Maigret Has Doubts was first published as Vue Confidence de Maigret in 1959, and was translated into English by Lyn Moir. Doctor Pardon, Maigret's old friend, confides the details of one of his cases after he has entertained the Maigrets to a dinner in his apartment. It is the story of a dying Polish tailor whom he cannot save. Pardon is more concerned about the man's hysterical wife, needlessly as it turns out. Maigret understands. In turn he tells Pardon about one of his own cases, something he rarely does with anyone. The story is told in flashback, as the two men drink and smoke after their dinner. It was the story of Adrien Josset, a pharmaceutical firm executive accused of the savage murder of his wife.
The law of criminal procedure has recently been changed, and Maigret makes no secret of his regret at the loss of autonomy he has consequently experienced. Cases are now completely in the hands of the examining magistrate, who controls whatever evidence the police uncover. This is particularly uncongenial for Maigret, who likes to question and understand the background of everyone involved with his cases before making up his mind what to do. Slowly, he begins to form his impression of Josset, and it is not unfavourable. Then a malicious witness sends a letter to the newspapers, and the story is eventually tried and judged by journalists, who inflame public opinion. Everyone believes Josset is guilty long before his trial. The examining magistrate is under pressure to achieve a quick conviction, and his instructions to Maigret end up suppressing a lot of inconvenient evidence.
The book provides a convincing portrait of Josset and his world. He was a man who achieved good fortune by luck rather than his own efforts, who unfortunately comes across in the newspapers as a bit of a gigolo. Maigret of course finds a lot more than such a stereotype. But his hands are tied. He cannot save Josset. There is no resolution to the story. Even the rumours concerning someone who could be the real killer are not substantiated. The real tragedy for Maigret is that the man was not adequately tried. His guilt is still, at least in Maigret's mind, undecided. He has doubts.