Assuredly Inspector Maigret's wife Louise is less inclined to culinary ostentation than Fritz Brenner, Nero Wolfe's cook who is partial to squirrel and starlings, truffles and champagne (The Nero Wolfe Cookbook, 1973). Still, we wonder if Tete de Veau a la Sainte Menehould is all that accessible to the American housewife who may find the directions--""place half a calf's head under cold running water for an hour. This will rid it of its blood. . .""--a trifle alarming. The goose fat used to saute tomatos may also be difficult to obtain. You'll wonder how Courtine could say of Inspector Maigret that ""sophisticated cuisine has no appeal for him"" since even the simplest recipes here--grilled red mullet, roast chicken, lamb kidneys in Madeira--are exacting and time-consuming. Courtine contributes a few words at the end of each recipe on garnishes, sauces, side dishes and the wine of Monsieur Maigret's choice. A fine gift book for your uncle Jacques, the gastronome.