Inspector Maigret is meant to be taking a holiday, but he can't resist following the development of his colleague Janvier's case in the papers - and playing a few tricks on the way. Standing here at the window in the middle of the morning, vaguely observing the comings and goings in the street, he had a feeling that reminded of certain days in his childhood, when his mother was still alive and he was off school because he had the 'flu or it was the end of term. It was the feeling of finding out 'what went on when he wasn't there'. Penguin is publishing the entire series of Maigret novels in new translations. This novel has been published in a previous translation as Maigret's Little Joke.'His artistry is supreme' John Banville'One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century... Simenon was unequalled at making us look inside, though the ability was masked by his brilliance at absorbing us obsessively in his stories' Guardian'.