Joseph Gastin, a schoolmaster from Saint-André-sur-Mer, near La Rochelle, has been waiting for Maigret. The ex-postmistress of his little town, Léonie Birard, had been killed, shot in the eye with a 22 gun from some distance, as she looked out the window of her house. Gastin, regarded as an outsider in the village, is sure that he is regarded as the prime suspect. Maigret calls Lieutenant Daniélou and tells him he'll bring Gastin back, and learns from him of new evidence: one of the boys in Gastin's class, Marcel Sellier, has testified that he'd seen the teacher coming from the tool shed at the time the murder took place, and there was a 22 in the shed, belonging to Jean-Paul Gastin, his son. Gastin denied having gone to the shed. Arriving in Saint-André, Maigret checks into the inn, the Bon Coin, where he is surprised to discover that the maid & cook, Thérèse, is a woman he'd once met in his office in Paris.
Gastin is brought to the jail in La Rochelle. Maigret gets the feel of the town, and interviews the boy, Sellier, the son of the local policeman, who sticks to his story. No one is helpful, but on the day of Léonie's funeral, Maigret finally gets a chance for a private talk with Jean-Paul, who tells him that Marcel had lied, that he'd been at the other window, and therefore couldn't have seen anyone coming out of the toolshed. Besides, he'd seen his father go to the house for coffee, and come back. Realizing that Marcel is protecting someone, Maigret goes to the house of Joseph Rateau, son of the butcher, Marcellin Rateau. He'd been laid up with a broken leg, and his window was visible from both the school window and Léonie 's. Maigret gets him to confess that it was his father who'd shot her, with an unlucky shot. She'd been hated by everyone in town, and had taunted them all.
This report prepared by Dana Samson