Following an anonymous tip-off, human teeth are found in the incinerator of a bookbinder in Paris. It’s puzzling given that the bookbinder and his wife spend all of their time together and that the victim remains unidentified.
To complicate matters further, and to add sprinkles to the icing on the cake, Madame Maigret becomes directly involved. While waiting for a dental appointment, a woman she has befriended on the square disappears to leave Maigret’s wife in charge of a child. Following on from this event, Mme Maigret plays detective for a while and her close observational skills are crucial in finally cracking the case.
A further layer of complication is added by an ambitious young defence lawyer who is publicly taunting Maigret about his investigation and another still in the way Jules handles a wet-behind-the-ears detective with almost paternal kid gloves.
Put all of this together and you have a recipe that’s entirely successful.