Two back to back short novels by one of the fiction wonders of the twentieth century. Anybody who's written as many books as the prolific Simenon should be liable to the diminishing categorization of ""competent back."" The yardstick and the term doesn't apply in his case (see his most recent, bestselling The Little Saint, 1965, p. 855). The Premier is an elderly retired VIP, with health so fragile he lives in a state that borders on suspended animation; his mental health is in a state of barely suppressed animosity. He's got the goods on all his successors. He knows where all their bodies are buried; they aren't sure where he's hidden his notes. The man who once controlled the circumstances of his part of the free world is now the potential victim of his keepers. Simenon seizes on the minutiae of a rigid routine to show power running out at its source. The Train exposes another kind of victim. Marcel, an inhibited radio repairman leading a conscientiously conventional life, has a brief interlude of total freedom from normal circumstances. In fleeing South after the invasion of the Nazis, he is separated from his wife and child and becomes the forceful, decisive protector of a refugee Czech Jewess, Anna, during a chance encounter on the getaway train. Simenon sandwiches this manifestation of Marcel between two glimpses of Marcel chained to rigidly conservative French family life. Valid psychology, and the usual masterful storytelling.