The Saint-Fiacre Affair

The Saint-Fiacre Affair by Georges Simenon; Translated by Shaun Whiteside Read Free Book Online

Book: The Saint-Fiacre Affair by Georges Simenon; Translated by Shaun Whiteside Read Free Book Online
Authors: Georges Simenon; Translated by Shaun Whiteside
have? …’
    â€˜Just a moment. Have you studied
     law?’
    â€˜For two years.’
    He tried to regain his composure and
     smile.
    â€˜No charges have been brought,
     nobody’s been caught in flagrante … So you have no right to …’
    â€˜Very good! Ten out of
     ten!’
    â€˜The doctor maintains that
      …’
    â€˜And I claim that the countess was
     killed by the most revolting sort of swine. Read this!’
    And Maigret held out the piece of
     printed paper. Suddenly quite stiff, Jean Métayer looked at his companion as if he
     was going to spit in his face.
    â€˜By the … What did you say? … I
     can’t allow you to …’
    And the inspector, gently resting his hand
     on his shoulder, said:
    â€˜But my dear boy, I haven’t
     said anything to
you
at all! Where’s the count? Go on reading. You
     can give me the paper later on …’
    A flame of triumph flared in
     Métayer’s eyes.
    â€˜The count is talking cheques with
     the estate manager! … You’ll find them in the library! …’
    The priest and the doctor walked ahead,
     and Maigret heard the doctor’s voice saying, ‘No, Father! It’s
     human! It’s more than human! If only you had studied a little physiology
     rather than poring over the writings of Saint Augustine …’
    And the gravel crunched under the feet
     of the four men who slowly climbed the steps, turned even harder and whiter by the
     cold.

4. Marie Vassiliev
    Maigret couldn’t be everywhere at
     once. The chateau was huge. That was why he could only have the most approximate
     idea of the morning’s events.
    It was the time of day when, on Sundays
     and holidays, country folk delay going home, savouring the pleasure of being in a
     group, in their best clothes, in the village square or at the café. Some of them
     were already drunk. Others were talking too loudly. And the children in their stiff
     clothes looked admiringly at their fathers.
    At the Château de Saint-Fiacre, Jean
     Métayer, looking sallow in the face, had gone all alone to the first floor, where he
     could be heard pacing back and forth in one of the rooms.
    â€˜If you’d like to come with
     me …’ the doctor said to the priest.
    And he led him towards the
     countess’s bedroom.
    On the ground floor, a wide corridor ran
     the length of the building, pierced by a row of doors. Maigret could hear the hum of
     voices. He had been told that the Count of Saint-Fiacre and the estate manager were
     in the library.
    He tried to go in, got the wrong door
     and found himself in the drawing room. The communicating door with the library was
     open. In a gilt-framed mirror he caught the image of a young man sitting on a corner
     of the desk,
looking overwhelmed, and the
     estate manager, standing foursquare on his short legs.
    â€˜You should have worked out that
     there was no point in pushing the matter!’ Gautier was saying.
     ‘Especially when forty thousand francs were involved!’
    â€˜Who answered my phone
     call?’
    â€˜Monsieur Jean, of
     course!’
    â€˜And he didn’t pass the
     message on to my mother!’
    Maigret coughed and stepped into the
     library.
    â€˜Which phone call are you talking
     about?’
    And Maurice de Saint-Fiacre replied,
     unabashed, ‘My call to the chateau the day before yesterday. As I’ve
     already told you, I needed money. I wanted to ask my mother for the necessary sum,
     but that … that … well, that Monsieur Jean, as they call him here, was the one I got
     through to …’
    â€˜And he told you there was nothing
     to be done? And you came anyway …’
    The estate manager observed the two men.
     Maurice had stepped away from the desk he was perched on.
    â€˜I didn’t take Gautier aside
     to talk about this, by

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