With almost any other writer, ""on the Riviera"" would mean a mystery framed with sunshine and glamour, beaches and champagne. With Simenon, however, there's sure to be a gloomy, seedy bar around--and, indeed, Inspector Maigret, on special assignment, manages to find himself investigating in the Riviera's drabbest, grimmest neighborhoods. An Australian expatriate named William Brown has been found stabbed to death at his rundown Cap d'Antibes villa. The obvious suspects: his live-in mistress and her mother--who tried to hide the body and were caught in a clumsy attempt to flee. But Maigret concentrates on the dead man's past--he abandoned a family and a big wool business decades before--and on his habitual binges: once a month he would collect his ""allowance"" check and disappear for a week of boozing in Cannes. Where? At a sleepy, near-empty bar run by fat, boozy, maternal Madame Jaja, who--along with naive young prostitute Sylvie--offered middle-aged Mr. Brown a comfy, seemingly asexual, familial embrace. But did Jaja, Sylvie, or Sylvie's pimp have something to do with Mr. Brown's demise? Were they in league with Brown's sleek estranged son, who wanted his father to renounce all rights in the family business? Maigret--even more low-key than usual, thanks to the infectious Riviera laziness--manages to find out, but mostly by just asking a few questions. . .and waiting patiently for the pathetic suspects to break down. Small-scale sleuthing, even by Simenon standards, but quietly satisfying and thickly atmospheric.