February 13, 2024

Cocktail Talk: Maigret in Holland

Cocktail Talk: Maigret in Holland

My filling out of my Maigret collection continues! Wait, you say, you aren’t sure what I mean? I can’t believe you aren’t joking. You’re joking. Well, just in case, I mean specifically the Inspector Maigret novels and stories by writer Georges Simenon, starring the taciturn (at times) and methodical (until the mood hits) Parisian police commissaire. Please check out past Maigret Cocktail Talks to learn more, if you haven’t already. In my latest pickup, Maigret not only leaves his normal Paris stomping grounds, but leaves France altogether (the book name may give this away) for Holland, where a French citizen is involved in a murder case in a small Dutch town. As he doesn’t speak the language, and isn’t an official local cop, the case provides some wrinkles for our tall Inspector. But he still manages to find a café and a hotel bar for some mid-case sipping. And to teach the locals what drinking is all about.   

“You won’t refuse a little glass of brandy, will you? They have some good stuff here.”

“If you don’t mind, it’s my turn now,” said Maigret, in a tone that tolerated no opposition. “Only, since I don’t speak Dutch, I must ask you to order it for me. A bottle of brandy and some glasses.”

Pijpekamp meekly interpreted.

“Those glasses won’t do,” Maigret said when Madame Van Hasselt came bustling up.

He got up and went himself to get some bigger ones. Placing them on the table, he filled them right up to the rim.

“A toast for you, gentlemen,” he said gravely. “The Dutch police!”

“The stuff was so strong it brought tears to Pijpekamp’s eyes. But Maigret, with a smile on his face, gave no quarter. Again and again her raised his glass, repeating:

“Your health, Monsieur Pijpekamp! . . . To the Dutch police!”

–Georges Simenon, Maigret in Holland

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