This book was published in 1960 along with three others. Four books in a year was not an unusual occurrence for Georges Simenon. He has claimed that he could write a novel in eleven days. Those days were spent locked in a study where he would go into a frenzied trance and live out the book. I’m not sure I believe him – the books I have read of his seem too well written to have been churned out in eleven days. He produced something like two-hundred novels over his life time, along with another couple of hundred novellas and short story collections.I’m not so keen on the Maigret novels once the move beyond the 1930′s and 1940′s. I haven’t been able to discern why not. I do like reading them and they are good stories. I think it is something to do with the character of Maigret. There is something I don’t really like about him. This something is less obvious in the early novels. Perhaps it is his complacency. Whatever it is hasn’t stopped me buying his books – this one is probably the tenth I have read in the series.Simenon (despite my slight dislike of Maigret) is probably one of my favourite writers. This is a fact which caught me unawares one day. His crime novels – outside the Maigret series – are excellent. The Maigrets are good but these are in a higher class. A particular favourite is Stain on the Snow. The Blue Room is also a fantastic book. Both of them are sordid, dealing with pettiness and bitterness. The crimes are virtually pointless. Yet these two books are excellent studies on the human condition. The disgusting man from Stain on the Snow becomes something of a hero – not because he improves but because the people round are so much worse. The events in The Blue Room are being recounted to an examining magistrate investigating the murder of the man’s wife. He had never meant to kill her, never intended for her to be killed, and yet…it’s on Amazon if you want to read it. If you live in a town larger than Douglas it may also be in a bookshop too.