Georges Simenon's early (1931) Maigret novel The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien, has also had several other titles. These include The Crime of Inspector Maigret (sacre bleu!) and Maigret and the Hundred Gibbets. Personally, I'd have been inclined to call it simply The Hanged Man, as the new title is a bit of a mouthful, but perhaps the shorter version didn't seem distinctive enough.
The version I read was the translation from 2014 by Linda Coverdale, published by Penguin. The translation struck me as exceptionally readable and gripping, and credit must go to Coverdale as well as to Simenon. In my youth, I found some of the translations of Simenon that I read rather drab, but the more recent ones that I've come across are more appealing. Perhaps, also, I've become more interested in Simenon as I've got older. Despite his huge popularity, he is, for some, an acquired taste.
In this book, Maigret is working in Belgium when he sees a poorly dressed man posting a large number of banknotes to an address in Paris. Intrigued, the detective follows the man and - extraordinarily but somehow characteristically - switches the suitcase the man is carrying for another. This crucial plot development, unlikely yet arresting, seems to me to typify Simenon.
The man discovers the switch and promptly commits suicide. Even Maigret's customary calm is slightly ruffled by this shocking development. So what was in the man's suitcase - a fortune in banknotes? No, an old, bloodstained suit. What on earth is going on?
As Maigret follows a strange trail, and risks his life on more than one occasion, he comes across an odd group of individuals linked together by past events. Like all the other Maigret novels I've read, this is a short, snappy book, and it's probably the Maigret that I've most enjoyed reading. Maigret's actions are sometimes improbable, but Simenon's gift is to make them seem psychologically plausible. The same goes for the behaviour of the other characters in this entertaining story.