La Tete d’un Homme

ISBN: 2253142964
ISBN 13: 9782253142966
By: Georges Simenon

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About this book

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 double-cross has begun...

Reader's Thoughts

Ivonne Rovira

Usually large and in charge, Chief Inspector Jules Maigret rarely breaks a sweat in most of Georges Simenon’s novels, but in A Man’s Head, Maigret’s job is on the line.Joseph Heurtin, a deliveryman, was condemned to hang for the brutal stabbing murder of a rich American woman, Mrs. Henderson, and her maid. Gradually, Maigret comes to believe that Heurtin — who never met the women, from whom nothing was stolen — is a fall guy in a bigger plan. But what? To find out, Maigret engineers Heurtin’s escape from the Santé prison’s High Surveillance wing in order to follow him. Coméliau, the examining magistrate and Maigret’s nemesis, makes it clear that, should things go wrong, it will be on Maigret’s head. And do things go wrong! For much of the novel, Maigret, although outwardly placid, is inwardly wracked with anxiety — as is the reader! What did Mrs. Henderson really die? And how are Heurtin and the murdered women connected to a young Czech medical student who makes no secret of knowing too much about the case? As Heurtin gives one police tail after another the slip, the case becomes more and more baffling, even for Maigret, much less the reader. You’ll find yourself anxiously reading A Man’s Head in one go in order to see Maigret crack this tough case.


A short Maigret in the classic Simenon tradition wherein Maigret solves a baffling mystery. An old woman and her maid is killed by a man to whom all the evidence points, yet even though he was the arresting officer, Maigret cannot reconcile the psychology of the man with the evidence. He arranges for the convicted killer to escape, risking his reputation and job discovering the identity of the true murderer while drawing on his pipe and sipping at his Calvados.The Maigret novels are addictive.

pierlapo quimby

Un Maigret va sempre bene.Possibili applicazioni pratiche:1) in stazioneil treno è in ritardo, l'uomo seduto al mio fianco indossa degli orribili sandali e siamo solo ad aprile, la piadina m'è rimasta sullo stomaco, ma...2) in borsala borsa è piena zeppa di fascicoli, pesa un quintale, non c'è spazio quasi per nient'altro, ma...3) pausa pranzodevo ancora finire l'atto che scade domani, alle tre passa il ragioniere con i documenti che avrebbe dovuto consegnarmi giorni fa, il telefono pare impazzito e sembra proprio che il capo voglia smollarmi quel contrattino neppure abbozzato e spacciato al cliente per “da rivedere”, ma...4) domenicami alzo presto, piove, resto in pigiama, mi annoio, ma......un Maigret va sempre bene.


Simenon's Inspector Maigret reads to me like a character with one foot on the crisp, well-lighted terra firma of Holmes and Auguste Dupin and the other foot in the foggy hardboiled netherworld of Philip Marlow and Sam Spade. This novel is one of over seventy Inspector Maigret mysteries that Simenon penned over his hyper-prolfiic career. It is a fairly conventional story, hewing closely to the beats of the traditional sleuth story (a murder occurs, the sleuth gathers information, some of it contradictory and strange, all the while leaving the reader in the dark until the ultimate scene when the inspector lights his pipe and explains away the mystery step by step, pacing the floor like a math professor). The window dressing, however, has a distinct pre-noir flavor--Maigret does his work in the coffee shops of Paris, smoking and drinking with all manner of strange characters from all walks of life; he wanders the foggy streets around the Seine and encounters more than a few hard luck cases. Such moments provided the most interesting reading in this novel, particularly since I don't much go in for the traditional puzzle-master sleuth stories, and the quality of the puzzle in this novel was a tad underwhelming anyway.


I have recently become addicted to Simenon's 'Maigret' novels. This is the fourth I have read so far and it's brilliant. The atmosphere, the pacing, the plotting: everything is tremendous! I have already acquired two more 'Maigret' novels and have started reading one of them...


Again, selected for my travels to Belgium, The Netherlands and Prague, I had no idea about the author or the book --ended up thoroughly enjoying it. The murder mystery had enough twists (won't give any away I promise) to keep you guessing and not so outlandish as to be unbelievable. Reminded me of Crime and Punishment the way the police inspector kept coming back to his suspect putting that subtle psychological pressure on him.

Brian Calandra

The back cover copy calls Simenon a giant of 20th Century literature, which would give my dear friend Mike Penncavage a place in the pantheon as well. This book has precisely ONE idea - the criminal mind consists of the need to commit crimes and to confess to them - which is barely explored through the use of a one-dimensional Mike Hammer meets Hercule Poirot sleuth-cum-take-no-bullshit PI. A lark, and nothing more. Would it kill to add some subtext or depth beyond the follow-through on the premise? And don't all-knowing detectives do more than smoke cigarettes and grunt monosyllabically to show how tough they are?


In this outing, we see Maigret put his job on the line. He is convinced that a convicted killer is not guilty of the crime, even though he is the one who put him behind bars. Unraveling the truth takes some time (and a lot of police trailing). The ending reveals why it was so difficult to ascertain the truth.


Al solito: prosa piacevole, intreccio intrigante, e nelle ultime trenta pagine l'antipaticissimo deus ex machina che rovina tutto il divertimento risolvendo la vicenda off-screen. E va be'.


Annoying translation - too, many, commas.


Meh. I've now read two Maigret novels, and I just don't see what the big sneeze is about them. I read one in French, and thought, "Meh...but maybe it's because my French is rusty." Well, now I've read one in English, and had exactly the same reaction, so I don't think the language is the problem.There's just not much there, there.


Simenon is a master of crime fiction. Most of his books are set in Paris and feature Inspector Maigret. In this novel, the Inspector has a strong feeling that the wrong man is sitting on death row in a Parisian prison. He set out to prove the man's innocence in a very unusual way: he (working with the authorities) arranges for the man to 'escape' just before he to hang for the crime of murder. It becomes a battle of wits between the pipe smoking Inspector and a rich American, his wife and a menacing red-haired bar regular who seems to know the whole story behind the murder. I recommend this book for mystery fans who appreciate a genuine story-teller and mystery writer.


Highly enjoyable. Always like a bit of the cat and mouse game between detective and criminal.

Filippo Bossolino

Ho trovato curioso il fatto che in questo quinto episodio della saga Maigret, il commissario metta a rischio la propria carriera per salvare la vita ad un condannato a morte, in quanto da lui ritenuto non colpevole dei crimini per cui accusato. Fra l'altro arrestato da Maigret stesso. Ho trovato curioso questo aspetto soprattutto perché nel romanzo precedente Maigret si rende "colpevole" del suicidio di una persona… Ma al di là dei possibili confronti rispetto agli scritti anteriori, "Una testa in gioco" rimane un'altra perla di Simenon. La parte relativa al rapporto Maigret-Radek è di assoluta intensità psicologica; entrambi decisi a non mollare, impostano una guerra di nervi, in cui Maigret, chiaramente, esce vincitore alla distanza.

Ma'lis Wendt

This classic Simenon was the perfect read for a Paris vacation. The Inspector suspects that he has arrested the wrong man and so engineers his escape in order to locate his accomplices. Lots of Paris atmosphere and steady police work.

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