Remember back in September when I went on a shopping spree for books and bought ten novels by Georges Simenon?
Well, I finally got the chance to read one of them last weekend. I was in a hurry so I didn’t pay much attention to what I was putting in my backpack, but I picked an interesting book: The Saint-Fiacre Affair.
The original French version (L’Affaire Saint-Fiacre) was published in 1932, 79 years ago. But I got to read the 2005 Romanian version, published by Polirom.
It was on Saturday morning that I decided not to watch TV, or log on my computer. I just wanted to read while I drank my coffee. I wanted a peaceful morning.
Just to get this out of my system: seriously, I doubt I ever read a novel in which the detective is left so helpless. I felt sorry for Maigret, not because he was unable to figure things out or prosecute the murderer, but because his entire childhood gets ruined by this one visit. I guess that’s why I love Simenon’s novels. His character is more real than any other detective out there (from the books I read so far). He isn’t perfect like other detectives, he makes mistakes, he gets involved more than he should, he feels like a real detective that lived 79 years ago.
The action of the novel takes place in the small village of Saint Fiacre, the village were Maigret was born and raised. It all starts with Maigret waking up at an inn runned by Marie, one of his childhood friends. He wakes up early to go to the village church so that he can prevent a murder that was announced in a small note.
At the end of the service, the Countess (a woman who he admired as a young child) dies unexpectedly, yet there are no signs of trauma or poisoning. All of this leaving the detective wondering how could someone predict a natural death? Or is it a well planned murder?
And from here on the book really starts moving on with Maigret running from one place to another trying to piece things together.
The atmosphere of the book really fitted with the weather outside: cold and gloomy. The only thing that didn’t fit was the food described in the book. Seriously I was starving by the 5th chapter. I guess I should make a note for my next weekend and eat before I start reading anything else.
What can I say, I spent a nice Saturday morning reading and the day passed slowly and nicely. What more can I ask for.