This was a delightful little Maigret mystery. It’s March, just when the Inspector is just beginning to find Paris oppressive. His wife is off in Alsace, attending the delivery of her sister’s child, so when he receives a letter from an old colleague inviting him to the Dordogne, he happily accepts.
That night on the train, he spends too much time in the dining car (naturally) and when he returns to his first class berth, he finds it occupied. He is found a place to sleep in second class, but the lights are out and the top bunk is occupied. He quietly settles himself in the bunk below, but the restlessness of the other occupant (he guesses it is a man) keeps him awake. Suddenly, the man leaves the compartment and as the train slows in a rural area, he leaps out and heads towards the forest. Without thinking, Maigret jumps after him. Before he can pull his own weapon, the man shoots him, wounding him in the shoulder. Maigret, aware that an artery may have been severed, tries to staunch the bleeding and grimly makes his way toward help. He fully awakens in a hospital, in Bergerac, it turns out, to find the authorities waiting to question him. They think he is the madman that has attacked three women, killing two. You see, when he had impulsively jumped from the train, his wallet, identification and luggage continued on to his original destination. He is able to get his identity quickly verified, but by now there is a mystery afoot that he’s got to unravel. The surgeon insists he needs bedrest for several days, but the hospital just won’t do for Maigret and before long, his wife has arrived from Alsace and he is installed in the best room of the local hotel. From his bed, which has been pulled over to the window, he begins his investigation.
This book was so much fun, seeing Maigret operate without being able to take a single step. He employs his long-suffering wife and old colleague for the legwork (and filling his pipe), but the genius is all Maigret.