Maigret and the Black Sheep - Georges Simenon, Helen Thomson While browsing among the discarded-book shelves at one of my libraries, I came across an omnibus volume of mysteries, one of which was this one (the other two are The Baby Merchants by Lillian O'Donnell and High Stakes by Dick Francis; I plan on reading the O'Donnell tome because I can't resist the title but I'll probably skip the Francis book - I've got a lot of other, more interesting sounding material to read).

But back to Maigret: I first became aware of the existence of Inspector Maigret through the good offices of the BBC and PBS's Mystery, where Michael Chabon (the 2nd Prof. Dumbledore) plays the Parisian detective in post-WW2 France. The television series is pretty good; I've found that Mystery does a decent job of translating police procedurals onto the screen -- Jane Tennyson, Inspector Linley, Morse, Poirot, Miss Marple, Chris Foyle, etc. -- and in Maigret's case, it's fun watching British-accented actors playing ostensibly Francophone gendarmes.

Unfortunately, I find that they often don't translate well into prose for me. It's a rare occasion to admit that I like a film over a book, but I prefer to watch a mystery rather than read it in many cases. (This is also true of Ellis Peters' Cadfael series.)

The story in Black Sheep is that a man who is well liked and apparently without enemies is found shot dead in his apartment, and all the clues indicate that someone familiar with the family and the apartment did it. The remainder of the short novel (only 132 pages in this edition) follows Maigret and some of his underlings as they question everyone they can until they finally track down the murderer. On screen, a good writer, director and/or actors can bring this to life but as presented in this novel, Simenon fails to make it all that compelling or interesting.