Top critical review
Not the strongest book in the Maigret series
on 3 October 2011
"Lock 14" is one of the earliest Maigret titles - one of several that Simenon rattled off in 1931. The plot brings together some of Simenon's own loves in life - waterways and boats, and the atmosphere of life led in this environment is well-drawn. Naturally, it all feels very removed from our own sense of modern living, but the emotions that drive the characters to act as they do are certainly contemporary.
This early title in the series suffers in some part from the translation, which is odd in places and a little jumbled when some of the characters use extended passages of dialogue. Very much a formative story in the series, Maigret is a well-drawn and canny detective, but not yet the mature and sympathetic man he became in the later stories. But even at this early stage in his writing career, Simenon shows a masterful sense of economy with words, creating mood and atmosphere in a few well-chosen sentences. It was a style he would perfect in later books.