Maigret is called for by his nephew, a new inspector in the north after a man was found dead in a first class carriage. The 106 train to Paris which started outside France was stopped at ...
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Maigret is called for by his nephew, a new inspector in the north after a man was found dead in a first class carriage. The 106 train to Paris which started outside France was stopped at the Jeumont station for 50 minutes during which the murder took place. His nephew had the carriage and dining car detached and isolated but ran foul of politics as a French Consol and his family, secretary, and nanny were on board. The victim's identity papers were stolen and the train is filled with a mixture of the guilty and the innocent and dentists. But of the murder? And who is and what happened to Max?
A train from Berlin to Paris stops for 50 minutes at the town of Jeumont. In that time, a passenger is murdered. The first-class carriages are locked; no one can get on or off. The local police inspector, Paul Lachenal, calls in his famous uncle, Jules Maigret, for assistance. Maigret goes about his investigation in his usual methodical manner. "I like to listen to people," he says. And he promises the passengers he'll have the murderer caught by 9:00 PM.
In this story, set in the long hot summer of 1953, Maigret's investigation and bits of character business between the passengers occupy almost equal portions of screen time. Both, to me, were quite enjoyable. Lachenal, only recently out of the police academy, is eager to make a good impression on his uncle. The passengers are keeping secrets from Maigret, and from each other. Impatiently he tells Miss Frankel, "You and your boyfriend are getting on my wick!" Which may not have been meant to be funny, but was, in subtitled translation. It's been a long time since French class, but I think Maigret's actual words were "courir sur le haricot," which can be literally rendered, "running on the bean." Your mileage may vary.
There's even a little gun play in this installment. My favorite scene, though, was of Maigret, sitting alone in the compartment where the murder occurred, reasoning it out. If you like quiet mysteries, and don't mind subtitles, give this one a try.
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