Books: The New Mysteries

INSPECTOR MAIGRET AND THE DEAD GIRL, by Georges Simenon (192 pp.; Crime Club; $2.75). The battered body of a young virgin, dressed in a cheap, rented evening gown, is found on a dark Paris street. That is all the inspector knows when he begins to collect the clues to an obscure, unhappy life. Until the last few wildly improbable pages it is medium-good Simenon, as fascinating as a real-life case because of painstaking police detail.

STAB IN THE DARK, by Joe Rayfer (218 pp.; Morrow; $2.75), makes excessive wickedness seem just about as dull...

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