I like detective fiction, but I’ve got to say I am not quite so keen on straight down the line mystery novels. It strikes me that what I like about my detective fiction is finding out about the detective, his/her methods and the lure of a strong heroic (or anti-heroic) lead. Couple this with a nice plot with a satisfying denoument and generally you have the basis of an joyable read.
So I found a green Penguin copy of Maigret And The Old Lady on the bus the other day. 150 pages, proper pulp length, a more than decent pedigree – George Simenon is a legend in these circles. This book pops up near the end of the Maigret books apparent, not that you could necessarily tell from the set up. Indeed apart from a few reminscences about the seaside as a youth, you do not get much of a life from Maigret at all. Instead it is all collecting the information, and then the whiz bang finale.
Simenon plays fair with the punter I guess, because I had worked out who had done it pretty early on, and from the information given. Like most fictional detectives the motive is given much more importance than it is in a real investigation. Nevertheless (I will be giving away who did it here so turn away now)  there is something unsatisfying about the title of the book. Maigret and the OLD LADY. Yes there is an old lady in it and yes, you guessed it, she did it. And how did I guess she had done it? Why, her name was in the title. This is not the work of a Master.