It is winter in Paris, and Maigret has just arrived at home in the dead of the night to catch up on sleep after wrapping up rather a difficult case. However, Maigret’s plans are shattered when Inspector Lapointe visits him at daybreak to inform him of a shooting that has happened on Avenue Junot. Inspector Lognon, with whom Maigret has worked on many occasions, has been injured in a drive-by shooting. So as Lognon’s life hangs in the balance, Maigret must figure out who shot Lognon and why.
Compared to other Maigret novels I’ve read, I felt Maigret and the Ghost is a fast-paced read. It may be because the investigation gets wrapped up in twenty-four hours. It’s not an easy case per se – in the beginning, no one knows what Lognon was doing in Avenue Junot in the small hours. But who can blame Lognon for playing his cards close to the chest? Even Maigret calls Lognon “Inspector Luckless” because it’s usually others who get credit for Lognon’s findings! So with all hands on deck, Maigret sets to find out what Lognon had meant by ‘ghost’ just before he lost consciousness and taken away to the hospital.
I was utterly riveted by Maigret and the Ghost‘s plot, but I’m a sucker for anything art! 😀 An extremely wealthy connoisseur of fine arts is the chief suspect, and a baffling clue comes from a room of his house which is full of erotic frescoes!
The room was not large. Like the bay window in the studio, the window afforded a panoramic view of Paris, and the old floral curtains were paint-stained. In places, it even looked as if someone had wiped their hands on them after painting with their fingers.
In a corner was an iron bedstead with a mattress but no sheets or blankets.
The most striking thing was what can only be described as graffiti. On the grubby white walls were obscene drawings of the kind found on the walls of some urinals. The difference was that instead of being drawn in pencil, they had been done with paint – green, blue, yellow and purple.
Other crime readers might not love this as much as I did – most of the conclusions are reached by doing interviews based on Maigret’s gut feelings before they have anything concrete to go on. However, I think this kind of intuition is to be expected after the decades Maigret has spent catching bad guys. 4 stars.
Note: Many thanks to Penguin for sending me a review copy of Maigret and the Ghost.
** You can buy a copy of Maigret and the Ghost here on Book Depository with free shipping.