The scene is a house on the Normandy coast belonging to an 82-year-old ex-Premier of France, one of the grand old men of the European statesmanship; the time is the days when France had prime ministers who counted (however frequently they changed). The Premier sits in his famous Louis-Philippe armchair on a stormy night, ministered to by a nurse who maddens him with her attention, a secretary, two maids, and a chaffer-manservant whose amorous adventures amuse the old man. Police guard the house.
France is in one of its crisis, without a government, and the Premier has just heard on the wireless that a certain Chalamont has been asked to lead a coalition but has declined to give his decision till the next day. Interviewed, Chalamont seems nervous and apprehensive and the old Premier listens with sardonic satisfaction, for he alone knows the reason why.
He alone knows, and has a signed paper concerning, an episode in the past which could dash all Chalamont's hopes of the most powerful office in the French Republic. This and other incriminating documents are hidden between the leaves of books in the Premier's library. The Premier knows that his books have been searched, for he has often found them disarranged. The press knows of the enmity between him and Chalamont. Chalamont is even asked if he intends to spend his night of decision 'on the road'; and the Premier sits up late in to the night, wondering if Chalamont will come to parley with him.
By the time morning comes, both the Premier's suspense and the readers' are resolved to a quiet, convincing close; and Simenon has once again created a full, real character with classical economy of means, and shown an unsuspected mastery of the working of political intrigue.
Near-fine first edition with slight bumping to top back corner. In a near-fine unclipped jacket with some light wear/chipping to edges.
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