Maigret was in Nemours to take care of some business with Captain Pillement of the gendermerie, when a call came in that a car had gone into the Loing between Nemours and Montargis, near an inn, Auberge des Pêcheurs, called L'Auberge aux Noyés, the Drowned Men's Inn, because of the number of drownings there. A truck driver, Joseph Lecoin, said he'd run into a car parked on the roadside and pushed it into the river, after which he'd heard shouts for help. A barge man from the Belle-Thérèse said he'd heard shouts too. No bodies were found, but when the car was pulled out, the dead body of a woman was found in the trunk, killed three days earlier with a razor. They will never know who she was. At the inn, Maigret finds a young couple who registered themselves as Jean Vertbois and spouse. Germain La Pommeraye, a notary from Versailles came, and said the girl was his daughter, Viviane La Pommeraye, who'd run away with Vertbois.
Maigret has the driver reconstruct that evening's drive, and he's set up a car in the same place, which this time the driver avoids hitting. When he has Lecoin cry for help, the barge man says that was similar to the voice he'd heard. Maigret has Lecoin continue on to Montargis, as the night before, when he hadn't stopped to use the phone at the inn. They wind up at his friend Paul Benoît's gas station, where Maigret elicits the story. The couple had paid him to drive them away, with a story of an elopement. He'd taken them to Benoît's, but the girl had fled when she saw the newspaper report of the body in the trunk, as she now knew that Vertbois has killed the woman. Vertbois was still there, but overheard them talking and jumped from the window, breaking his leg, and was arrested.
This report prepared by Dana Samson