Maigret is called to the Hôtel George-V, where the English multimillionaire, Colonel David Ward, had been found drowned in his bathtub, the marks on his shoulders indicating a murder. The night before, the Countess Louise Paverini, a few doors down, had attempted suicide, and been taken to the American Hospital in Neuilly. The two had spent the evening together, and planned to get married once his divorce was finalized. His friend and associate, John Arnold insists that the utmost discretion must be given to the case, for he was an extremely important man. Meanwhile, the Countess has left the hospital, after calling Monte Carlo, the Hôtel de Paris, where her ex-husband, the millionaire Joseph Van Meulens was staying.
Maigret goes to Orly and discovers she'd taken a plane to Nice, whereupon he flies to Nice and goes to the hotel of Van Meulens, who insists that the Countess is innocent. My flies to Lausanne the next day to meet her, 39 years old and addicted to drink. She tells Maigret of her reluctance to forget the Count Marco Paverini, her ex-husband, who it turns out was in Paris with a Dutchwoman, Anna de Groot, staying at the Hôtel George-V. Maigret returns to Paris, where he immerses himself in the Hôtel George-V at 3:00 am, the time of the crime, and collects a cast of characters to confront John Arnold with at the Quai des Orfèvres. Arnold, seeing the various people he must have passed on his way back from the hotel at 3:00 am, confesses, though in fact many of them hadn't seen him. He'd been planning with Ward's current wife, who in three days would lose her claim on the inheritance.
This report prepared by Dana Samson