New translations of the Maigret books that are wonderful reminders of what a great writer Simenon is. The one on Maigret is Afraid is translated by Ros Schwartz The book is short and quickly read; paragraphs are often a sentence; and yet what emerges is a vivid portrait of complex society and a complex depiction of people, their lives, their relations, their thought of themselves and others, how others see them. There are sketches that are all the more vivid for being but sketches: class tensions at boiling point in a post war provincial village; the schoolteacher all too eager to join in every leftist cause; how the smell of a room unfurls and alters through memory; a young immigrant barely twenty and with a will to live almost extinguish by an already long history of various kinds of abuses, including sexual; the meaning of the things people don´t tell each other. Simenon´s sketches leave lines for the reader to read between. It´s all structured as a mystery, one that barely gets resolved before Maigret moves onto the next one. But what remains, vividly and in textured form, is a rich evocation of people and place at a particular time.