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Lock No. 1    by Georges Simenon Amazon.com order for
Lock No. 1
by Georges Simenon
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2015 (2015)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

First published in installments from 23 May to 16 June 1933 as L'ecluse no. 1 in Paris-Soir, the 2015 Penguin translation of Georges Simenon's Lock No. 1 opens with one of the author's favorite settings: a small village among the canals and barges of France. But beyond knowing about the familiar locale, what else should you know about this highly recommended 167-page novel?

Consider this: the body of a stabbed and nearly drowned man is recovered from the canal, and everyone in the village is shocked about the man's identity 'It's Emile Ducrau!' This influential businessman has no memory of the incident, and the identity of the man's assailant, and the reasons for the attack remain a baffling mystery. But then Detective Chief Inspector Jules Maigret enters the picture, and pieces of the complicated puzzle begin to fall into place.

Ducrau serious, malevolent, and aggressive tells authorities that he suspects everyone; his wife, his son, his daughter, her husband, his lover, the maid, and his business associates are candidates for criminal prosecution according to the disagreeable business tycoon. However, Maigret immediately suspects something else is involved in the so-called crime. As it turns out, the truth of the matter involves either an old drunk, a crazy girl, or a babe in arms. Perhaps, though, the answer involves every one of them. And, of course, even though many obstacles stand in his way, Maigret will find the answer.

Readers, I cannot say more without undermining your reading pleasure with plot spoilers, so I will instead say only this: Simenon's splendid crime novels now being reissued by Penguin have become my new favorites, and I agree with what Andre Gide said of the prolific French author: 'The greatest of all, the most genuine novelist we have had in literature.'
Well, need I say more? Enjoy!

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