Superintendent Maigret is called out in the middle of a cold winter night to the Bois de Boulogne, where a savagely bludgeoned corpse has been dumped in the woods. While the Public Prosecutor's department dismisses the violent crime as part of an underworld vendetta, Maigret refuses to drop the case. He has recognized the body as that of Honor Cuendet, a likeable burglar he had encountered several times before, and he knows he was never a gangster.
Despite orders from his superiors to concentrate on catching the notorious Fernand gang, and with only a couple of wildcat hairs on the dead man's clothes as clues, the determined Maigret continues to investigate the murder - even though he knows the killer may never be brought to justice . . .