A Man’s Head by Georges Simenon | Book Review

Fun little story before we get into the actual review, this book was actually recommended to me by the man who owns our local secondhand bookstore. I remember visiting his bookshop a while back, squeezing through the tight spaces, and browsing through the many stacks and stacks of books. He approached me and asked what kind of books I liked to read, I told him “Crime Novels, Fantasy– anything exciting” and his entire face lit up. He asked me to give him a second and off he went, expertly navigating through the mountain piles of books. He came back with two in his hands. One was ‘A Man’s Head’ by George Simenon and the other was ‘Treasure Island’ by Robert Louis Stevenson. He told me what the books were about, giving me his own little “review” of the books. It was delightful.

Both books went home with me that day– and 3 other books.

The moral of this story is to basically trust bookshop keepers’ and their recommendations. They know whats good. I am planning on visiting his bookshop again soon, as I haven’t been since the pandemic, and asking for more recommendations.

A Man's Head (Maigret #5)

Edition: Paperback, Penguin Classics, 137 pages

Publication Date: July 3rd 2014 by Penguin (first published 1931)

Original Title: La tête d’un homme

ISBN: 01413935131 (ISBN13: 978014139513)

Edition Language: English

Series: Inspector Maigret #5

Goodreads Blurb:

A rich American widow and her maid have been stabbed to death in a brutal attack. All the evidence points to Joseph, a young drifter, and he is soon arrested. But what is his motive? Or is he just a pawn in a wider conspiracy?

Inspector Maigret believes the police have the wrong man and lets him escape from prison to prove his innocence. perhaps, with Joseph on the loose, the real murderer will surface.

A deadly game of cross and do1uble-cross has begun…

“Either he’s mad or he’s innocent”

pg. 12

Georges Simenon’s ‘A Man’s Head’ is the fifth instalment of his Inspector Maigret series. In this book a rich, elderly widow and her maid were brutally stabbed to death and all the initial evidence points to Joseph Heurtin. Inspector Maigret believes they have the wrong man and hatches a plan to allow Heurtin to escape prison, so he can hopefully lure the culprit out of hiding. Putting his position and his job on the line, Inspector Maigret is on the hunt to prove Heurtin’s innocence and find the real killer.

As soon as the book begins we are given the conflict– a respected inspector believes he has put the wrong man in prison, so he allows him to escape. Beautifully written, atmospheric enough to feel like you are being transported to France but it doesn’t take away from the grittiness of the murder mystery plot. There’s just something about Georges Simenon’s writing that is so idyllic;

“Paris wore its dismal mid-October aspect. A raw light fell from a sky that was like a dirty ceiling. The pavements still showed traces of the previous night’s rain. And passers-by had the resentful look of people who were not yet used to the idea that summer was over”

– pg 39

Inspector Maigret is exactly what you would picture a detective to be like– loves his tobacco and isn’t one to turn down a glass of beer or two. That being said, he is extremely intuitive, quite brash, and always a step ahead of the culprit. Readers are taken on a wild goose chase, this game of cat and mouse where we are waiting with bated breaths to see how triumphs in the end.

Although this is part of a series, this book works well as a standalone and gives readers fair introduction to Inspector Maigret. This book, in my opinion, is the perfect read to get your head spinning and mind reeling on a quiet afternoon.

3 stars.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Have you read ‘A Man’s Head’ by Georges Simenon or any of the Inspector Magriet books? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below!

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