Joe Leaphorn leans back in his office chair and stares at the seemingly random colored pins adorning the map on the wall. Hercule Poirot charges up his little gray cells with a tisane and a swirl of his mustache. But the detective I most admire hulks around, watches, listens, applies his methods, and has an occasional ragoût at the local bistro. Yes, it is Jules Maigret, commissioner of the Paris “Brigade Criminelle” (commissaire – Direction Régionale de Police Judiciaire de Paris).
Georges Simenon is one of the most prolific writers in the world and there are plenty of Maigret novels and stories to enjoy, starting with Pietr-le-Letton (Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett). Over the years Maigret undergoes changes, both personal and professional, becoming more refined and expanding his team at the Brigade so that the later novels focus less on his personality and more on the narrative being developed. Of course, after 76 novels and dozens of short stories, Maigret’s methods are familiar to every reader and the experience might be considered more for the comfort of a familiar situation and not as much for the thrill of the chase. Besides, nowadays books and movies are so graphic and shocking that we might need to slow down and enjoy more old-fashioned pleasures. Maigret works for me.