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Maigret's Failure Book Review Summary

Detailed Plot Synopsis of Maigret's Failure

While Maigret is concerned with the disappearance of an English tourist, Muriel Britt, he is called into the Chief's office. The Minister of the Interior has requested that he take care of Ferdinand Fumal, a wealthy butcher who'd donated millions to the party funds. Maigret meets Fumal, only to realize that they'd gone to school together in Saint-Fiacre, that he'd disliked him, and that his father had hated Fumal's father as well. Fumal has apparently received anonymous death threats, and Maigret agrees to send a man to watch his house. Shortly afterwards, Fumal's secretary, Louise Bourges appears, and says that she'd seen the letters, and that in fact Fumal had written them himself. Maigret arranges for Lapointe to go to the house in the morning, to accompany Fumal on his daily rounds, but before he can start, Fumal is found murdered in his study, shot in the back. A man had been stationed outside the house, but it becomes clear that anyone could have entered through a back entrance. Maigret finds Fumal's wife a drunk, happy her husband is dead. In fact, almost everyone is happy, for he was universally disliked. Only his mistress, Martine Gilloux is upset, for she'll have to search for a new means of support.

A likely candidate, Roger Gaillardin, whom Fumal had ruined, had visited Fumal the night before. He'd been found near the Seine, a suicide, not long after, his gun not matching the one which killed Fumal. Jeanne Fumal, the wife, has a derelict brother, Émile Lentin, who sometimes secretly spends time in the house. He is located, but appears innocent. Maigret realizes that Louise Bourge's boyfriend, Félix, the chauffeur, has windows overlooking Fumal's study, where the safe is located. He goes up to check, suddenly realizing the truth. He returns to the study, where a locksmith has been brought. The safe, which had contained 15 million francs, is empty. Maigret immediately searches for Victor Ricou, the manservant Fumal had brought from Saint-Fiacre, realizing that he had hated Fumal and had ample opportunity to learn the safe combination by spying on Fumal over the years. But he has escaped, and isn't found until 5 years later, returning from Panama, down and out, under a false passport. The Englishwoman was found only two years later, married and running a boarding house in Australia.
This report prepared by Dana Samson








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Chapter Analysis of Maigret's Failure

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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% Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, Foreign Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   theft/fraud investigation 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

Setting

Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   France Misc setting    -   fancy mansion

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Unusual forms of death    -   perforation--bullets Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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