In The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien by Georges Simenon, Detective Chief Inspector Maigret is on a train when he sees a man acting curiously. So Maigret follows the man to Brussels, where he gets a room adjoining the first man’s room in a cheap motel. Spying through the keyhole, Maigret sees the man put a gun to his mouth and pull the trigger.
Maigret spends the rest of the book trying to get to the bottom of why the man, identified as Louis Genais, would have killed himself. A group of men whom Maigret met in Brussels seems to show up wherever Maigret goes, leading him to suspect potential danger and the source of his answer.
The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien is not a typical murder mystery, since the victim committed suicide. Rather, it is a psychological examination into the purpose for the man’s having taken his life as well as the men threatening while still running away from Maigret.
Gareth Armstrong performs the audio edition of this book. I like the way he portrays the inspector, who comes across as a man of true authority. We hear strong expression used throughout the book, while Armstrong’s voices for each of the characters suit them well.
I thought The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien was a fascinating book, a study in human nature. Maigret proves to be an interesting character who performs creative research that kept me listening. I give this book four stars.
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