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by Georges Simenon
Penguin, July 2006
160 pages
ISBN: 0143037315

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Superintendent Jules Maigret is sent to Concarneau when a prominent citizen has been shot. Mostaguen's wound is not fatal but the violence of the crime is reason enough for Maigret to be sent. Mostaguen, while being an important figure in the community, is not well liked by said community. In fact, his entire social group is disliked. As this group includes some of the richest and most influential citizens, the fact the townspeople do not like them says a lot about their behavior.

This shooting is the beginning of a string of crimes that include a poisoning, a missing person and a murder. Rather than actively deducting, Maigret is more interested in remaining at the hotel bar. Here he can watch the social interactions of the suspects and witnesses as well as glimpse a stray yellow dog.

This group of suspects is almost more afraid of the dog than the crime wave that has erupted in their hometown. Maigret's understanding of human nature and fear will provide him with the knowledge needed to stop the criminal currently terrorizing the community.

Penguin Press is in the process of re-releasing several of Georges Simenon's mysteries which have been out of print for years. By reprinting these books, Penguin is allowing new readers to meet the writer who greatly influenced the French detective novel. THE YELLOW DOG has been previously published as MAIGRET AND THE YELLOW DOG in the 1930s.

Superintendent Maigret is a different type of detective from those featured in British and American mysteries of the same period. Maigret studies human behavior more than physically detecting or investigating crimes. He watches people as their actions and behaviors provide clues for crime solving. In all of Maigret's investigations, he allows his suspects to reveal their inner feelings and actions by appearing unconcerned by their stories and by not pressuring them. This type of questioning is very different than that of the pulp novel or British mystery. The influence of Simenon on French fiction can still be seen.

While I always enjoy the chance to reread Georges Simenon's books, THE YELLOW DOG has never been one of my favorite mysteries. As the title implies, there is an dog in the story. And as happens in many mysteries, the animal is harmed. While this is a very minor element of the plot, it is important enough to me and ruins the rest of the book.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, August 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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