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Simenon and his Inspector

Le Commissaire Maigret
Police Judiciaire
36 Quai des Orfèvres

The Maigret Forum This is not a static website. It changes almost daily. The Maigret "Forum," an open bulletin board for notices, opinions, information and discussion related to Maigret and Simenon, has become the most active feature of this site. It's where new books, websites, articles and features are first announced and displayed, and includes an indexed archive of the entire past Forum... back to 1997!

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La Chope du Pont-Neuf: another hypothesis
12/19/15 – What if Simenon, in his novel Maigret [MAI], had actually given a different name to Maigret’s "favorite place"? And so, when he spoke of the Chief Inspector’s "old place", he was actually thinking of the Brasserie Dauphine? Two facts could support this hypothesis:
  1. If we look at the map, we note that if Maigret were installed at the Brasserie Dauphine, he could actually see, at the same time, the Samaritaine, the Pont-Neuf, and the staircase of the Palais de Justice. If he'd been sitting in the corner of the building, he could look out through two windows, one looking towards the Quai de l'Horloge, and one towards the Rue de Harlay. The only questionable point is, because of the angle of the buildings, whether from there he could actually see the door of the Dépôt at No. 3 Quai de l'Horloge... I'm afraid I’ll just have to go back to Paris to verify that point in situ!

  2. As mentioned above, it’s in the novel Maigret that this problematic placement occurs. Now in the novels of the Fayard period, strange as it may seem, the Brasserie Dauphine almost never appears. A brief inventory shows us that in Pietr le Letton [LET], the place is mentioned as "the restaurant Dauphine" (Maigret doesn’t go there... he only asks for them to deliver a meal to Anna Gorskine, who is, precisely, in a cell in the Dépôt). It’s mentioned under the name Brasserie Dauphine at the end of Le pendu de Saint-Pholien [PHO], when Maigret, accompanied by Lucas, goes there to swallow "six imitation absinthes" to drown his memories of the investigation at Liège. In La guinguette à deux sous [GUI], Maigret lunches at "Place Dauphine, in the little restaurant patronized by almost all the officers of the police". Is this the Brasserie, even though it’s not actually situated in the Place Dauphine, as shown in Peter Foord's study?

    And that’s it for the Fayard novels. We have to wait for the story Stan le tueur [sta] to find Maigret seated at the Brasserie Dauphine, and it won’t really become a familiar place until the novels of the Gallimard period, when Maigret has them send up sandwiches and beer, and then in the Presses de la Cité period, when the Chief Inspector begins to go there to quench his thirst, or for an apéritif, before settling in, later in the corpus, to more substantial meals (see here).

So, in conclusion, it wouldn’t really be too surprising if, in Maigret, the mythical brasserie became, under the – possibly distracted – pen of the author, a hypothetical Chope du Pont-Neuf... which, as we’ve previously noted, only appears this one time in the entire Maigret corpus (and which, furthermore, according to Michel Lemoine, in his Paris chez Simenon, was never mentioned in any other Simenon novel).

Unless Simenon had actually mixed up the two places, the Brasserie Dauphine and this Chope du Pont-Neuf, frequented, according to Michel Carly (in Maigret, traversées de Paris), by Chief Inspector Massu at No. 10, Rue Dauphine, who went there between two interrogations of Mestorino… The novelist could have then given us the location of one and the name of the other in Maigret - a novel written by the author when he had already decided to "turn the page". And so possibly he hadn’t worked so hard to adhere to a reality he no longer cared so much about... this detective series he'd intended to abandon.




A phenomenal author and his phenomenal character

Georges Simenon was by many standards the most successful author of the 20th century, and the character he created, Inspector Jules Maigret, who made him rich and famous, ranks only after Sherlock Holmes as the world's best known fictional detective. There is nothing commonplace about the life of Georges Simenon, and he and his works have been the subject of innumerable books and articles. The Maigret stories are unlike any other detective stories — the crime and the details of unraveling it are often less central to our interest than Maigret's journey through the discovery of the cast of characters... towards an understanding of man. Simenon said he was obsessed with a search for the "naked man" — man without his cultural protective coloration, and he followed his quest as much in the Maigrets as in his "hard" novels.

Although most of Simenon's work is available in English, it was originally written in French. Simenon was born and raised in Belgium, and while Paris was "the city" for him, the home of Maigret, he was 'an international,' a world traveler who moved often and lived for many years in France, the United States, and Switzerland.

Because he wrote in French, and for the most part lived in French-speaking countries, most of the books and magazine articles about him were written in French as well. Unlike his own books however, many of these have never been available in translation. Because Simenon lived to be nearly 90, and left a legacy of hundreds of books — from which more than 50 films have been made, along with hundreds of television episodes — there is much to collect, to examine, to display and discuss.

This site takes Maigret as its theme, and Simenon as its sub-theme. There is much here about all aspects of Simenon and Maigret, but not so much about Simenon's other, non-Maigret books. There are full texts of many magazine and journal articles, including many translated into English here, as far as I am aware, for the first time. In this way non-French-speaking Maigret fans can now share, in a time-compressed form, articles about Simenon and Maigret spanning more than 70 years, as well as a forum for discussion and contribution which...

Enough. There's a lot here. Enjoy your visit. Come back again, and feel free to contribute to the Forum. Corrections, comments, and suggestions are welcome.

Steve Trussel

Bibliography: booklists etc.

    This site, first opened on August 29, 1996 as "Inspector Maigret," has spread in various directions from its beginning as primarily a bibliography of editions in English. The "new look" reflects various aspects of this development, but the bibliography remains a central feature.
Counting Maigret: statistics etc.
    For the forty-year period from 1931 through 1972, a new Inspector Maigret investigation appeared at the average rate about 2.5 per year: 75 novels and 28 short stories, 103 episodes of what has been called George Simenon's "Maigret Saga."

Texts: Maigret on-line

    Full-length texts - reviews and articles about Maigret and Simenon, as well as new translations of stories, articles, (and even a novel!) which have never appeared in English.

    Index to the texts and articles on various pages.


    Articles from the Simenon symposiums, journals, program listings, and other not-Maigret-only Simenon material.

Gallery: Maigret covers and photos

    Maigret paperback covers, postage stamps, theme music, locations... more.


    Plots of all the Maigret novels and stories.

Shopping for Maigret: books on-line

    The one-button, quick-links to the main on-line book dealers are still available, for shopping for Maigret titles.

Maigret on Screen: films and videos

    Various aspects of Maigret on film and video.

Maigret on the Web: Links

    Links to the rest of the on-line world of Maigret on the Internet.
background photo: adapted from "Two models for Maigret,
Commissaires Massu and Guillaume.
" [Ph. Keystone]
"Quai des Orfèvres on the Cité Island at night" [Jean-Pierre Ducatez]

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