The Saint-Fiacre Affair is an early installment in the Maigret series, published in 1932. When a letter is received at the precinct stating that someone will die at the First Mass on All Saint’s Day in Saint-Fiacre, nobody takes it seriously. And frankly they are puzzled when Maigret quietly takes it upon himself to go to the tiny village to investigate. It turns out that Saint-Fiacre is Maigret’s birthplace, which he hasn’t seen in 35 years. When the Countess of Saint-Fiacre dies, seemingly of a heart attack, during the mass, the letter is the only indication that it could somehow be a crime.
This is Maigret at his most pensive and even a little disoriented. As he confronts his past (his father was the steward for the Comte de Saint-Fiacre), the changes in the fortunes of the family and the animosity of the villagers, the story unfolds. While the death is not technically a crime, there is still a lot to learn and Maigret leans into it with his usual sang-froid only slightly tinged with the unease of being an outsider in a place he once called home. Splendid addition to the Maigret ouvre.