This is the first Maigret that I have read, though it is not the first Simenon that I’ve read. I’ve read this after watching the Rowan Atkinson version of Maigret.
And those are great.
This book is actually three stories – one of which stars Maigret and his wife, while the other two use characters from the Maigret series.
The first story is the title story and is about Maigret solving a mystery on Christmas day when he is at home with his wife. No, it does not involve a missing Christmas turkey. The culprit is pretty obvious. You do not really mind because the charm of the story is the interactions of everyone with Maigret.
The other two stories are a bit different. “Seven Small Crosses in a Notebook” focuses on the police who have to man what seems to be something like a dispatch center. There is wonderful description in this short story. The story takes it name from the crosses that one of the police officers puts into his notebook.
In many ways, the best story is the last story, “The Little Restaurant near Place des Ternes”. It is supposedly a fairy tale for grown-ups. It actually treats women of the evening quite sympathetic and the present is a rather unique one. Because in the last story, the police form more of a backdrop, the story is actually in some ways the most touching of the three. The ending and feeling are so wonderfully quite and lovely. Like snow falling from the sky.