Maigret and the Gangsters
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Published in 1951 in France after Simenon's long stay in the U.S., this dandy story projects the author's experiences abroad onto famed Supt. Maigret. A body that vanishes after it's tossed from a speeding car arouses Maigret's suspicions that mobsters from America are in Paris. Beginning his careful investigation, the detective relentlessly questions a shady restaurateur but gets no solid leads to the imported criminals or their presumed victim. Maigret gradually realizes that friends from the FBI are working behind his back and pride insists that he compete with them to solve the case. Simenon gives a larky twist to his seriocomic police procedural, as riveting as his graver works. (Amazon Review)
M receives a phone call from Mme Lognon that her husband, the Inspector, Old Grouch, has disappeared, and that gangsters have broken into her house. M locates Lognon, and learns that he had seen a body dumped from a car while on a stake-out. When he'd gone to call it in, the body had been picked up by another car and has disappeared. After he checked the registration of the first car, rented by Bill Larner, the gangsters had come to his house and searched it, apparently looking for the body. A call to the US provides the information that Larner, known as Sweet Bill, is a well-known con man. A check of recent arrivals in France turns up Charlie Cinaglia and Tony Cicero, two America gangsters, also from St Louis. Lognon is left to watch Pozzo's restaurant, where they probably have been, but he is captured by them, taken to the countryside and beaten, and left in the woods.
Everywhere M goes he's advised to leave it alone, that American gangsters are out of his field of experience, and he resents it. He publishes the pictures of Cinaglia and Cicero in the papers, and gets a message from a woman, signed Mado. But when he gets to her hotel she is gone, apparently taken away by an unknown man, a tall blond American. M learns from Jimmy MacDonald, his FBI friend in Washington, that the gangsters are probably searching for Sloppy Joe Mascarelli. That was probably who'd been in the hotel with the woman. Both have disappeared. M has Baron, familiar with the race tracks, check at the Manhattan Bar, and when he fails to call in, interviews Luigi the proprieter and gets on the track. He captures Cinaglia and Cicero near the Maisons Laffitte, and finds Mascarelli and the woman at a doctor's in the Boulevard Saint-Michel, along with Harry Pills, an assistant DA from St Louis, who'd come to try and protect his star witness, Mascarelli, who'd run into hiding in France. Cinaglia and Cicero had been sent to kill him. (trussel.com)
One of the world’s most successful crime writers, Georges Simenon has thrilled mystery lovers around the world since 1931 with his matchless creation Inspector Maigret.
A phenomenal author and his phenomenal character Georges Simenon was by many standards the most successful author of the 20th century, and the character he created, Inspector Jules Maigret, who made him rich and famous, ranks only after Sherlock Holmes as the world's best known fictional detective. There is nothing commonplace about the life of Georges Simenon, and he and his works have been the subject of innumerable books and articles. The Maigret stories are unlike any other detective stories — the crime and the details of unraveling it are often less central to our interest than Maigret's journey through the discovery of the cast of characters... towards an understanding of man. Simenon said he was obsessed with a search for the "naked man" — man without his cultural protective coloration, and he followed his quest as much in the Maigrets as in his "hard" novels.
Although most of Simenon's work is available in English, it was originally written in French. Simenon was born and raised in Belgium, and while Paris was "the city" for him, the home of Maigret, he was 'an international,' a world traveler who moved often and lived for many years in France, the United States, and Switzerland.
Because he wrote in French, and for the most part lived in French-speaking countries, most of the books and magazine articles about him were written in French as well. Unlike his own books however, many of these have never been available in translation. Because Simenon lived to be nearly 90, and left a legacy of hundreds of books — from which more than 50 films have been made, along with hundreds of television episodes — there is much to collect, to examine, to display and discuss. (trussel.com)
Suppose a guy in Paris went around to the shopkeepers in his neighborhood and explained that they were in need of protection against some tough customers and that, for a consideration of so many thousand francs a week, he would do the protecting. The shopkeeper would go right to the police, wouldn’t he? Or he would laugh in the man’s face. Well, in America nobody laughs, and only fools go to the police. Because if they do, or if they don’t pay up, a bomb explodes in their shop, unless they’re
happened.” “Does he fish?” She laughed. “No! Not with a line.” “Does he play golf?” “Golf, yes.” “Where?” “I don’t know. I never went with him.” “Would he go away for several days?” “He’d leave in the morning and come back the same night.” It didn’t fit. What he had to find out was a place where Larner was in the habit of staying overnight. “Besides the two men who slept here, didn’t he introduce you to any of his friends?” “Hardly ever.” “What sort of friends?” “Mostly at the races
“Does Harry know that Cinaglia and Cicero are in Paris?” “He knows everything. He knows everything like the palm of his hand. He knew about their hideout at the Bon Vivant before I did.” “Does he know Bill Larner?” “Yes. I think I’m beginning to piece it all together. You see, we were both drunk. He kept repeating the same things over and over again. He seemed to think that, being a Frenchman I was incapable of understanding.” “I know just what you mean!” Like Pozzo! Like Luigi! “They’ve
to think of the assistant district attorney in a stolen automobile! These Americans, no matter on which side of the law, acted in Paris just as if they were at home. The people on the streets that Monday night never dreamed they were participating in a gangster chase in true Chicago style. And if it hadn’t been for poor Lognon, who was standing by the iron fence around Notre-Dame-de-Lorette watching for a small-time cocaine peddler, no one would have known a thing about it. “Sloppy Joe isn’t
it in my face. The mattress is in shreds, and the stuffing’s all over the place.” He had shrugged his shoulders. He had had them telephone Lucas to tell him he need not stay at the Bon Vivant any longer. “Tell him to go home to bed.” But Lucas, anxious to be in at the finish, had hurried back to the Quai des Orfèvres, his face also covered with a dark stubble. As for Torrence, he had shut himself up in one of the offices with Tony Cicero and obstinately asked questions, which were answered by