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Summary

Leaning on the banisters, Madame Maigret watched her husband going heavily downstairs.... What the newspapers didn't know was how much energy he put into trying to understand, how much he concentrated during certain investigations. It was as if he identified with the people he was hunting and suffered the same torments as they did.

A young man is found dead, clutching his tape recorder, just streets away from Maigret's home, leading the inspector on a disturbing trail into the mind of a killer.

©1969 Georges Simenon (P)2020 Audible, Ltd

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Maigret: Detecting a great story.

Gareth Armstrong's presentation of Maigret is an absolute master class in how to create a compelling audiobook. The Maigret stories have their own strength and integrity which outshines the class-ridden cap doffing worlds of Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Lord Peter Whimsey and even Sherlock Holmes. In a particularly critical view of class in the world of French society, Georges Simenon's hero takes us through different layers of society with the practised ease of a really good writer.

However, translating from the French text is one thing but bringing to life these stories for an English audience is where Armstrong excels. His nuanced use of English regional accents to symbiotically reconstruct the regional French accents in the stories is a gem of an insight into how best to present this work. Add to this his acting skills and professional delivery and he produces a one-man radio drama as much as an audiobook.

The fact that he has also worked through the entire collection of Maigret stories, over 80 in all, is a monumental accomplishment that provides the listener with hours of entertainment. Then into this richly layered crafting we also add Simenon's own gift of ageing Maigret through the timeline of the stories and that makes the dynamic is really superb.