Georges Simenon's haunting tale about the lengths to which people will go to escape from guilt, translated by Linda Coverdale as part of the new Penguin Maigret series.
A first ink drawing showed a hanged man swinging from a gallows on which perched an enormous crow. And there were at least twenty other etchings and pen or pencil sketches that had the same leitmotif of hanging.
On the edge of a forest: a man hanging from every branch. A church steeple: beneath the weathercock, a human body dangling from each arm of the cross... Below another sketch were written four lines from François Villon's Ballade of the Hanged Men.
On a trip to Brussels, Maigret unwittingly causes a man's suicide, but his own remorse is overshadowed by the discovery of the sordid events that drove the desperate man to shoot himself.
Georges Simenon was born in Liège, Belgium, in 1903. Best known in Britain as the author of the Maigret books, his prolific output of over 400 novels and short stories have made him a household name in continental Europe. He died in 1989 in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he had lived for the latter part of his life.
Linda Coverdale is the awarding-winning translator of many French works and has been honoured with the title of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters for her contribution to French literature.
©2014 Georges Simenon (P)2014 Audible Ltd
"Compelling, remorseless, brilliant" (John Gray)
"One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century... Simenon was unequalled at making us look inside, though the ability was masked by his brilliance at absorbing us obsessively in his stories" (Guardian)
"A supreme writer... unforgettable vividness" (Independent)
Book blogger at Bookwi.se
The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien is the third book in the Inspector Maigret series, although mislabeled #4 at both Audible and Amazon. I accidentally read it before the second book (which is labeled #3).
Maigret is on a trip for his work when he notices a man mailing large bundles of money. Because he is curious, Maigret follows the man, assuming that he is a crook of some sort. Eventually the man commits suicide and Maigret has to solve the case, both to find out what has happened and to see if Maigret's own involvement was the cause of the suicide.
This is not a murder mystery as much as a psychological book exploring the way that guilt drives our actions. It is right along the type of writing I like to read with mysteries. This is quick enough to read in a couple days without much problem.
"The follies of youth"
Regret, Regret, Regret
Not spoiling it for everyone, and thus not giving any details, but has to be Maigrets unwitting involvement in the death of somebody, the conclusion of the story and the significance of the hanged man
He is a proper voice actor, who manages to convey the right atmosphere every time.
The end - thinking of the children.
In some ways one of the more grim books of Simenon featuring Maigret, who this time finds himself more than a little involved in the whole sorry business and in a serious predicament as what to do in the end.
"A compelling great listen"
There is a moral line that is explored in the Hanged Man through the unearthing of why a poor young man commits suicide alone in a hotel room. it is hard to review without alighting upon spoilers... So, Simenon's Maigret uses silence to insist others speak, at one point until a bar closes at another until a candle burns down. These changes of pace from quietness to the immediacy of the moment (oh yes, what does happen in a thrilIer when the light goes out...) are compelling. I would love to see this as a series - with the mood of Branagh's Wallander or 'the killing'. It is very atmospheric, well read and with a denouement I just daren't spoil...
I enjoyed every minute and it left me thinking about Maigret's actions afterwards.
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