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


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.


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


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.


A comparatively disappointing outing for Maigret after the high quality of the last two books. Simenon continues his exploration of Paris life but in a manner less convincing, or compelling than his recently published books. The conceit behind the opening two chapters of the book is surprising and the reader looks forward to a fresh insight in the ways in which Maigret himself, as opposed to the system in which he works, comes to conclusions as to guilt and innocence. Unfortunately that opening promises more than the book delivers.Like almost all Simenons this book is worth reading if only for the detailed and loving portrait of the different ways that Parisians of different classes live their lives although it does not rate among the “must reads” or even more so, the “must rereads” of the Maigret books.


This book is unusual for the Maigret series. It is one of those plots which hinges on an 'evil maladjusted genius'. This is clear from almost the very beginning of the book. Rather than suspense, there is a lot of tension until at last the conclusion is reached. Essentially there's a lot of information given at the beginning, and then a lot of information given at the end... in the middle one basically reads and waits. In short, not the most enjoyable of the Maigret books, for me at least. Still, it is well written as most of them are.


Perhaps I just wasn't in the right frame of mind for a mystery, but I found this book to be terribly dull. It was rather obvious who was behind the murder, but it didn't matter because I didn't care. Thank goodness this was only 150 pages long!


Good little pocket-sized Inspector Maigret mystery to read on the train. As good as any of the other Maigret mysteries.

Jason Paulios

Definitely wouldn't have seen this ending coming, one of his darkest and most psychologically complicated Maigret stories that I've read. Most are pretty slick and good enough to just keep reading one after another, this one actually made me stop and think afterwards.


Another strong entry in Simenon's Maigret series. I like how Simenon structured the start of the story, pushing us into a narrative that has been running for quite some time.

Jason Reeser

The first Maigret book I've read, and it was excellent. The atmosphere, the characters, the Paris backdrop, all of it just perfect. The mystery itself was great. As other people have said, a real mix of the Chandler-like noir with Sherlock Holmes. I wasn't sure what that meant when I started it, but it is the perfect description. I want to read more of Simenon. I wish there was a collection for Kindle. I'll have to save my money.


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...


Annoying translation - too, many, commas.

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.

Owain Lewis

This is the first Simenon I've read so I have no idea how it compares to the other 50+ of the Maigret books - Penguin thought it good enough to publish it as a modern classic so I'm guessing it is seen as an important work with in the detective fiction genre - but I found it a pretty solid piece of work. A little too straight forward for my taste in that it's all about catching the killer - I much prefer it when things start to meander a bit - but as it's set in 1920s Paris, it's misty streets, high class cocktail bars and rundown riverside taverns beautifully invoked by someone who lived during the time, I couldn't help but be drawn in. Great title too, one whose meaning changes as you read.


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.

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