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Archive for January, 2010

Maigret and the Bum (1962)
by Georges Simenon
translated by Jean Stewart
Popular Library
192 pages

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Maigret investigates the case of a homeless man who is brutally beaten and nearly killed in Paris. The question that keeps troubling him is why a person would want to hurt one of the down-and-out, who have nothing and are generally powerless. The story takes a few twists and turns, and the conclusion is both a bit of a surprise and totally appropriate to the story.

Maigret Statue, in Delfzijl, the Netherlands, where the first Maigret novel was written.

One of the themes that Simenon touches on repeatedly is the way that Maigret identifies with the world of the homeless people who have either been rejected by society or, like the victim in this case, have rejected society themselves. Though Maigret cannot speak it aloud to the others he works with in the police department, he has enough insight to see that the government justice system is not true justice, and that there are people in this world who don’t care a whit for the legal system society has put in place, no matter what it prohibits or what rewards it might offer.

A smooth and quick read, excellent for a time when I was feeling a bit bogged down by much larger books.

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