Pietr the Latvian
by Georges Simenon (A. Fayard, 1931); audiobook read by Gareth Armstrong (Bolinda, 2015); trans. David Bellos.
Inspector Maigret makes his presence felt throughout this first novel, establishing the physically imposing, somewhat misanthropic character who would feature in seventy-five books. His investigation, however, rattles along like an out-of-control train, the reader trapped inside and kept largely in the dark.