A Battle of Nerves Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of A Battle of Nerves

Inspector Maigret requests permission to let a prisoner from a maximum security prison “escape”. He was convicted of having killed a rich American, Mrs. Henderson and her French maid, Elise Chatrier, at saint Claud. But Maigret is convinced that this man, Joseph Heurtin, was either innocent or mad, even if his fingerprints and footprints were found everywhere, he was seen in the neighborhood and he dropped a Paris-Saint Calud ticket. What puzzles maigret is that he seemed to have absolutely no reason, nothing was stolen from the house but the convicted refused to say anything in his favour. The accused does not seem surprised to find the note for the escape plan, this is why Maigret thinks that there is someone else involved. The day after his escape, he finds a note telling him that this was just a police setup, a note received from someone who knew something. The paper of the note was from the American bar Coupole, where Maigret goes and sees Johann Radek, a Czech medical student. Heurtin, who had managed to elude his police followers, seems to be waiting outside for Radek, who has himself arrested for failing to pay his bill.
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Radek gives Maigret banknotes which can easily be traced to William Kirby, Henderson's nephew, who had also been in the Coupole. Maigret goes back to Saint-Cloud, and finds William-Kirby in the house, but by the time he reaches him he's killed himself, shot in the head. Radek taunts Maigret, who continues to silently follow him everywhere. Finally they return to the Citanguette, where Heurtin had first slept on escaping from the Santé, and they see Mrs. Kirby go to his room and tear up a mattress. They then follow her taxi to Saint-Cloud, where she goes into the house, returning in half an hour with a small package. But Maigret refuses to follow her and brings Radek into the house, where he reveals Edna Reichberg, Kirby's mistress and his wife's friend, in a closet. Radek realizes he's caught, and shoots at Maigret, but the inspector has had the bullets removed.

Even if Maigret had known all along that Radek was the brain behind all these murders, he still has a hard time proving his gilt, because, apparently, there is nothing to connect him with the crimes.

The review of this Book prepared by Dana Samson

Chapter Analysis of A Battle of Nerves

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 20%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 60%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 10%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   Dry-cynical How difficult to spot villain?    -   Moderately Challenging Time/era of story:    -   1960's-1970's What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   nearly 100% Special suspect?    -   chronically deranged person Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   Proving innocence of very obvious suspect Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, Foreign Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   French Unusual characteristics:    -   Super genius


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   France

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Unusual forms of death    -   perforation--bullets Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Georges Simenon Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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