Pietr The Latvian


Georges Simenon

First Sentence:     Detective Chief Inspector Maigret of the Flying Squad raised his eyes.

Back of the book:

“Not that he looked like a cartoon policeman. He didn’t have a moustache and he didn’t wear heavy boots. His clothes were well cut and made of fairly light worsted. He shaved every day and looked after his hands.
But his frame was proletarian. He was a big, bony man. His firm muscles filled out his jacket and quickly pulled all his trousers out of shape.
He had a way of imposing himself just by standing there. His assertive presence had often irked many of his own colleagues.”

In Simenon’s first novel featuring Maigret, the laconic detective is taken from grimy bars to luxury hotels as he traces the true identity of Pietr the Latvian.

Quote from the book:

But Maigret had already moved off and was standing all clumsy and awkward in the middle of the lobby. He looked like a tourist in a historic church trying to work out without the help of a guide what there was to inspect.

* * *

Last Sentence:     In Pskov, an old lady in a folk hat that came down over both cheeks must have been on her way to church in a sled behind a drunken coachman whipping a pony trotting across the snow like a mechanical toy.