among them, Léonard Planchon is a regular who had visited the Police Judiciaire for the past two months on every Saturday night like clockwork. However, never having plucked up the courage to speak to the Chief Inspector, Léonard had run off every time before Maigret could call him into his office. So it surprises Maigret to find Léonard’s familiar cleft-lipped face waiting for him at his home on one Saturday night.

When Maigret finally coaxes his “Saturday Caller” into talking, it seems great deal has been bothering the pitiable man. Léonard, as it turns out, is a moderately successful businessman. Even though Léonard has no formal education whatsoever, he had managed to buy his former boss’s decorating business by virtue of hard work. And then eight years ago he had met and married beautiful Renée, the cause of his troubles!

According to Léonard, Renée had started having an affair with Roger, one of Léonard’s workmen two years back. Together they have been slowly taking over Léonard’s life – they have gotten their claws on his house, business, and Isabelle, Léonard’s beloved seven-year-old daughter. So now at the end of his tether, Léonard sees no way other than killing Renée and her lover to get custody of Isabelle.

Léonard’s murderous plot which he has planned to a T astonishes Maigret a great deal. But he also realizes there’s nothing much he can do stop Léonard, given the situation. So Maigret extracts a promise from Léonard that he’ll keep in touch every day instead, hoping it would be enough to dissuade Léonard from carrying out his plans. However, when Maigret stops hearing from Léonard after a couple of days, it prompts Maigret to find out what has happened.

Maigret and the Saturday Caller is an occasion where due justice isn’t served, so I was a bit disappointed with its ending. However, this story of an innocent man ruined by others’ greed and deceit best displays Maigret’s empathetic nature. So I loved this! 4 stars.

Note: Many thanks to Penguin for sending me a review copy of Maigret and the Saturday Caller.

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