This week between Christmas and New Year is often a good time to relax and spend some time in introspection. So perhaps this would be a good time to read a wonderful - and decidedly introspective - mystery featuring Maigret of the French Surete.
Over the course of his long career, Georges Simenon wrote 75 novels (plus a couple dozen short stories) about Inspector Maigret, a hard-working, rarely inspired but generally successful and insightful police detective. "The Hotel Majestic," from 1942, is a very good entry in the series, and it's the subject of today's review on the Classic Mysteries podcast. You can listen to the full review by clicking here.
In "The Hotel Majestic," Maigret is called in to investigate the murder of an American woman, a guest at the very upscale Hotel Majestic. Her body has been found downstairs, jammed into a locker in the working areas of the hotel. Maigret must try to figure out what she might have been doing there. And there will be a second murder to be solved as well.
The world of the Hotel Majestic is a classic "upstairs/downstairs" setting: the upscale hotel seen by the public, with its rich guests, seems to have little connection with the hidden working areas of the hotel, whose employees struggle with the long hours and hard work as they try to survive. It is a fairly straightforward "police procedural," filled with sympathy for many of the people caught up in the story. Maigret himself is a fascinating character, gathering his facts and trying to weigh them and place them based on his own intelligence and past experience. "The Hotel Majestic" is a good place to meet Maigret, if you don't already know him. Once again, for those with e-book readers, there's a Kindle edition as well.