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The Cellars of the Majestic

Inspector Maigret, Book 21
Narrated by: Gareth Armstrong
Series: Inspector Maigret, Book 21
Length: 3 hrs and 51 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (30 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The dark side of glamorous expat life in Paris is brought to life in this new translation.

Try to imagine a guest, a wealthy woman, staying at the Majestic with her husband, her son, a nurse and a governess...in a suite that costs more than a thousand francs a day.... At six in the morning, she's strangled, not in her room but in the basement locker room.... In all likelihood, that's where the crime was committed.... What was the woman doing in the basement? Who could have lured her down there, and how? Especially at an hour when people of that kind are usually still fast asleep.

This novel has been published in a previous translation as Maigret and the Hotel Majestic.

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.

©2015 Georges Simenon (P)2015 Audible, Ltd

Critic Reviews

"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)

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Enraging the angels

Prosper, the head coffee maker at a luxury hotel in the Rue de Ponthieu, gets a flat tire on the way to work. It isn't long after his late arrival that he finds the body of a hotel guest in the staff locker room.

We meet an assortment of characters, including some aging "hostesses" who are no better than they ought to be. These are not Somerset Maugham's "Three Fat Ladies of Antibes," but three of a very different kind. As usual, everyone has secrets to keep, and nothing is as it seems.

There is a good bit of sadness here, as there is in all of Simenon, but there is great humor, too. For example, after Maigret gets punched, Madame accuses him of provoking the man: "Admit it, you did it on purpose! I know that look of yours. You'd drive an angel wild with rage." (And this after he sent her a basket of mimosas from the Cote d'Azur). I love these two, and Madame appears several times in this one.

Simenon's observation is that of a great artist. He never misses a thing and understands human nature so well. I never regret the time I spend reading him.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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The best Maigret so far.

I’ve started from book 1 in my quest for the whole lot. This is book sets a new standard in story. The performance was as usual fantastic as it was what got me started

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  • K. Cole
  • Cincinnati, Ohio, US.
  • 11-09-17

not the best Maigret

but even not the best is still pretty good! and the narration is excellent as ever

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One of Simenon's best

Excellent scenes, complete characters, finely drawn plot, wonderful reader. A complete pleasure. A convincing portrayal of a miniature world.