The Cellars of the Majestic (Inspector Maigret)
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The dark side of glamorous expat life in Paris is brought to life in this new translation, book twenty-one in the new Penguin Maigret series.
Maigret investigates the murder of Mrs. Clark, the wife of a wealthy American industrialist, whose strangled body is found in the basement of an upscale hotel near the Champs-Élysées. Maigret’s inquiries take him from the endless corridors of the Hotel Majestic to the countryside of the Bois de Boulogne and sun-drenched Cannes, into a world of prostitution, drug addiction, and blackmail.
a dream. At times, her voice sounded almost childlike. Then suddenly she would screw up her eyes, and her forehead would crease as if at some fleeting but sharp pain. She had a coated tongue. ‘Hey, you got any?’ She wanted more drugs. Maigret had the unpleasant impression that he was dragging secrets out of a sick, delirious woman. ‘You liked Prosper, didn’t you?’ ‘He isn’t like other men … He’s too good … He should never have ended up with a woman like Mimi, but that’s always the way … Have
known she was dead, I wouldn’t have acted the way I did … I guess it was about a quarter to nine when the waiter on the second floor sent down an order from 203 … On the slip, it said – you can find it, the management keep them – anyway, it said: “One chocolate with croissants, two eggs with bacon and a tea” …’ ‘Meaning what?’ ‘Wait! I knew the chocolate was for the boy and the bacon and eggs for the nurse … In other words, only two people … The other days, at the same time, there was always an
very quickly: ‘“This is Mister Oswald J. Clark’s suite, isn’t it? …”’ ‘She said again: ‘“You we you we we well,” or something close to it. ‘And in the meantime, I was able to observe the boy. A head too big for his age, covered, as I’d been told, by hair of the most flaming red. The same eyes as Prosper Donge, periwinkle blue, the colour of some summer twilights … A thin neck … ‘He looked at me and said something in English to his nurse, which as far as I was concerned also sounded like:
it? I thought as much! If only you knew everything he came out with! … To hear him, I’m the lowest of the low …’ The officer on duty in front of the entrance raised an eyebrow as he looked at them. And it was indeed a curious sight, Maigret having to deal with the two women, the one crying and the other eyeing him with unconcealed suspicion! ‘As if I’d write an anonymous letter accusing Prosper, when I’m sure he didn’t kill anyone! … You see, if it had been with a revolver, I might still
… But, as I keep telling him, what difference would it make? … Everyone I know is perfectly well aware that I used to be a dancer, then a hostess, on the Côte d’Azur … And that, if I hadn’t started putting on weight, I wouldn’t be a lavatory attendant in a nightclub in Rue Fontaine … By the way, Prosper, did you pay the instalment?’ ‘All done …’ On the radio, they announced a talk about farming, and as Charlotte switched it off she noticed that her dressing gown was open and closed it with a