19 MAY 1961, Page 28

The Premier and Maigret in Court. BY Simenon. (Hamish Hamilton,

12s. 6d. each.) The one is little more than a character sketch of aII ageing—indeed, a dying—French politician, de- termined that his obvious successor shall not, in fact, succeed, and cherishing the papers that would ruin him. In the other, Maigret watches, in court, an accused man slip through the meshes of circumstantial evidence, and then en- courages him to go beyond the law and kill the killer. The Simenon cult is all very well, but these conies are thin indeed, and I 2s. 6d. is a lot to pay for fewer than a couple of hundred paid of extremely big type: the two tales together would have made no more than a reasonable fifteen shillings' worth. Full marks, though, for uncommonly effective jacket designs, by Young', man Carter—one of them after Daumier, who would have been just the illustrator for Simenon.