In the Yellow Dog, a particularly well-plotted crime novel, Maigret travels to the small coastal town of Concarneau where a local wine merchant has been murdered under mysterious circumstances. According to a witness the man was strolling home on a windy night and paused to walk up steps leading to the narrow sheltered porch of a long empty house. Moments later the man fell backwards, dead from the shots.
Once there Maigret meets the four men and one waitress who seem to know much more than they're willing to share with him. He also sees a large yellow dog that keeps appearing at the crime scenes to come. Maigret feels a kinship with the animal which is more than he can say for anybody he meets in the town.
Where did the dog come from? Why does he keep showing up at such odd moments? Does he belong to the person who by book's end kills more people?
This is a serial killer novel. Simenon even casts the local newspaper as one of the villains. The editor has a history of exploiting bad news to the point of making each local tragedy worse. And the killings are no exception. Simenon suggests that it is sop for Frenchmen to a) have mistresses and b) go about armed. Both are factors in the investigation.
Most of the elements of classic Maigret are here. The weather is as vivid as the characters; Simenon buttresses his sociological look at French life with bleak humor; and his pity for decent people life has treated badly borders on the religious along with his contempt for pomposity and self-importance and cruelty.
There is always a claustrophobic feel to the Maigrets; this allows the reader to experience what the Inspector himself does. As a forlorn chronicler of humankind Simenon is still without peer.
Somewhat Forgotten Books That Made Me a Crime Fiction Reader. (Tomorrow it would be different titles) Patti Abbott
Sergio Angelini, THE CRIME ON THE COTE DE NEIGES, David Montrose
Mark Baker, FREE FALL, Robert Crais
Yvetter Banek, REED'S PROMISE, John Clarkson
Les Blatt, A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED, Agatha Christie
Brian Busby, Young Canada Boys with the S.O.S. on the Frontier, Harold C. Lowry
Bill Crider, THE BOB DYLAN SCRAPBOOK, 1956-66
Martin Edwards, BATS IN THE BELFRY, E.C.R. Lorac
Curt Evans, A CHESS PROBLEM: A PLAYER ON THE OTHER SIDE, Ellery Queen
Ed Gorman, THE PAT HOBBY STORIES, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Charles Gramlich, WEB OF GUNSMOKE, Will Hickok
Rick Horton, MARIETTA, F. Marion Crawford
Jerry House, THE FROSTED DEATH, Paul Ernst
Nick Jones, RIGHT AS RAIN, George Pelecanos
George Kelley, WOMEN CRIME WRITERS, 1950s, ed. Sarah Weinman
Rob Kitchin, WINTER WAR, William Trotter
B.V. Lawson, MORE GOOD OLD STUFF, John D. MacDonald
Evan Lewis, MURDER WEARS A HALO, John Evans/Howard Browne
Steve Lewis/Barry Gardner, BOOTLEGGER'S DAUGHTER, Margaret Maron
Todd Mason, el, 2003; edited by Earl Kemp
Matt Paust,THE BLACK CLOUD, Fred Hoyle
James Reasoner, NIGHT CALLS THE GREEN FALCON, Robert McCammon
Richard Robinson, THE COMPLETE PARATIME. H. Beam Piper
Gerard Saylor, British Paratrooper Versus Fallschirmjager" by David Grentree
Kevin Tipple, SEVEN BY SEVEN, ed. Tony Burton
TomCat, Robert Arthur
Prashant Trikannad, FIRST OFFENSE, Evan Hunter
TracyK, THE RED HOUSE MYSTERY, A.A. Milne
Westlake Review, DANCING WITH AZTECS, Donald Westlake
Zybahn, SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK, Alvin Schwartz