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Maigret Forum Archives 2006

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The Simenon novel The Ostendeers (Le Clan des Ostendais)
1/1/06 – The Ostendeers (Le Clan des Ostendais) is listed by Peter Foord, Maigret and World War II, (11/15/04), as one of the few Simenon novels with references to the Second World War.
As far as my research took me, the English translation has only been published once, in a 1952 hardback "Routledge & Kegan Paul" edition with the title The House by the Canal (THBTC). The book contains two novels: THBTC and The Ostendeers.
A search for The Ostendeers would most likely come up with no finds. Anyone trying to find it should instead search for THBTC.

Juan

New Year's in Paris
1/1/06 – Because of a very cheap fare on the Thalys high speed train, I decided to see in the New Year in Paris. I arrived with just less than one hour of 2005 remaining and used that time to get from the Gare du Nord (North Station) to the Sacré Coeur basilica. This large church is at the highest point in Paris and has a panorama over a large part of the City of Light.. I thought it would be an excellent place to watch the fireworks from. I knew in advance the Eiffel Tower and the Tour Montparnasse would not be open, so this seemed to be the best place in town for an overlook. To make this even more interesting, most of the RATP Métro (Paris Transport Subway/Underground), RER (Regional Express Network of surburban trains), the Noctillian network of night buses, and SNCF (French National Railways) local trains would be operating all night long and better yet for free. Well, as a member of several groups interested in transport, I couldn''t turn down an offer like that, could I?
Anyway, there was no huge fireworks display that was visible from the Butte de Montmarte. Don't think that there were no fireworks as many people brought their own and set them off to liven things up. After a while I decided to check out the area around the Arc de Triomphe. I caught the last funicular (steeply inclined) car down to the rest of Paris and took the Métro to my next destination. By now it was past 1 AM and I was surprized to see a lot of police in the Etoile station. That was nothing compared to the huge number that were on the surface. I was amazed to see a fleet of police buses partly encircling the Arc! Vehicle traffic through the rond point (traffic circle/roundabout) was greatly curtailed and the Champs Elysées itself, the main street of Paris, had become closed to all but emergency vehicles. I suppose that part of the reason for the huge show of force was the huge number of empty and broken glass bottles that littered the street and sidewalks. They must have been abandoned on the spot as they became devoid of their contents. I did see a few people that had too much to drink, but considering the size of the crowds, it wasn't all that many. After taking all of this in for a while, I walked to the F. D. Roosevelt Métro station, en route to the Gare de Lyon. I think I should have found another way to get there. The festive crowds made a typical Paris rush hour look pretty mild by comparison. I must add that I did enjoy walking right down the middle of the Champs Elysées, something that would be suicidal at any other time.
From the Gare de Lyon I took the night bus line N31 to Juvisy. This is where Louis Thouret lived with his wife and daughter in Maigret and the Man on the Bench. The bus ride took almost an hour and a half even though we left just before 3 AM. The bus was standing room only for most of the trip even though the service was running every ten minutes that night, triple the normal frequency. We never really left the greater Paris area and the only way to tell that you had entered another town was the city limits signs. Although this part of Paris had not been affected by the recent riots there, some of the landscape looked like a recent battle zone with many run down and seemingly abandoned buildings. Juvisy itself was not very much better, or at least the part of it that I saw. Just outside the station was a town map with an index of street names on it. There was no rue des Peupilers on the list, so Simenon must have made up the name of the street that the Thouret family lived on. He also gave the town a much more rural and much less developed character than it has today, with the Thouret's house being part of a new and still unfinished subdivision. After learning that the street didn't exist, I found no reason to ever return to Juvisy in the future as there would be nothing for me to find and photograph. Anyway, I decided to wait just over half an hour for the next RER train back to Paris rather than repeat my bus trip in the opposite direction. It was getting on toward six AM when I arrived back at the Arc de Triomphe. The Champs Elysées was back to being a regular street again and after a few minutes I returned to the Gare du Nord. After a little over an hour's wait, my train left for Bruxelles.
I suppose that's a bit of a different way to spend New Year's Eve. I was overdressed as the temperatures were quite mild for the time and place and never once wore any or all of the three pair of gloves that I brought with me and had to remove one of my two sweatshirts. I was also wearing a brand new Paris Métro T-Shirt, bought in November. It was bright yellow and had the Circle-M symbol in bright blue. My next visit to Paris will be to celebrate Friday the Thirteenth. I'll be staying that night at the Hostel Square Caulaincourt, almost next door to what's now called le Cépage de Montmartois (my spelling may not be correct) and was known by Simenon as Chez Manière back in the day. This is located at 65 rue Caulaincourt, right next to the famous number 67. Chez Manière was mentioned in several of the Maigrets as being beside the stairs that led up from the place Constantine Pecquer. That is the location of a heating suply firm today. To my knowledge, it was always located at number 65, rue Caulaincourt. Simenon himself drank there on a number of occations, usually when his first wife was trying to see some of her paintings at the painters' market on the Square Constantine Pecquer. Depending on where he chose to cross the street, he probably passed directly in front of the door to number 67 any number of times. By the way, there's a small and seemingly cheap hotel at number 44, boulevard Richard-Lenoir. This is diagonally opposite where I believed that the Maigrets lived. Someday I'll spend a night there as well. I will NOT be staying in the Hotel Beauséjour at the foot of the rue Lepic even if it was mentioned in two or three different Maigret stories. The place is a dump.

HAPPY NEW YEAR from Joe

MaigEn? C'est magnifique!
1/1/06 – Happy New Year! I can tell you why nobody has mentioned MaigEn to you yet – we're all stupefied in awe at the colossal magnitude of the project and at the consummate skill with which you've carried it through. That's my excuse, anyway. Thank you mille fois for this priceless resource of Simenon-Maigret scholarship and thanks again for the wonderful site.
All the best to you for 2006!

John H. Dirckx

MaigEn
1/1/06 – Thanks for this, it will save a lot of cross-checking and help my (failing!) memory.
Best wishes for the New Year

Roddy

Rupert Davies Series Oddity
1/1/06 – Am I the only one to have noticed this little oddity in the Rupert Davies series of Maigret TV programs?
Inspector Lucas was played by Ewen Solan
Inspector Torrence was played by Victor Lucas.
Does anyone else know of something like this happening elsewhere in Maigret, where an actor's name is also a charachter's name?

Joe

MaigEn
1/1/06 – Felicitations for all the work you put in the MaigEn ! I am amazed by the result and all the information it contains.
Thanks again, it will prove very usefull to all.

Regards,
Jerome

Constantin-Pecqueur
1/2/06 – Oz Childs was wondering who the Place Constantin-Pecqueur (18th arrondissement) was named after (12/31/05). It is Constantin-Pecqueur (1801-1887) an influential socialist economist. More information can be obtained by referring to his name on the Internet.

A Happy and successful 2006,
Regards,
Peter

Hotel Beauséjour, rue Lepic
1/2/06 – The third chapter of Madame Maigret's Own Case is entitled "A Shady Hotel on Rue Lepic". This refers to the Hotel Beauséjour and Maigret interviews the desk clerk for a good part of the chapter. I'm rather surprised that there was no apparent negative feedback form the Beauséjour's owners over this. On the other hand, the comment was probably correct. It certainly is correct in this day and age.

MaigEn
How may hundreds, or thousands, of hours did it take you to make the MaigEn? It's really very helpful and even amazing. It's great to have a single source for all of the people and places mentioned in the Maigret series. THANKS!!!

Regards,
Joe

Miscellany...
1/4/06 –
Inspector Cadaver
The Penguin edition I referred to below was published in 2003. It comprises the translation by Helen Thomson first published as Maigret's Rival by Hamish Hamilton in 1979, "with minor revisions and a new introduction". So I have answered my own question!
I wonder if Peter Foord has any comments on the translation?

Prefaces
My Penguin edition of Inspector Cadaver (a recent edition -- were there any earlier translations?) has a preface by Paul Bailey. I haven't read it yet in case it spoils the book for me but I will report back on it later.

Best Maigret actor?
In The Guardian today (04.01.2006), its legal correspondent Marcel Berlins, who is half-French, half-English, reports that he watched a recent film adaptation of a Maigret story (no details, but surely one from the Bruno Cremer series) and was moved to wonder why the best Maigret of all was the Englishman, Rupert Davies.

1/3/06 –
Félicie est là
Although I enjoyed Félicie est là, it was spoiled for me by the unbelievable coincidence of Maigret and Félicie going to the same restaurant as the man, a complete stranger, into whose pocket Félicie had slipped a gun on the Metro. It is the most egregious coincidence I have ever read in a detective story, and unworthy of Simenon.

Book Review: Jacquot and the Waterman by Martin O'Brien
A review from a site I have not seen before, of a book which sounds interesting.

Roddy

Commissaire Guillaume's Memoirs

 

A new book on Commissioner Guillaume – his memoirs, available at Amazon.fr... (in French).


1/7/06 –
Marcel Guillaume (1872-1963), commissaire de police en 1913, promu divisionnaire en 1928, fut, entre 1930 et 1937, le chef de la fameuse "brigade spéciale" au 36, quai des Orfèvres.

Dernier grand représentant des flics de la "vieille école", Marcel Guillaume fut le policier le plus célèbre de l'entre-deux guerres. Il inspira à Georges Simenon le personnage du commissaire Maigret. Inédites sous forme de livre, les Grandes enquêtes du commissaire Guillaume constituent des mémoires passionnants. En fin psychologue, dans un style haletant, il raconte sa traque de la bande à Bonnot, les crimes passionnels et crapuleux de son temps, sonde l'âme mystérieuse de Landru –le seul meurtrier qui parvint à lui faire baisser les yeux–, confesse Violette Nozières et l'assassin fou du Président Doumer, dévoile les secrets de l'affaire Stavisky. Le commissaire Marcel Guillaume n'hésite pas à faire part de ses états d'âme, doutes et convictions. Il invite le lecteur à participer à ses enquêtes et apporte un soin particulier à décrire l'ambiance des interrogatoires dans son bureau du 36, quai des Orfèvres. Une atmosphère digne des meilleurs Maigret !

Marcel Guillaume (1872-1963), Commissioner of Police in 1913, promoted to Divisionnaire in 1928, was, between 1930 and 1937, the chief of the famous "special brigade" at 36 Quai des Orfèvres

The last great representative of the police of the "old school", Marcel Guillaume was the most famous policeman of the period between the two world wars. He inspired Georges Simenon's Commissioner Maigret. Previously unpublished in book form, The Great Cases of Commissioner Guillaume are fascinating memoirs. Like a psychologist, in breathless style, he tells of tracking the Bonnot gang, of the passionate and sordid crimes of his time, probes the mysterious soul of Landru – the only murderer who succeeded in making him lower his eyes – elicits the confession of Violet Nozières and the mad assassin of President Doumer, unveils the secrets of the Stavisky affair... Commissioner Marcel Guillaume doesn't hesitate to share his moods, doubts and convictions. He invites the reader to participate in his investigations and takes particular care to describe the ambiance of cross-examinations in his office at 36 Quai des Orfèvres – an atmosphere worthy of the best Maigrets!

Jerome

Maigret's French TV debut in Télé - 7 jours - 1967
1/08/06 –
Télé - 7 jours
October 14-20, 1967
N° 395, pp 22-23, 28-29

Simenon has taught
Jean Richard
how Maigret
should be played

Janine BRILLET

 
original French

A few interesting things in this almost-40-year-old Télé article – in addition to the fact of Jean Richard's Maigret debut – (he went on to star in about 90 episodes, the current record) – Brillet writes that "Danes, Norwegians, Swedes ... all have their own Maigret" and that Jean Richard is "Maigret's nineteenth interpreter". Just a week or so ago I put up here the photos of 25 Maigrets (of the 26 found so far), but I'm somehow surprised that she could so positively state that Richard was the 19th... Who was the Scandinavian TV Maigret?
ST

Maigret of the Month: L’Inspecteur Cadavre (Maigret’s Rival)
1/08/06 –

Ten months separate the writing of the two Maigret novels, Félicie est là (Maigret and the Toy Village) in May 1942 and L’Inspecteur Cadavre (Maigret’s Rival) in March 1943. Between these two novels, Simenon wrote the novel La Fenêtre des Rouet (Across the Street) and finished the third and final part of his longest novel Pedigree.
The two Maigret novels are very different in tone, atmosphere and character. Located a few kilometres west of Paris, and although a murder has taken place, Maigret and the Toy Village is much lighter and fresher in tone, revolving mainly around the tussle of wills between the determined twenty-four year old Félicie and Maigret. The setting, in springtime, is on an estate in the process of being built, which will establish a community in the course of time. By contrast, Maigret’s Rival is darker, sinister and more complex, set in January in a village of the Vendée region of France with a well established and engrained rural way of life.
During the Second World War, Simenon was living in various properties in the south west of France. In June 1940, France was partitioned into the Occupied Zone (the north, with an area down the west side of the country as far as Spain) and the Unoccupied Zone (the south, just north of Vichy to the Mediterranean). In October 1942 Simenon was hoping to move into the Free Zone, perhaps to go as far as the Island of Porquerolles off the coast of the Riviera, but the Zone was taken over by the Occupying forces and so he had to make other plans. He, his wife Tigy, their young son and Boule moved the forty kilometres from Fontenay-le-Comte (Vendée) to a rented villa in the village of Saint-Mesmin-le-Vieux in the same département, about mid-way along the route between Pouzauge (Vendée) and Cerizay (Deux-Sèvres). The villa had a very large garden in which Simenon planted vegetables, even tobacco. There were fruit trees and space for a variety of livestock so that they could become self sufficient as they were to remain there until the end of the war.
It was in Saint-Mesmin-le-Vieux that the author finished the novel Pedigree, then wrote Maigret’s Rival, as well as five other novels. During 1944, he contracted pleurisy and convalescing on the coast at Les Sables d’Olonne managed to write only four short stories early in 1945. L’Inspecteur Cadavre (Maigret’s Rival) was the only Maigret work that he produced during this period.
From the outset of this novel, Simenon, in his own succinct way, describes the atmosphere of the Vendée landscape in January, as Maigret travels by the local train to the village of Saint-Aubin-les-Marais.
[Simenon has invented the location of this village exactly twenty-two kilometres from Fontenay-le-Comte (Vendée) in the direction of Niort (Deux-Sèvres). This places it between Benet (Vendée) and the border with the département of Deux-Sèvres, not far from the area know as the Marais Vendée].


A section of a map that shows the area between Niort and Fontenay-le-Comte. Simenon positions the village of Saint-Aubin-les-Marais between Benet (Vendée) and the border with the département of Deux-Sèvres. (Michelin Motoring Atlas: France, London, Paul Hamlyn, 1990).

Earlier in Paris, Victor Bréjon, an Examining Magistrate, had requested Maigret to investigate, unofficially, the situation concerning Étienne Naud, Bréjon’s brother-in-law, who was living in Saint-Aubin-le-Marais. Recently in that area, the body of a local lad had been found on the railway line and all sorts of rumours were circulating in the village.
Whilst on the train, Maigret recognises a fellow passenger, Justin Cavre, a former Inspector with the Police Judiciaire in Paris (who was nicknamed L’Inspecteur Cadavre), now a private investigator. Maigret is curious as to why Cavre has journeyed to the same village as himself, and for a while Maigret and Cavre seem to be playing a cat and mouse game as later they interview, independently, various people in the village.
Maigret is met at the station by Étienne Naud who invites him to be a guest at his home, and almost at once Maigret senses the ponderous atmosphere that seems to envelope the household. This mood is not alleviated when he goes elsewhere to talk to other people. He soon discovers that there are certain factions within the community expressing views or hinting, some remaining silent, whilst others wanting the situation to fade from sight.
With hostility towards him and being very much aware that he is acting in an unofficial capacity without his usual colleagues to assist him, Maigret wonders why he is there and considers seriously abandoning the enquiry and returning to Paris.
The only person that shows an open interest is the lad Albert Fillon who was a friend of the victim. At least he is willing to help Maigret with his enquiries, so Maigret continues, discerning a situation involving deception and manipulation.
The English translation was first published in hardback format by Hamish Hamilton in the UK in 1979 and by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in the USA in1980 under the title of Maigret’s Rival. The translator is Helen Thomson who follows Simenon’s French text closely. Roddy (1/4/06) refers to the Penguin paperback edition that was published in 2003, but under the title of Inspector Cadaver. To commemorate the centenary of the birth of Georges Simenon in 2003, a number of reprints were published. Many of these had different overall titles and a new introduction. All the Penguin Maigret titles reissued during 2003 and 2004 have minor revisions to the translations. This is stated on the reverse of the title page, but no names are credited. The exception is with the translation of The Madman of Bergerac where the revisions are more extensive, and The Bar on the Seine, which receives a new translation. The minor revisions to the Penguin edition of Inspector Cadaver seems to consist of exchanging certain capital letters for lower case ones, unless I have missed some other changes.

Peter Foord
UK


see also: Inspector Cadaver at de Croock's Maigret-in-France

Maigret on
1/09/06 –

A Maigret next Friday on France 2 – it is based on Le fou de Bergerac even if the action takes places in Lorraine:

Origine : Fra - Blg - Sui. (2001) Stéréo.
Scénario : Pierre Granier-Deferre et Michel Grisolia.
Musique : Laurent Petitgirard.
Réalisation : Claudio Tonetti.
Distribution : Bruno Crémer (le commissaire Maigret), Alexandre Brasseur (Paul Lachenal), Philippe Magnan (le docteur Rivaud), Chrystelle Labaude (Janine).
Date : 13/01/2006
Horaire : 20H55 - 22H35
Durée : 99 mn
Showview : 7805955.

Le commissaire Maigret rêve de quelques jours de vacances bien méritées à Strasbourg, où il accompagne son épouse. Malheureusement, quelques personnes mal intentionnées ont décidé de bouleverser ses plans. Alors qu'il a remarqué le comportement suspect d'un passager, Maigret se retrouve éjecté du train dans lequel il voyageait, après avoir été violenté par le mystérieux inconnu. Immobilisé dans une petite clinique de Lorraine avec quelques foulures, il apprend que la ville où il est contraint de résider vit dans la peur. Deux assassinats et une tentative de meurtre font craindre le pire aux autorités locales.Commissioner Maigret is dreaming of some days of well-deserved vacation in Strasbourg, where he is going with his wife. Unfortunately, some ill-intentioned people have decided to disturb his plans. Noticing the suspicious behavior of a passenger, Maigret finds himself ejected from the train, after have been assaulted by the mysterious stranger. Immobilized in a small Lorraine clinic with some sprains, he learns that the city where he is forced to reside is living in fear. Two murders and an attempted murder have the local authorities fearing for the worst...

Jerome

New posters from Dominique Bauduinet
1/08/06 –
Dominique Bauduinet has just sent a few more great scans from his Simenon poster collection – including this one, from Les Caves du Majestic (with Albert Prejean as Maigret). Isn't it a beauty!

If you look over the posters section you'll see many of his, as it was his collection that started off the poster pages four years ago.

Dominique is offering a set of 34 original Simenon movie posters – duplicates from his collection – for 7500€. If you're interested, email him: Dominique Bauduinet.

ST

La Tête d'un homme edition
1/11/06 –
I recently bought this book. It is an abridged version of La Tete d'un homme with a vocabulary in French/Flemish [© 1971].
Carl

Un commissaire d'avant la police scientifique
1/11/06 – Here's a review of the Guillaume book from today's Le Monde:

Il y a du point d'exclamation dans ce livre-là. De la passion, du verbe haut. Et des voitures pétaradantes à 60 km/h, des policiers tout en cravate et en intuitions, un Paris à moins de 10 étages, des bandits pas manchots mais cruels à l'occasion, voire fous. Il y a, aussi, les grandes pages de l'histoire criminelle de la France des années 1920 et 1930, qu'on imagine à tort en noir et blanc. Pour la première fois viennent de paraître les Mémoires complets du commissaire Guillaume, publiés au printemps 1937 sous forme de feuilleton dans le grand quotidien Paris-Soir. Pour tout dire, l'homme qui a inspiré Georges Simenon pour donner corps au personnage de Maigret.

Dans une préface bienvenue, l'historien Laurent Joly retrace le parcours de ce policier hors norme, à la fois charismatique et très chrétien, homme de terrain et de médias, qui a fasciné le romancier. Marcel Guillaume (1872-1963) était d'origine modeste et s'en flattait. Le mérite serait donc son moteur, sa morale. En 1919, il arrivait au prestigieux numéro 36 du quai des Orfèvres. Pendant une dizaine d'années, il a planché sur des histoires de vols et d'escroqueries, avant d'être promu commissaire divisionnaire en 1928. Entre 1930 et 1937, il dirigea la brigade spéciale du 36. Ses plus fameuses affaires lui valurent les gros titres de la presse populaire : la liquidation en 1912 de la bande à Bonnot, puis le dossier Prince en 1934, dans le cadre de l'affaire Stavisky. Il y eut aussi l'assassin des femmes d'âge mûr, Landru, évoqué dans le chapitre consacré aux "déments".

La première phrase de ce chapitre donne une idée des qualités de conteur du commissaire, qui savait poser une ambiance, avec l'aimable complicité d'un ami écrivain qui a retravaillé son manuscrit : "La banlieue du côté de Meudon était, en 1913, charmante et idyllique, sans buildings, sans garages, sans relais d'essence, avec ses rues qui ressemblaient à des sentiers de jardins, ses villas coquettes et paisibles, ses boutiques villageoises et ses cafés aux boiseries de chêne et aux banquettes de velours rouge où de calmes rentiers ne prolongeaient jamais très tard la soirée devant une tasse de café crème ou un verre de bière en jouant à la manille ou au tric-trac."

Les passages les plus captivants sont peut-être nichés dans le récit de ces enquêtes ordinaires, où excelle le commissaire Guillaume. Le goût du détail — de la couleur du ciel à celle des vêtements, des effluves de la soupe aux bruits de la rue — n'a d'égal que la précision des portraits psychologiques. Deux types de personnage l'intriguent particulièrement, note Laurent Joly : le garçon dévergondé, de bonne famille, qui s'égare dans le crime par cupidité ; l'escroc cachant ses griffes et sa rapacité derrière des manières précieuses et une chaude faconde.

Marcel Guillaume appartient à l'histoire ; aujourd'hui, les policiers ont un profil de fonctionnaires, davantage guidés par la technologie que par le flair à l'ancienne. "Le policier idéal doit être éclairé sur tout, écrivait le commissaire Guillaume. Il doit être médecin, chimiste, polyglotte. Il doit surtout connaître les bas-fonds de Paris, les bouges et les hôtels louches qui servent de repaires aux mauvais garçons et aux filles perdues."

par Piotr Smolar
Jerome

Old television archives?
1/18/06 – While Googling for something Maigret, I ran across a dead link. Trying the Wayback Machine, (to search the internet archives), I found the original page, a notice of a series of television shows on Quebec's TV5 to honor Simenon's centenary, in February, 2003. Of course the page was down because it no longer had any relevance after the shows had aired, but reading the description of the fascinating-sounding documentaries made me wonder if somehow they're still available... What happens to shows like that when they enter the TV station's archives? Are they available to the public? Here's the notice:

Pour publication immédiate - Lundi, 10 février 2003


TV5 CONSACRE UNE SOIRÉE HOMMAGE À GEORGES SIMENON POUR SOULIGNER LE CENTENAIRE DE SA NAISSANCE

Pour souligner le centenaire de la naissance de Georges Simenon, TV5 Québec Canada propose une soirée exceptionnelle sur le créateur du commissaire Maigret, le mercredi 12 février dès 19 h 30 HE.
Cette soirée unique propose une série d'émissions explorant la vie et l'œuvre de cet écrivain prolifique. Au programme : une fiction et quatre documentaires dont SIMENON EN AMÉRIQUE, un document fascinant du réalisateur québécois Guy Simoneau présenté en primeur et en exclusivité.

FICTION : MAIGRET. Après Jean Gabin et Jean Richard, Bruno Cremer reprend le personnage mythique du commissaire Maigret. Dans cet épisode, Lili, strip-teaseuse au cabaret « Les Plaisirs », surprend la conversation d'un dénommé Oscar qui projette l'assassinat d'une comtesse. Le lendemain de sa déposition au commissariat, le corps de la jeune femme est retrouvé au cabaret. Chargé de l'enquête, Maigret apprend qu'une comtesse a effectivement été étranglée dans son appartement. En reconstituant petit à petit le passé des deux victimes, le policier espère trouver un lien entre les deux crimes lui permettant de démasquer ce mystérieux Oscar... MAIGRET : LES PLAISIRS DE LA NUIT, le mercredi 12 janvier à 19 h 30 (rediffusion le mardi à 0 h 15).

ANATOMIE D'UNE MACHINE À ÉCRIRE. Découvrez les mécanismes de l'écriture de Georges Simenon. Ce passionnant documentaire reprend les différentes étapes de la fabrication des romans de Simenon au moyen de la fiction, des témoignages de l'auteur, d'interviews de spécialistes, de documents et de pièces à conviction diverses. Rappelons que sa ponctualité de livraison était légendaire auprès des éditeurs. Mais lorsqu'il se mettait à l'œuvre, son travail devenait alors si intense que l'écrivain avouait ne pouvoir supporter pareille tension pendant plus de 10 jours. Après quelques jours de repos, suivait une relecture ponctuée d'infimes corrections. Le roman était alors prêt pour l'imprimerie. ANATOMIE D'UNE MACHINE À ÉCRIRE, le mercredi 12 février à 21 h (rediffusion le jeudi à 15 h 05).

SIMENON EN AMÉRIQUE. Ce documentaire fascinant raconte la période nord-américaine de Simenon et de sa famille, de 1945 à 1955. Le film relate ses succès, ses revers et son style de vie qui n'a pas manqué d'intriguer les mœurs américaines de l'époque.
À l'automne 1945, inconfortable dans le climat étouffant d'après-guerre, le romancier belge quitte la France et part à la découverte d'espaces neufs. Il s'installe d'abord à Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson dans les Laurentides. Débutera ainsi l'étape qu'il qualifiera comme étant « la plus importante de sa vie. » En effet, de passage à New York par affaires, Simenon fait la connaissance de Denyse Ouimet, une Canadienne française dont il tombe éperdument amoureux. Un coup de foudre qui changera le cours de sa vie.
À l'aide de témoignages de personnes ayant côtoyé le père de Maigret ainsi que des proches parents de Denyse Ouimet, SIMENON EN AMÉRIQUE nous éclaire sur l'homme derrière l'écrivain. De plus, Pierre Simenon, le plus jeune des enfants du grand romancier et de Denyse, nous parle de son père, avec amour mais lucidité, et rétablit certains faits. SIMENON EN AMÉRIQUE, le mercredi 12 février à 21 h 30 (rediffusion le jeudi à 6 h et le vendredi à 14 h 30).

VISITEURS DU SOIR – GEORGES SIMENON « UN ARTISAN DES LETTRES ». Ce documentaire de la TSR explore la façon de travailler de Simenon, ainsi que sa vision des autres écrivains. VISITEURS DU SOIR – GEORGES SIMENON « UN ARTISAN DES LETTRES », le mercredi 12 février à 22 h 30 (rediffusion le vendredi à 15 h 30).

HÔTEL. HOTEL est le dernier témoignage de Georges Simenon. Un entretien émouvant qu'il a accordé chez lui en 1989 à Pierre Pascal Rossi. HÔTEL, le mercredi 12 février à 23 h (rediffusion le vendredi à 16 h).

For immediate publication - Monday, February 10, 2003

TV5 DEDICATES AN EVENING'S HOMAGE TO GEORGES SIMENON TO UNDERLINE THE CENTENARY OF HIS BIRTH

To underline the centenary of the birth of Georges Simenon, TV5 Quebec, Canada, proposes an exceptional evening on the creator of Commissioner Maigret, Wednesday, February 12, from 7:30.
This unique evening presents a set of broadcasts exploring the life and the work of this prolific writer. On the program: one fiction and four documentaries including SIMENON IN AMERICA, a fascinating document from the Québec producer Guy Simoneau - first exclusive presentation.

FICTION: MAIGRET. After Jean Gabin and Jean Richard, Bruno Crémer takes up the mythical character of Commissioner Maigret. In this episode, Lili, stripper at the cabaret "Pleasures", overhears the conversation of a man named Oscar who plans a countess's murder. The day following her deposition to the police, the body of the young woman is recovered in the cabaret. Charged with the investigation, Maigret learns that a countess has actually been strangled in her apartment. While gradually reconstructing the past of the two victims, the policeman hopes to find a tie between the two crimes allowing him to unmask this mysterious Oscar... MAIGRET: PLEASURES OF THE NIGHT, Wednesday, January 12 at 7:30 (rebroadcast Tuesday at 12:15 am).

ANATOMY OF A TYPEWRITER. Discover the mechanisms of the writing of Georges Simenon. This passionate documentary takes the different stages of the manufacture of the novels of Simenon by means of his fiction, the author's testimonies, interviews with specialists, documents, and various other items. Remember that his punctuality of delivery was legendary with publishers. But when he got to the writing, his work then became so intense that he confessed to not being able to stand the tension for more than 10 days. After some days of rest followed a rereading punctuated with minute corrections. The novel was then ready for printing. ANATOMY OF A TYPEWRITER, Wednesday, February 12, at 9:00 pm (rebroadcast Thursday at 3:05 pm).

SIMENON IN AMERICA This fascinating documentary tells of the North American period of Simenon and his family, from 1945 to 1955. The film relates his successes, his reverses and his lifestyle, which didn't lack interest in the American customs of the time.
In the fall of 1945, uncomfortable in the stuffy post-war climate, the Belgian novelist left France for the discovery of new spaces. He first gets settled at Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson in the Laurentides, where he will start the stage that he will qualify as being "the most important of his life". Indeed, visiting New York on business Simenon makes the acquaintance of Denyse Ouimet, a French Canadian with whom he falls completely in love. A love at first sight that will change the course of his life.
With the help of testimonies of people having rubbed shoulders with the father of Maigret as well as relatives of Denyse Ouimet, SIMENON IN AMERICA illuminates the man behind the writer. In addition, Pierre Simenon, youngest child of Denyse and the great novelist, speaks of his father, with love but lucidity, and re-establishes certain facts. SIMENON IN AMERICA, Wednesday, February 12 at 9:30 (rebroadcast Thursday at 6:00 and Friday at 2:30pm).

EVENING VISITORS – GEORGES SIMENON "A CRAFTSMAN OF LETTERS" This TSR documentary explores Simenon's way of work, as well as his view of other writers. EVENING VISITORS – GEORGES SIMENON "A CRAFTSMAN OF LETTERS", Wednesday, February 12, at 10:30pm (rebroadcast Friday at 3:30pm).

HOTEL. HOTEL is the last testimony of Georges Simenon. A moving interview that he/it granted at home in 1989 to Pierre Pascal Rossi. HOTEL, Wednesday, February 12, at 11:00pm (rebroadcast Friday at 4:00pm).

ST

Swiss francs, Belgian francs... how much in dollars?
1/18/06 – I've been working up Le Soir Illustré's "Tout Simenon" issue of September 1989, (to appear here soon), and I've run across "3.5 million Swiss francs (84 million FB) and 214,000 FS (5,136,000 FB)" – Swiss francs and Belgian francs. Given that that was 1989, can anyone tell me what that was worth in dollars or pounds (or French francs)?

ST

Belgian francs...
1/18/06 – In 1989 a dollar would have gotten you between 39 and 43 Belgian Francs depending on just when during the year you are talking about. It was strongest during the summer time. I remember because I had just moved here then. I returned to the USA three and a half years later and returned again to Belgium at the end of 1996. I've been here ever since.

Regards
Joe

So... using for convenience 40 BF to the dollar, 84,000,000 BF = $2,100,000... reportedly the amount Simenon supplied to the Swiss tax authorities about the value of his estate in 1989... a severe underestimate, to say the least.
ST

Denise Simenon - 1961 - "I married Maigret"
1/19/06 –

Woman's Own and Woman's Day
Week ending November 11, 1961
pp 14-15, 83
I Married Maigret
Denise Simenon

Here's a "fairy tale" article from an English magazine of November 1961, Woman's Own and Woman's Day, from Madame S's point of view. (Maybe as Georges was "in novel" they had to make do with the head of the household.)

This sort of story suggests that the popular magazines, whether French or English, pretty much presented the same view of Simenon at that time.

ST

Jean Richard DVDs

1/19/06 – I saw today at Fnac that there is now a set of DVDs with the first Maigret by Jean Richard.
Jerome

la grande rousse?
1/20/06 – Still working on the Le Soir Illustré articles, I ran across a line in one of them that I can't understand.
Cela ne devait pas être facile d'être l'épouse de Simenon. Un ami, qui avait diné chez eux, à Lakeville, aux States, m'avait conté ce propos de Denise à table : « Georges, il va être l'heure de la grande rousse ! »
Denise fut un parfaite épouse-secrétaire.
It couldn't have been easy being Simenon's wife. A friend, who had dined with them in Lakeville, in the States, told me that Denise had said during dinner, "Georges, it's almost time for la grande rousse!"
Denise was a perfect secretary-wife.

Can anyone explain this phrase?
Thanks,
ST

La Grande Rousse
1/20/06 – Would La Grande Rousse be Lucille Ball? She was the star of 'I Love Lucy', one of the most popular programs on Amercian television back in the time when Simenon lived in Lakeville. She was a redhead, or pretended to be and that's why I thought of her.

The DVD set of Jean Richard as Maigret looks like the one I bought at the FNAC Ternes in Paris back in late November. The one I bought was Volume One, but no others were available in the store at the time.

Joe

La Grande Rousse
1/21/06 – Nice idea, Joe. The question is, would it have meant that to the Belgian reader of 1989?

ST

La Grande Rousse
1/22/06 – I doubt if the average Belgian in 1989 or any other time knew anything about Lucille Ball.
Could the reference to how difficult it was to be Mrs. Simenon have anything to do with the possibility that LGR was a mistress that Denise tolerated?

Regards
Joe

La Grande Rousse
1/22/06 – Regarding the sentence from Denise Simenon, I looked at Tigy Simenon's book and it looks like in Lakeville, Boule was there – she came from France in 1947. In 1945 he also hired a secretary: Denise Ouimet from Ottawa. (she was billingual in French and English) and was 25 years old. Denise became Madame Simenon in June 1950. Denise wrote that Boule followed her boss, Simenon when they moved to Lakeville in 1950.
Do you know if Boule was a redhead? Tigy Simenon in her book does not mention the other women that were in Lakeville, but she was already separated from Simenon when they stayed in Lakeville.

Jerome

La Grande Rousse
1/22/06 – Aha! I see that both Jerome and Joe have followed the old detective's maxim, cherchez la femme... but I wonder again if the average Belgian reader of the time would have caught the reference, assuming that was it.
I've spotted something in one of the other articles in the issue that makes me wonder if it wasn't a beer – Speaking of the last time he saw Simenon, a few days before his death, the owner of the tabac Henry IV, in Paris, says, "Dans sa main droite il tenait un verre de bière, une bière rousse." - "In his right hand he was holding a glass of beer, a red beer."
I don't know what red beer is, but could that have been referred to as la grande rousse? And understood to mean that by others? Could she have been suggesting, "Well, Georges, isn't it about time for a tall one?"
(The Le Soir Illustré articles will be appearing here soon...)

ST

Simenon Memorial Issue - Le Soir Illustré - 1989
1/24/06 –

photo: Giancarlo Botti    
Le Soir Illustré
September 14, 1989
N° 2986, pp 4-20

Album of a prodigious life

All Simenon

his women - his children - his novels - his travels - his happiness - his grief - his end - his legacy

 
original French

Curious since childhood
Houses with a view
Is communication closer
Three brief encounters
Liège lived in Simenon
The Simenon atmosphere
Jean Richard will make his 92nd
I'm the last Parisian
The Legacy at Liège
The author of the naked man
His handwriting reveals

This Belgian issue has a lot in it... different sorts of articles from the usual, and as usual the home-town view of the son of Liège makes for interesting reading... It adds some to the Télé 7-jours Jean Richard article that went up here recently, and to the little "I married Maigret" from last week.
The la grande rousse line is in Three brief encounters... Let me know if you've got any new ideas on that one, or find anything else in here that's a problem or worth talking about...
ST

Garcia Márquez & Simenon

1/30/06 – The Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Márquez, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, wrote the following piece as an introduction to a small book entitled El mismo cuento distinto (Barcelona: Tusquets, 1994). That book, for reasons that will become apparent as you read the piece, contains Georges Simenon’s “L’homme dans la rue” and Guillaume Apollinaire’s “L’Hérésiarque et Cie,” both in Spanish translation. A German edition entitled Dieselbe Geschichte, nur anders was published in 1995 by KiWi (Kiepenheuer & Witsch). To the best of my knowledge Garcia Márquez’s introduction hasn’t been published in either French or English. The following is a translation of the Spanish original.


Gabriel Garcia Márquez's introduction to El mismo cuento distinto

During my all too brief youth I read a story that impressed me tremendously at the time and then faded into oblivion until about six months ago. Title, author, original language, the anthology in which it appeared — all was forgotten. It took me 44 years to track down that story, and when I did, I found it was just as striking as I remembered it, but for entirely different reasons.

The first time I read it, in 1949, I was taking a break from a barely launched career in journalism to sell textbooks and encyclopedias on the instalment plan among the villages of Guajira [Colombia]. Actually that was just a pretext to get acquainted with the part of the world where my mother was born (and where her parents later shipped her back in order to put a few miles between her and a certain telegraph operator in Aracataca). I wanted to compare the reality with what I’d been hearing about it since childhood, and also to explore the area on my own account because I sensed that it was here that my roots as a writer lay.

The book business left me so much leisure time that, after working through my personal stock of reading matter, I started in on my sales samples. I whiled away long hours in seedy wayside hotels studying surgical technique, law, bridge building and, when I got really desperate, an illustrated encyclopedia in ten volumes. From time to time people lent me other things to read, and somebody – I don’t remember who – gave me a collection of detective stories, which I devoured on the edge of my chair at a hotel operated by Victor Cohen on the square in Valledupar.

The story in question, as I remembered it, involved a suspected criminal who was shadowed relentlessly day and night through the streets of Paris by a team of detectives. They were waiting for him to make a break for home, where they expected to uncover proof of his guilt. As always when I read a crime story, and for that matter in real life, I identified not with the pursuers but with the pursued.

The bookselling venture turned out to be a failure, and I had to give Victor Cohen an IOU for a couple of months’ stay at his hotel. I also left him my samples, which were of no further use to me, and two or three other books that I’d finished reading. I’m pretty sure the detective story collection was among them.

Six years later, now established as a journalist and with my first novel in print, I found myself at a loose end in Paris. It was a lazy autumn day and the city was at its most picturesque, with a lowering gray sky, the tang of roasting chestnuts in the air, whole pigs decorated with paper carnations hanging from the eaves of butchers’ stalls, and the accordions of summer giving out their last dying whimper. A blast of chilly wind across the Pont St. Michel drove me into the nearest café.

The place was bright and cozy, like a scene out of Hemingway, with couples whose endless kisses were repeated endlessly in the mirrors, and old soldiers stirred up by the latest news from Algeria. Sitting down at a window table to read a newspaper, I got more interested in the barges maneuvering up and down the Seine like floating cottages, with diapers hanging out to dry and mangy dogs barking at the gargoyles of Notre Dame. Suddenly I had the distinct impression that somebody was watching me. I glanced back over my shoulder, and there he was — a tough-looking customer with three days’ growth of beard, dressed like a tramp, staring fixedly at me from a remote corner. I went back to my paper and pretended to read some more, but when I looked up again he was still there, motionless, watching.

Of course he wasn’t really watching me at all, but for a few moments I had known the panic of the hunted — even more intensely than when I had read that story. Now that I got to thinking about the story, I couldn’t remember how it ended, so I decided to find it and read it again.

I knew the book in which it appeared had at least 400 pages, but I had no idea who had lent it to me or whether it was in fact among the ones I’d left at the hotel. Like most of the books available in Colombia in those days, it had probably been published in Buenos Aires — very likely (because of its large format and clear print) by Santiago Rueda. Given the genre, the presumptive country of origin, and the time period, I guessed that it was one of many anthologies edited by Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares. The only other detail I could remember was that the book also contained a story by Guillaume Apollinaire about a sailor with a parrot on his shoulder. Nobody I talked to could put me on the track of that book.

Oddly enough, by that time I had read a number of Georges Simenon’s novels, but never made the connection between him and the story I was trying to trace. He was already a figure of legend, not only because of the material he had published but also because of his writing methods and his almost incredible output. They said he finished a new book every Saturday...that he had turned out several while sitting in a window so that the public could see for themselves how fast he worked... that he was traveling round the world on a yacht... that he was planning to increase his output to a novel every day.

Move ahead from Paris and revolution in Algeria to tropical Mexico, 1965. There I happened to read a story and see a name that made me leap right out of my chair: Maigret! With a flash of inspiration twelve years behind schedule, I now remembered that that was the name of the police inspector who had dogged the heels of the fugitive in my story. The obvious inference was that Simenon was the author of the story.

Of course that was just a start, because looking for a story by Simenon without knowing the title was like dredging the ocean floor. I consulted experts on his work, including Alvaro Mutis, who once tried to get up a petition to have Inspector Maigret’s salary increased. Nobody recognized the plot, which I kept repeating like a broken record. Alvaro Cepeda Samudio, tired of hearing about it, said, "Write it yourself, for heaven’s sakes – it’s a corker of a story, just waiting to be put on paper."

I dug through book lists and library catalogues in the hope of reasoning backwards from plot to title. That didn’t work. Eventually three people who had heard me outline the plot were sure they recognized it and sent me copies of three different stories by Simenon, none of which was the one I was looking for. I was beginning to wonder if, after all, the story might be by somebody else.

One spring afternoon in the ’70s I was waiting for a friend at a café in Geneva. A man of about 70 in a light raincoat and soft hat, with an umbrella tucked under his arm, sat down at a nearby table. The waiter who was serving me couldn’t wait to whisper, “That’s Simenon, the writer.”

Peering over the top of my paper, I saw him reading a paper of his own while gnawing at a burnt-out pipe. I never would have recognized him from his pictures, because he had the same anonymous Belgian face that he gave Maigret. Although he’d recently announced his retirement from writing, I saw no signs of aging or of the wear and tear of grinding out hundreds of books during the past 30 years. Never had I been so close to the solution of my puzzle, but I just couldn’t bring myself to approach him, even though I knew we had friends in common. Would Simenon himself remember a fugitive piece from so long ago?

In April 1983, during a music festival in Valledupar, I arrived at the home of some friends to find all the guests watching an elderly man whirl a beautiful young lady around the floor like a professional dancer. He was impeccably dressed in white linen, with a particularly stylish straw hat, rimless glasses, and white suede shoes with black trim. It was Victor Cohen, at age 93 giving one of the most stunning exhibitions of dancing I’ve ever seen in my life.

As soon as the music stopped he came over to me and, his patriarchal bearing softened by a twinkle of humor, handed me a slip of paper. “There’s a little present for you,” he said. It was the note for 900 pesos that I’d never paid off.

That turned out to be the sensation of the festival. To this day they’re still talking about it in Valledupar. Even before thanking Cohen for his act of unparalleled generosity I asked him if, after 34 years, he still by any chance had some of the books I’d left behind. In his small but select library we found three — not, however, the one I was looking for.

Julio Cortázar brought me a step further in my quest on a night of violent storm in Managua. We had been talking for hours about tales of pursuit, a favorite genre of his, when suddenly I thought of the Simenon story. To my amazement, before I could even finish outlining the plot he announced, in his melodious baritone with rolling r’s, “The title is ‘L’homme dans la rue.’ It’s part of a collection called Maigret et les petits cochons sans queue.”

I felt so sure that I could easily put my hand on the story now that it never occurred to me to ask for further details. Big mistake. When, some while later, I picked up a Spanish translation of the book at a clearance sale, the story wasn’t there! Instead of trying to find a copy in the original French, I just assumed that Cortázar, who had passed away in the meantime, must have been mistaken, and once again abandoned the quest. (Now that I’ve seen the original edition I know that it contained nine stories, of which only six appeared in the pirated Spanish version.)

Fast forward another ten years. Barcelona, the spring of 1993. Beatriz de Moura [founder and literary director of the publishing house of Tusquets] was telling me of her mammoth project to bring out, for the first time in Spanish, the complete works of Simenon in 214 volumes, starting that year and finishing up sometime after the millennium. I got so excited that she said I ought to write an introduction for one of the volumes. I realized later that she was only joking, but what I said then was in dead earnest.

“I’ll write one for you,” I told her, “if you find me a Simenon story called ‘L’homme dans la rue.’ ”

That was at eleven p.m., after dinner at La Balsa, Toni López’s restaurant on the heights of Bonanova. At nine o’clock the next morning I had the story in my hands. The puzzle that had seemed insoluble was solved. Just as Cortázar had said, it was one of the nine stories in Maigret et les petits cochons sans queue.

I read it immediately, on the spot. A one-sentence synopsis of the plot, very much in the Simenon manner, appeared on the third page: “Thus began a chase that would go on for five days and nights, among pedestrians absorbed in their own affairs as they scurried along the sidewalks of Paris, a chase from bar to bar and from bistro to bistro – on one side, a man alone; on the other, Maigret and his crew, who threw themselves into the pursuit with such energy that by the end of it they were as worn out as the man they’d been tracking.”

There it was, the lost story at last. And yet the enigma of so many years’ duration contained within it an even greater enigma. Because although the story was basically as I remembered it, there were important differences. It wasn’t told from the point of view of the hunted man, as I had thought, but from that of Maigret, the pursuer, and as I read it a second time I could feel my sympathies changing direction. In addition, the resolution of the plot wasn’t as straightforward as I remembered it. Like so many of the greatest works of literature, it involved a sacrifice made for love.

Here was a case of the passing years reworking the very essence of a half-remembered story as the insights and experiences of real life supplied the deficiencies of memory. For the sake of that epiphany I suppose it was worth losing track of the story for almost half a century.

Cartagena de Indias, 1993

(translated by) John H. Dirckx

Gabriel Garcia Márquez's introduction to El mismo cuento distinto
1/31/06 – In the English translation, I noticed the following sentence (last sentence in the 12th paragraph) taken from page 15 of the Spanish original:

"Alvaro Cepeda Samudio, after hearing it once too many times, asked me why I didn't just write to Simenon and get it over with."
The Spanish original reads as follows:
Aburrido de tanto oírlo, Alvaro Cepeda Samudio me dijo: "De todos modos escríbalo usted, porque es un cuento del carajo que necesita existir."
My preferred translation would be something along these lines:
"Alvaro Cepeda Samudio, tired of hearing about it so many times, told me to write the story myself, since it is a hell of a story and it has a need to exist."
This is not a criticism of the translation by John H. Dirckx, his translation is superb; I only wish I had John's ability to translate from Spanish to English. The original Spanish GIF document is not eye-friendly. The word in question could be read as "escríbale" or "escríbalo", although it looks more like "escríbalo". The word "escríbale" would not make much sense in that sentence. The word "escríbalo" means write the story, and the word "escríbale" means write to him. Cepeda Samudio didn't ask García Márquez to write to Simenon, but rather to write the damn story himself.
Juan

Garcia Márquez
1/31/06 – Warmest thanks, Juan, for your kind words and welcome correction. I did indeed misread the original and then, like more than one translator since the Tower of Babel, tried to hide my confusion in a fog of poetic license.

John

Maigret of the Month: Maigret se fâche (Maigret in Retirement)
2/01/06 –

Having completed his convalescence in the coastal town of Les Sables-d’Olonne (Vendée) after contracting pleurisy, and with the Second World War almost at an end, Simenon travelled to Paris during the latter part of April 1945. His intention was to live in the United States of America, but he would have to wait until the necessary authorised documents could be obtained.

Some years before, he made over his former apartment at 21 Place des Vosges in Paris to a business friend. This friend not being in Paris at the end of the war agreed that Simenon could make use of the apartment, so his wife, Tigy, their son Marc and Boule took up residence there, whilst he stayed at Claridge’s Hotel in the Avenue des Champs-Elysées.

In June 1945 he booked into the Hôtel de Cambrai in the Rue de Turenne, around the corner from the Place des Vosges, where he wrote two of his longer short stories, La Pipe de Maigret (Maigret’s Pipe) and Le Bateau d’Émile (Émile’s Boat — not translated into English).

Not long afterwards he travelled the 44 kilometres south to Saint-Fargeau (Seine-et-Marne) in order to write Maigret se fâche, which he completed by the 4th of August 1945. It is possible that this work was commissioned by Simenon’s friend Pierre Lazareff who now owned the daily newspaper France-Soir, and it was in this journal that Maigret se fâche was first published in 38 instalments between March and May 1946.

Occasionally there is some confusion concerning the status of Maigret se fâche, whether it is a short story or a novel. This probably arises from the first publication of the French text in book form, as well as the first appearance of the English translation in a volume of collected short stories. The French text was published by Presses de la Cité in 1947 with the front cover and the spine of the dust wrapper printed only with the title La Pipe de Maigret, although the cover of the book has La Pipe de Maigret suivie de Maigret se fâche. The title page has only Maigret se fâche. This has led some to assume that this publication contains two, albeit long, short stories. 1n 1976 Hamish Hamilton in Great Britain published the first volume in English translation of the “Complete” Maigret Short Stories under the title of Maigret’s Christmas. This volume contains nine works, the last of which is Maigret in Retirement, all just called stories in the introduction on the front flap of the dust jacket.

(In 1977 Hamish Hamilton published the second volume of the “Complete” Maigret short stories, but “Complete” is a misnomer as there are only 25 short stories in the two volumes out of a possible 28).

But Maigret se fâche is a novel, although not as long as many of the other Maigret novels (refer to the Maigret Forum: Reference: Length of the Maigrets).

Michel Lemoine, one of the major researchers of Simenon’s work and life, has written an intriguing article concerning this novel:

‘...In this novel, Simenon seems to be going out of his way to muddle up the tracks since he placed the action at “Orsenne, a village on the banks of the Seine between Corbeil and the Forest of Fontainbleau”. In reality Orsenne does not exist. Initially, one is tempted to see in this name the transposition of Seine-Port, a place name phonetically close to Orsenne: the inversion of the two parts of the name and the suppression of the initial P in effect giving [P]ort-Seine = Orsenne. The fact that Maigret stayed at the Angel Inn, in the past run by a certain Marius, tends all the more to confirm to us this opinion, as in the past at Seine-Port there was an inn called Chez Marius. Nevertheless the novel makes clear that Orsenne is situated at 5 kilometres from Seine-Port. This obliges us to abandon this place and to fall back on Morsang-sur-Seine, the other locality bounded by the river and situated at 5 kilometres down stream from Seine-Port, moreover a locality that Simenon knew very well since in 1930 and 1931, on board the “Ostrogoth”, he wrote several of the first Maigret novels. Once again the phonetics come to our aid if we want to prove that Orsenne represents Morsang: in effect, the suppression of the initial M from the place name allows the appearance of a form of Orsang close to the fictional place name Orsenne. However satisfied by these findings based on the close place names and geography of Seine-Port and Morsang, the reader looking for the elements of transposition must certainly become disillusioned as Seine-Port and Morsang are situated on the right bank of the Seine, whilst Orsenne evidently is situated on the left bank of the river. As a consequence, if we are able to believe that the name Orsenne was inspired by that of Morsang and/or Seine-Port, the geographic transposition prompts us instead to search for an inspiration among the localities of the left bank, to know that Le Coudray-Montceaux, mentioned under the simplified form of Le Coudray, in La Peniche aux deux pendus and Menaces de Mort, Saint-Fargeau-Ponthierry, mentioned under the simplified form of Saint-Fargeau, in M.Gallet, décédé and Maigret et le fantôme, indeed even Tilly, mentioned in Le Grand Bob, our preference focuses, for topographic reasons, towards Le Coudray-Montceaux; moreover one will notice that Monceaux is not so phonetically remote from Orsenne.’
(Michel Lemoine: in Quelques particularités toponymiques dans l’œuvre romanesque de Georges Simenon. In TRACES, volume 4, Centre d’Études Georges Simenon, Université de Liége, 1992. The text translated by Peter Foord).
Claude Menguy, the major Simenon researcher, some time ago visited this part of the Seine, interviewed some of the inhabitants and researched the whole area thoroughly. In a separate article, Claude Menguy agrees with Michel Lemoine that Le Coudray-Montceaux is the setting for Orsenne.


A section of the river Seine indicating Morsang-sur-Seine, Le Coudray-Montceaux (“Orsenne”), Seine-Port, Saint-Fargeau and Ponthierry. (Institut Geographique National, Évry.Melun, 2415 OT, 2004) [click map to enlarge].

This novel finds Maigret retired from the police force for nearly two years and living with his wife at their home at Meung-sur-Loire (Loiret).

(This is the second novel, in the written sequence, where Simenon has Maigret living in retirement and called upon to investigate a crime at the request of a private individual. The first novel in which this situation occurs is Maigret (Maigret Returns) written in 1933, but the author places Maigret in similar circumstances in five of the short stories that he wrote during the winter of 1937 to 1938).

There is a touch of humour at the beginning of this novel as the formidable Bernadette Amorelle, aged 81, in seeking Maigret’s help, mistakes him and his wife for two other people.

Maigret goes by train to Orsenne and during a very warm August at first enjoys the change of scene. He arrives at the Angel Inn where he meets Bernadette’s son-in-law Ernest Malik with whom, he discovers, he was at school. Also Maigret soon realises that Ernest Malik is still the same self-opinionated individual that he was in his younger days, and when Maigret gradually meets the rest of the family, residing in their well-appointed villas, he finds the atmosphere unfriendly and he now resents being there. As it transpires it is a situation that makes him angry, hence the French title of this novel. But it is Raymonde the maid at the Angel Inn who restores the balance and Maigret’s interest. At the Inn, where he enjoys a couple of improvised meals with Raymonde, he is reminded of the past and of the many types of people with whom he came into contact. Raymonde is also informative and this spurs Maigret to continue with his enquiries. He pays more than one visit to Paris, meeting up with some of his former colleagues, such as Lucas, Janvier and Torrence, from whom he requests information mainly about the family that he is investigating. One of his requests is to locate Mimile, a former circus performer, with a police record, who is now working with the animals at the menagerie at Luna Park in Paris. (Luna Park was opened in 1909 at Porte Maillot in Paris in the seventeenth arrondissement for the general public. Among other attractions there was a funfair, a scenic railway, a water chute, a menagerie and facilities for dancing. It closed and was demolished in 1948. Today the site is occupied by the Palais des Congrès complex).

Armed with information and with the help of certain people, Maigret’s task becomes hectic, moving between Orsenne and Paris, later even using the apartment in the Place des Vosges, as the author, in fiction, echoes his own situation in reality.

Eventually Maigret discerns that the main culprit, over a period of time, had been using and maniplulating various people for a number of devious reasons.

 
The only translation is by Jean Stewart, which is very close to the author’s French text. Jean Stewart has translated more of Simenon’s work than anyone else, and in my opinion is one of the best translators, if not the best.

Peter Foord
UK

Maigret on TV
2/4/06 – ITV3, a UK digital channel, is reshowing the Michael Gambon Maigret series at 8pm on Saturdays... and on Sundays at 4.45pm.

Roddy

Bruno Cremer DVD's
2/9/06 – Having watched the ten episodes on Coffret no 1, I am now accustomed to Bruno's Maigret. I like the period setting of the early fifties, the sub-titles are no problem either. What I find puzzling however is the obviously deliberate omission of Lucas, Janvier, Lapointe, Torrence, and even Coméliau. Can anyone shed any light on the subject?

Martin Cooke

51 Minutes
2/14/06 – I finally got "Jeumont, 51 Minutes' Stop" in the post yesterday. It came from an Ebay seller in the UK in the form of "Maigret's Pipe", a collection of 18 short stories. As I already had the US version of this book, which does not have "Jeumont", I was curious to see if any of the stories in the US edition had been dropped from the UK version.. No, all of them were included and they were in the same order as in the UK edition. "Jeumont" was between "At the Etoile du Nord" and "Mlle Berthe and her Lover". Actually, this is the best place to put it given that in "Nord", M is working together with Lucas on his last day as a policeman while in "Berthe", it was mentioned that Lucas was killed in the line of duty before M retired. Having another story between these two somewhat lessens the shock of reading "Nord" and "Berthe" one right after the other. Anyway, by getting "Jeumont" in English, I now have the entire M series in my native tounge. I previously had "Jeumont" in French and it was my last holdout in my collection.

Joe

Simenon Quote
2/14/06 – This quote appears on this site, in A Belgian Appreciation of Georges Simenon, by Herman Dehennin, Belgian Ambassador to the U.S. [Simenon Festival '87 booklet]:

"What you have not absorbed by the time you reach the age of eighteen you will never absorb. It is finished. You will be able to develop what you have absorbed. You will be able to make something or nothing at all of it, but your time for absorption is over and for the rest of your life, as a consequence, you will be branded by your childhood and early adolescence."
Does anyone know the bibliographical reference for this quote? Where and when did he say it?

Bill Shepherd

Thank you


2/17/06 – Thank you very much for all your energy you put in the "Maigret" site. I am a very fanatic collector of Simenon works. You opened for me a world which I had never found.

Ton Ruijs
Netherlands

Where to BEGIN reading Simenon???
2/25/06 – Quick question for a Simenon buff:

If someone doesn't really like mysteries, but wants to read ONE Maigret mystery to see what all the fuss is about - which one would you recommend?

I have two reasons for asking. One is for myself, because I want to read one and I know the first one isn't always the best. The other reason is that my cousin has started a website, www.debbiesidea... where people can look up an author and get advice, from that author's fans, about which book to start with.
I have a Simenon bio and complete list of titles and dates ready, with a link to this website, and I'd like to add your recommendation (or recommendations) too.
Thanks very much,
Marian F. Bock
Brooklyn

Where to BEGIN reading Simenon???
2/26/06 – My vote would be for Maigret and the Strangled Stripper. There might be a more typical Maigret, but to me this is it.

Juan

Where to BEGIN reading Simenon???
2/26/06 – Well, I would recommend Maigret and the Loner, Maigret and the Man on the Bench, or Maigret and the Fortuneteller in no particular order. They are all excellent.

Joe

Still no Rupert Davies DVD?
2/28/06 – Is there still no news regarding either the a DVD release or rebroadcast of the Rupert Davies "Maigret" television series, by the BBC? I'm aware that any venture such as this would require an amount of basic restoration work on both sound and vision of at least one week per episode, however it seems astonishing that they have not been partially rebroadcast or made available to the home viewing market. There appears to be a demand for them and the continued lack of response is surprising, given the high esteem in which they were held at the time, and also as they have perhaps yet to be truly bettered?

Regards,
Peter Young
Cambridge, UK

Maigret of the Month: Maigret à New-York (Maigret in New York’s Underworld / Maigret in New York)
3/01/06 –

In Paris in August 1945, Simenon obtained the necessary papers to travel to Canada and the United States. With his wife Tigy and their six-year-old son Marc, the first stage was to travel to London where they stayed at the Savoy hotel in the Strand waiting for more documents that would allow them to travel from the port of Southampton to New York. Boule stayed in Paris at the apartment in the Place des Vosges and did not join them in the United States until September 1947.

They arrived in New York in early October 1945 and were met by Justin O’Brien a friend and former colonel in the United States army who was to about to take up his post as the Chair of French Literature at Harvard and at Columbia University. The Simenons booked in to the Drake hotel on Park Avenue (Built in 1925, this hotel is now the Swissotel New York, the Drake, 440 Park Avenue, New York, near East 56th Street).

The need to have a French-speaking friend like Justin O’Brien was necessary for Simenon as his English then was rudimentary. He spent part of his time visiting his American publisher at Doubleday and being interviewed by journalists, although the Simenons did see parts of New York guided by Justin O’Brien who had a home in Greenwich Village.

Deciding to settle somewhere in order to become acclimatised to his new life, return to writing and to learn more English, Simenon chose to travel by train to Montréal in Canada. He selected a location just over fifty miles north of Montréal, the village of Sainte-Marguerite near Lake Masson in the Province of Quebec where he rented a house with an adjacent log cabin, this latter building acting as his office. By early November 1945, in this French speaking area, Simenon was able to settle after several hectic weeks. He hired a governess for his son Marc and decided that he needed a French-speaking secretary. He met and appointed Denyse Ouimet, a Canadian who was bilingual, who not only became his secretary, but his mistress and, in 1950, his second wife.

After a break of five months, Simenon settled down to writing fiction once more and perhaps it was not surprising that he set his next two novels in New York.

The first novel that he wrote in Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson was Trois Chambres à Manhattan (Three Beds in Manhattan), clearly based on his meeting with Denyse Ouimet. This novel is dated the 26th January 1946.

Perhaps it is also not surprising that he followed this novel by introducing Maigret to New York in Maigret à New-York (Maigret in New York’s Underworld / Maigret in New York) which he completed on the 7th of March 1946.

Once more Maigret is enjoying his retirement at Meung-sur-Loire (Loiret) when he is visited by nineteen-year-old Jean Maura accompanied by his lawyer Monsieur d’Hoquélus, requesting his help. Jean Maura states that his father John Maura, a rich man, is in trouble, even in danger, the nature of which is obscure.

Maigret finds himself accompanying the young Jean Maura to New York.

Maigret’s arrival by ship parallels Simenon’s own experience of disembarking at New York. Both with a limited knowledge of English, they find help from certain individuals who are bilingual. Is it by chance that two of the latter have the same surname of O’Brien? In Simenon’s case it is Justin O’Brien, a professor of French and in Maigret’s case it is Michael O’Brien, a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Both Simenon and Maigret are booked into hotels fairly near to each other in Midtown Manhattan — Simenon at the Drake (440 Park Avenue and East 56th Street) with Maigret at the St. Regis (East 49th Street and 5th Avenue). It is most likely that Simenon, through Maigret’s eyes, is describing the interior of the Drake hotel, although giving it another name — the St. Regis — with a slightly different location.

Part of a general map of New York City from Manhattan to the Bronx. This is the main location of the novel. On two occasions Maigret travelled from Manhattan to the South Bronx. (Road Atlas USA, Collins / Rand McNally, 1990).

[There is a St. Regis hotel, then and now, at 2 East 55th Street and 5th Avenue, built in 1904, and it is most likely that Simenon knew of its existence. As in his Maigret novel Maigret and the Hotel Majestic (Les Caves du Majestic), written in December 1939, he substituted the name of an existing hotel in Paris].

But Maigret at the point of disembarkation in New York is faced with a problem as the young Jean Maura, who persuaded him to make the journey, has disappeared. When Maigret meets the father, John Maura, a shadowy figure (and only sketched in by the author) at the same hotel, the atmosphere is far from conducive. This situation is similar to the last occasion when initially Maigret’s help was sought (Maigret se fâche / Maigret in Retirement) and his presence was met with a cool reception, making him wonder what he was doing away from home.

Disgruntled, Maigret, with O’Brien as his main companion, wonders as to what his next move might be (Did the author know at this juncture?).


Part of a map of Midtown Manhattan. This is the location of Simenon’s hotel (The Drake, 440 Park Avenue and East 56th Street), Maigret’s first hotel in the novel (The St. Regis, East 49th Street and 5th Avenue) and the existing St. Regis hotel (2 East 55th Street and 5th Avenue). (The AA Key Guide New York, 2004).

But Maigret’s mood changes when he moves to another hotel off Broadway in a much livelier location that reminds him of certain parts of Paris. Through O’Brien’s help, he acquires the services of a rather eccentric private detective, which leads him to make visits to a certain location in the Bronx, as well as meeting and talking to a couple of “characters” in Greenwich Village. As a result of the information now gleaned, Maigret is able to arrive at a conclusion.


Part of a map of the New York Subway — a section of the South Bronx. Maigret travelled twice to the intersection of Findlay Avenue and East 169th Street (marked with an arrow), the second time by the Subway. (Website: Straphangers NYC Subway Map, 2004).

The English translation by Adrienne Foulke, which follows the author’s text closely, was first published as a hardback in the United States in 1955 by Doubleday under the title Maigret in New York’s Underworld. It wasn’t until 1979 that Hamish Hamilton published the same translation in hardback in Great Britain as Maigret in New York.

Peter Foord
UK


Maigret of the Month: Maigret à New-York (Maigret in New York’s Underworld / Maigret in New York)
3/07/06 – This is not one of my favorite M's. Perhaps it reflects Simenon's turmoil in moving to a different continent or something, but I don't much care for it. M himself was rather out of character at a number of points in the story. Also, at the end, why did M ask for John Maura to send him a phonograph from the USA? An American phonograph cound not be plugged into a French wall socket and even if you did get an adapter to use it, the French 220 volt current would have ruined it before the first record played on it came to an end. Was this supposed to be a photograph rather than a phonograph? A photo would have made a much better souveneir, I think.

Joe

Maigret of the Month: Maigret à New-York (Maigret in New York’s Underworld / Maigret in New York)
3/08/06 – Joe is right; a phonograph is not a good memento of Maigret's trip to New York. The 220V vs. 110V problem can be easily rectified by using a 220V/110V transformer, but it still leaves a phonograph that was designed for American 60 cycle alternate current (AC) to run on European 50 cycle AC. The phonograph motor will run slow and the sound will be distorted. I understand that there are ways to convert from 60 to 50 cycles but is not as easy as buying a transformer. When I was living in Spain and tried to use my American turn table I couldn't get over the 60 to 50 cycle problem and ended up buying a European turn table. I confess that at the time I read Maigret in New York I didn't pick on that; good eyes, Joe. If Maigret had brought an American electric clock to France it would have lost 10 minutes every hour!

Juan

Maigret of the Month: Maigret à New-York (Maigret in New York’s Underworld / Maigret in New York)
3/08/06 – In answer to Joe’s question (3/07/06), I looked at the end of the French First Edition of this Maigret novel.

Madame Maigret says:

'Tu aurais pu tout au moins me rapporter quelque chose pour moi, un souvenir, je ne sais pas…'
A cause de quoi, il se permit de câbler à Little John:
Prière envoyer appareil à disques.
Ce fut tout ce qu'il conserva, avec quelques pièces de bronze et quelques nickels, de son voyage à New-York.
You could at least have brought something for me, a souvenir, I don’t know...'
As a result of which, he permitted himself to cable Little John:
Please send phonograph.
It was all he kept, together with a few pennies and a few nickels, from his trip to New York.

Most likely Maigret was requesting a wind-up gramophone that would play 78 rpm shellac records. This was still the era of that type of home entertainment, and the 78-shellac record was still being sold to the general public in 1956. The transition to the vinyl long playing record began when The Columbia Company of America issued its first 33 rpm LP in July 1948, followed by RCA Victor bringing out the 45 rpm 7 inch record in February 1949
As Simenon completed Maigret à New-York on the 7th of March 1946, the idea of Maigret requesting the then type of gramophone is feasible as far as the dates are concerned.
As a twelve year old, I remember sorting out a cupboard at home, only to come across a wind-up gramophone with a small case holding a few eight-inch shellac records. Apparently this gramophone had been a present to my parents many years before from an uncle and aunt I was intrigued to find out if it was still in working order. It was. There was the handle at the side that was used to wind up the mechanism of the turntable, and the heavy arm, at the end of which was the circular sound box. But what was amazing was the steel needle that screwed into the underside of the soundbox, and then when the turntable was operational this needle was lowered onto the groove. Although quite heavy to carry around, and with the 78 records only with a longest playing time of just less than five minutes, it could be played anywhere as no power source was needed.

Peter Foord
UK

Phonograph
3/08/06 – In reply to Joe's comments on the Maigret of the Month, I agree that Maigret in New York works about as well as Miss Marple in Tibet. Since Simenon wrote appareil à disques, there's no possibility that he meant "photograph" rather than "phonograph." Maigret would have needed a transformer as well as a plug adapter to play records on an American machine. I believe these were readily available in post-war Paris.

John H. Dirckx

New York
3/09/06 – Looks like I really started something here. It seems odd that a wind-up phonograph did not exist in France and that M had to ask to have one sent from NY. I think the character of Dexter was not believable, maybe the worst in all of the M series of books. Also, I've noticed that M's ability in English seems to vary with the story. He seems to be at least partly proficient in this one in spite of a heavy accent. In others, he can barely speak a word and has to depend nearly totally on others to translate for him.

Joe

Paris and Detective Novels
3/11/06 – Marc Lemonier has published a new book "Balades policières dans Paris" (Nouveau Monde - 3/9/06) about detective novels and movies that took place in Paris.

Simenon and Maigret are often mentioned. There are some illustrations... from Paris, the books, and the movies...

Jerome

J. Maclaren-Ross (Magiret and the Burglar's Wife)
3/11/06 – Is J. Maclaren-Ross, who translated La Grande Perche (Maigret and the Burglar's Wife), Julian Maclaren-Ross, the famous Soho dandy (and according to Amazon) literary figure tormented by and finally succumbing to alchol drug addiction etc?

Does anyone know of any other translations by him (this site suggests he only translated the one Maigret novel) or why he was chosen to translate this one? I am doing some work on the standard of the translation, and have the impression that JMR was not a translator by profession and simply turned this out as a quick way of earning some money. However, I would not like to do the poor fellow down without makimg an effort to establish the facts. Searching the net has revealed little apart from a couple of his autobigraphies which I will check but it struck me someone might know something that I don't. Any help will be appreciated.

Bill Rispin

J. Maclaren-Ross (Magiret and the Burglar's Wife)
3/13/06 –

To answer Bill Rispin’s question (3/11/06), the translator of this Maigret novel is the writer Julian Maclaren-Ross (1912-1964). He was born James Ross to an Anglo-Indian mother and a Latin American father who lived in various English coastal towns before travelling to Marseilles and Nice, where in his late teens he revelled in the café life of the French Riviera and from that time called himself Julian Maclaren-Ross.

He gravitated back to London and in the 1940s often frequented first one then another of the public houses in Rathbone Place in Soho. He dressed flamboyantly, holding sway with some of the writers, painters and poets who, with others, frequented those public houses.

His extravagant life style meant that he was invariably short of money. Writing in his spare time, he supported himself with odd jobs, at one time as a gardener and a vacuum cleaner salesman.

Through some of his Soho friends, he made contact with certain publishers, so that some of his work in the 1940s began to be published. Unfortunately his writing career was often blighted by his arguments with publishers over fees and advances for work to be written, which lasted all his life.

Taking on any work that would bring him in money, such as book reviews and scripts for radio plays, in 1950 he accepted a commission to translate Pierrot mon ami by Raymond Queneau into English. Under the title of Pierrot it was published in 1950 by John Lehmann.

The only other translation that came his way was Georges Simenon’s novel Maigret et la Grande Perche from the publisher Hamish Hamilton.

There is an amusing anecdote concerning this novel from Paul Willetts who wrote the biography of Maclaren-Ross:

‘Steadfast in his (Maclaren-Ross’s) refusal to surrender to Madame Simenon’s ludicrous demand that he should aim for a word-for-word rendition under the title of Maigret and Lanky Liz, he tried to capture some of the casual quality of the original.’

The Madame Simenon referred to here is the author’s second wife Denise, neé Denyse Ouimet.

Denise Simenon’s choice of the English title with the alliteration is obviously playing with the translation of la Grande Perche (from pole to bean pole to tall lanky person).

The name refers to the burglar’s wife Ernestine Jussiaume, neé Micou.

In 1954 Simenon changed his British publisher from Routledge to Hamish Hamilton. He became dissatisfied with Routledge for their lack of promotion of his books, as well as his discovery of the most used translators altering his texts in some ways.

Simenon responded very well to Jamie (Hamish) Hamilton who remained his British publisher for the rest of his life. With a constant flow of texts coming in from Simenon, Hamish Hamilton commissioned many more translators, at times just using some of them once only, as in the case of Maclaren-Ross. A few years later, in 1960 and 1961, Hamish Hamilton published two of Maclaren-Ross’s detective novels, but once more disagreements with this publisher led him to look elsewhere.

Julian Maclaren-Ross died of a heart attack in 1964 aged 52, leaving behind a small but very interesting body of work that has acquired a cult following.

Peter Foord
UK

Rupert Davies Maigret
3/19/06 – The Rupert Davies Maigret series is my first memory of television and of Maigret and has remained in my mind as the most wonderful of programmes. Does anybody know how copies of any of these programmes can be obtained? They must be in some archive and what a treasure house of memories they would provide for so many Simenon fans.
I should be pleased to hear of any material available.

John Patrick

Commissaire Guillaume's home
3/24/06 – We have just discovered that our house was the country retreat/retirement home of Commissaire Guillaume. We would be delighted to hear from anyone who has any relevant information to assist in putting together a history of this.
Thanks in advance
Stan Thompson

Who is this Maigret?
3/25/06 – I spotted this photo (left) on an Italian Maigret site, Le inchieste di Maigret. It looks like it should be Maigret, but there's no indication of the actor's name, and when I emailed to ask, my mail bounced back. Anyone know who this is? Maybe Boris Tenine?
The site also has this nice photo (right, inscribed to Simenon) of Jean Morel, who played Maigret in the stage adaptation of Liberty Bar in 1955:
ST

Who is this Maigret? - It's Michel Simon
3/25/06 –
It's Michel Simon. The film was Brelan d'as (1952).

John H. Dirckx

Who is this Maigret? - It's Boris Tenine
3/27/06 –
Answering your question in the Forum (3/25/06), the top photograph is of the Russian actor Boris Tenine in the role of Maigret.

Peter Foord

BBC - Rupert Davies Maigret
3/27/06 – The mystery of the unissued BBC Rupert Davies Maigret programmes rumbles on with no result. I seem to remember that a contact at the BBC was mentioned some time ago in this forum. I wonder how many fans took the trouble to write/email and nag the beeb. I suspect that we are in a minority and way down the list of priorities when it comes to choosing what they re-issue.We should inundate the BBC with our requests.

Bill

C. Day Lewis on Simenon - 1967
4/6/06 –

Weekend Telegraph (London)
May 26, 1967, pp. 24-26
Number 138

 

The Man Who Isn't There

By Cecil Day Lewis

Photographs by PETER KEEN

Maigret of the Month: Les Vacances de Maigret (A Summer Holiday/ Maigret on Holiday)
4/11/06 –

At the end of October 1945, having found suitable rented accommodation in Canada at Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson some fifty miles north of Montréal, once more Simenon was able to establish his writing schedule. During 1946 and 1947 he wrote 10 novels (3 of them involving Maigret) and 10 of the longer short stories (with Maigret featuring in 4 of them), but they were not all written at the same locations.

After spending six months at Sainte-Marguerite, in May 1946 he moved to the small fishing village of Saint Andrews on Canada’s Atlantic coast near to the border with the United States and the State of Maine. Another six months stay, at the end of which he felt ready to move into the United States. Having bought two second-hand cars, in mid-September 1946, Simenon, his wife Tigy, their son Marc with his governess and Denyse Ouimet left Saint Andrews and crossed the border into the United States. They followed Route Number One taking in the Eastern States until they reached Miami in Florida. Disliking Miami, they drove to Sarasota on Florida’s west coast and north of there Simenon rented accommodation at a location named Bradenton Beach.

He capitalised on this journey by writing nineteen articles entitled L’Amérique en auto (America by car — not translated), eleven of which were published in the French newspaper France-Soir in November 1946. (All nineteen articles have been reprinted in book form in recent years).

Simenon was based at Bradenton Beach from November 1946 until August 1947 when he with his eight-year-old son Marc and Denyse Ouimet left there by car travelling west through several of the Southern States until they reached Tucson in Arizona. At the end of May 1947, his wife Tigy had returned to France primarily to sort out finances. On this visit she obtained a visa for Boule who accompanied her back to New York in September1947, but Boule had to reside in Nogales on the Mexican / Arizona border for a while before joining the rest of the group in Tucson.

When staying for some time in such locations as Sainte-Marguerite and Saint Andrews in Canada, Bradenton Beach in Florida and now in Tucson, Simenon took the opportunity to write certain novels and some short stories.

 
Initially landing in New York, and visiting there from time to time, had given him the impetus to write again after leaving Europe. Set in New York, his first novel was Trois Chambres à Manhattan (Three Beds in Manhattan) clearly based on his meeting with Denyse Ouimet who became his secretary, mistress and later his second wife. His keenness — perhaps over keenness — to bring Maigret to New York, led to his second novel Maigret à New York (Maigret in New York’s Underworld / Maigret in New York) being written soon after in March 1946. Unfortunately this Maigret novel is not so successful as the more recent ones, being somewhat patchy and disjointed, with certain characters slotted in to the narrative rather than being more integrated. It is as if Simenon’s enthusiasm for a new city had got the better of him, rather than for him to have been able to absorb its way of life.

Whether he sensed this is a matter of conjecture, as he did not write another Maigret novel for another twenty months, the only works involving Maigret being four short stories all with European settings. Also he did not attempt another novel with an American setting for almost the same period of time, waiting until he had settled for a time in Tucson, Arizona, before he wrote the novel La Jument Perdue (The Lost Mare — not translated) in October 1947. (The title refers to the name of a ranch, which he located near Tucson).

In November 1947 Simenon wrote Les Vacances de Maigret (A Summer Holiday / No Vacation for Maigret / Maigret on Holiday), which is very different from the previous novel Maigret in New York. Here Simenon reverts back to Maigret being a member of the Police Judiciaire in Paris, but as the French title indicates, Maigret is on holiday with his wife. They have decided to spend their August holiday at Les Sables d’Olonne in the département of the Vendée.

This particular coastal resort was well known to Simenon. He had visited it for the first time with his wife Tigy in the summer of 1927 soon after ending his liaison with Josephine Baker. He became very attached to this part of the Atlantic coast of France, especially La Rochelle, and from time to time lived in various places along this stretch of the coast.

In the summer of 1944 Simenon contracted a viral infection and was advised to recuperate by the sea. He was living in the Vendée region of France and in early September 1944 he decided to go to Les Sables d’Olonne. The last of the Occupying forces had left there on the 28th of August (Paris having been liberated only three days before on the 25th) in what were the later stages of the Second World War. Simenon was to remain in Les Sables d’Olonne for eight months until April 1945.


This shows the main part of Les Sables-d’Olonne. Key: A= The Church of Nôtre-Dame-de-Bon-Port; H= Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall); G = Gendarmerie; White Cross in a square = Hôpital des Sables. Hôtel de Remblai et de l’Océan, 68-70 Quai Clemenceau et 1 Place Foch (in the novel Brasserie du Remblai). Hôtel Bellevue, 66 Promenade de la Plage. The Remblai is the general name given to the area of the beach. (from Guide Michelin: France: 1934)

His detailed knowledge of this place is obvious from the novel, although he was writing it hundred of miles away, and two years on, recapturing the atmosphere, the sights, smells and sounds as if he was still there. Undoubtedly he used the same establishments in the novel as he did when he was living there, this being confirmed by the detailed research of Michel Carly, although some go under different names. The church of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Port is next to the market and although there is a Rue de Bel Air, the hotel of that name is the Hôtel Roches-Noires (12, Promenade Georges Clemenceau). Maigret visits regularly the Brasserie du Remblai which at 67 Quai Clemenceau is the Hôtel du Remblai-Océan. The Hôtel Bellevue is to be found at 66 Promenade de la Plage, whilst the Hôpital des Sables (which Simenon attended and where Madame Maigret is a patient) is off the Boulevard Pasteur.

Although outside his jurisdiction, Maigret is gradually drawn into an investigation. Near to the beginning of their holiday, Madame Maigret is taken ill with an appendicitis and has to have an operation in the local hospital.

Left on his own, Maigret develops a routine of visiting his wife each day and calling in on various establishments around the town. One of these is the Brasserie du Remblai where every afternoon he watches some of the prominent men of the town play bridge.

But his curiosity is aroused when he finds a note relating to a certain patient in the hospital, which has been slipped surreptitiously into his coat pocket.

Simenon gradually builds up the storyline, with Maigret exploring various parts of the town, questioning a variety of people in an endeavour to discover more facts. At times he comes across a certain class system, at others a certain reticence, which makes him worried and frustrated, but by being persistent, he arrives at a certain point in his thinking where a likely result is within his grasp, a result that resolves from obsession and revenge.

In some ways Simenon explores the character of the culprit in a way that echoes some of those that are found in his other novels that are often called the psychological novels or the novels of destiny.

Some years ago, to commemorate the author’s association with Les Sables d’Olonne, a square in the town was renamed the Place Georges Simenon.

 
There are two English translations of this Maigret novel. It was first published in 1950 in a two novel hardback volume entitled Maigret on Holiday in the United Kingdom by Routledge and Kegan Paul. This volume contains A Summer Holiday (Les Vacances de Maigret) and To Any Lengths (Signé Picpus) both in the usual freer translations by Geoffrey Sainsbury. A second translation by Jacqueline Baldick under the title of Maigret on Holiday was published in 1970 as a paperback by Penguin Books in the United Kingdom, this translation being closer to the author’s French text.


This shows the main part of Les Sables-d’Olonne. Key: Red Cross in a square = Hôpital des Sables, Boulevard Pasteur. h = Hôtel Bellevue, 67 Promenade G. Clemenceau. s = Hôtel Roches Noires, 12 Promenade G. Clemenceau (in the novel Hôtel Bel Air). (from Michelin: France 1964) [click to enlarge]


Peter Foord
UK

Maigret audio books

4/12/06 – Am I correct in saying that the Listen for Pleasure audio tapes read by Geoffrey Hutchings are abridged versions? There seems to be a lot of stories in 3 hours of playing time.
Cheers!
Keith

Maigret audio books

4/14/06 – Here is an answer to Keith’s question (4/12/06) concerning the Listen for Pleasure audio tapes read by Geoffrey Hutchings.
I played again Maigret’s Pipe (LFP 7595), which contains 5 short stories:
Maigret’s Pipe
Death Penalty
The Mysterious Affair in the Boulevard Beaumarchais
In the Rue Pigalle
Death of a Woodlander

The first story is the longest, divided up into five chapters, whilst the other four are much shorter.
Geoffrey Hutchings, who reads the texts superbly well, follows the translations by Jean Stewart. These five short stories, together with thirteen others, were first published in the hardback edition entitled Maigret’s Pipe by Hamish Hamilton in 1977 in the United Kingdom.
Geoffrey Hutchings follows Jean Stewart’s translations word for word without any abridgement.
I have not replayed the other audio tapes in the series:
Maigret’s Mistake (LFP 7637) — 4 short stories
Madame Maigret’s Admirer (LFP 7685) — 4 short stories
Maigret Investigates (LFP 7733) — 3 short stories
Some time soon I will listen to these tapes with Jean Stewart’s translations.

Peter Foord
UK

Maigret of the Month: Les Vacances de Maigret (A Summer Holiday/ Maigret on Holiday)
4/23/06 –

I read this month's Maigret over the weekend. In some respects this is the saddest of all the Maigret stories. There were three deaths in the story, two murders and one where someone jumped from a speeding car. All three of the victims were quite young, in their teens, and I think they were the youngest victims in any Maigret story. The murdered pair were brother and sister and it is inferred from the text that they were the only children of their parents. They were killed a couple of days apart. The other was the murderer's sister-in-law. I won't tell the story here, but Maigret was up against his equal in this story, an intelligent man who was not a professional criminal. It's a very good story, but I'm curious about a few small details concerning Madame Maigret. She had her appendix out at the start of their vacation and spent what seems to be an inordinate amount of time in the hospital recovering, given that no complications were mentioned. I had my appendix out in 1961, not all that many years after this was written, and I was out of the hospital in less than a week. I think Madame Maigret tells her husband to stop bringing her oranges because she is not eating them fast enough, before the text mentioned that she was allowed to eat again. At any rate, she was still in the hospital at the end of the story. Aside from that, it was quite a good story.

Joe

Simenon & INA
4/29/06 – Yesterday, INA (Institut National d'Audiovisuel) opened part of its archive for all public TV programs of the last 50 years in France. You can query by name, type of program... and you can preview a 2-3 min extract online and then buy the program online. The link is www.ina.fr.
There are 13 reference for Simenon : one is a long interview when he was living in Switzerland. There is currently nothing for Maigret, but the J. Richard series should be there one day.
The service is new - since this week - and is currently overloaded by success.

Jerome

Maigret of the Month: Maigret et son Mort (Maigret’s Special Murder / Maigret’s Dead Man)
5/07/06 –

At the end of October 1945, having found suitable rented accommodation in Canada at Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson some fifty miles north of Montréal, once more Simenon was able to establish his writing schedule. During 1946 and 1947 he wrote 10 novels (3 of them involving Maigret) and 10 of the longer short stories (with Maigret featuring in 4 of them), but they were not all written at the same locations.
Having lived for a while at Bradenton Beach in Florida, Simenon, his son Marc and Denyse Ouimet travelled west by car through some of the Southern States until they reached Tucson in Arizona on the 9th of September 1947.

The proprietor of the hotel where they were staying informed them that there was a villa for rent in Tucson in West Franklin Street owned by a Mrs. Kingan, the widow of a lawyer. This villa was large enough to accommodate not only Simenon, Marc and Denyse, but also the author’s wife Tigy, and Boule, who finally had obtained her American visa.

Some years before when the lawyer who owned the villa retired, he took up painting, using a separate building in the garden as his studio. Now, this studio suited Simenon very well as his office where he could shut himself away in order to write. It was here that he wrote four novels – La Jument Perdue (The Lost Mare — not translated), Les Vacances de Maigret (A Summer Holiday / No Vacation for Maigret / Maigret on Holiday), Maigret et son Mort (Maigret’s Special Murder / Maigret’s Dead Man) and La Neige était Sale (The Stain on the Snow / The Snow was Black), this last being one of Simenon’s best and most powerful novels.

Simenon finished writing Les Vacances de Maigret on the 20th of November 1947. Less than a month later on the 17th of December he completed another Maigret novel entitled Maigret et son Mort which is very different from the previous one.

Maigret et son Mort is set in Paris, with Maigret once more very much in charge of his department on the Quai des Orfèvres.


A simplified map of part of the Paris area indicating Charenton (south-east corner) to the Marais area (north-west corner). Both are two of the main locations in Maigret’s Special Murder, as well as the stretch of the river Seine in between. (Michelin: Paris Plan, 1988)

At the centre of this novel, the author uses a theme, or rather a variation on a theme that he has used twice before.

This theme concerns a gang associated with a series of vicious attacks on the occupants of isolated farms in Northern France culminating in their murder The reason for the attacks is to steal as much money as possible from the farms and the murders are carried out so as to eliminate any witnesses to the gang’s identity.

Simenon first used the idea of the gang of Polish origin in the Maigret short story Stan-le-Tueur (Stan the Killer) written during Simenon’s fifth visit in 1938 to the Island of Porquerolles off the coast of the French Riviera.

Three or four of the gang are living in the Hôtel Beauséjour on the corner of the Rue de Birague and the Rue Saint-Antoine in the Marais area of Paris. Maigret has organised a lengthy surveillance of the hotel with, among others, Lucas and Janvier.

This short story, in three chapters, concentrates on Maigret, with the help of his team, attempting to discover as much information about the gang in order to bring them to justice.

In the non-Maigret novel L’Outlaw (The Outlaw) written at Nieul-sur-mer (Vendée) and completed on the 7th of February 1939, Simenon also makes use of the theme of a Polish gang thought to be responsible for murderous attacks on isolated farms in Northern France.

In the short story Stan the Killer events are seen mainly through Maigret’s eyes, but in the novel The Outlaw the storyline revolves very much around the principal character Stan – Stanislas Sadlak, and from the beginning Simenon builds up a character study of Sadlak with most things seen from his point of view.

Sadlak, who is Polish, originally from Wilno (now Vilnius), has wandered from place to place, but is now in Paris accompanied by his Hungarian girlfriend Nouchi Kersten. Without money or a place to live, both are desperate to find ways of financing themselves.

Simenon divides the novel into two parts with the first part devoted to the thoughts and actions of Sadlak, Nouchi having wandered off. Sadlak has known Frida Stavitskaïa, the leader of the gang, for some time as she also originates from Wilno. He meets up with her, but is coerced into buying some items of equipment for the gang. Wanting to escape from their hold over him, he approaches the police in an attempt to impart information about them, providing the police pay him a certain amount of money. This way the gang will be arrested and in custody, he will be free of them, as well as having some money on which to live, but the police are not interested in his proposition.

In the second part, Nouchi Kersten is being looked after in their home by a Doctor Helmut Storm and his wife Hilda, who were friends of her father. Nouchi manages to smuggle Sadlak into the doctor’s large residence. Sadlak is at the end of his tether, fearful of the gang, who are being sought individually by the police.

Simenon has used a name from his childhood in Liège, that of Frida Stavitskaïa, who in this novel is a young Polish woman, leader of the gang and being sought by the police for criminal activities. In reality, in his boyhood, Frida Stavitskaïa was a medical student studying at the University of Liège from 1910 to 1913 and lodging with the Simenon household at 53 Rue de la Loi in the district of Outremeuse in Liège. She originated from a suburb of Odessa in Russia.

Also some of the police involved have familiar names such as le Commissaire (Superintendent) Lognon and Inspectors Janvier and Lucas. But this in not the case that some might call a “semi-Maigret”, as it is not an investigation and the police are mainly carrying out surveillance, following and arresting suspects, with the author keeping any characterisation of the police to a minimum.


A section of the city of Paris showing part of the Marais area, including the Rue Saint-Antoine, the Rue de Birague (off the Place des Vosges), the Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, the Rue Vieille-du-Temple, the Rue des Rosiers and the Rue du Roi-de-Sicile, some of the locations in the short story Stan the Killer and in the novels The Outlaw and Maigret’s Special Murder. This Map is dated 1925 when Simenon was living in an apartment at 21 Place des Vosges. (Albert Dauzat et Fernand Bournon, Paris et ses Environs, Librairie Larousse, Paris, 1925).

As in the novel L’Outlaw, the novel Maigret et son Mort is concerned with one individual, later identified as Albert Rochain, and his connection with the gang. (For this Maigret novel Simenon makes a change of nationality as the gang are now of Czech and Slovak origin rather than Polish).

Although at first unaware of his name, Maigret first encounters Albert Rochain when the latter makes a series of hectic telephone calls to him from a variety of locations in Paris. After a lull in activities, a man’s body is discovered in a corner of the Place de la Concorde in the centre of Paris. Maigret is convinced that it is the same man who made all the telephone calls to him and from then on Maigret empathises with “his dead man” determined to discover the truth that led to his demise.

Simenon constructs this novel with a variety of pace, having interludes of quiet dispersed with periods of hectic activity. He uses some of the quiet interludes in which to establish elements of sly humour, as when Maigret at home, nursing a cold, first explains to the Examining Magistrate, Coméliau, over the telephone, the progress of the investigations. Then later, again at home catching up on his sleep, during which he talks to his wife about certain aspects of the case and asks her to make a telephone call.

At other times Simenon reminisces briefly about Maigret’s previous involvement near Charenton (the novel Maigret Returns) as well as Lucas’ part in the investigation of "Stan the Killer".

It is at Charenton, just beyond the twelfth arrondissement, where Maigret, with the help of one of his Inspectors, establishes, for a time, a base in a small bistro. From there Lucas and Maigret are led to a narrow street in the Marais area where they discover evidence related to the gang. The investigation spreads to various parts of Paris and, on one occasion, to a location south of the city, which helps him finally to piece together the truth.

 
This is one of the most satisfying of the Maigret novels as it has many aspects of his approach to an investigation.

 
The only translation of this novel is by Jean Stewart who follows Simenon’s text closely. There is a curious error with the translation of the French Inspecteur, which becomes, in English, Sergeant in all instances. Jean Stewart translated 52 works by Simenon (4 Maigret novels and 25 Maigret short stories, as well as 23 other works) and I am not aware that this error occurs elsewhere in the translations by Jean Stewart other than in this novel.

In the French system in the Police Judiciaire at the time, Sergeant (Brigadier) was a higher rank than Inspector (Inspecteur). In the English and American police forces it was the other way around.

I wonder if the error in this one novel is not the mistake of the translator, but of an English editor, sub-editor or proof-reader who may have altered the rank in the translation.

A small but interesting point.

Peter Foord
UK

La Mort de Belle
5/07/06 –

L'Avant-Scène Cinéma No. 549 for February 2006 is devoted to La Mort de Belle. It includes a complete shot-by-shot dissection with the dialogue by Jean Anouilh, and an article "Simenon au cinéma".

Ward Saylor

Maigret on DVD
5/07/06 – There is a mention in this forum of some DVDs starring Bruno Cremer - subtitles are mentioned which are not a problem for me. Can anyone advise where these discs might be obtained? As I have only the 4-disc set of the Michael Gambon series and the BBC is silent on any chance of issuing any of the Rupert Davies series, I would like to see some more of Maigret on my TV.

Thank you,
Paul Thomas

Maigret Font
5/07/06 – Here is a sample of the "Maigret" true type commercial font... Sorry, I don't have any further information as to the designer etc.

 

 

 

Peter Young

Maigret of the Month: Maigret et son Mort (Maigret’s Special Murder / Maigret’s Dead Man)
5/08/06 –
 
"Maigret et son mort" est un de mes romans préférés dans la série des "Maigret", parce qu'il est un des plus typiques en ce qui concerne la façon qu'a le commissaire de "travailler" avec son intuition. Et il illustre aussi la relation que le commissaire peut tisser avec une victime dont il s'occupe.

"Maigret et son mort" offre, sur ce plan-là, bien des similitudes avec "Maigret et la jeune morte." On pourra relever ainsi, lorsque Maigret se rend sur les lieux où l'on a découvert le cadavre d'Albert Rochain: "[…] il s'approcha lentement de la forme étendue […] et se courba, lentement toujours – comme il l'aurait fait pour un parent ou un ami" (début du chapitre 2) , ou encore: "il suivait son mort", toujours dans le chapitre 2, quand Maigret se rend aux Caves du Beaujolais, d'où la victime lui avait téléphoné pour la première fois.
Et dans "Maigret et la jeune morte", le commissaire a la même façon de "suivre" Louise Laboine, pour chercher à la comprendre, à la "connaître", comme il le dit lui-même au début du chapitre 9. Si Maigret découvre finalement comment et pourquoi Louise a été tuée, c'est parce qu'il s'est "mis dans la peau" de la jeune fille, qu'il s'est "préoccupé de sa mentalité" (voir le chapitre 9).

De même, Maigret se rend dans les cafés d'où Albert Rochain lui a téléphoné, puis, lorsqu'il a découvert son propre café (Au Petit Albert) il s'y installe ("le commissaire […] paraissait vraiment prendre possession d'un nouveau domicile. En moins d'une demi-heure, il y était comme chez lui"), y boit, comme Albert, une Suze, y passe la nuit ("Il essayait la maison, comme on essaye un vêtement neuf"). C'est en cherchant à se mettre à la place de "son mort", en agissant comme lui, en faisant en quelque sorte les mêmes gestes que lui, que Maigret finit par comprendre comment celui-ci est tombé sur la piste de la bande des Tchèques et pourquoi ceux-ci l'ont tué.
C'est de la même façon que Maigret cherche à comprendre Jules Lapie dans "Félicie est là" quand il essaye le chapeau de paille de Jambe-de-bois, et, comme le dit le directeur de la PJ "s'installe dans une enquête comme dans des pantoufles" ("Félicie est là", début du chapitre 2), ou, dans "Maigret et l'homme du banc", au chapitre 5, "Il pensait tellement à Louis qu'il finissait par se comporter comme celui-ci l'aurait fait, par prendre ses expressions de physionomie.". Et l'on pourrait trouver de nombreux autres exemples d'"identification" du commissaire, soit à la victime, soit parfois même au meurtrier, toujours dans un but de comprendre.

On remarquera, en outre, comme un autre point intéressant, à propos de la "psychologie" de Maigret, son attachement au Boulevard Richard-Lenoir: dans le chapitre 3, Simenon nous raconte comment des collègues, des amis, ont proposé d'autres appartements à Maigret, et comment celui-ci a toujours refusé de déménager, parce que "ce n'étaient pas tellement les déménagements qui l'effrayaient, mais le fait de changer d'horizon. L'idée […] de ne plus faire le même chemin, chaque matin, le plus souvent à pied…". Maigret est loin, ici, d'un Simenon toujours en mouvement, traversant les pays et les continents et s'installant dans un nouveau logis – qu'il croit être définitif mais en fait toujours provisoire ("chaque fois que je change le cadre de ma vie, je ressens une exaltation et je me gonfle d'espoir." in Des traces de pas).
Après tout, peut-être que la façon de Maigret de s'installer chez les gens qu'il cherche à comprendre est sa façon à lui de "déménager". Et comme il se retrouve plongé à chaque nouvelle enquête dans un milieu différent de ce qu'il connaît déjà, sans doute n'a-t-il pas besoin de changer de domicile pour "ressentir de l'exaltation", et le Boulevard Richard-Lenoir est au contraire comme le port où Maigret peut revenir se reposer après chaque voyage qu'il a accompli au cours d'une enquête…

Un autre aspect significatif dans Maigret et son mort, c'est la manière dont le commissaire se sert des indices matériels. On pourra lire, à ce propos, la scène du chapitre 2 où Maigret utilise le mannequin du laboratoire de l'Identité judiciaire. Il faut voir comment le commissaire découvre que la victime ne portait pas son imperméable au moment du meurtre, malgré que ce vêtement porte une déchirure de couteau. Alors qu'un Sherlock Holmes, ou un Hercule Poirot, par exemple, nous gratifieraient d'une longue explication sur la forme de la déchirure, sur la position possible du couteau, etc., Maigret se contente de faire des "essais" avec le mannequin, le manipulant dans tous les sens, jusqu'à ce que la solution lui apparaisse d'elle-même. Simenon nous décrit les gestes du commissaire, son travail dans le concret, mais il ne nous décrit pas le cheminement de sa pensée, seulement son aboutissement "Voilà! conclut Maigret, comme s'il venait de résoudre une équation difficile." On pourra comparer, à cet effet, le même genre de travail qu'effectue le commissaire sur les habits d'Emile Gallet (M.Gallet, décédé, chapitre 5).

Un autre élément à retenir est la "tactique" qu'emploie Maigret quand il piétine dans une enquête, à savoir la "grippe". Dans Maigret et son mort, au chapitre 3: "Cela lui arrivait de temps en temps, comme ça, quand une enquête n'avançait pas à son gré, de se mettre au lit ou de garder la chambre." J'ai retrouvé deux autres endroits où le commissaire utilise la grippe pour progresser dans le cheminement de son enquête: dans La première enquête de Maigret, chapitre 9: "Il s'enfonçait dans son lit moite, dans une bonne odeur de sueur. C'était une façon de se replier sur lui-même. Il ne savait pas encore que cela deviendrait une manie, qu'il recourrait souvent à ce procédé dans ses moments de découragement ou d'embarras." Et, bien sûr, dans la nouvelle Le témoignage de l'enfant de chœur: "Il était tout seul, tout chaud, tout mouillé, au plus profond de son lit […]" "Et ce serait une très jolie chose, une enquête pas banale, menée du fond de son lit."
Il me semble qu'il y a d'autres romans où Maigret se sert de sa grippe pour son enquête, mais je n'ai pas retrouvé lesquels en faisant une rapide recherche. Y aurait-il un internaute maigretphile qui aurait une piste à nous indiquer?

Une dernière chose à noter: la visite de Mme Aubain-Vasconcelos, au début du chapitre 1, qui fait partie de cette galerie de personnages que Simenon ne fait qu'esquisser, et qu'il place volontiers au début d'un roman, et dont on pourrait croire qu'ils sont le point de départ de l'intrigue, mais qui vont en réalité ne "faire que passer" dans l'histoire. On pourrait mentionner, dans ce défilé, la dame qui vient lui parler des lettres de menace que sa voisine lui adresse (Le revolver de Maigret), ou la vieille mercière folle, Clémentine Pholien (Maigret et le client du samedi). En voyez-vous d'autres ?

[translation]
Maigret et son mort is one of my favorite novels in the Maigret series, because it is one of most typical with regard to the way the commissioner "works" with his intuition, and it also illustrates the relationship that he can form with a victim he is involved with.

Maigret et son mort resembles, in that sense, Maigret et la jeune morte [Inspector Maigret and the Dead Girl]. So we find, at the beginning of Chapter 2, when Maigret goes to the scene where Albert Rochain's body was found, "… he slowly approached the stretched-out shape … and bent over, still slowly – as he would have for a parent or a friend..." or, in the same chapter, "he followed his dead man," when Maigret goes to the Caves du Beaujolais, from which the victim had phoned him for the first time.
In the same way, in Maigret et la jeune morte, the commissioner "follows" Louise Laboine, to try to understand her, to "know" her, as he says himself at the beginning of Chapter 9. So when Maigret finally discovers how and why Louise had been killed, it is because he had "gotten into the girl's skin", because of his concern with her mentality" (Chapter 9).

In the same manner, Maigret visits the cafés from which Albert Rochain had phoned him, and then, when he discovers Albert's own café, Au Petit Albert, he sets himself up there... ("the commissioner … really seemed to be moving into a new domicile. In less than half an hour, it was like he was at home"), drinks a Suze there, like Albert, passes the night there ("He tried on the house as one tries on a new garment"). It is while trying to get into "his dead man," while acting like him, doing things more or less the same way he would, that Maigret ends up understanding how Albert had wound up on the track of the Czech gang and why they had killed him.
It is like how Maigret tries to understand Jules Lapie in Félicie est là [Maigret and the Toy Village] when he tries on Peg Leg's straw hat, and, as the director of the PJ says, "gets settled into an investigation like into a pair of slippers" (beginning of Chapter 2), or, in Maigret et l'homme du banc [Maigret and the Man on the Bench], in Chapter 5, "He thought so much about him that he ended up behaving as Louis would have, even taking on his facial expressions." And we can find many other examples of the commissioner's "identification", either with the victim, or sometimes with the murderer, with the goal always to understand.

We notice, besides, as another interesting point with regard to the "psychology" of Maigret, his attachment to the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir: In Chapter 3, Simenon tells us how colleagues and friends proposed other apartments to Maigret, and how he always refused to move, because "it was not so much the moves that troubled him, but the fact of changing the scene. The idea … of no longer taking the same path every morning, usually on foot…" Maigret here is far from a Simenon always in motion, crossing countries and continents and getting settled into new lodgings – that he always believed to be permanent, but which somehow always wound up as temporary. ("Every time I change the setting of my life, I feel an exaltation and I'm filled with hope." Des traces de pas [Dictée 1975]).
After all, maybe the way Maigret settles himself into the people he tries to understand is his way of "moving house". And since, with each new investigation, he finds himself plunged into a different environment from what he already knows, he probably doesn't need to change his domicile "to feel the exaltation", and the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir is, on the contrary, like a haven to which Maigret can return for a rest after the journeys he takes during an investigation…

Another significant aspect of Maigret et son mort is the manner in which the commissioner uses material evidence. We can consider, in this regard, the scene in Chapter 2 where Maigret uses the laboratory mannequin at Judicial Identity. We have to see how the commissioner discovers that the victim wasn't wearing his raincoat at the time of the murder, although it shows a cut from a knife. Whereas a Sherlock Holmes or a Hercules Poirot, for example, might present us with a long explanation of the shape of the cut, the possible position of the knife, Maigret is content to make "tests" with the mannequin, manipulating it in all directions, until the solution appears to him by itself. Simenon describes concretely the commissioner's gestures, his actions, but he doesn't describe the progress of his thoughts, only the outcome. "Aha! concludes Maigret, as if he had just solved a difficult equation." We could consider in the same way the operation that he does on the clothing of Emile Gallet in M.Gallet, décédé [Maigret Stonewalled] (Chapter 5).

Another memorable element is the "tactic" that Maigret uses when he is stuck in an investigation, the "flu". In Maigret et son mort, Chapter 3: " It happened to him from time to time like that, when an investigation didn't advance to his liking, to get in bed or keep to his room." I found two other places where the commissioner uses a flu to further the progress of his investigation: In La première enquête de Maigret [Maigret's First Case], Chapter 9, "He snuggled into his damp, sweaty bed. It was a way to withdraw into himself. He didn't know yet that it would become a habit, that he would often resort to this process in his moments of discouragement or embarrassment". And, of course, in the story Le témoignage de l'enfant de chœur [The Evidence of the Altar-Boy]: "He was all alone, all hot, all wet, deep in his bed… And it would be quite an achievement, a difficult investigation solved from his sick-bed ."
It seems to me that there are other novels where Maigret uses his flu for an investigation, but I didn't find any more while doing a quick search. Is there an Internaut Maigretphile who can lead us on the track to this?

A final thing to note: the visit of Mrs. Aubain-Vasconcelos, at the beginning of Chapter 1, that is part of the character gallery that Simenon only sketches, and that he places freely in a novel at the beginning – someone we could believe to be the starting point of the intrigue, but is actually "just passing through" the story. One could mention, in this parade, the lady who comes to tell him of threatening letters from her neighbor in Le revolver de Maigret [Maigret's Revolver], or the mad old haberdasher, Clementine Pholien in Maigret et le client du Samedi [Maigret and the Saturday Caller]. Can you think of any others?

Murielle Wenger

Maigret on DVD
5/08/06 – [Response to Paul Thomas, 5/7/06] I have purchased the first two boxed sets of 10 from alapage.com.
They have all four (saison 1, 2, 3, 4) for 54,99 € each (I was charged a lot less presumably because exports to Australia are tax free.) Online ordering is simple and they are fast and efficient.

Ward Saylor

Complete Maigret?
5/12/06 – Has anyone ever published a complete Maigret, like they have done for Sherlock Holmes, Poirot etc? Or is there anywhere that I can buy the "series" of them (in English preferably!)

Thanks in advance,
Emma-Dawn Loftus

Complete Maigret?
5/13/06 –
A photo of a 72-volume 1969 Œuvres Complètes, including 28 volumes of Maigret. In French. (Six more Maigrets were published from 1969-1972)

To get all the Maigrets in the 27-volume Tout Simenon edition, (in French - the complete works of Simenon under his own name, without the Dictées), you'd need almost all the volumes, since the Maigrets are not separate.

The closest thing to a Complete Maigret in English is the Penguin series, in which all but five of the Maigrets have appeared, about 70 paperback volumes.

ST

CIR Editions? Auction House?
5/13/06 –
My wife and I are in the process of assembling an extensive collection of Simenon books that we inherited from an elderly relative of hers. We're currently compiling a list of the Maigret titles using the Trudee Young checklist - most of the collection consists of French titles. My question right now pertains to early titles that were published by CIR in Bruxelles. It appears that all the 1st editions noted in Young's bibliography are Fayard with no reference to the Bruxelles publishing house. How does CIR fit into the chronological order of French indexes?

Doug Nelson
PS - Would also like your opinion on the most appropriate auction house to sell a Simenon collection in Europe - Sotheby's, Christie's, Swann or others? London or Paris?

Reissue the Rupert Davies series... a petition to BBC
5/14/06 – I am desperate to get hold of the four series and special of the original British version of Maigret shown on British Television in the 1960's, starring the late great Rupert Davies. It was the best version by far and when they remade it in the 1990's starring Michael Gambon it wasn't as good, but remakes never are.

My petition:

To: BBC Television and Network Dvd

We the undersigned would like the complete Series 1-4 and the Special (a total of 53 episodes) of the classic 1950's television drama series Maigret 1960-1963, 1969, starring the late great character actor Rupert Davies released on dvd in chronological order.

Maigret was first introduced to BBC Television as part of their Sunday-Night Theatre presentations with Maigret and the Lost Life, broadcast on (6/12/59). It was a 75 minute production and it starred Basil Sydney as Maigret. However, the actual series began in October 1960, the first of what would eventually become four series totalling 52 episodes. The four series starred the late great character actor Rupert Davies who is much missed by the British Public. In 1969, Davies revived the role of Maigret in a 90 minute special entitled Maigret at Bay (9/2/69). Georges Simenon once described Rupert Davies as the perfect Maigret and that's why future generations should see Rupert in action.

Please give this petition some consideration because you will make a profit from customers, who are desperate to see the original television drama series Maigret again.

Please sign the petition here.

Robert Fairbanks

Maigret on DVD
5/18/06 – [Response to Ward Saylor, 5/8/06]. Thank you for the lead on where to buy recent Maigret on DVD. I am in Australia also - can you confirm that these DVDs are in PAL with subtitles? If so I will try and navigate the French website and order some. I have never thought of buying videos from a French site as I assumed that they would be in SECAM. Does anyone know if things are changing in this regard with the spread of digital TV and DVDs?

Paul Thomas

Simenon in Book and Magazine Collector - 2003
5/21/06 –

Book and Magazine Collector
March 2003
No. 228, pp 18-28

 

David Howard considers
the "Maigret" books
and Simenon's other crime novels

Georges Simenon

David Howard

"... No less an authority than crime novelist H.R.F. Keating selected two 'Maigret' novels in his 1987 book of the best 100 crime and mystery stories of all time. These were My Friend Maigret and Maigret in Court. In Keating's book, the novels are listed chronologically, but Keating has let it be known that were they listed in order of merit, Simenon would take first place."

Maigret in Polish newspapers
5/23/06 – Thanks to Przemysław Charzyński for continuing to supply Polish Maigret data - most recently a list of 31 Maigrets serialized in Polish newspapers from 1957-1987, along with the column headers.

ST

Simenon in Book and Magazine Collector - 2003
5/24/06 –

Here is a slightly revised version of the letter that I wrote on the 2nd of March 2003 to the then Editor of the Book and Magazine Collector in response to the article about Georges Simenon (BMC March 2003 N° 228).
Most of the editorial team of this magazine has changed since 2003.
Dear Editor,
In commemorating the centenary of the birth of Georges Simenon with one article, attempting to cover his output of novels and short stories, is like trying to squeeze a few gallons into the proverbial pint pot.
There are 75 novels and 28 short stories involving Maigret (3 of the latter not being translated by his usual publishers). The non-series consists of 117 novels (105 translated) and 142 short stories (49 translated).
The article in BMC (N° 228) has an emphasis on the Maigret output even though BMC has published two articles before, albeit in 1984 (N° 8) and 1992 (N° 98), about the Commissaire, but there hasn’t been one devoted exclusively to the non-series editions. For the benefit of collectors and readers, it is a pity that the non-series bibliography section is not in the same detail as the Maigret. There are 17 non-series volumes that contain two novels each, with two more containing three novels each. For example, The Sacrifice (the cover title only — illustrated) contains Mr. Hire’s Engagement and Young Cardinaud. Also two titles of novels are missing from this list — Uncle Charles and The Rules of the Game (both Hamish Hamilton, 1988 and 1989 respectively). In the Maigret section the volume entitled Maigret and M.Labbé, The Man from Everywhere is a non-series novel.
In the first volume of Maigret Short Stories entitled Maigret’s Christmas, the last title Maigret in Retirement (Maigret se fâche) is a novel and not a short story.
The two Maigret series, 1992 and 1993, with Michael Gambon in the title role, were made by Granada Television and not the BBC, being transmitted on the then ITV channel.
The cover of Au Grand 13, (illustrated) was published in 1925, and is a collection of 57 short stories not a novel, and the cover of the Maigret novel, M.Gallet, Décédé, (illustrated) is the 1936 reprint.

Yours sincerely,

PETER FOORD

PS. Unfortunately, some errors occur in the article, as well as some confused facts, so for the record I have listed them separately.

[Peter Foord's complete letter, along with the notes on various paragraphs of the BMC-228 article is reprinted here. The notes link to the article, and footnotes have been added to the article linking back to the notes.]

Crimen y Misterio: Las Manos Llenas por Georges Simenon
5/25/06 – While searching for Simenon stories in Spanish, I found that in the May 29, 1949, issue of the Cuban weekly BOHEMIA, there was a Georges Simenon short story entitled LAS MANOS LLENAS (Hands Full) in the Crime & Mystery section.
It must have been a very interesting issue of BOHEMIA: besides the Simenon story there was a Rafael Sabatini story, La NOCHE DE LA FUGA (The Night of Escape); an open letter to Cuban president Carlos Prio Socarras by Rene Fiallo, an exiled Dominican writer living in Cuba; an interview with Fulgencio Batista, who was himself exiled in the U.S. at the time; and an article by Eduardo Chibas titled From Batista to Prio (April 1935 to April 1949). Chibas was the favorite to win the never-held 1952 Cuban presidential election; it didn't matter, Chibas committed suicide in 1951 (shooting himself while on the air in middle of a radio program).
Can you figure out what could have been the original French title of that short story, and if there is an English translation available? I haven't been able to get a copy of the Spanish version.

Juan

Simenon: Las Manos Llenas (Hands Full)
5/25/06 – Here are the details concerning Juan’s question (5/25/06) about this Simenon short story.
The French title of this short story is LES MAINS PLEINES, which Simenon wrote in March 1945 when he was staying in the coastal town of Les Sables-d’Olonne (Vendée) recovering from an illness.
It was first published in the Brussels newspaper “La Patrie” on the 7th June 1945.
In book form it was first published in Paris by Presses de la Cité in 1963 as one of a collection of 14 short stories under the title of “La Rue aux Trois Poussins” (story number twelve on pages 223 to 228). This collection has been reprinted complete several times since, as well as being reissued in two paperbacks by the same publisher under the titles of “La Rue aux Trois Poussins” (7 short stories) and “La Piste du Hollandais” (7 short stories). This short story is reprinted in the second of these two volumes.
This short story has not been translated into English.
Simenon does not give a name to the location or to any of the characters. The theme revolves around a young man of twenty wanting to join a Resistance group in the countryside during the Second World War. Simenon wrote this short story near the end of the war and it reflects the atmosphere and the events of the Occupation of France. During the war he lived in various places in the countryside of the Vendée region of France and it is most likely that he had in mind the village of Saint-Mesmin-le-Vieux, in the Vendée, as the setting for this short story.

Peter Foord
UK

Simenon: Las Manos Llenas (Hands Full)
5/26/06 – Thanks for answering my question, Peter. I will try to find a reasonably priced copy of either "La Rue aux Trois Poussins" or "La Piste du Hollandais" and get through the six pages of LES MAINS PLEINES with a French-English or French-Spanish dictionary and my wife's help. My wife knows some French, but I only know how to pronounce it with a very distinct Spanish accent, without knowing exactly what I am pronouncing. I have twice tried to learn French in the Alliance Française, but could not even finish the most elementary level in either instance. I managed only to learn a few French words and the rules of pronunciation.
I have very little hope of finding the Spanish translation; I figure that someone in the staff of BOHEMIA read and translated the story and obtained Mr. Simenon's permission to publish it. Finding a copy of that issue outside of Cuba is probably next to impossible. I tried to contact the website where I found the information on the Simenon Spanish translated story, but I never received an answer to my message.
I should have read that issue of BOHEMIA when I had a chance but I was five years old at the time of publication.

Juan

Georges Simenon: "Hands Full"
5/26/06 –

Hands Full

a translation of George Simenon's (1945) Les Mains pleines

He had been lying there for two hours without sleeping, his eyes fixed on a corner of the room where the moon illuminated the whitewashed wall, a black frame that contained a print, the posts of his sister's bed. He could discern his father's snoring in the neighboring room. He had intentionally chosen a market night, because on those days his father would drink a few glasses of white wine and be sleepy.

He got out of bed, dressed silently, his bare feet sticking to the coolness of the tiles. He knew well, by the quality of the silence, that his sister wasn't asleep – he sensed her tense nerves. He could nearly have foretold at what moment, as he took a step, she would reveal her wakefulness.

"Are you going there?"

It was hardly a whisper. The vibration of the syllables just reached him, and, shoes in his hands, he approached her bed, touched with his lips a forehead moist with her scent.

"I think this is it," he breathed. "Tomorrow, you will tell them... "

How had she guessed? And he, on his side, for several days, had he not been sure that she knew? She'd never said anything. Besides, she worked all day long as a maid for the butcher and she didn't even take meals with them. It had always been like that – they hardly spoke and she knew. Only with him. You had to believe that there was a link between them that didn't exist between other humans.

She didn't cry, didn't give him any advice. He moved away, opened the door and continued to feel her open eyes turned toward him in the blackness of the room. He left by the courtyard, jumped the hedge at the bottom of the garden and crossed the wet fields behind the church. Far enough from the village, he put on his shoes and tied them.

He was very quiet. He had thought through these movements so often that he accomplished them mechanically. A thick moon swam in the sky. A layer of moisture spread across the meadows and fields.

In that way he covered two kilometers, close to the river, the point that he had decided, and there, in the hollow of a dead chestnut, he located the shotgun...

complete text

ST

Hands Full - a translation of George Simenon's Les Mains pleines
5/27/06 – When I opened the Forum this morning I was delighted to find LES MAINS PLEINES translated into English.
¡Muchísimas gracias!

Juan

Maigret on DVD
5/29/06 – [Response to Paul Thomas, 5/18/06]. The Bruno Crémer (but not the Jean Gabin or Jean Richard) Maigret's have the option of français avec sous-titre anglais.
This is only for the actual film. Each disc has the same set of bonus features in French only (a 50 minute interview with Bruno Cremer plus Simenon, l'homme aux 100 vies (35 minutes), Les enquêtes de Maigret and Le coin du libraire.
The sub-titling is in excellent colloquial English (with the occasional lapse).
Audio is Dolby surround stereo, screen format is 16/9 compatable with 4/3 and they are Region 2 PAL DVDs. In Australia you will need a multizone compatible player (mine is a $49 Magnavox from Target on which they play without any bother).
To order them, go to alapage.com, search for Maigret choosing DVD and follow the (French) instructions - it is pretty hard to get lost. The best value are the 10 DVD sets (coffrets or saisons 1, 2, 3 and 4) - those cost, with airmail to Australia, Euro 62.98 and take about 10 days to arrive. Alternatively, if you are an eBay user, they are currently available as a "Buy Now" for Euro 59.99 including airmail to Australia from seller pabcd.
Regards PAL and SECAM, I have purchased a few DVD's from France and they are all PAL - as I recall, pure PAL and SECAM are pretty interchangable anyway and most DVD players handle any format including NTSC.

Ward Saylor

Lucas, Janvier, and Co...
5/30/06 –
 
Bonjour à tous les maigretphiles!

Je suis en train de faire une petite étude sur les inspecteurs et collaborateurs de Maigret, et je cherche des informations sur les multiples apparitions des inspecteurs, en particulier dans les "non-Maigret".

J'ai déjà trouvé les références de plusieurs romans et nouvelles où Lucas apparaît, en dehors des "Maigret":
- trois romans signés Christian Brulls: L'inconnue, L'évasion, Fièvre
- un roman signé Georges Sim: La fiancée du diable

J'ai lu quelque part sur le net cette phrase "À noter que Lucas a également joué un rôle, comme commissaire ou comme inspecteur, dans 6 romans de la destinée et dans 12 nouvelles sans Maigret."
J'ai déjà pu trouver que Lucas apparaît dans "Les suicidés", roman signé Georges Simenon, et dans les recueils de nouvelles suivants:
- "Le petit docteur "(quelles nouvelles?)
- "Les sept minutes": "L'énigme de la Marie Galante"
- "Les dossiers de l'agence O": "L'arrestation du musicien"; "Le vieillard au porte-mine"; "Le ticket de métro", "Le prisonnier de Lagny", "Le club des vieilles dames", "Le docteur Tant-Pis", "Le chantage de l'agence O".

Tout cela nous donne 8 nouvelles et 1 roman identifiés. Quelqu'un pourra-t-il m'aider à trouver quels sont les autres nouvelles et "romans de la destinée" où Lucas apparaît?
De même, un lecteur assidu de Simenon pourra-t-il me dire s'il a repéré dans les "non-Maigret" l'apparition d'autres inspecteurs, tels Janvier, Lapointe ou Torrence?

Meilleures salutations,
[translation]
Hello to all Maigretphiles!

I am making a small study of Maigret's inspectors and collaborators, and I'm looking for information on the multiple appearances of inspectors, particularly in the non-Maigrets.

I've already found references to several novels and stories outside of the Maigrets in which Lucas appears:
- three novels signed Christian Brulls: L'inconnue [The unknown], L'évasion [The escape], Fièvre [Fever]
- a novel signed Georges Sim: La fiancée du diable [The fiancée of the devil]

I found somewhere on the Net that "...Lucas also played a role, as commissioner or inspector, in 6 of the "novels of destiny" and in 12 non-Maigret stories."
I have so far found that Lucas appears in "Les suicidés" [The Suicides], a novel signed Georges Simenon, and in these stories:
- "Le petit docteur" [The Little Doctor] (which stories?)
- "Les sept minutes" [The seven minutes]: "L'énigme de la Marie-Galante" [The mystery of the Marie-Galante]
- "Les dossiers de l'agence O" [The Files of Agency O]: "L'arrestation du musicien" [The musician's arrest]; "Le vieillard au porte-mine" [The old man with the mechanical pencil]; "Le ticket de métro" [The metro ticket], "Le prisonnier de Lagny" [The prisoner of Lagny], "Le club des vieilles dames" [The Old Women's Club], "Le docteur Tant-Pis" [Doctor Too Bad], "Le chantage de l'agence O" [The blackmail of Agency O].

This adds up to one novel and eight stories. Can someone help me find the other stories and "novels of destiny " in which Lucas appears?
And can some regular reader of Simenon tell me if they noticed in any non-Maigrets the appearance of other inspectors, such as Janvier, Lapointe or Torrence?

Best Regards,

Murielle

Lucas, Janvier, and Co...
5/30/06 – With regard to Murielle's research (5/30/06), Michel Lemoine's (1985) "Index des personnages de Georges Simenon" is the source for this kind of information (for works under Simenon's real name). He provides the following:

Lucas's appearances outside the Maigrets:
L'Outlaw
L'Enterrement de Monsieur Bouvet
Philippe,
in Les Treize Coupables
L'Enigme de la « Marie-Galante »
in Les Sept Minutes
Le Testament Donadieu
L'Homme qui regardait passer les Trains
Monsieur La Souris
Les suicidés
in Le Petit Docteur:
La Bonne Fortune du Hollandais
L'Amiral a disparu
La Sonette d'Alarme
Le Château de l'Arsenic
L'Amoureux aux Pantoufles
in Les Dossiers de l'Agence O:
L'Arrestation du Musicien
Le Vieillard au Porte-Mine
Le Prisonnier de Lagny
Le Club des vieilles Dames
Le Docteur Tant-Pis
(This adds up to 6 novels and 12 stories. Although Lemoine doesn't list them (even Homer...), Lucas appears (briefly) in both Le ticket de métro and Le chantage de l'agence O (both in Les Dossiers de l'Agence O), as Murielle has listed.)

As for Torrence, he appears in all the stories of Les Dossiers de l'Agence O, because it is his detective agency, that he founded when he left the PJ. So Lucas is to some extent his protagonist in the series. (At the beginning of Le ticket de métro: "In his large office, Torrence, who had lit a pipe, was standing with his back to the stove, in the familiar pose of his old chief, Maigret..."). Lemoine also lists Torrence as appearing in La Bonne Fortune du Hollandais in Le Petit Docteur.

Janvier appears in two of the Agence O stories as well: L'Arrestation du Musicien, and Le Chantage de l'Agence O.

Although Lapointe is not listed for any works outside of the Maigrets, Lognon appears as Commissaire in L'Outlaw, and as Inspecteur in Le Petit Restaurant des Ternes in La Rue aux trois Poussins.

ST

The Musician's Arrest
5/30/06 – The discussion of "semi-Maigrets", stories with Maigret's detectives but without Maigret himself, reminds me that I had started a translation of Les Dossiers de l'Agence O a few years ago, and that it might be interesting to look at in this context. Here's the first part of one of the stories, with both Torrence and Lucas...

The Musician's Arrest


a translation of Part 1 of George Simenon's "L'Arrestation du Musicien,"
from his (1943) collection of stories, Les Dossiers de l'Agence O.

1. Where the detective Torrence, playing his part against Commissioner Lucas, rushes in, in full illegality

"What's he look like?" Torrence had asked on the phone before deciding.

"Small, kind of grouchy looking, with a mustache like Charlot..."

"Good! It's Commissioner Lucas."

An old colleague of Torrence's at the Criminal Investigation Department. It was becoming funnier. Lucas, indeed, was a perpetual worrier. The specter of a possible blunder literally plagued him. More honest than anyone should sensibly be, especially considering he spent his time battling criminals. But the strange thing was, everyone was afraid of Lucas, because of his air of being eternally grouchy.

The arrival of Torrence and his photographer Émile at the small bar in the Rue Fromentin was much more sensational than the Montmartre street itself, which, even though it opens onto the Place Pigalle, is one of quietest of the district. Especially at six o'clock in the morning!

It was May. Lucas was wearing his overcoat, which made him appear even smaller, because, like most small men, he liked long, full overcoats.

"You look like a candle snuffer," Torrence had told him once.

Lucas was drinking coffee at a marble table, close to the window. The patron of the bar was polishing his zinc counter with chalk. An inspector, seated in front of the commissioner, was listening to his last instructions.

"All of which leads us to believe that he is armed, and a man who'd sell his skin dearly. I'll go in first and..."

Just at that instant, the door opened and Torrence walked in, as if he were at home, as if it were perfectly natural that the director of Agency O would come to drink his morning coffee, in company of his photographer, in a bar on the Rue Fromentin.

At once, Lucas was upset.

"What are you doing here?"

"And you?"

"What! As you can see... I was passing through the district."

"Just as we were, isn't that so Émile?"

"That's right, boss..."

complete Part 1
ST

Maigret's detectives: more Torrence...
6/3/06 – Murielle mentions (5/30/06) Lucas in Simenon's "Fièvre", which appeared from Fayard by Christian Brulls in 1932, just when they were publishing the earliest Maigrets. It was reissued in 1954, but by Georges Sim. According to a short article at 0Faute, reproduced and translated below, the main policeman of the story is a very Maigret-like Torrence...
 
Fièvre (pseudonyme Christian Brulls) : Roman sentimental et policier.

«Très curieux est "Fièvre", car si le policier que l'on nous montre et qui joue un grand rôle s'appelle Torrence, on a bien plutôt l'impression qu'il devrait s'appeler Maigret. (...) Commissaire, il est célèbre à la PJ pour sa pipe en racine de bruyère et se trouve flanqué de l'inspecteur Lucas. Madame Torrence annonce aussi Madame Maigret. C'est "une femme accorte de quarante ans" qui s'inquiète avant tout de sa cuisine et qui a pour son mari des soins maternels. (...)
Dans "Fièvre", Torrence-Maigret semble aller un peu loin pour un policier officiel.»

(Maurice Dubourg, "Maigret et compagnie ou les détectives de l'agence Simenon", Mystère magazine, décembre 1964)

[translation]
Fever (under pseudonym Christian Brulls) : romance / police novel.

"Very curious is Fever, because while the policeman we are shown, and who plays a large role, is called Torrence, you get the impression that he should rather be called Maigret ... Commissioner famous at the PJ for his briar pipe, flanked by Inspector Lucas. And Mme Torrence resembles Mme Maigret. She is "a comely woman of forty" who worries above all about her culinary activities, and takes maternal care of her husband. ...
In Fever, Torrence-Maigret seems to go a little far for an official policeman."

(Maurice Dubourg, "Maigret & Co., or, The Detectives of the Simenon Agency," Mystery magazine, December 1964)

ST

What order to read Maigret?

6/8/06 – I wish to read Simenon's Maigret novels and don't really know where to start. I bought about 10 of the handsome 2003 Harcourt soft cover editions the other day ("Maigret in Holland," "Maigret and the Bum", "Maigret at the 'Gai Moulin'", "Maigret's Boyhood Friend", among them). However, they are clearly neither complete, nor in chronological order. I don't know how much character development occurs from book to book, and haven't been able to ascertain whether this Harcourt series includes all 75 novels. Any suggestions?

Peter Donolo

What order to read Maigret?

6/8/06 – If this site had a FAQ section, that question would probably be near the top, more or less equivalent to "Which Maigret(s) should I start with?" My advice is, don't be concerned with the order. Maigret, his wife, his friend Pardon, his detectives and magistrates... they all seem to develop naturally, no matter where you start. It's a series spanning over 40 years and 100 stories and novels... They weren't written with any sort of chronology in mind, and they jump around to various points in M's career... Once you've read a couple you start to feel what's going on, to know who's who. The main thing is to read more than one... at least two or three to get started, to get a sense of Maigret's world. The sampling from that recent Harcourt series provides a great start - just jump in!

ST

Maigret of the Month: La Première Enquête de Maigret (Maigret’s First Case)
6/09/06 –

In the latter months of 1947, Simenon was living in Tucson in Arizona where he wrote two Maigret novels in close sequence, Les Vacances de Maigret (A Summer holiday / No Vacation for Maigret / Maigret on Holiday) in November and Maigret et son mort (Maigret’s Special Murder / Maigret’s Dead Man) in December.

Simenon followed these two Maigret works with the novel La Neige Était Sale (The Stain on the Snow / The Snow was Black) completed on the 20th of March 1948. This is one of Simenon’s most powerful novels, set in an unnamed country under occupation, with the all pervading snow, in its various forms, acting as a symbol parallel to the strong narrative.

But Simenon’s stay in Tucson was coming to an end. Mrs. Kingan, the owner of the villa that Simenon was renting in West Franklin Street, wished to return to her property. Simenon decided to remain in Arizona, travelling nearly fifty miles due south to the village of Tumacacori, some ten miles from Nogales. the town on the Arizona/Mexican border. At the beginning of June 1948 at Tumacacori he rented two houses to accommodate his wife Tigy and their son Marc, Boule, himself and Denyse Ouimet.

Simenon’s first novel, written in August, in this part of Arizona was Le Fond de la Bouteille (The Bottom of the Bottle). This novel’s locations are Tumacacori and Nogales, and the theme is the relationship between two brothers.

During the Second World War, Georges Simenon’s younger brother Christian had associated himself with the Rexist organisation, a collaborative group, and at the end of the war he was being sought by the authorities. On the advice of Georges, Christian had joined the French Foreign Legion, only to be killed in action in French Indo-China (now Vietnam) at the end of October 1947. The novel Le Fond de la Bouteille is undoubtedly influenced by the relationship between Georges and Christian.

Simenon often said that writing the Maigret novels were a contrast and a relaxation from his other novels. Having written two non-Maigret emotionally charged novels, his next was La Première Enquête de Maigret (Maigret’s First Case) completed on the 30th of September 1948.

The previous two Maigret novels are very different in context from each other and this trend continues with his next, as the author goes back to the early part of Maigret’s career. It is April 1913; Maigret is twenty-six years of age, has been in the police for four years and has been married for five months.

Although Simenon did not know the Paris of April 1913 (at the time he was a boy of ten living with his parents and younger brother in the district of Outremeuse in the city of Liège in Belgium), he does give the reader a flavour of the period, although perhaps not so distinctive as when he came to live there.

The young Maigret is attached to one of the small district police stations in the Quartier Saint-Georges, part of the ninth arrondissement. (Simenon locates this establishment in the Rue de la Rochefoucauld, although in reality it was at N° 7 Rue Ballu, a few streets away. Was this a slip of memory, or, as in other cases, was he playing safe with a different address?).

At the beginning of the novel, Maigret’s night duty is interrupted when Justin Minard, a musician, reports an incident at the nearby house of a wealthy and well-connected family.

The whole novel is built around the contrast between the young Maigret experiencing his first investigation and the people with power and influence. Even Maigret’s superior, Commissaire Le Bret, who is a social visitor to he same wealthy family, instructs Maigret to take immediate leave, the implication being that if Maigret investigates on his own and “puts his foot in it”, the repercussions will not fall on the police force. This decision angers Maigret, who as he carries out his enquiries, also, at times, experiences frustration, humiliation and a sense of futility.

Apart from this being considered his first investigation, Simenon indicates certain actions that become traits throughout Maigret’s career. (Two years later in September 1950, Simenon took another look at Maigret’s life and career when he wrote Les Mémoires de Maigret (Maigret’s Memoirs).

Perhaps while writing Le Première Enquête de Maigret Simenon was drawing a parallel to his own beginnings in Paris, recently married and working as a secretary to the writer Binet-Valmer, who was far more involved with a certain political party.

Simenon has written an intriguing novel about the young Maigret, who at times is uncertain, doubtful and sceptical, acts on impulse and now and then not too clever, but eventually arrives at a credible conclusion.

 
The only translation is by Robert Brain who follows Simenon’s text closely.


A section of the map of Paris in 1925, showing most of the Quartier Saint-Georges (N° 33) with the Rues Chaptal, Henner, de la Rochefoucauld, Fontaine and Ballu (Albert Dauzat et Fernand Bournon, Paris et ses Environs, Librairie Larousse, Paris, 1925).

Peter Foord
UK

A Maigret Bus Ride
6/11/06 –
Here is a photo of a Renault TN-6C bus. This is the typical open-platform Paris bus, in service from about 1935 to 1965. This particular one was number 2458 in the RATP (Paris Transport) fleet. It is now preserved near Liège in Belgium.

A Maigret Bus Ride - June 10, 2006

Joe Richards

Buses and trams in the archives:
3/20/05   12/19/04   12/08/04   12/28/04   1/4/03   8/24/99  

Maigret of the Month: La Première Enquête de Maigret (Maigret’s First Case)
6/12/06 –
 
Quelques réflexions

1. Ce roman est l'un des rares de la série des Maigret dans lequel Simenon évoque une date précise quant à l'année où se déroule l'action. Le romancier nous indique souvent le mois (et quelquefois au jour), mais plutêt, me semble-t-il, pour nous donner une idée sur la "coloration" de la saison à laquelle se passe l'histoire. Ainsi, par exemple, un roman se passant en novembre sera placé sous le signe de la pluie et du brouillard, le mois d'août conduira à une histoire où le commissaire souffre de la chaleur et attend avec impatience la pluie rafraîchissante d'un orage, tandis que le mois d'avril, comme ici, évoque le printemps, son "soleil guilleret", et un Maigret qui apprécie que "l'air était si vif, les rues de Paris d'une telle saveur qu'il avait marché et qu'il avait failli faire un détour par les Halles pour renifler l'odeur des légumes et des fruits de printemps".

Ce qui est intéressant dans La première enquête de Maigret, c'est cette date que Simenon a tenu à préciser. En effet, il mentionne que nous sommes en 1913 et que Maigret a 26 ans. Cela permettra aux lecteurs assidus et "collectionneurs maigretphiles" de tenter à partir de là une chronologie de la carrière de Maigret (cf Forrest et Drake). Ce que je trouve en outre passionnant quant à cette datation, c'est le fait que Simenon n'a donné qu'à deux autres reprises une date annuelle dans la série des Maigret: c'est le cas dans M. Gallet, décédé (début du chapitre 1, "27 juin 1930"), et dans Maigret et l'homme tout seul (chapitre 1, "On était en 1965").

On pourrait y ajouter Les mémoires de Maigret, où le commissaire nous dit qu'il a rencontré Simenon en 1927 ou 1928. Mais je mettrais ce dernier cas à part, puisque ce roman ne raconte pas vraiment une enquête, mais plutêt, entre autres, des souvenirs de Maigret.

Si l'on considère les trois romans La première enquête de Maigret, M. Gallet décédé et Maigret et l'homme tout seul, il nous apparaît qu'ils sont situés, dans leur ordre de rédaction, à trois moments importants de la série: M. Gallet décédé est un des tout premiers "Maigret" écrits par Simenon, La première enquête est environ au milieu de toute la liste des romans (dans les débuts de la série "Presses de la Cité"), et Maigret et l'homme tout seul est l'antépénultième de tous les romans de Maigret. On pourrait peut-être y voir comme une volonté, plus ou moins consciente, de Simenon de donner en quelque sorte des "balises" chronologiques sur la vie de son personnage: la jeunesse de Maigret et ses débuts dans la police dans les années 1915-1920, son travail en tant que commissaire dans les années 1930, et enfin sa fin de carrière dans les années 1960. Il est clair que si l'on s'arrête aux dates, cela représente pour Maigret une fort longue vie active, mais il ne faut pas oublier que le personnage a vécu une vie parallèle à celle de son romancier, et c'est pourquoi Simenon a été "obligé" d'adapter les dates en fonction de son temps d'écriture, afin de garder une certaine "contemporanéité" entre lui et son héros: ainsi, il a écrit M.Gallet décédé en 1930, donc l'action du livre est sensée se dérouler en 1930. La première enquête, écrite en 1948, évoque les débuts d'un commissaire qui, ayant environ la cinquantaine dans les romans de la même époque, peut fort bien avoir débuté en 1913. Enfin,L'homme tout seul, écrit en 1971, se doit, s'il veut évoquer les Halles disparues, de situer l'action vers 1965, quand celles-ci "n'avaient pas encore été transférées à Rungis " (cf chapitre 1), et peut mentionner un commissaire dans ses derniers années de vie active (il est sensé avoir 55 ans). La contradiction entre les datations n'est, à mon avis, qu'apparente, à cause justement de cette "contemporanéité" de plus en plus marquée que le romancier va vivre en parallèle avec son personnage. Celui-ci vieillit, sinon au même rythme, du moins en même temps que lui, et Maigret va de plus en plus, avec les années, avoir les mêmes réactions et sentiments face à la vie, que Simenon ( à moins que ce ne soit le contraire...).

2. C'est dans La première enquête de Maigret que l'on verra apparaître nombre de thèmes récurrents tout au long de la série: ainsi, on va y apprendre l'origine de l'amour du commissaire pour son poêle, ce fameux poêle évoqué dans de nombreux romans. On verra aussi naître chez le jeune Maigret le "déclic", qui "lui deviendrait si familier qu'il serait un jour légendaire au Quai des Orfèvres" (chapitre 4). C'est ici encore que le futur commissaire utilise pour la première fois la "maladie" pour l'aider à résoudre une enquête, une "technique" qu'il réemploiera souvent. C'est encore dans ce roman que Maigret fait sa première "planque" dans un bistrot, et découvre les "vertus" (!) de l'alcool pour l'aider à prendre de la "lourdeur". C'est enfin ici que Maigret évoque pour la première fois le "métier idéal" qu'il aurait voulu pratiquer: "raccommodeurs de destins" (chapitre 5, justement titré "La première ambition de Maigret").

3. Nous en apprenons encore dans ce roman un peu plus sur l'aspect physique du jeune Maigret: à 26 ans: il est encore maigre, a l'air d'un adolescent efflanqué et porte des moustaches roussâtres en pointes, comme il le rappellera dans Les mémoires de Maigret ("J'en avais d'assez longues, acajou, [...] terminées par des pointes effilées. Par la suite, elles se sont raccourcies jusqu'à n'être plus que des brosses à dents, avant de disparaître complètement.") et dans Les caves du Majestic, où l'on voit dans le bureau de Maigret " dans un cadre noir et doré, une photo d'ensemble de messieurs en redingote, en haut-de-forme, portant des moustaches invraisemblables et des barbes pointues: l'association des secrétaires de commissariat au temps où Maigret avait vingt-quatre ans!"

4. Dans ce roman apparaît aussi (chapitre 3) l'histoire du voleur à la tire que Maigret essaie d'attraper, et où la foule prend Maigret pour le voleur. On retrouvera le même épisode raconté dans Les mémoires de Maigret (chapitre 1) et dans Le revolver de Maigret (chapitre 6).

5. Dans cette première enquête, Maigret a d'emblée affaire à un milieu qui ne lui est pas familier; c'est pourquoi probablement il paraît parfois gauche et maladroit, et il va devoir "faire craquer tout un vernis de respectabilité", comme il le dit dans Les mémoires de Maigret, quand il fait allusion à ces enquêtes qui se déroulent dans des milieux "honorables et bien pensants". Plus d'une fois il aura affaire à ces gens d'un autre monde que le sien, comme par exemple dans Maigret et les témoins récalcitrants ou Maigret et les vieillards, pour ne citer que ceux-là.

[translation]
Some thoughts

1. This novel is one of the few in the Maigret series in which Simenon gives a precise date for the year the action takes place. The novelist often tells us the month (and sometimes the day), but rather, it seems to me, to give us an idea of the "coloring" of the season in which the story unfolds. So a novel taking place in November will be set, for example, with signs of rain and fog; the month of August will lead to a story where the commissioner endures the heat and awaits with impatience the refreshing rain of a storm; while the month of April, as here, evokes springtime, its "cheerful sun," and a Maigret who appreciates that "the air was so fresh, the streets of Paris of such a flavor that he had walked, and made a detour through Les Halles to sniff the odor of the vegetables and fruits of spring."

What is interesting in Maigret's First Case, is this date that Simenon was careful to specify. Indeed, he mentions that we are in 1913 and that Maigret is 26 years old, allowing regular readers and "Maigretphile collectors" to attempt a chronology of Maigret's career (cf Forrest and Drake). What I find additionally fascinating about this dating is the fact that on only two other occasions in the Maigret series did Simenon give a specific year – in Maigret Stonewalled [M. Gallet, décédé] (beginning of Chapter 1,"June 27, 1930"), and in Maigret and the Loner [Maigret et l'homme tout seul] (Chapter 1, "It was 1965...").

We might also add Maigret's Memoirs, where the Commissioner tells us that he met Simenon in 1927 or 1928. But I would set this one aside, since the novel doesn't relate an actual investigation, but rather, among other things, Maigret's memories.

If we consider the three novels Maigret's First Case, Maigret Stonewalled, and Maigret and the Loner, it appears that they are situated, in their order of writing, at three important moments in the series: Maigret Stonewalled is one of the very first Maigrets written by Simenon; Maigret's First Case is about in the middle of the list (at the beginning of the Presses de la Cité set); and Maigret and the Loner is the antepenultimate of all the Maigret novels. We see here perhaps the more or less conscious desire of Simenon to give some chronological "beacons" for his character's life – Maigret's youth and his beginnings in the police in 1915-1920, his work as Commissioner in the 1930s, and finally the end of his career in the 1960s. It is clear that if we stop at dates, it represents for Maigret a very long active life, but we mustn't forget that the character lived a parallel life to that of his creator, and that is why Simenon has been "obliged" to adapt the dates according to the time of writing, in order to maintain a certain "contemporaneity" between him and his hero: He wrote Maigret Stonewalled in 1930, and therefore the action of the book is felt to take place in 1930. Maigret's First Case, written in 1948, evokes the commissioner's beginnings that, he being about 50 in the novels of the same time, can well have started in 1913. And finally, in Maigret and the Loner, written in 1971, he must, if he wants to evoke the defunct Les Halles markets, situate the action around 1965, when these "had not yet been transferred to Rungis" (cf Chapter 1), and cite a Commissioner in his last years of active life (he seems to be 55). The apparent contradiction between datings is not, in my opinion, significant – caused precisely by this "contemporaneity," more and more indicating that the novelist will live in parallel with his character. The one ages, if not at the same rhythm, at least at the same time as the other, and Maigret grows more and more, with the years, to have the same reactions and feelings towards life, as Simenon (unless it is the other way around...).

2. In Maigret's First Case we see the appearance of a number of the recurrent themes of the series – we learn the origin of the Commissioner's love for his stove, the famous stove evoked in numerous novels. We see also the birth in the young Maigret of the mental "click", that "would become so familiar that it would one day be legendary at the Quai des Orfèvres" (Chapter 4). And it is here too that the future Commissioner for the first time uses his "illness" to help him to solve an investigation, a "technique" that he will reuse often. It is also in this novel that Maigret has his first stake-out in a café, and discovers the virtues (!) of alcohol to help him to handle the "heaviness". And finally it is here that Maigret evokes for the first time the "ideal profession" that he would have liked to exercise – "repairer of destinies" (Chapter 5, titled exactly "Maigret's first ambition").

3. We also learn in this novel a little more about the physical appearance of the young Maigret: At 26 he was still thin, reminiscent of a skinny teenager, with a reddish mustache in tips, as he would remind us in Maigret's Memoirs ("Mine was longish, reddish brown ... with pointed ends. Later it dwindled to a toothbrush, and then disappeared completely.") and in Maigret and the Hotel Majestic, where we see in Maigret's office "in a black-and-gold frame, a photo of a group of men in frock coats and top hats, with unlikely mustaches and pointed beards: the Association of Police Secretaries at the time when Maigret had been 24!"

4. It is also in this novel (Chapter 3) that the story appears where Maigret is trying to arrest a pickpocket, and the crowd takes him for the thief. We can find the same episode in Maigret's Memoirs (Chapter 1) and in Maigret Revolver (Chapter 6).

5. In this first investigation, Maigret is thrust into an affair in an unfamiliar milieu, which is why he probably sometimes appears gauche and clumsy. He is going to have to "crack off the varnish of respectability," as he says in Maigret's Memoirs, when he makes allusion to these investigations that take place in "honorable and highly regarded" surroundings. More than once will he have business with these people of another world than his own, as for example in Maigret and the Reluctant Witnesses [Maigret et les témoins récalcitrants] and Maigret in Society [Maigret et les vieillards], to name only two.

Murielle

38 ? Quai des Orfèvres
6/12/06 –
On parle toujours de l'adresse "mythique" du 36, Quai des Orfèvres. Mais pourquoi Simenon a-t-il, à deux reprises, mentionné l'adresse du 38 (au lieu de 36): dans Maigret et le marchand de vin, chapitre 4 (adresse sur la lettre envoyée à Maigret par Pigoud) et dans Maigret se défend, chapitre 2 ("Il attendait sagement le feu vert pour traverser et se diriger vers le fameux 38 du quai des Orfèvres.") ? We always speak of the "mythical" address of 36 Quai des Orfèvres. But why has Simenon, on two occasions, used the address 38 (instead of 36) – in Maigret and the Wine Merchant, Chapter 4 (address on the letter sent to Maigret by Pigoud) and in Maigret on the Defensive, Chapter 2 ("He calmly waited for the green light to cross, and to head toward the famous 38 Quai des Orfèvres.)?
Murielle

Maigret of the Month: La Première Enquête de Maigret (Maigret’s First Case)
6/17/06 – Here's one more to add to Murielle's list of recurrent themes in Maigret’s First Case – Near the end of Chapter 8, Maigret more or less describes what we will come to recognize as "his method":

"Pourtant, il sentait si bien ce qu'il aurait fait si on lui avait laissé les mains libres ! Cette maison-là, qu'il apercevait du trottoir, il en aurait connu les moindres recoins, il aurait aussi connu les habitants, il n'y aurait plus rien eu de secret pour lui, en partant du vieux Balthazar qui était mort, pour aboutir à Lise Gendreau ou à Louis.
Ce qui s'était passé exactement dans la nuit du 15 au 16 n'était pas ce qui importait le plus, car ce n'était qu'un aboutissement. Il serait facile, quand il connaîtrait les pensées de chacun, de reconstituer leurs allées et venues."
"Nevertheless he knew exactly what he would have done if his hands had not been tied! In that house he could now see from the pavement, he would have become familiar with the smallest nook, would have got to know every occupant, and they would have had no secrets from him, starting from old Balthazar, who was dead, and finishing up with Lise Gendreau or Louis.
What exactly had happened on the night of the 15th was not what mattered most, since it was only the end of a chain of events. Once he knew everyone's thoughts, it would have been easy to reconstruct their movements."

Maigret's First Case, tr. Robert Brain.
[italics added]

ST

Maigret & Co. - 1964
6/17/06 –
Ellery Queen Mystère Magazine
December 1964
No. 203 - pp 108-118

Maigret & Co.
or
The Detectives of the Simenon Agency

by Maurice Dubourg

to M. Claude Menguy.

 
original French


I was intrigued by the brief segment of Maurice Dubourg's article (6/3/06) about Torrence in Fièvre [Fever], (found at 0Faute), and managed to locate a copy of that 42-year-old Mystery magazine. In a fairly long and detailed article, Dubourg presents a surprisingly complete survey of Simenon's detectives, dating from the "prehistoric" period – when he was still publishing "underground", using various pseudonyms. The result helps place into perspective the development of Maigret in Simenon's œuvre, in a comprehensive and enlightening article.
ST

Penguin Maigret
6/19/06 – Here are links to two articles on Penguin's planned re-releases:
When not relying on jazzy pocket books to draw attention to their catalogue, Penguin editors are constantly refreshing the Classics and Modern Classics lists ... this autumn sees the publication of new Penguin editions of Shakespeare, D.H. Lawrence, Robert Graves, Georges Simenon and Kobo Abe.

Penguin is introducing a new series of Georges Simenon's crime classics designed by David Pearson and a limited edition of hardbacks with covers commissioned from designers and artists including Paul Smith, Manolo Blahnik and Sam Taylor-Wood.

Roddy

36 Quai des Orfèvres
6/19/06 – No solution, but as a follow-up to Murielle's 36/38 question (6/12/06), here's the first part of a page from La Préfecture de Police, which mentions Maigret and Simenon's influence:

[translation}

36 Quai des Orfèvres, staircase A, 3rd floor: "Murder Squad"

THE LEGENDARY CRIMINAL BRIGADE

The Criminal Brigade, the "Murder Squad", as they call it in the hundreds of movies and telefilms for which it has been the setting, is the subject of an exhibit at the Museum of the Prefecture of Police beginning this month. On this occasion, Liaisons relates the history of the most famous brigade of the Judicial Police.

Descendant of the Sûreté, the "Murder Squad" was created by decree of June 29, 1912. But it was only the first section of a vast brigade that numbered more than 300 police. The second section was assigned to theft and the third was for swindles, confidence games, counterfeiting, etc.

Its official birth dates to December 1st, 1924. The "Murder Squad" was then called Special Brigade N°1, but it already occupied the locale that it does today: the 3rd and 4th floors, staircase A, at 36 Quai des Orfèvres... a mythical address that made generations of writers and film-makers dream. There was even a famous film with Louis Jouvet in the role of an old Chief Inspector close to retirement, entitled 36 Quai des Orfèvres.

But it was Georges Simenon who made 36 Quai des Orfèvres famous in 1930. At the time a crime-news journalist for L'Intransigeant [The Die-hard], he frequently climbed the 148 steps covered with ancient black linoleum leading to offices of the "Murder Squad".


Inspectors of the Special Brigade N°1, photographed at the Palace of Justice in 1921. The mustache was then fashionable.

M. Gougny represents the living memory of the "Murder Squad", in which he was a principal officer from 1946 to 1963.
The chief of the brigade was then M. Nicolle and he smoked a pipe. Simenon, who held dual careers as journalist and novelist, sought a character for a detective novel. M. Nicolle became, without his knowledge, the model for Commissioner Maigret.

"Moreover, the character of Commissioner Maigret constitutes the biggest sham in the history of the brigade," says the most senior member of the "Murder Squad", Maurice Gougny. "Commissioner Maigret works alone, whereas at the "Murder Squad", only teamwork counts."

Which doesn't detract from the fact that Simenon immortalized this brigade, in which, strangely, with no connection to Maigret, many of the chiefs were pipe smokers.

The complete article (in French) at La Préfecture de Police website.

Jerome

Response to Dubourg's Maigret & Co.
6/24/06 –

J'ai donc lu ce texte avec intérêt, et c'est vrai que cela nous donne des éléments intéressants sur les "antécédents" de Maigret. Néanmoins, Dubourg fait quelques assertions sur lesquelles j'aimerais revenir, parce que je ne partage pas toujours son opinion.
[translation]

I read this article with interest, and while it's true that there are interesting sections on the "antecedents" of Maigret, Dubourg makes some assertions to which I would like to respond, for I don't always share his opinion.

Influence of Maigret Films

1. Dubourg écrit : "et le cinéma avec La Tête d'un homme de Duvivier, Le Chien Jaune d'Abel Tarride et La Nuit du carrefour constitua pour Simenon une rampe de lancement incomparable."

Franchement, je ne pense pas que le succès que pouvait rencontrer Maigret au cinéma ait eu une influence sur la décision de Simenon de continuer à écrire les aventures de son commissaire. J'en veux pour preuves: 1° le succès très relatif qu'eurent ces films à l'époque, et 2° les lignes que consacrent Simenon à Maigret et le cinéma dans Les mémoires de Maigret, chapitre 2.

1. Dubourg writes, "Duvivier's La Tête d'un homme, Abel Tarride's Le Chien Jaune and Jean Renoir's La Nuit Carrefour... constituted for Simenon an incomparable launching pad."

I really can't see how the success of the Maigret films had any influence on Simenon's decision to continue to write his commissioner's adventures. What evidence is there of that? Consider the very relative success that these films had at the time, and the lines that Simenon gives to Maigret on those films in Maigret's Memoirs, chapter 2.

Failure of Maigret and the Coroner

2. Dubourg écrit encore: "Quand dans Maigret et le Coroner il s'essaye à un genre classique du roman policier anglo-saxon où l'action se déroule presque entièrement dans une salle de tribunal, il échoue complètement.":

Là non plus, je ne suis pas d'accord, mais nous pourrons peut-être en reparler quand ce roman sera l'objet d'un Maigret of the month (août 2006).

2. Dubourg writes further, "When in Maigret et le Coroner he tries a classic kind of Anglo-Saxon detective novel with the action taking place almost entirely in a courtroom, it fails completely."

Here too, I disagree, but let's save this discussion for a future Maigret-of-the-Month (August, 2006).

Humor in Maigret / Simenon

3. Mais c'est surtout cette phrase qui m'a interpellée et sur laquelle j'aimerais plus m'étendre: "cet humour généralement absent des oeuvres de Simenon, et pour lequel pourtant à ses débuts il se croyait spécialement doué."

Sans doute, les écrits les plus connus de Simenon ne sont effectivement pas très drêles, mais c'est aller un peu vite que d'affirmer qu'il manque d'humour. Je n'ai de loin pas tout lu de lui, mais on pourra trouver en tout cas bien des traits d'humour, par exemple dans les Dictés (on pourrait relire à ce propos Des traces de pas, quand Simenon décrit les visites des innombrables journalistes qui se pressent chez lui). Pour ma part, je ne parlerai que de ce que je connais le mieux, c'est-à-dire la série des Maigret. J'ai envie de citer ici quelques extraits, pour "prouver" en quelque sorte que Simenon n'est pas dépourvu d'humour, et aussi pour aller à l'encontre de certains, qui ont un peu trop tendance à nous présenter Maigret comme quelqu'un d'uniquement grognon et toujours bourru. Notre commissaire, en fait, ne manque pas d'humour, mais son ironie au second degré échappe souvent à ses interlocuteurs....J'ai volontairement choisi des extraits sur toute la durée chronologique du corpus, pour montrer que Maigret a eu, tout au long de sa carrière, un sens de l'humour qu'il serait faux de lui dénier.

Petit florilège:

La danseuse du Gai Moulin, chapitre 7:
"Un journaliste qui avait des talents de dessinateur faisait un rapide croquis de Maigret, qu'il représentait avec des bajoues et une tête aussi inquiétante que possible."

Le notaire de Châteauneuf, chapitre 1: Le notaire cherche comment faire venir Maigret chez lui sans faire connaître sa véritable identité:
"–[...] je ne puis vous présenter comme le fameux commissaire Maigret.
Il arrivait rarement à [Maigret] de se moquer des gens et pourtant il ne résista pas au désir d'une gaminerie. [...]. Il murmura le plus sérieusement du monde:
– Je pourrais mettre une fausse barbe?... [...]"

3. But it is especially this sentence that got to me, and on which I would like to enlarge– "... a humor generally absent from Simenon's works, and in which, in his beginnings he believed himself especially gifted."

Certainly Simenon's best-known writings are not particularly funny, but it's going a little far to claim that he's lacking in humor. I'm far from having read all of him, but even so, it's not hard to find humorous features in, for example, his Dicté's (as in Des traces de pas, when Simenon describes the visits to his home of innumerable journalists). For my part I will speak only of what I know best, the Maigrets.

Let me use some excerpts, to "prove", in a way, that Simenon is not devoid of humor, and also to show counter-examples to some who tend to present us Maigret as always a surly grouch. Our Commissioner, in fact, doesn't lack humor, but his 2nd degree irony often escapes his interlocutors... I've chosen excerpts spanning the chronological length of the corpus, to show that Maigret had, throughout his career, a sense of humor that can't be denied.

A small anthology

At the Gai Moulin, Ch 7:

"A journalist with some talent as an artist made a quick sketch of Maigret, whom he represented with jowls, and as disturbing a face as possible."

The Three Daughters of the Lawyer, Ch 1:
(The notary is looking for how to explain Maigret's presence at his home without revealing his true identity.)

"... therefore I can't introduce you as the famous Chief Superintendent Maigret."
Maigret seldom made fun of people, and yet he couldn't resist. With the utmost seriousness he murmured: 'Shall I wear a false beard?'"

continued
Murielle

Why I Love Maigret
6/26/06 –
I found this article of Murielle's at Jacques-Yves Depoix's Bruno Cremer - Maigret site, and asked her if I could post a translation of it here. It's not only a great story of a love affair with Maigret, but it reinforces what many have noted, that Simenon and Maigret are rediscovered by succeeding generations, first through television (at least where French TV is seen).
ST

 

The birth of a passion or Why I love Maigret

by Murielle Gigandet Wenger

[original French]

Flashback. The 70s. I'm 10. I discover television. The set is black-and-white, and it's a time blessed with the great and beautiful series as they knew how to make them then – Oh! Les faucheurs de marguerites [The Reapers of Daisies], Les Brigades du Tigre [The Tiger Brigades], La filière [The Network], Les cinq dernières minutes [The Five Final Minutes], and I'm just getting started...

Among all the characters I like to watch, there is one who has a place apart – it's Maigret, it's Jean Richard, reassuring, his smile filled with calm irony and good-naturedness... in short, a paternal face that a little girl of 10 or 12 can dream of... (Am I fantasizing? Maybe, but I accept it!) I follow the series religiously, cutting out newspaper photos and episode summaries....

A little later, I discover Simenon and I read my first Maigrets. Super! I take to them as much as to the TV series...

complete article

Edmond Sébeille, "the Marseilles Maigret"
7/15/06 – Some real policemen have been described as the models for Maigret. But in the 1950s, Maigret himself became a model to describe a real policeman – Commissaire Sébeille, who investigated the murder of Sir Drummond in 1952...

Edmond Sébeille, "the Marseilles Maigret"

Julien La Torre
Le Monde, July 13, 2006
[original French article]

When the triple murder of the Drummond family is discovered, on August 4, 1952, in Lurs (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence), it is Commissioner Edmond Sébeille, of Marseilles, who is placed in charge. Soon nicknamed "the Marseilles Maigret", for the wise carefulness with which he advances, he is the undisputed specialist in affairs of the countryside. Furthermore, he speaks Provençal, and doesn't hesitate to drink pastis with his suspects...

Commissioner Sébeille, a small man with thin, slicked-down hair, was about to leave on vacation when the three bodies were discovered at Lurs. The slaughter took place some 20 km from Valensole, the city where, 24 years earlier, his father Robert, then Inspector of Police, cleared up a quintuple murder. Family legend has it that it was after his father's fight with a murderer in an Arles station in 1921, that the young Edmond – he was 13 – decided to enter the police in his turn.

At Lurs, Sébeille also understands that this is the investigation of his life. "For 18 years, I could not forget," wrote the Commissioner in his Memoirs, "and I believe that I will never forget, the moment when I knelt by the blood-covered body of little Elizabeth Drummond..."

Very quickly, the commissioner suspects Gaston Dominici. When he discovers the murder weapon, Sébeille declares pithily: "The murderer is watching us; in three days he will be arrested." The murderer must be looking elsewhere; 400 days of investigation are still necessary for Sébeille to get Dominici's confession. And old Gaston has never been much impressed by the 45-year-old commissioner. "My boy, you're in charge of arresting the killer?" Gaston told him, "You are still very young..."

Edmond Sébeille is irritating. Notably Maurice Garçon, famous lawyer and academician, who is surprised that the commissioner increases his news conferences. The police "shouldn't waste time in vain and troublesome declarations, nor in spectacular representations," writes the lawyer in Le Monde in 1952. "Their duty is to investigate, to discover and to be quiet."

From Marseilles Sébeille comes often to Lurs to chat with his suspect. "You still haven't found your killer," jokes the old man. "For me you are not vicious enough." The advice was good and, after a cross-examination of 23 hours the policeman finally got the confession of the old shepherd. "You've won, my boy," says Dominici. "I am going to make you happy. I am the killer." Sébeille is not a little proud: "In the rejoicing over the confession I had become once more a great policeman. I was the Marseilles Maigret. The honor of the French police was safe, the guilty man was brought to justice."

In August 1963, three years after Dominici's pardon, Edmond Sébeille explains himself in a series of articles in "The Dawn", theatrically titled, "Why I am certain that Dominici is guilty". "Since August 5, 1952, I haven't slept much," concludes the commissioner in his Memoirs, which appeared in 1970. "But believe me, if, after the trial, I had had the slightest doubt of Gaston Dominici's guilt, I would not have slept at all."

Jerome

The Maigret variations
7/15/06 – Here's something for Maigret fans from the Forgive my French films weblog... Visit on Monday for another posting about Maigret.

July 14, 2006

The Maigret variations

In 1932, Jean Renoir directed « La nuit du carrefour », a film adaptation of the eponymous novel by Georges Simenon. His brother, Pierre Renoir, was a likely Maigret: middle-aged, overweight, a massive, often silent, presence; too bad he wore a bowler hat.

Misty and foggy black and white photography made justice to the writer’s celebrated « atmosphere », but Simenon did not like the film : how could he have? However true to the novel, the film was Renoir’s.

Commissaire Maigret was born the year before, as « Pietr le Letton » was published. Never shy of self-promotion, Simenon had launched his character’s career by hosting a « bal anthropométrique » which was one of the high-water marks of the Parisian season.

There have been twenty-five, if not more, Maigrets since Pierre Renoir. Among them, Abel Tarride, probably the most forgotten, Harry Baur the most intriguing, Albert Préjean, a former flying ace, who starred in René Clair’s « Sous les toits de Paris », by unanimous agreement the worst...

complete article

Best,
Pierre Marmiesse

Joséphine Baker's Chateau
7/17/06 – From the Kansas City Star...

Baker's Chateau

A chateau fit for a jazz queen
Josephine Baker’s legacy lives on in the castle she shared with a brood of orphans.
By Susan Spano, Los Angeles Times

Unable to have children of her own, Baker began adopting infants and assembling her rainbow tribe in 1954: first Akio from Korea, Teruya from Japan, Jari from Finland and Luis from Colombia.

CASTELNAUD-LA-CHAPELLE, France | It was, as the French say, “un coup de coeur” — something like love at first sight but stronger — when Josephine Baker saw Chateau des Milandes above the Dordogne River in southwestern France.
It was 1937. She was the black waif from St. Louis who had taken Paris by storm and still reigned supreme, dancing to hot jazz in little more than sequins and feathers.
Photographers snapped her picture when she strolled the Champs-Elysees with her pet cheetah, Chiquita; Jean Cocteau celebrated her in verse; mystery writer Georges Simenon fell in love with her; and Alice B. Toklas created a dessert called Custard Josephine Baker...

complete article

Roddy

More here and here...

Maigret of the Month: Mon Ami Maigret (My Friend Maigret)
7/17/06 –
[translation]
1. Maigret and the sea

My Friend Maigret is one of the novels in which the Commissioner discovers – or rediscovers – the sea, with which he has a particular enough rapport for a landsman, one of both wonder and apprehension. We would do better to speak of the Maigret's seas, because he has a very different relation with the liquid element depending on whether it is a northern sea, nearly always described by Simenon in the cold and windy atmosphere of the end of summer, or a southern one, evoking summer heat and laziness.

Maigret's first confrontation with the sea takes place very early in the series – already in LET, in Chapter 16, when Simenon evokes the dramatic meeting of Pietr and Maigret at Fécamp, a city he will return to in REN. He will return again to the English Channel in POR (Ouistreham, where Maigret is literally bewitched by the misty atmosphere of the harbor), in DAM (Etretat in autumn), in man (where there is a storm, obviously!), and he will fly over it in REV to go to London.

The Atlantic is present in JAU (Concarneau), in JUG (L'Aiguillon, where Maigret hastens to surrender to the first opportunity to escape to the marshes of the Vendée), in NEW (Maigret crosses the ocean to visit America, and clear up a storm, of course!), in VAC (Sables-d'Olonne, where, for once, Maigret sees the Atlantic in summer... but the weather is going to quickly turn bad with the dramatization of the intrigue), in ECO (close to La Rochelle, where Maigret lets himself be dragged into an investigation (lured by a maritime whiff of oysters that he won't get to eat, alas! and of white wine). He will make a fast passage again to La Baule (SEU), just enough time to catch a magnificent sunburn! The North Sea is evoked in HOL...

complete article

original French

Murielle

And see Guido de Croock's   Mon Ami Maigret   pages

Simenon & Red Lights

(Photo: Edward Quinn/Camera Press/Retna)

7/18/06 – From New York magazine...

Curious Georges

Georges Simenon, prolific genius of literary reduction, takes readers on a very bad road trip.

By Gary Indiana

Georges Simenon (1903–1989) was the twentieth century’s Balzac. He wrote pulp by the ton before producing his serious works: the 70 or so Inspector Maigret novels, an ever-darkening franchise in which justice, of a rough and perverse sort, usually prevails, and the 100-some romans durs, or “hard novels,” he wrote between Maigrets, in which ordinary lives of quiet desperation suddenly jump the tracks.

No less gluttonous a researcher than Balzac, Simenon spent years wandering France by river and canal in small boats, and later, when Maigret made him rich, he roamed the planet gathering material. He soaked up regional physiognomies and accents, the prosaic details of trades and livelihoods, the distinguishing features of port cities and provincial towns—though he knew Paris and his native Belgium inside out, Simenon wanted a much bigger working map.

Simenon found convention suffocating yet necessary for the steady production of his novels. A devoted husband and father at home, he had a vast network of lowlife and criminal connections, countless affairs, and sex with thousands of prostitutes (also necessary for his production), with Mrs. Simenon’s blessing...

complete article

Roddy

The Saint-Fiacre Affair
7/18/06 – Another Maigret film review at ... Forgive my French films weblog...

Jul 17, 2006

Maigret : cinema against the law.

Between 1932 and 1959, « La nuit du carrefour » et « Maigret et l’affaire Saint-Fiacre », Pierre Renoir and Jean Gabin, Maigret has shed a few years and pounds ; a felt hat has replaced his bowler hat.

Maigret returns to the Saint-Fiacre castle, near Moulins, in central France, where he spent his childhood : his father was comte de Saint Fiacre’s bailiff. He is back at the old countess’s request, whom he used to worship, but cannot prevent her murder. He will overcome his initial failure to discover her killer, but to what avail ?

« Maigret et l’affaire Saint-Fiacre » could be a great film. At times, it is excellent : Gabin’s stature, the dull winter light, the old castle, the flat empty countryside, petrified leafless trees, Maigret’s unspoken memories, a sleepy provincial town, a tapestry of greys -a Maigret movie in Technicolor would look like a silent musical would sounf-, a world dying of muted hate and meanness.

Then, suddenly, a few lines of dialogue and everything collapses. The film dialogues were written by Michel Audiard, an expert at Parisian slang and the undisputed master of French one-liners from the nineteen fifties to the nineteen seventies...

complete article

Simenon/Maigret cited in other books
7/18/06 – I found in the book "Lutetia" by Pierre Assouline (who wrote a Simenon biography) the following...
Si je ne les avais pas déjà interrogés à la PJ au cours ma première vie, je les avais certainement croisés dans Pietr-le-Letton ou tout autre roman de la veine cosmopolite de Simenon.

If I hadn't already interrogated them at the PJ in the course my first life, I had certainly come across them in Pietr-Le-Letton or any other novel in Simenon's cosmopolitan vein.

The person speaking is a retired detective, now a hotel detective in the late 1930s...
Regards,
Jerome

The new Penguins
7/18/06 – I was delighted to see that Penguin will once again be reprinting some Simenon titles (06/19/06), albeit with a decided lack of adventure. Wouldn’t it be good to have a complete set of the novels in Penguin (I assume this might be possible), with some of the more creaky and less accurate translations finally replaced with something more true to the original?

One comment I must make – the photos for the new edition covers are lovely and appropriately atmospheric but the graphics and typography are simply awful – I would have been soundly booted around my old art school studio for submitting something so clumsy and poorly realised. Do Penguin actually want to sell any of these books? As it is, they look like the poor man’s Poirot graphics. It really is most disappointing as David Pearson has produced commendable design work previously, especially that for the “Great Ideas” series editions where the typography was notably strong. These are awful. The simple approach for the 60th anniversary “Death of a Nobody” was preferable, cleaner and more effective with a stronger identity and unmistakeably a Penguin.

The old original green crime covers were absolute classics and are still evident on mugs, tea towels etc. A modern homage to that design would surely have been both more appropriate and certainly more appealing to the prospective buyer?

An opportunity missed, I feel.

Peter Young

Simenon Quotes?
7/23/06 – I'm an avid quotation collector and am struck by the paucity of Simenon quotes in published works and internet sites. I'm wondering if you are aware of any compilations of quotations from his writings and interviews (for example, in a Paris Review article, he famously said "Writing is not a profession, but a vocation of unhappiness."). Any help would be greatly appreciated.
My best,
Mardy Grothe

P.S. Check out my latest book: Viva la Repartee: Clever Comebacks & Witty Retorts from History's Great Wits & Wordsmiths (2005, HarperCollins).
Or my previous books:
Oxymoronica: Paradoxical Wit and Wisdom (2004, HarperCollins)
Never Let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You (1999, Viking) –

Maigret in Hungarian
7/23/06 – I'm a Maigret and Simenon fan from Hungary. I've attached a list - hopefully complete - of all the (50) Maigrets translated so far. (Some titles were republished after 2004.)

Some comments:

1. The first Maigret novel translated into Hungarian - Le Chien jaune (A sárga kutya) - was published in 1966.

2. From the late '60s until the '90s several novels were published in two series (Albatros, Black books).

3. The good news is that a publishing company has started to publish a new Maigret series. Around 20 titles have been published already. Most of them are new titles. Of course there are new translations and new editions as well. www.parkkiado.hu

4. The English TV film series with Micheal Gambon was shot in Budapest.

Simenon was first published in Hungary in 1938: Le Chemin sans issue (Hosszú út). This novel was published in the same year in France, as far as I know. In the '40s another four novels were published: Les Inconnus dans la maison (A besurranók, 1941), Le Bourgmestre de Furnes (A furnes-i polgármester, 1942), L'Évadé (A szökevény, 1944), Le Quartier nègre (Néger negyed, 1946).

A few other Simenon novels were also published in 1970-71: Le Bourgmestre de Furnes (new ed.), Il pleut bergère, Lettre à mon juge, Les Anneaux de Bicêtre, Le Chat, Le Déménagement, Le Testament Donadieu.

L'Homme de Londres was published in the Maigret series in 1986.

Viola Bátonyi
Librarian from Budapest

Maigret of the Month: Mon Ami Maigret (My Friend Maigret) - 2
7/24/06 –

The last two novels that Simenon wrote whilst he was staying in the village of Tumacacori in Arizona were Les Fantêmes du Chapelier (The Hatter’s Ghosts/The Hatter’s Phantoms), which was completed on the 13th of December 1948, and Mon Ami Maigret (My Friend Maigret) finished less than two months later on the 2nd of February 1949.

The setting of the first novel is the French port of La Rochelle (Charente-Inférieure, now Charente-Maritime), whereas the Maigret novel is set on the Island of Porquerolles (Var). Both these places were favourite venues for Simenon.

He visited La Rochelle for the first time in the summer of 1927, living just north of the port during most of the 1930s until the events of the Second World War forced him to travel inland to live in the Vendée region.

During the winter of 1925-26 through to the following spring, Simenon was working intensively writing novels and short stories under pseudonyms as well as living a full social life. This whole activity was undermining his health, with exhaustion as a result. The doctor advised Simenon’s wife Tigy to take her husband away from Paris into the countryside for a complete rest. After deliberation, Tigy suggested going to the Island of Porquerolles, with the result that in May 1926, the author and his wife, Boule their maid and cook, plus two pets, Jessie the dog and Molécule the cat, travelled to the island where they remained until the end of the summer.

Very much enamoured by the Island of Porquerolles, there were to be four more visits there, the last one being in early 1938, always staying in rented accommodation, including, at different times, at the Villas “Les Robert” and “Les Tamaris”.

(Years later, it was Georges Simenon’s eldest son, Marc, who bought the Villa “Les Robert”. It has been renamed “Les Myriades”).

In 1941 whilst living in the Vendée region in the unoccupied Free Zone of France, Simenon, alone, made a three-day visit to the Island of Porquerolles. He found it in the hands of the Italian army and the reason for his visit remains unknown, but in 1942 he obtained permission to move through the Free Zone in order to move to Porquerolles. On the day they were to move, a friend informed him that the Free Zone had been taken over by the Occupying forces, so that he was forced to remain in the Vendée for the duration of the war.

Did Simenon choose the locations for the two novels mentioned above because he knew the places so well, or was it a touch of nostalgia? Perhaps both.


A small map showing the position of the Iles d’Hyères, including Porquerolles, in relation to a section of the south coast of France including Marseille, Toulon and Hyère (Karl Baedeker, Southern France, 1914).

At the beginning of the novel Mon Ami Maigret (My Friend Maigret), the Chief Inspector is interrogating a suspect in his office on the Quai des Orfèvres. Through the window the scene is of a rain drenched Paris in the month of May.

Also Maigret has a visitor in his office, a certain Inspector Pyke from Scotland Yard in London. A few weeks previously, the Préfet de Police in Paris had made an official visit to London and had been shown around Scotland Yard. He discovered that Maigret’s name was known to some at London’s Police headquarters so that a reciprocal visit had been arranged, hence sending the French speaking Inspector Pyke to observe Maigret’s methods, which made the latter very apprehensive.

Then Maigret receives a telephone call from the Island of Porquerolles (Var) in the Mediterranean, three miles off the southern coast of France. One of the inhabitants of the island, Marcel Pacaud, had been murdered only hours after telling everyone in a bar about “his friend Maigret”.

As Maigret had dealt with Pacaud some years before and had helped Pecaud’s tubercular girlfriend, Ginette, to obtain treatment, he was asked to go to Porquerolles to investigate taking Inspector Pyke with him.

Maigret and Inspector Pyke arrive at Hyères where they are met by a local Inspector Lechat who knows the locale and many of the inhabitants on Porquerolles, so that Maigret has official help when it is required.

As soon as Maigret and Pyke land on Porquerolles, Simenon is as adept as ever in establishing the atmosphere of the island with its small harbour and landing stage, its vast square surrounded by houses, cafés, the church and the small town hall, bathed in the Mediterranean light and heat.

Simenon uses some of the actual details of the Porquerolles he knew so well, such as the small ferryboat called “The Cormorant”, which in his day conveyed people and goods from Giens to Porquerolles. Also Maigret and Pyke stay at an auberge called the “Arche de Noé”, an inn with accommodation, a bar serving food and a meeting place for some of the local inhabitants, that Simenon knew well and which still exists.

Once on Porquerolles, Maigret confines himself to one main area that of the square with its surrounding establishments, the small harbour with visits to a couple of boats, and the landing stage. The “Arche de Noé” becomes a focal point.

With the presence of Inspector Pyke, Maigret occasionally acts out of character, with a subtle rivalry developing between them, although Pyke does wander off in order to swim or have a drink with an English resident.

But Maigret spends much of his time talking to or interviewing various inhabitants and visitors, obtaining background information through Inspector Lechat and by telephoning Lucas in Paris.

Simenon builds the novel around the way that Maigret reacts mentally to the variety of personalities who knew Marcel Pacaud, the victim, however tenuously, mulling over in his mind a succession of thoughts in trying to work out the significant from the trivial.

The only translation of this novel is by Nigel Ryan who follows Simenon’s text closely.


A map showing the Ile de Porquerolles in more detail and its proximity to Giens from where a small ferry boat, “The Cormorant” conveyed people and goods in a twenty minute crossing (Carte Michelin N° 84, 1960).

Another map of Porquerolles

Peter Foord
UK

And see Guido de Croock's   Mon Ami Maigret   pages

Maigret's Policemen...
8/3/06 –

Lucas, Janvier, Lapointe, Torrence and the others...

Maigret and his collaborators

Part I

by Murielle Wenger

original French

Murielle has provided us – the community of Maigret fans – with the first part of her study of Maigret's Policemen... 144 of his collaborators throughout what I'll call here "The Maigret Files" – the collection of all the Maigrets and other stories in which Maigret and/or his colleagues appear.

In Part I, presented here, she deals with "the others" – the policemen outside of Maigret's team. (Lucas, Janvier, Lapointe, Torrence, Maigret's favorites, are reserved for Part II, as is Inspector Lognon.) This analysis is apparently the first such "catalogue" of this group of characters, and certainly the first in English.

To easily find it again, it is accessible via the reference page or the indexes to the texts page.

As Murielle explains in her introduction, this article examines the entire corpus, giving us an overview of Maigret's relationships with his colleagues, and a summary of what they are like throughout the Maigret Files. What we're getting is a view of an important aspect of Maigret's world.

We read in June (6/19/06), M. Gougny's comment to the effect that "Maigret was a sham, because Commissioner Maigret works alone, whereas in the real Homicide Squad, it's actually teamwork that counts". With 144 of his colleagues mentioned by name, in addition to all those only noted in passing, it's clear that Maigret wasn't working alone... although he certainly liked to think things out for himself!

Please share your thoughts about Maigret and his Collaborators with Murielle and the rest of us...

ST

Where's Dr. Paul?
8/5/06 – I noticed in Murielle's "Maigret's Policemen" that although Moers was mentioned, Dr. Paul and Gastinne-Rennette were excluded without any explanation, which I thought interesting. Was this just oversight or was there not enough personal info on them in the stories to make going into them worthwhile?
Joe

Maigret in Delfzijl...
8/6/06 –

Maigret in Delfzijl
near Groningen, Netherlands

the setting for

George Simenon's

Maigret in Holland

Un crime en Hollande

"where Maigret was born..."

Joe Richards

August 4, 2006


Joe's photos of the Maigret statue are the best I've seen!
ST

Maigret's Humor
8/7/06 –
Here again, still in response to the comment in Dubourg's article [on the lack of humor in Maigret], some more excerpts from the Maigret Files, to advocate my position "pro riso et ironia Maigreti" – in defense of Maigret's humor...

Maigret's Revolver (REV), Ch. 6: Maigret, who must leave for London and is in a bad mood, receives a phone call from the Examining Magistrate, whom he doesn't particularly care for...

"You're saying...?"
"I'm saying that I don't have time, that I'm taking the plane for London in 35 minutes."
"For London?"
"That's right."
"But what have you discovered that...?"
"I'm sorry for hanging up – the plane won't wait."
He was in such a frame of mind that he added, "I'll send you a post card!" By that time, of course, he had already hung up the phone.

The Unlikely M. Owen (owe), Ch. 1: Maigret is enjoying his vacations in the South...

Maigret was happy! He had eaten like four, drunk like six, absorbed the sun through all his pores like fifty candidates in a bathing beauty contest!

more examples

original French

Murielle

Where's Dr. Paul?
8/7/06 – Reply to Joe's question of 8/5/06.

Si je n'ai pas parlé du Dr Paul et de Gastine-Renette dans mon étude des collaborateurs de Maigret, il ne s'agit pas de ma part d'un oubli, mais d'un choix. J'ai décidé de centrer mon étude sur les collaborateurs, qui sont en même temps policiers, de Maigret.

C'est vrai que j'ai fait une exception pour Moers, qui est plutêt un collaborateur à l'Identité judiciaire, et qui ne fait pas le même genre de travail que les autres inspecteurs (filatures, interrogatoires, etc.). Mais sa relation personnelle à Maigret me paraissait intéressante à étudier dans le cadre de mon étude, parce que cette relation est un peu du même ordre que celle qui lie Maigret à ses inspecteurs (Maigret l'appelle "mon petit", "vieux" ou "fiston", comme il le fait avec ses inspecteurs; Moers voue au commissaire un véritable "culte" (cf. TET), comme le font les proches collaborateurs de celui-ci).

Je suis tout à fait d'accord que l'on pourrait aussi étudier le Dr Paul (et ses successeurs), Gastine-Renette, ainsi que le juge Coméliau et les autres membres du Parquet, avec qui Maigret est aussi amené à collaborer. Et pourquoi ne pas aussi parler du vieux Joseph, du garçon de la Brasserie Dauphine, des journalistes, etc, etc... Il y aurait certainement de quoi mener une étude aussi intéressante... Et je ne dis pas que je ne le ferai pas un jour...

Mais STOP!!! Laissez-moi déjà terminer l'étude sur Lucas, Janvier, Lapointe, Torrence et Lognon!!!! Si j'y arrive, je vous promets de faire un effort et d'essayer de continuer l'analyse... But, please give me time!!!

Merci à Joe d'avoir lu mon étude, et merci d'avance à tous ceux qui prendront la peine de nous donner leurs commentaires.

[translation]
If I didn't mention Dr. Paul and Gastine-Renette in my survey of Maigret's collaborators, it was not from oversight, but rather by choice. I had decided to focus my survey on those who were policemen.

It is true that I made an exception for Moers, of Judicial Identity, who doesn't do the same kind of work as the other inspectors (tails, interrogations, etc.). But his personal relationship to Maigret seemed interesting to study in the setting of my survey, because this relationship is similar to that which binds Maigret to his inspectors (He calls him "mon petit", "vieux" or "son", as he does with the others; Moers is truly part of the Maigret "cult" (cf. TET), like the other close collaborators).

I quite agree that we could also study Dr. Paul (and his successors), Gastine-Renette, as well as Judge Coméliau and the other members of the Public Prosecutor's office, that Maigret also works with. And for that matter, old Joseph, the waiter of the Brasserie Dauphine, various journalists, etc, etc.... There is certainly enough for an interesting survey....And I'm not saying that I won't do it one day...

But wait! First let me finish the survey of Lucas, Janvier, Lapointe, Torrence and Lognon! If I can manage that, I promise you I'll try to continue the analysis... But please give me a little more time!

Thank you Joe, for reading my survey, and thanks in advance to all those who will take the trouble to send their responses.

Murielle

Graffiti on the Maigret plaques
8/8/06 –
[The Maigret plaques (3, 7) pictured in Joe Richards's recent report on Delfzijl, show the marks of various graffiti.]

I saw the new pictures from Delfzijl, and among the graffiti was the word "FATIH". I am ashamed to say it's a Turkish name, meaning "Conqueror". There are many Turks in Holland, and I suppose one of them wrote it. We are used to it here – every bank, every wall, looks like that in Turkey...

Baris


Sad to say, it's an international disease.
ST

Maigret Tend un Piège in the Marais district?
8/8/06 –
In "Maigret Tend un Piège", I believe the area is the Marais not Montmarte, at least in the Jean Gabin film, which I am watching right now on tv.

Patricia Fieldsteel
Nyons, France


Yes, for some reason the Gabin film was set in the 4th arrondissement, the Marais, but in the novel, it's the 18th, Montmartre!

I'd never noticed that... anyone know why the change was made?

ST

Maigret's Humor
8/8/06 –
My favorite example of Maigret's humor is Judge Coméliau's phone call to Maigret while he's home sick in Maigret's Special Murder (MOR). It goes on for 12 pages from the beginning of Ch. 3, and the whole thing is hysterical, but my favorite lines relate to Maigret's review, in great detail, of all the possible reasons for people failing to identify the victim, including the great one that Murielle mentioned in her first humor piece, "I'll bet that with a pea up one of your nostrils ... people who see you everyday wouldn't recognize you."
Dave Drake


Right! And when he hangs up, he thinks (pretends?) he's totally innocent – he has this exchange with his wife, who begins it...
'Don't you think you went too far?'
'Too far in what?'
'Admit that you were pulling his leg.'
'Not in the least.'
'You never stopped making fun of him.'
'D'you think so?'
And he seemed genuinely surprised...
ST

Maigret of the Month: Maigret chez le coroner (Maigret at the Coroner's)
8/10/06 –
[translation]
1. Between Porquerolles and Etretat

At the beginning of the 3rd cycle of the Maigrets, Simenon revived the adventures of his hero with a short story, Maigret's Pipe (pip), set in and around Paris. The first two novels (FAC and NEW) of this 3rd cycle present Maigret in retirement. The author will produce four more short stories (cho, obs, mal and pau), before presenting us with the commissioner back on the job. As if not wanting to "rush" him (!), he gives him time for a vacation (VAC), before returning to the Parisian ambiance (MOR). And it is interesting to note that in Maigret's Special Murder, Simenon spends a lot of time describing the workings of the PJ, the stages of an investigation (the use of evidence, the functions of Judicial Identity, etc.), as if wanting to show us a commissioner's "true work", situating it in a way in authentic reality.

Then Simenon will anchor his character in historical reality, establishing his chronology by relating Maigret's beginnings in Maigret's First Case (PRE).

Simenon will give us three more novels (AMI, CHE and DAM), in which he takes the commissioner outside of Paris, before installing him semi-permanently in the capital. In AMI he is called to Porquerolles; in CHE, his author takes him to America (!); and in DAM he investigates in Etretat.

But from the next novel (MME), Maigret will work almost exclusively in the French capital. A break to provide some clarification (MEM), and Simenon confines his commissioner to Paris, thus giving him the best known (and most authentic?) setting of his actions: of the 40 novels that follow (from PIC), only three are located entirely outside of Paris (PEU, ECO and VIC). In five others (REV, VOY, FOL, SEU and IND), a part of the investigation takes place elsewhere, but all the other novels present the commissioner working completely in "his" city.

2. Maigret discovers America

Even though Simenon has already shown us Maigret in contact with the USA (in NEW), it is in Maigret at the Coroner's that the commissioner discovers America, since in NEW, he was already retired, whereas in CHE he is still on the force.

Maigret in America is a bit of a picture of Simenon discovering the New World… In this novel the commissioner discovers another world indeed, one with different habits and morals from those he knows – the cordiality of Americans, with a "serene" cheerfulness, so serene that it ends up "getting on his nerves" (Ch. 3); the country's wealth, the comfort, the quality, the rules of life... all one whole so perfect that he ends up finding it "a damn nuisance" (!) that he tries to escape, passing from one bar to another; the heat of the country, torrid and endless; the different police systems; and finally, the "typically American" things, the drive-in, cowboys, vending machines, etc...

Complete article

Original French

Murielle

Maigret of the Month: Maigret chez le coroner (Maigret at the Coroner's )
8/14/06 –
Whilst residing in the village of Tumacacori in Arizona, Simenon decided to move back to Tucson. The reason being that Denyse Ouimet was pregnant and Simenon required a location where there were more medical facilities.

At the beginning of June 1949 he rented a house from a university professor in East Whitman Street, which was located between the town centre and the desert area outside Tucson. Later in August he moved again, this time to the villa “Desert Sands” on the edge of the town overlooking the desert.

But it was whilst living in East Whitman Street that he wrote the novel Les quatre jours du pauvre home (Four days in a lifetime) which he finished on the 4th of July, followed just over a fortnight later by Maigret chez le coroner, written between the 21st and the 30th of July 1949.

This was the second and the last time that Simenon located Maigret in an American setting. The first was in the novel Maigret à New-York (Maigret in New York’s Underworld / Maigret in New York), which he wrote in March 1946. In the latter novel, Maigret having retired from the police force, is asked to travel to New York from his home in France in order to solve a case in a private capacity.

In Maigret chez le coroner, he is still a member of the Police Judiciaire in Paris and is in America on a study tour of several states observing police procedures and how the law works.

In his last work of autobiography Mémoires intimes (Intimate Memoirs) written in 1980, Simenon wrote:

‘…..Maigret chez le coroner.
This book was practically a report. We have witnessed in the courthouse, with its white walls, where the only adornment was the star-studded flag, in a tense atmosphere over two or three days, proceedings which particularly interested us, as it involved the dramatic death of a young woman at a place that we knew well, between Tucson and Tumacacori.
Four soldiers were involved. The room wasn’t large, the spectators sat on plain benches. No austerity, no decorum. The judge having only just reached his table removed his jacket. and the district attorney and lawyers did likewise. The four soldiers in uniform were seated on a bench in front, without any police to guard them. The boys admitted having been dead drunk the evening they had gone out with the young woman. Were they responsible for her death under the wheels of the little train at that place next to the route running from Tucson to Nogalès?
The judge and the lawyers talked calmly to one another, as if among old friends, which was probably the case. An expert, sent by the railway company, drew maps on a blackboard standing on an easel.
The red-faced coroner, also in shirt sleeves, conducted his inquest.
In the courtroom, people conversed, betting perhaps for or against the soldiers’ guilt. From time to time, the judge struck the desk with his gavel.
“Twenty–minute recess.”
Everyone rushed to drink some beer or a Coca-Cola in the bar situated in the patio of the courthouse or lined up in front of the toilets.
I could just imagine Maigret, so ill at ease whenever he was called to testify in a case in Paris, witnessing this good natured procedure, where even so it was a question of the death of a young woman.
...When it all came out, they had all slept with her, and the girl, who had followed them across the border at Nogalès, where they had a wild time, was then as naked as them.
How and why had the girl been decapitated by the train a hundred yards away? It was really none of my business. I just wanted my good Maigret to get acquainted with Western-style justice, and that was why I wrote this novel, virtually a court record.’ (Mémoires intimes: Paris, Presses de la Cité, octobre 1981, chapter 33, pages 246 and 247, translated by Peter Foord).

This is one of the few occasions when Simenon set a novel or short story in the location where he was living at the time. The courthouse in Tucson was only a short distance from where he was staying at East Whitman Street and obviously he had attended the court there.

Using the elements of a real inquest, with certain alterations, he has slotted Maigret in as a spectator to the proceedings. In the opening pages of this novel there is this information:

Maigret had to make a double effort, as he scarcely had the opportunity to put into practice his English since college and some words escaped him, and turns of phrase eluded him.

There is a supposition here as to whether Maigret was able to fully understand some of the details whilst listening to the various witnesses and from this to formulate the questions that later he put to Harry Cole and the Chief Deputy-Sheriff.

Harry Cole from the FBI is Maigret’s guide throughout his tour to date, but there is no indication if he, or any other official, had a knowledge of French, and in the Tucson courthouse Maigret is by himself.

A moot point, or a weak detail, but I was reminded of it, from time to time as I read through the text.

Later, I wondered how this interesting mystery, played out through a four-day inquest, in Simenon’s version, would stand up without Maigret’s presence.


The English translation wasn’t published until 1980, firstly in the United Kingdom and shortly afterwards in the United States. The translator, Frances Keene, does follow Simenon’s text with a translation in the American idiom and vocabulary, with an occasional deviation from the French.
In the first French edition (Paris, Presses de la Cité, 1949), and reprints, the diagrams drawn in the novel by the four witnesses on a blackboard at the inquest appear in the text. These are reproduced in the first hardback American edition (New York, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980) and in the US paperback reprint (Harvest, 1984), but not in the first hardback British edition (London, Hamish Hamilton, 1980).

Here are the diagrams drawn on a blackboard by the four witnesses at the inquest. These were omitted from the British translation edition. The page numbers refer to those in the text of the British first hardback edition (London, Hamish Hamilton, 1980). click to enlarge

The Mechanics's sketch
Ch. 4, pp 62-63.

Elias Hansen’s Sketch.
Ch. 4, pp 69-73.

Phil Atwater’s Sketch.
Ch. 6, pp 95-97.

Hans Schmider’s Sketch.
Ch. 6, pp 101-106.

Curiously, why was the last sentence of the French text (reflecting Maigret’s thoughts): ‘Qu’est-ce qu’il faisait là?’ — What was he doing there? translated in all the English volumes as ‘Whatever would he see now?’

Peter Foord,
UK

New UK Penguin Maigrets
8/15/06 – It appears that five of the penguin UK Maigret titles have gained new cover art as of June 2006 and that the other new designs are perhaps intended for the US market?

click to enlarge

Regards,
Peter Young

Maigret's Chapter Headings
8/23/06 – Once more Murielle presents us an interesting analysis of the Maigrets as a whole – this time a study of how Simenon handled his Maigret chapter headings. He often used them – two distinctly different types – and within those types we find certain semantic groupings...

More than just a title...

Murielle Wenger

original French

(You can access this article via the Reference section)

Good way to study French
8/25/06 – I'm learning French and have discovered the Maigret novels as a fun way to improve my vocabulary and grammar.
Your site has added hugely to my appreciation of both the books and Simenon, so thanks very much for your hard work.
John Carr

Bruno Crémer to quit role of Maigret!
8/29/06 – This message was received today from Jacques-Yves Depoix, whose site "Bruno Crémer MAIGRET" has been dedicated to Crémer's television presentation of Maigret on France 2 for the past four or five years...
Bonjour à tous,

L'information m'a été confirmée pas la productrice de la série elle-même : Bruno Crémer a décidé d'arrêter de jouer le rôle du commissaire Maigret pour se consacrer à d'autres projets. France 2 réfléchit donc à l'avenir de la série dont elle voudrait bien ne pas se départir. Autrement dit, elle compte remplacer Bruno Crémer et trouver un autre Maigret. Tout ceci pourrait être décidé cet automne.

Bien que la nouvelle du refus de Bruno Crémer ne soit pas une surprise, les fans dont je fais partie, doivent ressentir une certaine tristesse. Une époque s'achève, longue de quinze ans ...

N'hésitez pas à réagir sur le forum !

Quant à moi, je vais réfléchir désormais au devenir du site, qui, nécessairement, devra évoluer : toutes vos suggestions seront les bienvenues !

Merci pour votre fidélité !

Bien à vous,
Jacques-Yves DEPOIX
[translation]
Hello everyone,

This information has been confirmed to me by the producer of the series herself – Bruno Crémer has decided to cease playing the role of the Inspector Maigret to dedicate himself to other projects. France 2 is therefore considering the future of the series, which it would like very much not to abandon. In other words, they hope to replace Bruno Crémer and find another Maigret. All this could be decided this fall.

Although the news of Bruno Crémer’s decision is not a surprise, his fans, of which I am one, must feel a certain sadness. An era is ending, after fifteen years…

Don’t hesitate to react on the forum!

As for me, I will reflect henceforth on what is to become of this site, which, necessarily, will have to evolve – all your suggestions are welcome!

Thank you for your support!

All my best,
Jacques-Yves DEPOIX

Gilbert Sigaux on Maigret
8/29/06 – Gilbert Sigaux's short foreword to Vol. 12 of the Rencontre edition of the Complete Works briefly illuminates three areas in the study of the Maigret corpus – the three cycles of the Maigrets, corresponding to Simenon's publisher and the years of writing/publication [Fayard (1929-34), Gallimard (1938-1944), and Presses de la Cité (1945-1972)]; a problem of chronology after the first cycle; and the idea that certain of the Maigrets of the third cycle are influenced, at least stylistically, by some of Simenon's "hard novels" of the same period...

Foreword
to Volume 12 of the Complete Works
Editions Rencontre (1968)
by Gilbert Sigaux

original French

[thanks to Murielle Wenger for suggesting this]

ST

The Simenon 245
8/30/06 – Continuing the view of the Maigret corpus as a whole, as in the Sigaux foreword, David Derrick has just sent in his (slightly) revised listing of all the 245 Simenons, now in a single pdf file. (It had been previously issued in three parts...)
It excludes all the pseudonymous material - which is about half the total output. ... With one exception - I allow the 4 pseudonymous Maigrets in.

There is other material which has been published by "Georges Simenon" – some journalism, a lecture, etc. But this is the core list, broken down in quite a useful way.

I'll be glad to receive corrections. For example, is the story in Elle magazine [Les Nolépitois (1963)] really the ONLY magazine story that never made it into a book?

(The list does not show the order of publication within a given year: I hope to make that adjustment later.)

David Derrick
This list can be accessed via the Checklist page
ST

The Delfzijl Booklet
8/30/06 –
Joe Richards has sent a copy of the Delfzijl booklet that he describes in his photo-tour, Maigret in Delfzijl. (Here converted to a pdf file.)

Although it's in Dutch, the pictures and center map may still be of interest to non-Dutch readers... The map especially makes it easier to visualize where Joe took his photos.

Thanks, Joe!

ST

Simenon's Côte d'Azur
8/31/06 –
A newly released book by Paul Daelewyn, the Côte d'Azur as reflected in Simenon's works, Lieux de vie et sources d'inspiration, including Maigret... available at Amazon.fr, Serre Editeur, FNAC...

Jerome

Lucas, Janvier, and Co... a supplement
9/2/06 –
En suite du message du 30.05.06 à propos de Lucas, Janvier & Co, voici une information complémentaire:

Francis Lacassin, dans la Bibliographie de la genèse de Maigret, qui fait partie du Dossier paru dans le volume "Maigret entre en scène", aux éditions Omnibus, a fait une liste des romans, hors du cycle officiel des Maigret, où apparaissent les personnages faisant partie de l'entourage du commissaire.

Voici un extrait de cette Bibliographie:

As a continuation of my 5/30/06 posting, Lucas, Janvier & Co, here is some supplementary information:

Francis Lacassin, in his Bibliography of Maigret's Origins, part of a section of his volume, "Maigret steps on stage", (Omnibus, 1999), has provided a list of novels outside the official cycle of the Maigrets, in which characters from the Inspector's entourage appear...

Here is an extract from this Bibliography:

 
Mademoiselle X…(Signé Christian Brulls): première mention du juge Coméliau

La femme qui tue (Georges Sim): Mention du juge Coméliau

En robe de mariée (Georges Sim): Première intervention véritable du juge Coméliau

L'inconnue (Christian Brulls): première intervention du commissaire Lucas et du brigadier Torrence

Matricule 12 (Georges Sim): Le commissaire Lucas enquête avec les inspecteurs Torrence et Sancette

L'homme qui tremble (Georges Sim): Inspecter Torrence, juge Coméliau (et Sancette)

Les Errants (Georges Sim): Apparition de l'inspecteur Torrence

Les amants du malheur (Jean du Perry): Apparition de Torrence

Fièvre (Christian Brulls): Commissaire Torrence, Madame Torrence, inspecteur Lucas

L'Epave (Georges Sim): Le juge Coméliau

La Fiancée du diable (Georges Sim):Commissaire Lucas

L'Evasion (Christian Brulls): Lucas cité, ainsi que le commissaire Maigret qui se nomme au téléphone

Les Forçats de Paris (Christian Brulls): Lucas cité comme commissaire. Un lapsus conduit l'auteur à citer Maigret alors qu'il s'agit de Lucas

La Maison des disparus (Christian Brulls): Apparition de Torrence

[translation]
Mademoiselle X... (Christian Brulls): first mention of Judge Coméliau

La femme qui tue (Georges Sim): mention of Judge Coméliau

En robe de mariée (Georges Sim): first actual participation of Judge Coméliau

L'inconnue (Christian Brulls): first participation of Lucas and Torrence

Matricule 12 (Georges Sim): Inpector Lucas investigates, with Torrence and Sancette

L'homme qui tremble (Georges Sim): Inspector Torrence, Judge Coméliau (and Sancette)

Les Errants (Georges Sim): appearance of Torrence

Les amants du malheur (Jean du Perry): appearance of Torrence

Fièvre (Christian Brulls): Inspector Torrence, Madame Torrence, Inspector Lucas

L'Epave (Georges Sim): Judge Coméliau

La Fiancée du diable (Georges Sim): Inspector Lucas

L'Evasion (Christian Brulls): Lucas cited, as well as Maigret, on the telephone

Les Forçats de Paris (Christian Brulls): Lucas cited as Inspector. A slip by the author... mentioning Maigret when it should be Lucas

La Maison des disparus (Christian Brulls): appearance of Torrence

Murielle Wenger

Maigret of the Month: Maigret et la vieille dame (Maigret and the old lady )
9/9/06 –
[translation]
1. Maigret and the sea: brilliant rainbows and bright bathing suits...

Our Chief Inspector is once more at the seashore. After the Mediterranean and almost summery climate (the action takes place in May) of AMI, it is the English Channel in autumn (September) which welcomes Maigret.

This sea evokes for him memories of holidays... those which it could not offer him when he was young, "when he was in school, and had seen his comrades returning from their holidays, tanned, filled with stories to tell and seashells in their pockets...," then, those which he spent at the seashore with Mme Maigret.

For Maigret, the sea is first of all odors... of kelp, of boarding houses... and then there are images, of two orders – the pictures the sea offers, "white cliffs on the two sides of the pebble beach," "the dazzling froth of the waves," the "so tasty light of the morning, especially when the moisture of the night still shimmers in the rays of the sun" (who realized that our inspector had the heart of a poet!); and vacationers... "the men in flannel trousers," "the girls who danced in the waves," "the mothers knitting," "the old couples who walked with small steps," "children squatting in the rollers," etc. And there are the sounds: "the rhythmic noise" of the waves, the "raucous calls" of the foghorn. And finally a taste, and a quivering on the skin... the taste of white wine and oysters, the fresh air of the morning, "with a tasty freshness which you breathed through all your pores."

2. A sentimental and nostalgic Maigret: small trains, a red ball and the green flash...

What I like, among other things in this novel, are the small touches by which Simenon makes his character so endearing to us. After having shown him admiring the spectacle of the sea, he shows us two more aspects which make him so human... a nostalgic and sentimental Maigret.

Maigret feels nostalgia for his childhood memories... as is evoked in more than one novel. If we already knew of his admiration, as a child, for the Countess of Saint-Fiacre (FIA), of his past as a choirboy (FIA, cho), we discover here that when he was child "he had dreamed of one day punching railway tickets" (and what little boy didn't at some time!).

In spite of his readily gruff airs, our inspector is actually sentimental – we have more than one piece of evidence of it in this novel. For example, the small train which resembles a toy, and by the door of which Maigret leans to see the sea more quickly; or the large red ball with which some teenagers play... is Maigret perhaps envious and would prefer to share their play than to listen to the empty words of this "jerk" Charles Besson... And finally, what do you think of this Chief Inspector who insists on watching for – and in vain besides – the green flash of the sunset, to the point of hurting his eyes? What could better inspire us to a sympathetic feeling for him?!

Complete article
3. Maigret and drink: an investigation under the sign of Calvados
4. Criminal women: spies, impassioned and interested parties
5. Maigret's gastronomic infidelities – from Félicie's lobster to Fernande's coffee

Original French

Murielle

A book of movie posters from Dominique Bauduinet

9/10/06 – If you've looked at the Simenon posters on this site, you've seen many from the Dominique Bauduinet collection – now he's announcing a new book of movie posters (in French)... A complete filmography of 25 American stars – from Bogart to John Wayne... via Errol Flynn and Barbara Stanwyck – from the '40s through the '80s... 496 color pages including 1000 poster reproductions, scheduled for publication in the spring of 2007 at 62€.

For more information and subscription application see the pdf file.

ST

Regarding 'the new Penguins'
9/11/06 – Although I am delighted by the interest Peter Young has shown (7/18/06) in Penguin's new range of Simenon titles I'd like to point out that he's assuming I have designed Penguin's US covers as opposed to the UK versions. Although these may well qualify for similarly stern criticism I'd at least prefer it to be accurately aimed.


UK covers (by David Pearson)
[including "The Man who watched the trains go by", a non-Maigret]


US covers (discussed by Peter Young)

Some Simenon Covers
9/11/06 – David Pearson's dramatic cover for the 2006 UK Penguin edition of Simenon's The Man Who Watched The Trains Go By... reminded me that just last week I'd received a gift of a copy of the New York Review Books edition, the cover so different... Compare these with the 1948 Pan Books version! Is it any wonder that some of us are so fascinated by "judging a book ... cover"?

Penguin (UK) 2006
design by David Pearson

New York Review Books 2005
cover photograph Tom Watts The Methane Breather, design by Katy Homans

Pan Books (London) 1948
(drawing signed "Plante")

Luc Sante's Introduction to the New York Review Books edition

ST

Reprint Maigret Sits It Out?
9/13/06 – When is Maigret Sits It Out going to be reprinted? The older edition is just about impossible to get.
Chitprabha


Penguin 1952. contains
The Lock at Charenton and Maigret Returns

Jonathan Press Mystery - 1941

Philadelphia Inquirer,
November 1, 1942
L'Écluse no. 1 (1933) was published in English in 1941 as The Lock at Charenton, translated by Margaret Ludwig, along with her translation of Maigret (Maigret Returns) in a volume entitled Maigret Sits It Out, by George Routledge & Sons, London; Harcourt, Brace & Co, New York; and Musson, Toronto. The Jonathan Press edition used that title for its (1941) publication of The Lock at Charenton, but the Philadelphia Inquirer version (1942) used the title Lock No. 1 (equivalent to the French title). The Penguin edition entitled Maigret Sits It Out appeared in 1952, containing both The Lock at Charenton and Maigret Returns. That was apparently the last English publication of both of these Maigrets.
ST

The longevity of the Maigrets
9/17/06 – The Chronology of Maigret’s Life and Career presented by David Drake on your website lists Maigret’s death in 1972 at 85 and Madame Maigret's survival into her 90s. I am interested in finding the source of this information, especially because the included detail makes me hungry for more. However, the footnote appended to the chronology, which reads "not reported by Simenon," makes me pessimistic.
Reading anything Simenon wrote about subsequent life for the couple after Maigret et monsieur Charles would be fascinating. Of course, since the congratulatory letter from Simenon to the Maigrets on their 50th wedding anniversary indicates they were still alive in 1979, I am prepared to be confused.
I continue in awe of your efforts,
David Simmons

Maigret DVDs
9/19/06 – I was in Paris yesterday (18 Sept). I went to the FNAC Ternes and also on the Champs Elysées plus the Virgin Megastore. I could not find a single Maigret DVD box, either starring Bruno Cremer or Jean Richard. I know there are/were at least five different Bruno Cremer boxes with 10 DVDs each, yet none were visible. Same for the Jean Richard set. I bought one of each last year at FNAC Ternes. The Jean Richard set was in a metal box and had Volume 1 written on it. No sign of a volume 2 yet. Was I looking in the wrong places?

Penguins - On another topic, I can't understand why Penguin keeps reissuing books that are easy to find and ignoring the ones have haven't been reprinted for years or even decades, such as Maigret Sits it Out.

Regards
Joe

A new Maigret pastiche!
9/19/06 –

Maigret is called to the Paris Opera... a violinist murdered before the performance, a man whose life had centered around his music... And then his replacement disappears... who also lived solely for his music. Maigret struggles to unravel the mystery of a murdered musician with no enemies, and another, with no friends, vanished without a trace...

Murder in a Minor Key

by Murielle Wenger

original French

pas·tiche (pa stēsh´, pä-), n. 1. a literary, musical, or artistic piece, consisting wholly or chiefly of motifs or techniques borrowed from one or more sources.
Random House Dictionary

other Maigret pastiches

"Pas d'achevé d'imprimer" ?
9/20/06 – Working through Claude Menguy's bibliography [De Georges Sim à Simenon; Bibliographie. Claude Menguy, Omnibus, Paris, 2004] many of the entries are marked "Pas d'achevé d'imprimer". [not finished printing]

Do you know what he exactly means here (you might need to have the book in front of you, or know it well, to answer this): he says it about titles that clearly WERE printed. He even gives the price and number of pages. And then, occasionally, this odd "Pas d'achevé d'imprimer"!

Maybe it's obvious, but I can't make any sense of this...

David Derrick

"Pas d'achevé d'imprimer"
9/20/06 – Reply to David Derrick, 9/20/06...
Un "achevé d'imprimer" est une page dans un ouvrage qui donne le moment où le volume que vous lisez a été terminé à l'imprimerie:

Par exemple, j'ai sous les yeux le roman "Maigret et l'affaire Nahour", paru aux Presses de la Cité. Après la dernière page du texte, se trouve une page avec le descriptif des ouvrages écrits par Simenon. Puis sur la dernière page du volume, je lis:

Achevé d'imprimer le 20 mai 1980
sur les presses de l'Imprimerie Bussière
à Saint-Amand (Cher)

Une note en bas de page me donne encore un numéro d'édition, un numéro d'impression, une date de dépôt légal et la mention Imprimé en France.

Autrement dit, lorsque Menguy mentionne à propos d'un ouvrage qu'il n'a "pas d'achevé d'imprimer", cela signifie tout simplement que cet ouvrage ne possède pas cette page comme je viens de la décrire.

An "achevé d'imprimer" is a page in a work which gives the date the volume was finished at the printer.

For example, I'm looking at a copy of "Maigret et l'affaire Nahour", from Presses de la Cité. After the last page of the text there is a page with the description of other works by Simenon. Then, on the last page of the book,

Printed May 20, 1980
on the presses of the Bussière Printers
at Saint-Amand (Cher)

A note at the bottom of the page also gives the number of the edition, an impression number, a registration date, and that it was printed in France.

In other words, when Menguy writes, concerning a work, that there is no "achevé d'imprimer", it means simply that it didn't contain such a page.

Meilleures salutations,
Best regards,

Murielle

The longevity of the Maigrets
9/21/06 – Reply to David Simmons (9/17/06)
My chronology of Maigret's life was based on some detective work using Simenon's novels, especially his Maigret's Memoirs, that fairly unambiguously provides the dates for Jules' early life. I tried to provide a plausible life storyline for our favorite detective, including his retirement years, which are largely wishful thinking on my part after his last case, "The Unlikely Monsieur Owen." Being struck by a bus and dying instantly as a fitting end for Jules Maigret was based on Simenon's fascination with buses killing minor characters in a number of the novels.
I must say that the toughest impediment to constructing Maigret's life story were the number of inconsistencies Simenon makes over the entire series. Mr. Simmons provides us with an excellent example of those inconsistencies when he cites Simenon wishing the Maigrets a happy golden anniversary in 1979. From Maigret's Memoirs, it is virtually certain that Jules and Louise were married in the spring of 1912. Simenon was as bad with numbers as he was good at other attributes of a fine novelist.
David Drake

What's this non-Maigret?
9/21/06 – I am tying to locate a non-Maigret bibliography, or more particularly, a novel in which a husband learns after his wife’s accidental death that she had been carrying on an affair with another man who fathered the two children the husband believed to be his.
Do you know where I can find a complete bibliography, or would you happen to know the name of this novel?
Thanks,
Dennis R. Gannon

At this site, there's an English title list of the non-Maigrets, and a corresponding French title list. And David Derrick has provided a complete list as a pdf file. Yves Martina has a complete Simenon bibliography at his site, which includes brief plot descriptions (in French).
ST

Maigret's Age
9/22/06 – [re: The longevity of the Maigrets]
I hope you won’t mind a novice but enthusiastic Maigret fan making a point.
Looking at Simenon’s letter of 1979 the English translation says "This year is the 50th anniversary of the day when, in Delfzijl, we first met". It goes on "You were about 45, while I was 25".
It seems clear (though I have to admit my French isn’t good enough to check the translation), that what is being referred to is the date Simenon and Maigret met, not to the Maigret’s Golden wedding anniversary. Madame Maigret is included in the greeting, presumably because Simenon imagined she was with Maigret and it would therefore be impolite not to do so.
If Maigret was about 45 in 1929, then he would have been born around about 1884, and would have been about 28 when he married in 1912 – none of which is far away from other dates I’ve seen quoted.
Or have I missed the point completely?
Dave King

Maigret in Serbo-Croatian - and in how many other languages?
9/22/06 –

Thanks to Ilija Bakic for supplying a list of Maigret in Serbo-Croatian!

It seems like I often see references to Simenon being the world's most-translated something-or-other, and I believe the Fonds Simenon in Belgium has an extensive collection of translations... but I've never seen a list. Did someone say "60 languages"? Here we've collected titles from 29 so far....

ST

What's this non-Maigret?
9/23/06 – [Reply to Dennis R. Gannon, (9/21/06)]

The non-Maigret referred to is "The Innocents'" [Les Innocents]. Good hunting Dennis!

Martin Cooke

Penguin title changes
9/26/06 – When I was looking on my shelves for Madame Maigret's Friend, next month's MotM, I was puzzled about why I couldn't find it. I checked my notebook and saw that it was recorded as The Friend of Madame Maigret, and then I saw it was the Penguin Classics version I had, with that title, so you may want to update the bibliographical entry. It is the Helen Sebba translation of 1959, first published in the UK by Hamish Hamilton in 1960, published by Penguin in 1967 and "with minor revisions" in Penguin Classics in 2003.
Best wishes
Roddy


Thanks, Roddy. Actually many of the new (post-2003) Penguins have "new" titles, often closer to the original French: A Man's Head, The Yellow Dog, Inspector Cadaver, The Hotel Majestic, The Friend of Madame Maigret, The Man on the Boulevard, Maigret and the Idle Burglar, Lock 14 and The Bar on the Seine. (I'll have to get to work to update many of my lists now!)
ST

"Pas d'achevé d'imprimer"
9/27/06 – Reply to David Derrick, 9/20/06...
Perhaps the English equivalent expression for achevé d’imprimer could be (The date for the) completion of printing, and for pas d’achevé d’imprimer (No date given for the) completion of printing.
The printer’s information as found in the French editions often is expressed in a format which is confusing to some collectors and researchers especially if they are seeking knowledge about first editions as well as reprints.
As regards the Simenon titles, the printer’s information is always found on one of the end pages of a book for those published in France, although some printers give more details than others.
To clarify a point, if the printer’s details, in any format, are absent, it indicates that the book has been damaged in some way and the page containing the information is missing. For example, many of the editions published from the 1930s to the 1950s are in paperback format, printed on rather poor quality paper. Over a period of time with the wear and tear of handling some of these editions become fragile, pages become loose and can be lost.
When Claude Menguy indicates “pas d’achevé d’imprimer” he does mean that the printer’s details are present, but without any date given.
Peter Foord
UK

"Pas d'achevé d'imprimer"
10/1/06 – Thanks to Peter Foord (9/27/06) and Murielle (9/26/06) for their helpful replies.
David

New Simenon Film - La Californie
10/1/06 – On October 25th in France, a new movie from a Simenon book will be released: "La Californie" based on the book "Chemin sans issue".

Here is a short summary:

For a long time nothing could separate Mirko and Stefan. They are on the French Riviera and they have nothing. One night at a disco, they meet Maguy, a woman who likes to go out and drink a lot. Maguy takes Mirko and Stefan under her wing, in her luxurious villa. Between her, her daughter Helene, Mirko and Stefan, a kind of desire develops that puts them at risk. And, eventually, a crime is committed at the villa. But the question is, who did it?
Regards
Jerome

see:
The Hollywood Reporter
Le Monde
CommeAuCinema.com

In Maigret's Clothes Closet
10/6/06 –

illustration from the cover of the 1975 Oscar-Mondadori (Italian) edition Maigret e la casa del giudice [La maison du juge]

An examination of Maigret's wardrobe...

 
In Maigret's Clothes Closet

by Murielle Wenger

original French

New Banville novel "inspired by Simenon"

Christine Falls
by Benjamin Black
(John Banville)

10/8/06 – Here's a link to a review in the Sunday Times. "In his latest novel the Booker prize-winner John Banville has taken a break from highbrow fiction to try his hand at low crimes, finds Mick Heaney..."
The book was partly inspired by the "hard novels" of Georges Simenon, the creator of Inspector Maigret. "I would regard Simenon as having done much better than Camus or Sartre or any of those," says Banville. "This is real existential fiction."
Roddy

Murder in a Minor Key
10/8/06 – I just read Murielle Wenger's Murder in a Minor Key. For starters, I was rather surprised to find myself as a suspect, as the name of Joseph Richard is how my name, Joe Richards, would appear in French. No worries, Murielle can rest assured that I was amused and that I won't be soon arriving in Paris to track her down. Oddly enough, I also do not drink alcohol.

Some observations.

An address in Juvisy was mentioned. Would she be so kind as to tell us if it is in fact real or did she make it up? I mention this based on my visit there to find where Louis Thouret from Maigret and the Man on the Bench lived. I learned that the street mentioned in that story did not exist.

It was mentioned that Dr. Paul knew Dr. Pardon and that they would be again soon dining together along with Maigret. I don't remember anything like this in the other Maigret stories. The dinners were only with the Maigrets and the Pardons although another person was present (other than one of Pardon's patients who walked in unexpectedly) in at least one story.

I see some very strong parallels between this story and Maigret and the Loner. I will not elaborate on them here as I would rather that other readers discovered this for themselves.

There is a reference to Maigret in Exile. One of the murders took place while Maigret was detailed out of Paris for political reasons. If I remember correctly, that story was set in the early post World War 2 period. That means the setting of Murielle's story is ten years later. What caught my attention was the mention of the Maigrets having a television at this time. I had the feeling that this did not take place until somewhat later, sometime in the 1960's.

The two main characters were violinists. Both were classically trained and both were near the top of their profession. As a minor authority on French jazz in the 1930's and 1940's, I am aware of a parallel to this in real life that Murielle may not know about. The two real life violinists were Stephane Grapelly and Michel Warlop. Both were exceptional musicians. Grapelly was the more cultured and polished (Bertrand Crémier) while Warlop was certainly more powerful and radical in his playing. Grapelly had a long and glorious career that lasted almost up to his death in the late 1990's while Warlop died rather young in 1946. Although Warlop was certainly a much more intense player, he is nearly forgotten today, so I draw a small parallel with Joseph Richard. Both Grapelly and Warlop had received classical educations in music yet neither one achieved any lasting fame in classical music in spite of Warlop's many prizes and diplomas and the declaration that he was one of the top four or five violinists of the (20th) century at an early age.

Regards
Joe


Joe Richards has also written a Maigret pastiche... Maigret in Antwerp

Murder in a Minor Key
10/8/06 – While I can see why Joe might consider (10/8/06) that the suspect had been named after him, my suspicion is that the inspiration for the names of the two musicians, J. Richard and B. Crémier is hinted at in Murielle's Why I Love Maigret, where she reveals the conflict between her love for her "first" Maigret, television's Jean Richard, and her discovery of his "replacement", Bruno Crémer... Wouldn't Maigret question the coincidence?
ST

Simenon in New York Review of Books editions
10/9/06 – Found at PalmBeachPost.com...

Attention should be paid to the New York Review of Books' continuing reissues of Georges Simenon. Simenon was legendary both for his literary skill – four or five books every year for 40 years – and his sexual capacity, at least to hear him tell it.
What we can speak of with some certainty are the novels, which are tough, rigorously unsentimental and full of rage, duplicity and, occasionally, justice. Simenon's tone and dispassionate examination of humanity was echoed by Patricia Highsmith, who dispensed with the justice. So far, the Review has published Tropic Moon, The Man Who Watched Trains Go By, Red Lights, Dirty Snow and Three Bedrooms in Manhattan; The Strangers in the House comes out in November. Try one, and you'll want to read more.

Roddy

Murder in a Minor Key
10/9/06 – Reply to Joe... (10/8/06)
Tout d'abord, j'aimerais remercier Joe d'avoir lu mon texte. J'espère qu'il y a pris du plaisir, et qu'il y a retrouvé un peu de l'atmosphère simenonienne…
Voici quelques réponses aux questions posées:
1° à propos de Juvisy: j'ai effectivement inventé l'adresse mentionnée. Je ne connais pas Juvisy (en fait, je vis en Suisse, et ma dernière – et hélas seule – visite à Paris remonte à plus de vingt ans!), mais j'ai utilisé ce lieu pour donner une idée de "banlieue parisienne", comme le fait Simenon dans "Maigret et l'homme du banc" ou dans "Le client le plus obstiné du monde".
2° A propos du Dr Paul: dans "Le revolver de Maigret", nous apprenons au chapitre 1 comment Maigret a connu Pardon: "Depuis environ un an, chaque mois, les Maigret avaient le dîner des Pardon, ou comme on disait, le dîner des toubibs. C'était Jussieu, le directeur du laboratoire scientifique, qui avait un soir entraîné le commissaire chez le docteur Pardon […]". Un peu plus loin, il y a cette phrase: "Le docteur Paul, le médecin légiste, qui se joignait souvent à eux, était plus âgé." Donc, le Dr Paul connaît les Pardon…et dîne chez eux!
3° A propos du parallèle entre mon pastiche et "Maigret et l'homme tout seul": c'est vrai qu'il y a quelque chose de parallèle, mais on pourrait aussi trouver un certain parallèle avec "Maigret à New York", et le duo des "J and J".
4° A propos de la référence à "Maigret in exile"; j'ai deux réponses à proposer à Joe; à lui de choisir celle qu'il préfère!: - Première proposition: si l' "exil" de Maigret correspond à cette période de 1946 mentionnée dans "Maigret et l'homme tout seul" en référence à "La maison du juge" et Luêon, cela situe l'action de mon pastiche vers 1956; et si je considère comme une bonne référence la chronologie établie par Drake, lui mentionne "Maigret et le client du samedi" comme se passant en 1954; et c'est dans ce roman qu'apparaît la télévision chez les Maigret!; un espace d'une dizaine d'années entre le meurtre de Minouche et celui de Crémier n'est donc pas trop mal trouvé! - Deuxième proposition: dans mon pastiche, je raconte effectivement que Maigret a été exilé de la PJ suite à une vilaine affaire. Mais je dis aussi que Maigret est resté alors à Meung-sur-Loire et pas à Luêon, et rien ne nous interdit de penser que Maigret a dû subir un second exil suite à une autre affaire!
5° A propos du nom des personnages: Steve est un bon détective, et il mériterait d'entrer dans la brigade de Maigret! Mes personnages ont effectivement été nommés ainsi en référence – et en hommage – aux acteurs qui ont joué le rôle de Maigret: Jean Richard et Bruno Crémer, et les relations entre Joseph Richard et Bertrand Crémier telles que je les décris sont une forme de clin d'œil, qui m'a été inspiré par l'histoire de la succession du rôle de Maigret entre Jean Richard et Bruno Crémer.
Voilà, j'espère avoir répondu aux interrogations de Joe. Qu'il n'hésite pas à dire s'il en a d'autres, et que d'autres lecteurs en fassent de même. J'adore échanger à propos de Maigret!
Meilleures salutations,
[translation]
First of all, I'd like to thank Joe for having read my story. I hope it was enjoyable, and that a little of the Simenon atmosphere was found there...
Here are some answers to the questions...
1) With regard to Juvisy, I actually invented the address I used. I don't know Juvisy (in fact, I live in Switzerland, and my last – and sad to say, only – visit to Paris was more than twenty years ago!), but I used that place to give an idea of the "Paris suburbs", as Simenon does in Maigret and the Man on the Bench or "The most obstinate customer in the world."
2) Concerning Dr. Paul, in Maigret's Revolver, we learn in Chapter 1 how Maigret knew Pardon, "For about a year, every month, Maigret had had dinner at the Pardons', or as they said, the dinner of the Docs. It was Jussieu, the Director of the Scientific Laboratory, who had one evening brought the Chief Inspector to Doctor Pardon's..." A little later, we read, "Doctor Paul, the Medical Examiner, who often joined them, was older." So, Dr. Paul knows the Pardons... and dines with them!
3) As for the connection between my pastiche and Maigret and the Loner, it is true that there are some similarities, but you might also find certain parallels with Maigret in New York, and the pair "J and J".
5) With regard to the reference to Maigret in exile, I have two answers to propose… choose the one you prefer! First, if Maigret's "exile" corresponds to the period in 1946 mentioned in Maigret and Loner referring to Maigret in Exile and Luêon, that locates the action of my pastiche in about 1956, and if I use as a suitable reference the chronology established by Drake, he mentions Maigret and the Saturday Caller as occurring in 1954, and it is in this novel that television appears at the Maigrets'! A period of ten years between the murder of Minouche and that of Crémier is not too unlikely. My second proposal… in my pastiche, I do indeed relate that Maigret was exiled from the PJ following an unpleasant affair, but I also say that he remained in Meung-sur-Loire at the time, and not in Luêon, so nothing prohibits us from thinking that Maigret had to undergo a second exile following a different business!
5) As for the names of the characters, Steve is a good detective (10/8/06), and deserves to enter Maigret's squad! My characters were actually named in that way in reference – and homage – to the actors who played the role of Maigret, Jean Richard and Bruno Crémer, and the relationship between Joseph Richard and Bertrand Crémier such as I describe is a form of a wink, which was inspired by the story of the succession of the role of Maigret from Jean Richard to Bruno Crémer.
So, I hope I've answered Joe's questions. I hope he doesn't hesitate to mention any others he has, and that other readers will do the same. I love discussions about Maigret!
Best regards,
Murielle

Maigret of the Month: L'amie de Madame Maigret (Madame Maigret's Friend)
10/11/06 –
[translation]
1. An unusual beginning
The novel starts with Mme Maigret's adventure in the Place d'Anvers. That surprised me, since I had the impression that it was rather rare for a Maigret novel to start with someone other than the Chief Inspector. Curiosity pushed me to examine that idea a little more closely, and here's what I found…

66 - 1st paragraph
 6 - 2nd paragraph
 1 - 3rd paragraph
 1 - 2nd chapter

I only considered novels (and not short stories), excluding MEM, which leaves 74 novels. The pie chart at right shows the number of novels divided according to the moment Maigret appears. We see that in the very great majority (66, 90%) Maigret appears in the first paragraph of the first chapter. He appears in the second paragraph in six novels, (PRO, TET, MAJ, MME, PIC, COR), in the third paragraph in one (JAU) and by the second chapter in only one novel (ECL). We should note the particular case of GAI where, although Maigret appears in the first paragraph, he will not really be identified until the end of the sixth chapter.

2. Mme Maigret leads the investigation
This is truly a novel where Mme Maigret plays a more significant role than usual. Let me quote here two passages, the first, an extract of Lacassin's analysis from the volume "Maigret enters the stage" published by Omnibus...

"If Simenon's works in the Presses de la Cité editions are characterized by an increased importance of Maigret, they are also accompanied by the forceful entry of Mme Maigret.

A significant detail – in the 19 Fayard Maigrets, it is not until the 9th volume (REN) that Mme Maigret appears in person. She appears – via postcards – in the 11th volume (GUI), looks after her wounded husband in the 15th (FOU) and shares his retirement in Meung-sur-Loire in the 19th (MAI).

In the investigations of the Gallimard period (6 novels, 19 short stories), she appears on six occasions, of which one is only by postcard, but in two others in a very active way (amo and man).

With the Presses de la Cité editions, she is present from the first volume (FAC). Thereafter, it is simpler to count the stories in which Mme Maigret does not appear, even in the most minimal way… a postcard sent to or from her husband, a telephone conversation or a simple good evening that she addresses him when he returns home in the last pages of a volume. Mme Maigret is completely absent, is not even quoted, in three of her husband's 58 investigations, namely, DAM, PIC, and a short story – actually written in 1939 – ven.

Outside of the few stories in which she is an active participant (MME, PRE, MEM), this permanence, though discreet, translates into the emotional importance of Mme Maigret and the factor of balance which she ensures in the personality of her husband."

The second passage, written by Doringe, is from the back cover of the 1952 Presses de la Cité edition…

"The Chief Inspector, as everyone knows, is married to a gentle creature, an excellent homemaker – Maigret's Memoirs relates the beginnings of this fortuitous union. Dear Madame Maigret! It is not often that she mixes in her husband's investigations, though in 'The Evidence of the Altar-Boy', we saw her 'assisting' her husband immobilized by the flu. This time, she will carry out her investigation herself, parallel to that of the PJ. You have to see her at work, in Madame Maigret's Friend, because the result is really a delight.

Red-faced, nervous, upset in the middle of the Place d'Anvers, asking the time of every passer-by… grief-stricken over her poule au pot – burnt to a crisp – so the Chief Inspector has to make do with a bite of bread and cheese… modestly triumphant when she discovers, after clever questioning in the boutiques, the name of a woman who will focus her husband's investigation. She is picturesque but effective… a 'granny', but resourceful. Thanks to her, this Maigret has 'a new flavor'".

I'd like to add to these two passage a brief note of the three novels in which Mme Maigret takes a more or less active part in the investigation carried out by her husband – FAN (the lunch at Manière's where she relates her visit with Mme Lognon… "What you have just told me will undoubtedly alter the course of the investigation " Maigret tells his wife); AMU, where Mme. Maigret strolls Paris at her husband's side, following in his reflections; and CLO, where Mme Maigret's phone call to her sister informs the Chief Inspector about Franêois Keller.

3. The first appearance of Lapointe
It's in this novel that a young inspector will join Maigret's "faithful"… Lapointe, "a young man burning to distinguish himself." And he'll succeed... for it's "because of him" that they will seek the famous suitcase missing from Steuvels's workshop.

He's "a good lad, still too nervous, too emotional, but one something can probably be made of." Maigret will grant him his confidence, and then his affection, especially after the adventure of Picratt's (PIC), where Lapointe will play an important role. Young Lapointe will quickly become Maigret's "pet"… as Maigret feels for him something as he would for a son…

4. The Great Turenne
For those readers who are interested, here's an explanation of the allusion to "the Great Turenne". [Referrring to Lucas, Ch.2 ff. The English translation has no chapter headings, but the French Ch. 2 is entitled "Les soucis du Grand Turenne" (The worries of the Great Turenne). The investigation focuses on the Rue de Turenne.]

Turenne, by Charles Le Brun TURENNE (Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne, Viscount of), Marshal of France.1611-1675. He took part in the Thirty Years War and was, with Prince Condé, victorious at Freiburg (1644) and Nordlingen (1645). He was the military tutor of Louis XIV, with whom he fought the Flanders campaign in 1667. In 1675, he was killed by a bullet in Salzbach, and mourned by the nation.

5. The Laundry Boat
[Ch. 6, entitled in French "Le bateau-lavoir du Vert-Galant" (The laundry boat of the Vert-Galant)] To give you an idea of what it was, here's a link: bateau-lavoir – Dictionnaire des bateaux fluviaux.

6. Maigret and the movies
In Chapter 7 of the novel, Maigret goes to the movies with his wife, in part to see the image of the photograph of Alfred Moss. Maigret likes the cinema. Can you say in which novels he goes to the movies? For my part, two come to mind: CEC and NEW. Can you help me make a list of the others?

7. A Story of a hat
[The heading of Ch. 5 in the French edition, "Une histoire de chapeau".] Here are some images to give an idea of what kind of hat Gloria Lotti would have worn (Unfortunately I didn't find a picture of a white hat!):

a Caroline Reboux hat

a Rose Valois hat
hats of the '50s

8. Reminiscences
We've noticed more than once that Simenon likes to take up a topic again in a new variation. This time, two appear to me:

1) The importance of the navy blue suit found at Steuvels's reminds me of Moncin's in TEN.

2) Countess Panetti's corpse found in the Chrysler reminds me of Marthe Dorval's in the trunk of the car at Vertbois (noy).

Do you see any others?

Murielle

Original French

Maigret of the Month: (September) Maigret et la Vieille Dame (Maigret and the Old Lady)
10/17/06 –
For nearly ten years Simenon lived in North America, and during that time he wrote 48 novels and 15 short stories. These included 21 novels and 5 short stories devoted to Maigret, but only two placed Maigret in an American setting – Maigret in New York and Maigret and the Coroner. To my mind these last two are not so successful, unless Simenon wanted to relate how awkward and difficult Maigret would be exploring and observing two investigations in a culture and language that were somewhat unfamiliar to him.

On the other hand, the author wrote nine other novels, out of 27, each with an American setting where he explores characters and relationships in a much more successful way. On his return to France in 1955, the first novel he wrote, La Boule Noire (The Rules of the Game) has Connecticut as a setting.

During the later months of 1949, there were two important, but very different, events that Simenon experienced.

The committee set up in France at the end of the Second World War to investigate those who were suspected of co-operation with the Forces of Occupation had now turned their attention to Simenon. This concerned the author’s connection with the Continental Films organisation that produced several films based on his work.

The committee decided that Simenon was guilty of collaboration and decreed that none of Simenon’s work, in any form was to be produced in France for a period of two years. This meant a complete ban on any printed material, adaptions for the theatre, film and radio and in any other format.

This decision was sent to him in July, but to his last address in the Vendée region of France, so Simenon was only aware of the circumstances when the information reached him in Arizona in October. Realising that it would affect his main source of income, among other implications, immediately he wrote a statement to the committee putting his side of the situation and sent it to his lawyer in Paris, Maître Maurice Garêon, who was successful in winning over Simenon’s argument, so that in December 1949 the committee retracted their decision.

The other important event was on the 29th of September 1949 when Denyse Ouimet gave birth to Simenon’s son Jean, named after his godfather the film director Jean Renoir.

At this time they were still living in Tucson, Arizona, but once more decided to move.

Simenon’s wife, Tigy, their ten year old son Marc, and Boule already had rented a house by the sea at Carmel in California, and he, Denyse and Jean (usually called John or Johnny) followed them at the end of October, renting a house in Ocean View Avenue in Carmel, which reminded Simenon of France’s Côte d’Azur.

The events that Simenon was experiencing during this time had an effect on him, which he later related in his last autobiography Memoires Intimes (Intimate Memoirs). The birth of his son Jean / John was on the joyous side, but there was a shadow cast by the French Committee’s decision, even though it was rescinded. Then there was the tension between the two “camps” in Carmel, these being Simenon, Denyse and their young son on the one hand, with Tigy, Marc and Boule on the other. The termination of Simenon and Tigy’s marriage was very much in the near future.

How much effect this had on Simenon’s writing is a matter of speculation as he has said very little about it, but his first works after moving to Carmel were two Maigret novels, Maigret and the Old Lady and Madame Maigret’s Own Case / Madame Maigret’s Friend / The Friend of Madame Maigret, written basically in December four days apart.

Several times Simenon has stated that to write a Maigret work was a form of relaxation compared to the mental strain of producing some of his other novels. So now perhaps he was turning to Maigret and his wife and their stability as a contrast to the life he was living through then.

Maigret arrives in Étretat (Seine-Inférieure) on the Normandy coast. His journey is the result of a visit by a Madame Valentine Besson (the old lady of the novel’s title) to his office on the Quai des Orfévres, as well as an independent request by Madame Besson’s stepson, Charles Besson, a Deputy in the Fécamp area, to Maigret’s superior.

The cause of the request is that Rose Trochu, Valentine’s maid, has died as a result of swallowing her employer’s nightly drink.

At Étretat, Maigret is met and assisted by Inspector Castaing from Le Havre who explains the situation to him.

Simenon deftly describes the atmosphere of the Normandy coast with Maigret for some moments transported back in his mind to his earlier experiences by the sea.

Although this Maigret novel is as long as many of the others, the structure is different. Maigret’s investigation only lasts two days, during which time he questions several members of Valentine Besson’s family, as well as travelling the few miles to Yport to visit the family of Rose Trochu. Because of this time factor Maigret’s investigation is condensed into a steady methodical routine without much time to do other things and break the steady rhythm of the story line.

It is almost as if Simenon, having worked out the idea for the novel, is going through the motions, with the result that this novel is not as interesting as many of the others.

The only translation is by Robert Brain who remains close to the author’s French text.


A map of Étretat in the 1930s (Guide Michelin, France, 1934).

Peter Foord
UK

Maigret of the Month: L’Amie de Madame Maigret (Madame Maigret’s Own Case / Madame Maigret’s Friend / The Friend of Madame Maigret)
10/30/06 –

Having completed the novel Maigret et la Vieille Dame (Maigret and the Old Lady) on the 8th of December 1949, Simenon began L’Amie de Madame Maigret on the 13th of December with just a gap of four days in between them. Both written whilst he was living at Carmel-by-the-sea in California, these Maigret novels are very different from each other, not only with the locations, but also in tone.

The first, which takes place at Étretat in Normandy, seems rather a routine investigation for Maigret. He manages to draw matters to a conclusion in two days, wasting no time in order to catch the first available train back to Paris.

The second, Madame Maigret’s Friend, is more varied in atmosphere, with touches of almost light-heartedness at times, contrasted with periods of hectic activity, as well as the occasional lull due to lack of progress with the investigation.

Maigret is on his home territory of Paris and among his familiar team of detectives, including a recent addition, that of the young Inspector Lapointe who in this novel appears for the first time.

At the beginning of the novel, Simenon has two separate strands making up the storyline involving firstly Madame Maigret and secondly Maigret.

Madame Maigret travels to her dental appointment near the Place d’Anvers in the ninth arrondissement, and arriving early has developed a routine of biding her time by sitting on a public bench in the gardens next to the Place d’Anvers. On account of this routine, she makes the acquaintance of a young woman with a two-year-old boy, resulting in certain consequences.

The second strand has Maigret pondering on an investigation that was brought into play by an anonymous note involving a bookbinder who has his home and workshop in the Marais area of Paris. But it is Sergeant Lucas who is given the task of collating all the information that is arriving, earning him a nickname.

The event that befalls Madame Maigret at that time whilst waiting for her dental appointment, is merely fortuitous, as she is not aware of its further implications. It is only when information is checked, with certain individuals coming forward or being interviewed, that some of the strands of the investigation are seen to coincide.

The investigation ebbs and flows with Maigret and his team of detectives following various leads, and on one occasion Madame Maigret goes off on her own to locate a particular shop where a certain type of hat was purchased, thus adding another piece of information to the enquiry.

Simenon builds up a complex investigation involving quite a number of individuals to give the reader one of the more intriguing Maigret novels.

Considering Simenon entitled this novel L’Amie de Madame MaigretThe Friend of Madame Maigret —, I wonder why the American editions call the novel Madame Maigret’s Own Case — something of a misnomer, possibly suggesting that Maigret’s wife had the upper hand with the investigation, whereas, although she did contribute, it was quite a team effort that gave Maigret the solution.

The English translation is by Helen Sebba who stays close to Simenon’s French text. For some reason, Helen Sebba is only credited with the translation in the British editions, but not in any of those published in the United States. Comparison of the English translation in the American publications with those of the British establishes that they have used the same translation.

Part of the map of the ninth arrondissement showing where Madame Maigret went for her dental appointment at the beginning of the novel. This shows the corner of the Avenue Trudaine with the Rue Turgot, the Place d’Anvers and the Boulevard Rochechouart (Michelin, Paris Plan, 1988).

Part of the map of the Marais area of Paris with the crossroads involving the Rue des Francs-Bourgeois and the Rue de Turenne, and the nearby Place des Vosges. It was in the Rue de Turenne that the bookbinder, Frans Steuvels, had his workshop and home (Michelin, Paris Plan, 1988).

Peter Foord
UK

William Gordon Corp - Simenon translator?
11/1/06 – I came upon your website while trying to track any possible references to my late father William Gordon Corp. I always understood from my father that he had translated one or more Simenon novels into English, though there is no reference to him in your list of translators - maybe he is one of your "unknowns".

As far as I know most English translators of the time tended to have an academic background to their French, whereas my Father learnt his French working for 6 or 7 years (I think) in Paris during the 1930's where he met my Mother, also English. I believe he worked in the English Bookshop (Galignani) Rue du Rivoli. During his time there he collected the signatures of the stars of the 1930's literary firmament in an autograph book I still have in my possession.

He returned to London in the late 1930's and was involved in the original launch of "Book Tokens". What he did in the Second World War 1939-45 is mostly a mystery. He may have been involved in work to patch up relations between the Free French and the British and I have a copy of a book "Free France and Britain" my father edited. He translated also "One enemy only - the invader" by Paul Simon, and "Francs-tireurs and Guerrillas of France" by Fernand Grenier; I suspect these were published to show that the French were resisting the Germans not merely being supine as many English people thought at the time. He once told me he was in Paris the day after liberation- why he was there is mostly mystery though he let slip something about tracing French art treasures looted by the Nazis.

In the 1950s and 60s he ran an import and publishing agency for French books "Anglo French Literary Services" and a French Book Club "Choix". Choix took unbound copies of recent successful French books from their French publisher, bound them in hard covers to make them acceptable particularly to the British library and academic markets. He certainly had working arrangements with Gallimard and Presses de la Cité. I have in my possession a copy of a Choix editions of Simenon's "Les Témoins" (1955 Presses de la Cité), and other Simenon on the list were "Une vie comme neuve", and "Les Frères Rico". Unfortunately among the books I inherited when he died there appeared to be none of the English Simenons he had translated. His credentials as a translator were I believe quite high - in the early 1970s he shared the Scott Moncrieff prize for the translation of the 1969 Prix Goncourt novel "L'Espagnol" by Bernard Clavel. As a 7 to 13 year old boy I travelled to Paris a number of times between 1947 and 1952 and recall doing the rounds of the Parisian publishing houses, mostly housed in grimy run down but rather magnificent "palais".

The one other imprint in my Father's business was "Collection Centaure". This used the same technique as Choix but was not a book club. Under "Collection Centaure" Série Maigret he published "Maigret se trompe", "Maigret à l'école" and "Maigret et le corps sans tête" - the first publication in England of that particular title.

I am sorry I cannot prove my father was a Simenon translator, I will search the family archives again to see if I can find some proof, but in the meantime I hope the foregoing is of interest.

Michael Corp


The translator's list at this site is only for Maigrets, so it's possible that William Gordon Corp translated other Simenons...

ST

Maigret in Polish

11/6/06 – Good news from Poland! There was a new Maigret published: Sprawa Saint-Fiacre (L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre), published by Universitas (from Cracow). Maigret in Vichy is supposed to follow, but they didn't inform us when.
I'm very happy because the previous publisher - Wydawnictwo Dolnoslaskie - quit publishing Maigrets and I was afraid that it would take another 10 years before somebody would start with Maigret again... but it was only one year. I hope that this time Universitas will have more ideas and energy to make a Maigret 'run' in Poland.
Wish us, Maigret's fans from Poland, more luck! :-)

best regards from cold Poland
Przemek

Maigret's Pipe
11/13/06 –

Maigret's Pipe

instrument for reflection and the apprehension of the world

by Murielle Wenger

[Original French]

Once again Murielle has provided us with a remarkable study... this time of the very icon of Maigret, his famous pipe! Through her prodigious anaylsis, we come to understand why we feel the importance of Maigret's pipe, by seeing how Simenon has woven it into every story, and the details of the role it has come to play. Bravo Murielle!

ST

Maigret's Pipe
11/16/06 – Just a short comment on the excellent article about Maigret's pipe. Those pipes in the ashtray were not full of fresh tobacco. They had dottles of smoked tobacco, that Maigret hadn't had the time (or energy) to empty.

As a former pipe smoker, I can tell you that it is pretty rare you would charge a pipe with tobacco before you wanted to smoke it. You want your tobacco to be as fresh as possible, and it stays fresh in your pouch.

Oz Childs

Maigret of the Month: Les Mémoires de Maigret (Maigret’s Memoirs)
11/17/06 –

After writing 34 Maigret novels and all of the 28 Maigret short stories, Simenon embarked on writing Les Mémoires de Maigret (Maigret’s Memoirs). He wrote this work between the 19th and the 26th of September 1950 at Lakeville, Connecticut, having moved there from California during July of the same year.

It was on the 21st of June 1950 in Reno, Nevada, that Simenon and his wife Tigy (née Régine Renchon) divorced. The following day the author married Denyse Ouimet. He and his second wife, with their son Jean (John), decided to move to Connecticut where he bought Shadow Rock Farm at Lakeville. By legal agreement, his first wife, Tigy, moved into a house at Salmon Creek only four miles away with her son Marc and Boule.

Having carried out some interior restoration of Shadow Rock Farm, Simenon invited his new mother-in-law, Denyse’s mother, to stay for a while.

In his last autobiography, Intimate Memoirs (Mémoires intimes) he writes:

‘She [Denyse’s mother] was not used to going to bed before one in the morning, whereas I have always been an early retirer. That upset my schedule somewhat, because she did not read, did not like to be left alone, and could talk on for hours about her friends and acquaintances in Montreal and Ottawa.

I could not spend my days and long evenings listening to her and politely nodding. Nor could I write a demanding novel, which required a well-observed schedule and strict discipline. I was looking for an easy subject, without dream or mystery, and that was when I got the idea of writing Maigret’s Memoirs. To me, it was something like writing a letter to a friend, and therefore entertaining.’ (Simenon, Intimate Memoirs, Hamish Hamilton, UK 1984; Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, USA 1984, page 321).

Those who have read the Maigret works prior to these Memoirs, will recognise some of the events that are described, as Simenon has related certain aspects of these in such novels as L’Affaire de Saint-Fiacre (The Saint-Fiacre Affair / Death of a Countess / Maigret Goes Home / Maigret on Home Ground), La Première Enquête de Maigret (Maigret’s First Case), Maigret (Maigret Returns) and the short story L’Amoureux de Madame Maigret (The Stronger Vessel / Madame Maigret’s Admirer).

But in the first chapter of the Memoirs there is an intriguing idea of balancing reality and fiction. At the Quai des Orfèvres, Maigret is called to the director’s office where he is presented to a young author by the name of Georges Sim, so that the creation appears to come face to face with the creator at the instigation of Xavier Guichard who for some years was the real life director at police headquarters. But a young Simenon as Georges Sim (his most frequently used pseudonym) annoys Maigret for appearing not to be interested in the functions of the police department, but only in the atmosphere of various corridors, offices and other rooms.

One morning, some time later, Maigret finds a cheap looking novel on his desk entitled La Jeune Fille aux perles (The Girl with the Pearl Necklace) written by Georges Sim in which a commissaire named Maigret appears.

(This latter novel, probably written in 1929, was published in 1932 by Fayard, but with the title of La Figurante (The Extra) and under the author’s pseudonym of Christian Brulls. La Jeune Fille aux perles was an alternative title, which was restored with the 1991 reprint published by Juilliard).

Perhaps Simenon’s memory of the original title and pseudonym was at fault, but whatever the reason, this was the second novel, written under a pseudonym, in which a police detective named Maigret appears.

In March 1952, from his home in Connecticut, and accompanied by his second wife Denyse and son John, Simenon made a visit to Europe which lasted just over two months.

His trip included personal visits as well as several official functions, one of which occurred in May, in Brussels, where he was elected to the Belgian Royal Academy.

But earlier in April, whilst staying in Paris, he was invited to an official reception at 36 du Quai des Orfèvres, where he was shown around Police Headquarters, thus echoing his younger self as described at the beginning of Maigret’s Memoirs written less than two year before.

This work is divided up into eight chapters, each one devoted to certain aspects of Maigret’s life, both private and professional, as well as expressing his thoughts on some key issues.

Maigret’s Memoirs is easy and entertaining to read, with Simenon convincing the reader that it is really the retired Maigret who is penning his experiences of his career and life as a whole.

The English translation is by Jean Stewart who follows the author’s French text closely. The French edition was published early in 1951, but English only readers had to wait twelve years before the translation was published in the United Kingdom, and even longer for the American edition, which appeared only in 1985.

Peter Foord
UK

Maigret's first visit to the Quai des Orfèvres
11/19/06 – Regarding the question from Murielle, in the book "Mes apprentissages, reportages 1931-1946" (Edition Omnibus) with the papers that Simenon published as a reporter, there is one called "Police judiciaire" from 1933 that was published in "Police et reportage, n°9 the 22nd June 1933" and another one called "Les coulisses de la police" that is a set of 12 papers published in "Paris-soir" in January and February 1934.
Simenon probably visited the Police judiciaire many times to write those papers and get the material he used.

Regards
Jérôme

Maigret of the Month: Les Mémoires de Maigret (Maigret's Memoirs)
11/18/06 –
[translation]

Clarification of a character

1929-1972: the two pivotal dates in the Maigret corpus. Let us note the interesting fact that Maigret's Memoirs falls exactly at the middle of the writing period (1950). It's a little as if Simenon, after the first two epochs of the corpus (Fayard and Gallimard), having set his character in his historical reality by relating his beginnings (PRE), made a point of elucidating his hero before launching him into a long series of new investigations. Maigret's Memoirs is an attempt by Simenon to both set the Chief Inspector in a police reality, and at the same time to give him a certain "authenticity", by giving him a past, origins, memories... and also by having him engage in a certain reflection on his métier.

Chapter 1: the meeting

a) It was in 1927 or 1928…

The chapter opens with a date, which we can regard as both fictitious – but established according to the chronological reality of the character of Maigret, who presumably writes his memoirs in 1950 – and also authentic, on the side of the chronological reality of the author, Simenon.

Even if Maigret is careful to write that he has "no memory for dates", he mentions all the same the years 1927-1928. Why these dates? In fact, if we consider the Maigret corpus, we note that Simenon is, in spite of everything, rather in sync with his memories of the writing. Indeed, what are the dates of the first Maigrets? Let's look here at the chronology of the writing established at the site nocesdencre.ch:

1929 
July or August [?] Train de nuit Publication : October 1930   novel, proto-Maigret
end of summer [?] La figurante Publication : February 1932 novel, proto-Maigret
end of summer [?] La femme rousse Publication : April 1933 novel, proto-Maigret
fall [?] La maison de l’inquiétude Publication : February 1932 novel, proto-Maigret
beginning of winter [?]   Pietr-le-Letton Publication : May 1931 novel

If Simenon wrote his first Maigrets in 1929, it is completely plausible to consider the occurrence of a visit by Simenon to the Quai des Orfèvres in 1927 or 1928 – preceding their writing.

Here we also encounter a little "Simenon mystery"... I must turn to you, readers and Simenon specialists, for the key to the enigma, as described here from the site mentioned above:

In 1950, Maigret wrote his Memoirs and told how, one day, in his office at the Quai des Orfèvres, he received a visit from a young Belgian with plenty of pluck, who wrote police novels under the name of Georges Sim. In this volume, Simenon amuses himself by rectifying, through his character, some errors committed on his own part, above all with regard to the earliest investigations.

This anecdote – Simenon's visit to the Quai des Orfèvres – is almost true, but takes place after the appearance of the Memoirs. The author, especially in the first Maigrets, hardly cares about an accurate description of the activities of the Police Judiciare, wherein he had never set foot. It was on April 18, 1952 that Simenon was invited to the P.J. by its director, Xavier Guichard (who had investigated the Bonnot gang). And he made the acquaintance of Chief Inspector Guillaume and some of his colleagues, who would subsequently furnish him with more authentic elements for the investigations of the unchangeable Maigret.

In this spirit, Xavier Guichard even proposed that Simenon attend the daily meeting – the morning report – which assembled, in his office, the chiefs of the principal brigades looking into the developments of current affairs. And he offered him the opportunity to attend the psychiatric examinations in the special infirmary of the Dépôt. Only a single writer, before Simenon, had received this favor: Paul Bourget.

This 1952 visit is also mentioned on other sites, but we often get the impression, in reading them, that this visit in 1952 was the first that Simenon had made to the Quai. Now, I read otherwise, in this text by Simenon himself...

the complete article

Original French

Murielle Wenger

About those new Penguin Maigrets...
11/20/06 –

Two more volumes are slated for release in the new US Penguin Maigret series, The Hotel Majestic and The Bar on the Seine, both issued by Penguin UK in 2003 in the "Modern Classics" series, The Bar on the Seine again in 2006 in the new "Red Classics" (the inside covers are red) series.

Peter Young strongly criticized the cover design of this new Penguin series in a July posting. (He wrote again in August, noting that he had just seen a new UK edition, and that perhaps his comments had been about a US edition. In September, David Pearson, designer of the UK series, confirmed that Peter had misidentified him as the designer of what was, in fact, this US series.)

I now have copies of those first three volumes of the new US series, and will describe them here, because they are somewhat unusual...

If you have no interest in a discussion of book design (with regard to these and some other Penguin Maigrets), don't click here for the rest of the article.

ST

Thanks, Jerome
11/20/06 – Je remercie Jérôme pour son message dans le Forum et pour les informations intéressantes et fort utiles qu'il a données à propos des visites de Simenon au Quai des Orfèvres.

Thanks to Jerome for his message in the Forum, and for the interesting and very useful information which he provided about Simenon's visits to the Quai des Orfèvres.

Murielle

Maigret of the Month: Les Mémoires de Maigret (Maigret's Memoirs)
11/21/06 –
[translation]

Part II: Some Endnotes for Maigret's Memoirs

1. Recollections

Throughout the novel we find references to other novels, though this is not something limited to the Memoirs, for Simenon likes to recall the same events from one novel to another. It's also what gives a certain depth or weight (no pun intended) to the character of Maigret, for these memories across novels render him more alive, more real, as if the Chief Inspector's memories become a little like our own…

Some examples:

  • The Poles mentioned in Ch. 1 and Ch. 6. See with regard to this the heading (Poles, etc.) in the Maigret Encyclopedia, and this article in the Forum archives on this site…
  • the arrest of the pickpocket, described in PRE and REV.
  • Maigret's beginnings as secretary to the Chief Inspector in the St-Georges district (where he investigates his first case in PRE), also mentioned in JEU and DEF.
  • the description of the premises of the PJ: (I won't touch on this point now, for it will perhaps soon be the subject of another article…)
  • the different branches where Maigret served his apprenticeship in the police, described also in particular in DEF: public roads, department stores, vice squad (morals), hotels and accommodations, and stations.
  • his entry into the "Chief's Squad", told a little differently in PRE, but with one constant: Maigret celebrates his promotion – with a little too much to drink (no surprise here?!)
  • the cases in those places where "you expect them least", where "there is everywhere a veneer of respectability to crack". Which we can consider the cases of the Gendreau-Balthazars in PRE, the Lachaumes in TEM, the Parendons in HES, the Nauds in CAD, and the Serres in GRA.
  • Mme Maigret's scrapbooks, where she pastes the newspaper articles about her husband: they are mentioned in MME: "So she preserved, in her scrapbooks, the newspaper articles about me and she did it even more scrupulously after a former director of the PJ published his Memoirs. "You might write yours one day, when you're retired and we live in the country," she'd respond when I'd make fun of her hobby." Well, Madame Maigret wasn't wrong!
2. Xavier Guichard See the article on this site. Guichard's "large work" spoken of by Simenon is this:

Eleusis Alesia

A Study of the Origins
of European Civilization

Abbeville, 1936

Paris, April 27, 1936

This study, begun in 1911 and pursued with the joy of unexpected discovery, has for 22 years been the most constant and vibrant element of my internal life, whereas externally, the daily work with which I was charged, and whose obligations I loved, seemed my sole reason for being.
It was known by a limited number of my confidants, but the flight of the years left me only an uncertain hope of being able to submit my results to the inspection of all the friends of History.
I therefore address to subscribers, whose benevolent cooperation has rendered possible the publication of this book, my very affectionate thanks.

Xavier Guichard

3. A literary postulate

In Simenon's visit to the Quai des Orfèvres described in Ch. 1, the author takes the occasion to elucidate a little his vision of "semi-literature"...

the complete article

Original French

Murielle Wenger

"New" Maigret film found!
11/24/06 – Today I discovered that "Le Chien Jaune" was filmed in Russia in 1994! It was called "Zalozhniki strakha" and released in 1994.

Mattias Siwemyr


Thanks, Mattias! Anyone know any more about this?

ST

Maigret in the Métro
11/28/06 –
Maigret in the métro

Jérôme has raised an interesting question:

"One point I was wondering about is why we never (?) see Maigret in the subway? The subway had existed for a long time in the 1930s when Simenon wrote his first Maigret but neither Maigret nor the gangsters took the subway in the novels....."

My first response is from Michel Carly's book, "Maigret across Paris" (Omnibus, 2003):

"Not much métro for the Chief Inspector… With Mme Maigret, he takes it primarily when it's cold. (ed. note: in CLI; or for an evening out in DEF). … To travel in Paris, Maigret prefers the taxi, for most of the drivers know him, and he can enjoy both his pipe and the bustle of the streets. The same reason for mounting the rotunda of a bus. … Maigret doesn't belong to the subterranean world... too dark, too cooped up. …"

This short extract deserves to be expanded, and so I've scanned the Maigret corpus in search of the meaning of Maigret's relationship with the métro.

A first surprise: I found no trace of a mention of the métro in the Fayard series (in which, however, Maigret's cases are more often outside of Paris than in the capital).

Second surprise: contrary to what you might think, Maigret sometimes does take the métro in the course of his investigations, but when he does, you could say that it's always "under duress". Each time he takes it, it's because he can't avoid it: whether because no car is available at the PJ (pau, REV), to gain time (MIN, VOL), because he's going out "unofficially" (MIN, COR), or because it's just a matter of transportation, with no thought of taking any pleasure in the trip (VOY).

Maigret, as Carly has said, prefers taxis or the bus to the métro. Why? For a number of reasons:

– First of all, because Maigret enjoys the spectacle of the streets, which he can discover from the windows of a taxi, or the platform of a bus...

Complete article here
Original French

Murielle

Le deuil de Fonsine?
11/30/06 – I have been looking at the list of Bruno Crémer films and am puzzled about the one titled "Meurtre dans un jardin potager" which seems to be based on the non-Maigret novel or story "Le deuil de Fonsine". I would be grateful if someone could tell me if this story has been published in English, I can find almost nothing about it.

Paul Thomas

Maigret in Hungarian
11/30/06 – Three new titles were published by the Park kiadó in Maigret-books series (www.parkkiado.hu), the publisher also opened a forum on the Maigret books.

  • Maigret és a makrancos tanúk / Maigret et les témoins récalcitrants
  • Maigret és az öreg szerelmesek / Maigret et les vieillards
  • Maigret és a bíró háza / La maison du juge
One more comment: I am just re-reading Hemingway: A movable feast, and discovered a few sentences on Maigret books. I found on the homepage of course. Congratulations, I do not think that too many references are missing that have been published in French and English so far.

Best wishes from the Hungarian Maigret fan,

Viola

Maigret of the Month: Un Noël de Maigret (Maigret’s Christmas)
12/1/06 –

This, one of the longer short stories, was the last work that Simenon wrote whilst living at Carmel-by-the-sea in California. It was written on the 20th of May 1950 and was the twenty-eighth and last of the Maigret short stories.

When it was published by Presses de la Cité in book form it was accompanied by two other longer short stories – Sept Petites Croix dans un carnet (A Matter of Life and Death / Seven Little Crosses in a notebook) and Le Petit Restaurant des Ternes (The Small Restaurant in the Ternes district – not translated). These latter two short stories do not involve Maigret, but all three are linked by the fact that they are set during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, with each location being in Paris.

This short story is divided up into five chapters and at the beginning of the first there is an insight into the start of the Maigrets’ Christmas morning at their home in the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir, with Madame Maigret pottering about, making coffee and slipping out of the apartment to buy croissants at a nearby shop. Maigret takes his time over his coffee and pipe, still in his dressing gown, and at times gazing out of the window.

This scene of quiet domesticity is interrupted when he observes two women who live on the opposite side of the Boulevard making for the door of his apartment.

Part of the map of Paris showing the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir (the Maigrets live at N°132 – as stated in the novel Maigret et son Mort), the Rue Amelot (where Madame Maigret buys some croissants) and the Boulevard Voltaire (where Maigret and Lucas visit a bar for a drink of beer). (Atlas Paris par arrondissements, Michelin 15, 1989).

The elder of the two, Mademoiselle Doncoeur and her younger, but reluctant, neighbour Madame Martin require his advice and possible help. The latter’s niece, Colette, who is confined to bed as the result of an accident, witnesses, in the early hours of Christmas morning, Father Christmas in her room with a torch. He presents her with an expensive doll, indicates for her to be quiet, and proceeds to lift up a floorboard before eventually leaving.

Treating it more or less as a private investigation, Maigret remains throughout in and around his home, after telephoning Lucas who is on duty with Torrence and Janvier at the Quai des Orfèvres. His home becomes like his office where he requests, on this occasion, various people to visit, or be brought to, him.

From an odd, but simple, “Christmas” event witnessed by the young girl Colette, over the five chapters Simenon builds up and opens out the investigation, with Maigret more or less remaining in the same area, piecing together the strands during this Christmas day. Now and again there is a touch of emotion, of maternal instinct from Madame Maigret, as she observes some of the activities that ultimately involve Colette’s future.

With the simplicity of the initial idea and the build up of the storyline, Un Noël de Maigret is both an intriguing and a satisfying narration.

There are two translations of this short story. The first translation is by Lawrence G. Blochman and was first published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (US edition), volume 23, N°122, in January 1954. It is slightly abridged and freer in translation compared to Simenon’s original and the same text has been reprinted a number of times by various publishers.

The second translation is by Jean Stewart and was first published by Hamish Hamilton in the United Kingdom in 1976 in the hardback collection entitled “Maigret’s Christmas”. Jean Stewart’s translation follows Simenon’s French text closely without any abridging or additions.

Peter Foord
UK

Le deuil de Fonsine
12/3/06 –
In answer to Paul Thomas’ question (11/30/06) this Simenon work is one of the short stories that he wrote in 1945 in the coastal town of Les Sables-d’Olonne in the Vendée whilst he was recovering from a chest infection.

This short story is set in the French villages of Pouzauges and Saint-Mesmin, and the town of Fontenay-le-Comte where Simenon lived during most of the years of Occupation during the Second World War.

Le Deuil de Fonsine (The Mourning for Fonsine) is not a Maigret story and has not been translated into English. Simenon’s French text was first published by Presses de la Cité in 1950 in a collection of 9 short stories under the overall title of Maigret et les Petits Cochons sans queue. The collection consists of only two Maigret titles, L’Homme dans la Rue and Vente à la Bougie with seven other short stories.

Later Le Deuil de Fonsine was reprinted by Gallimard in 1954 in the nine short story collection Le Bateau d’Émile, and in 1963 by Presses de la Cité in the fourteen short story volume entitled La Rue aux Trois Poussins.

Le Deuil de Fonsine involves two sisters Fernande and Alphonsine (known as Fonsine) Sirouet of late middle age who live in Saint-Mesmin in the Vendée and who for years have loathed each other.

They live in what was their late father’s house, which has been divided into two, with a tall fence down the middle of the garden.

They are always trying to antagonise each other, often being brought into court for some malicious deed or other, the latest being that Fonsine injured her sister by throwing a stew pan (or was it a casserole?) over the tall garden fence.

There are touches of humour brought out with the antics of both sisters, who continue to goad each other until Fonsine dies of natural causes. Fernande ignores her sister’s passing, but gradually neglects herself, until she too passes away, the flame of enmity having deserted her.

I haven’t seen the Bruno Crémer television film entitled “Meurtre dans un jardin potager” (Murder in a kitchen garden), based on Le Deuil de Fonsine, but one of the Maigret web sites gives the following synopsis of the film:

'A tramp has been found murdered with a billhook in the shed of a kitchen garden at Saint-Mesmin. Lieutenant Picat has sent the automatic pistol found at the crime scene to Maigret. In fact the Commissaire is investigating the murder of a tramp at the Alma Bridge. The bullets recovered from the victims are the same.'

The cast list includes the two sisters Fernande and Fonsine, but obviously the storyline of the original short story has been considerably altered and expanded to include Maigret.

Peter Foord
UK

[translation]
Le deuil de Fonsine
12/4/06 –
To follow up on Paul Thomas's question (11/30/06), and to add a modest complement to the excellent article (12/03/06) by Peter Foord (always so brilliantly erudite!), I'd like to offer some additional information.

Four stories which are not part of the Maigret corpus were adapted for episodes of the Bruno Crémer television series: "Madame Quatre et ses enfants" (Mme Quatre and her children), "Les petits cochons sans queue" (The little tailless pigs) [episode title: Maigret and the little tailless pigs], "Sept petites croix dans un carnet" (Seven little crosses in a notebook) [episode title: Maigret and the seven little crosses] and "Le deuil de Fonsine" (The mourning of Fonsine") [episode title: Murder in a kitchen garden]

"The seven little crosses" is undoubtedly the story which is closest to the Maigret corpus, for several reasons: First, because it takes place at Police Emergency Services, where Maigret goes readily and where, he says, young inspectors should train "in order to learn the criminal geography of the capital" (mal); Second, we find Inspector Janvier there; And third, he works under Chief Inspector Saillard, whose description is such that we could easily change his name to Maigret.

For the three other stories, there is no Chief Inspector of Police, but it is the talent of the scenarists (Pierre Granier-Deferre and Domenica Roulet for "Mme Quatre..." and "Murder in a kitchen garden", Steve Hawes and Claire Level for the two others) to have found a way to integrate the character of Maigret in a convincing manner.

"Murder in a vegetable garden" maintains the framework basic to "The mourning of Fonsine," this story of a hatred between two sisters, "an intimate hatred, as we will see! A hatred which is a kind of love – an upside-down love perhaps, but love all the same" (from the text of the story). The television episode develops this theme, by giving a more complex origin for the hatred: the jealousy between the two sisters is over both the division of their paternal inheritance, and their love for the same man.

The scenarists have added two good ideas to the basic story: the emergence from the past of the man they'd loved, and linking his story to that of an ex-accomplice become his murderer (a theme we find on several occasions in Simenon, for example in the story "On ne tue pas les pauvres types" (Death of a nobody [pau]).

The episode is very successful, also because it contains some well-done humor, in particular in the truculent character of a grandmother who doesn't mince words!

In conclusion, I can only encourage you, not only to read the story – and to discover the art of Simenon evoking a world in a short text – but also to discover the breadth of the tele-film, if possible, to enjoy a Maigret who "gets bogged down in the mud of a lost village in the Jura, and in a murky story of family revenge"!

Murielle

original French

Maigret in Polish
12/07/06 –
Today was published a second 'Maigret' by Universitas - Maigret w Vichy...

best regards,
Przemek

Maigret in Hungarian & Esperanto
12/10/06 – I'm absolutely impressed by your site!

I went to check out the pages in Hungarian and Esperanto, the languages I mosty read in (and translate into). As for Hungarian, I was delighted to find that even my absolutely recent translation Maigret és a bíró háza / La Maison du juge figured on Maigret in Hungarian.

I would like, however, to draw your attention to a typo: Maigret és a kicsi albérlet / Maigret et son mort should read: Maigret és a kicsi Albert / Maigret et son mort .

Also, some more titles could be added, according to www.parkkiado.hu

Le Fou de Bergerac, Fayard, 1932; A bergeraci bolond, Hunga-Print Könyvkiadó, 1994

Maigret, Lognon et les gangsters, Presses de la Cité, 1952; Maigret, Lognon és a gengszterek, Hunga-Print Könyvkiadó, 1994

L'homme de Londres, Fayard, 1962; A londoni férfi, Európa Könyvkiadó, 1986

L'Ami d'enfance de Maigret, Presses de la Cité, 1968; Maigret iskolatársa, Park Könyvkiadó, 2005

2. As for Esperanto, there is in the meantime a third title : L'Ami d'enfance de Maigret / Amiko el la junaĝo de Maigret see katalogo.uea.org.

Best,
Istvan Ertl

[translation]
Lognon Special
12/10/06 –
I return here, as promised, to the analysis of Maigret's collaborators. As my study of the "faithful four" is still far from finished, I'd like to offer to all the readers and fans of Maigret, as a sort of early Christmas present, an analysis of the character Lognon.

1. The Appearance of a character, or, Lognon before Maigret

Lognon, with the first name Joseph, initially sprang from Simenon's pen in 1937, in a non-Maigret novel, The Mouse. The title of the first chapter immediately gives us one of his characteristics: "The Silences of Inspector Grouch". This is certainly how Lognon is referred to by his colleagues. In fact, it's old Mouse, a clochard, who gave him the name.

Lognon is a plainclothes inspector on the municipal police force, who works out of a station in the 9th district, Opera. He is charged with monitoring the public roads, and in particular with preventing clandestine prostitution, which is why he deals particularly with registered prostitutes and bar girls.

His portrait is well drawn, mental as well as physical: "In front of this door waited the doleful Lognon." "Dark and sullen," he is not given to speaking unnecessarily. His glance is stubborn, and he seems "to be always working on the solution to a difficult problem". He has a closed face, a heavy look, an unsociable eye, an obstinate face, a sad demeanor, and he grumbles when he speaks. He doesn't like jokes, always worried about being taken in. But basically he is a shy person, aware of his inferiority. He realizes well that he is "wrong to want to do too well, as his wife never stops repeating" and he risks by his actions – which he never announces to his chiefs – compromising his situation. But all in all he is an "honest man", and "even, in the end, a good man"...

Murielle

Complete article
original French

Le deuil de Fonsine
12/10/06 – Many, many thanks to both Peter Foord (12/03/06) and Murielle (12/04/06) for the information on this story.

I have been collecting the Bruno Cremer television series on DVD and in today's mail I received Saison 3 and Saison 4 from alapage.com. I now have four of these boxes of DVDs - a total of 40 discs. I like this series and Bruno Cremer as Maigret, there is also the fact that I do not have sufficient French to watch them without the English sub-titles which are very well done.

Since I bought the first two boxes I have noticed the Bruno Cremer series as a set of 42 DVDs which is described as L'intégrale, and at a better price than buying them separately. Now I wonder if the rest of the TV episodes will be released in 10-disc boxes like the first 40, or if the producers have decided to stop. I see that the website jy.depoix.free.fr/commisse.htm lists 54 episodes with the most recent broadcast in December 2005, so there are episodes for one more similar boxed set.

I live a long way from France and don't know if the series continued in 2006. I recall reading that Bruno Cremer had quit. Is this correct?

Thanks again to all the knowledgeable Maigret folk who make this site such a valuable resource.

Paul Thomas
Australia

All the Maigret Short Stories?
12/12/06 – I've found and read nearly all the Maigret stories in French, but there are a couple of gaps. I think the last short stories are in Tome 24, Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret, Nouvelle Revue française (Gallimard), 1944; Tout Simenon (PDLC '91-'92): Tome 24, pp. 931-940 (10pp), but I can't see the contents list of this book in Abebooks.fr. Is there a listing that gives these details anywhere?

Carl Studt


The Tout Simenon site lists all the short stories (below), most of which appeared in Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret. In the Omnibus edition, these are in Tomes 24 and 25, as indicated:
  1. L'affaire du boulevard Beaumarchais, 25 octobre 1936, Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret (24)
  2. L'amoureux de Madame Maigret, 28 juillet 1939, Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret (25)
  3. L'auberge aux noyés, 11 novembre 1938, Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret (25)
  4. Ceux du Grand Café, 12 août 1938,
  5. Le client le plus obstiné du monde, Maigret et l'inspecteur Malgracieux
  6. L'Étoile du Nord, 30 septembre 1938, Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret (25)
  7. La fenêtre ouverte, 8 novembre 1936, Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret (24)
  8. L'homme dans la rue, 15 et 22 décembre 1940, Maigret et les petits cochons sans queue
  9. L'improbable Monsieur Owen, 15 juillet 1938,
  10. Jeumont, 51 minutes d'arrêt !, Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret (24)
  11. Les larmes de bougie, 22 novembre 1936, Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret (24)
  12. Mademoiselle Berthe et son amant, 29 avril 1938, Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret (25)
  13. Maigret et l'inspecteur Malgracieux, Maigret et l'inspecteur Malgracieux
  14. Menaces de mort, du 8 mars au 12 avril 1942,
  15. Monsieur Lundi, 20 décembre 1936, Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret (24)
  16. Le notaire de Châteauneuf, 17 juin 1938, Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret (25)
  17. On ne tue pas les pauvres types, juillet 1947, Maigret et l'inspecteur Malgracieux
  18. Peine de mort, 15 novembre 1936, Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret (24)
  19. La péniche aux deux pendus, 1er novembre 1936, Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret (24)
  20. La pipe de Maigret, La pipe de Maigret
  21. Rue Pigalle, 29 novembre 1936, Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret (24)
  22. Stan le Tueur, 23 décembre 1938, Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret (25)
  23. Le témoignage de l'enfant de chœur, Maigret et l'inspecteur Malgracieux
  24. Tempête sur la Manche, 20 mai 1938, Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret (25)
  25. Un Noël de Maigret, Un Noël de Maigret
  26. Une erreur de Maigret, 3 janvier 1937, Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret (24)
  27. Vente à la bougie, 20 et 27 avril 1941, Maigret et les petits cochons sans queue
  28. La vieille dame de Bayeux, 3 février 1939, Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret (25)

ST

[translation]

Maigret of the Month: Un Noël de Maigret (Maigret's Christmas)
12/15/06 –

This story is no doubt one of the most moving of the Maigrets, and for a number of reasons... it brings us into the private life of the Maigret couple, recalls the "nostalgia for paternity" from which the Chief Inspector suffers, and it takes place at Christmas, by definition a period when high emotions rule.

And furthermore, it's a text where we feel the rapport between Simenon and his character, and the bonds which unite them in their ways of apprehending the world.

1. Mme Maigret in the stories

When I noticed that this story unfolded almost entirely in the Maigrets' apartment, I decided to do a small analysis of the 28 stories, with regard to where they take place, and the presence or absence of Mme Maigret. Here, summarized as a table, are the results:

Paris and/or PJ outside Parisin retirement at home and/or w/Mme
amo yes no no yes
arr no yes no Mme M. at beginning
bay no yes no no
bea yes no no no
ber yes no yes no
ceu no yes yes yes
cho no yes no yes
err yes no no no
eto yes no at 2 days retirementMme M. by phone
fen yes no no no
hom yes no no no
lar no yes no no
lun yes no no no
mal yes no no no
man no yesyes yes
men in part in partno a little
noe yes no no yes
not no yes yes Mme M. at beginning
noy no yes no no
obs yes no no no
owe no yes yes no
pau yes no no yes in part
pei yes at beginning yes no no
pen no yes, near Morsang no no
pip yes in part, at Chelles no a little at beginning
pig yes no no no
sta yes no no no
ven no yes no no

We see that Mme Maigret appears relatively infrequently in the stories, and that the majority of them take place in the Chief Inspector's "normal" Parisian surroundings.

The story "Maigret's Christmas" is especially interesting, not only because Mme Maigret is present from start to finish, but also because it takes place in the "familial" setting of their apartment on the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir, and not in the Chief Inspector's office. This creates a feeling of intimacy, reinforced by being set in the Christmas season...

Complete article
original French

Murielle

"New" Maigret film reviewed
12/22/06 – [Mattias reported (11/24/06) that he'd discovered a "new" Maigret film – previously unnoticed by us – and he's found a copy and reviewed it here.]

Zalozhniki Strakha (1993)
(Hostages of Fear)

Alexander Dovzhenko Film Studio, Ukraine
Producer: Alexander Chechel
Director: Alexander Vizir
Photography: Igor Belyakov
Music: Mikhail Staritsky


Maigret -
 Yuri Yevsyukov

Dr. Michoux - Romualdas Ramanauskas
Emma - Galina Moroz
Leon - Michael Golubovich
Servières - Yuri Rudchenko
Le Pommeret - Stanislav Molganov
The Mayor - Alexander Zadneprovsky
Leroy - Sergei Ponomarenko
Mostaguen - Valeri Panarin
Pharmacist - Nikolai Gudz
and Anatoli Belyj, Georgi Dvornikov,
L. Danchishin, S. Dashevsky, V. Mazurkevich

This is a very atmospheric little film. The Ukrainian town where the film was shot manages very well to give an illusion of France in the 50s. This is also true of the Hotel d'Admiral, in and around which most of the action is centered. The ammosphere is reinforced by the melancholy score by Mikhail Staritsky, though a liberal use is also made of French songs, supposedly played on the radio in the bar scenes.

Yuri Yevsyuvkov as Maigret is quite good – he captures the calm, taciturn side of the character perfectly. He also looks the part, in his long coat and with a pipe clenched between his teeth. In some scenes he reminded me of a less lively Jean Richard.

As I do not understand Russian, the film sometimes seemed quite slow, but the mood of the film sustained my interest. The plot relies heavily on conversations, mainly around the billiard table where Michoux seems to spend most of his time, or in the bar. Some things have been changed of course, and the order of some incidents in the plot has been reshuffled, but all in all the film follows the novel closely.

The biggest change concerns the dog , here black, not yellow (I suppose it wasn't easy to get hold of one) and I suspect that the scene in which the dog gets shot also was changed because of budgetary reasons – instead, it is only shot at. As in the book the dog appears unexpectedly in key scenes.

Another change is that, apart from Emma and in two short scenes a nurse and Le Pommeret's housekeeper, all other female characters have been cut. Rather strange. Two "action" scenes are also included, one where Maigret and Leroy pursue Leon, who somehow manages to get hold of some oil barrels which he rolls down a flight of stone steps at them. The other is when the police search for Leon with drawn revolvers in the abandoned factory where he hides out.

The ending is somewhat changed too, though I didn't quite understand it. Someone shoots himself, but I did not understand if it was the killer or the Mayor. I think the latter, but until I either get hold of a subtitled print (though the market for Ukrainian films seems rather sluggish) or learn Russian, the chances seem very slim.

To follow: a review of the 1931 French version.

Mattias Siwemyr

New book of Simenon photos
12/23/06 –
I found a new book (and DVD) of photography from Simenon here.

And the publisher's description here.

From the description, you can see that there is a DVD with it containing 500 pictures taken by Simenon. That will be worth looking at and checking for Maigret locations! Seeing Maigret's places as Simenon saw them!

Regards
Jerome

Maigret's Address in Maigret's Christmas
12/27/06 –
I don't want to start a war or something, especially at this time of the year, but I think Peter Foord has made a small mistake in his description of "Maigret's Christmas" (12/1/06 under the map), which I have just re-read.

The mistake is placing the Maigrets' apartment at number 132, boulevard Richard Lenoir. Although the text doesn't exactly place it anywhere in particular along that famous street, the context places it at the familiar corner of Richard Lenoir and the rue du Chemin Vert.

Page 17, from the HBJ softcover edition of "Maigret's Christmas": Madame Martin returned to her apartment after shopping. It was Christmas morning and she needed to go and do her shopping for provisions before the shops closed. That in itself is an interesting statement and has nothing to do with the point I'm making, but it's related. I was curious as to whether or not the small shops in Paris would be open on a Christmas morning back in or just before 1950, when this story was written. It is also written that Mme Maigret went to a bakery on the rue Amelot and bought some fresh croissants, I can believe that a bakery would have been open that morning but having all the local shops being open, even just in the morning, as on any other business day is an interesting idea. I wonder if really was like that back in the day. Later on in the story we find a travel goods shop near the Gare du Nord was open the entire day.

Page 18: Maigret thought that Madame Martin was out of her apartment long enough to have had time to go much further than the rue Amelot or the rue du Chemin Vert, where most of the local shops were. She could have even taken a taxi or the métro and gone almost anywhere in Paris. I bring that up as the rue du Chemin Vert is a fifteen minute walk (and it's not on the map in Peter's article) from number 132 and there were undoubtedly other shops closer to number 132 that would have been open. It takes about five minutes to walk along the rue du Chemin Vert from the boulevard Richard Lenoir to the rue Amelot, Madame Maigret's outing for croissants took about 15 minutes if she did not have to wait too long for her turn in the bakery.

Maigret, to Madame Martin:

"May I ask where you went this morning?"
"To do my shopping."
"In the rue du Chemin Vert or the rue Amelot?"
"In the rue du Chemin Vert and the rue Amelot."
This is quite logical if they are located at the corner of Richard Lenoir and Chemin Vert but not if they are some distance away.

Page 39: Maigret learns that Madame Martin was dropped off by a taxi at the corner of the rue du Chemin Vert and the boulevard Beaumarchais. This intersection is some distance from number 132 but it's about a seven minute walk to the corner of the rue du Chemin Vert and boulevard Richard Lenoir. Boulevard Beaumarchais becomes boulevard des Filles du Calvaire and then boulevard du Temple as it approaches rue J. P. Timbaud, which leads to number 132.

I hope that everyone had a good Christmas and will have a great 2007.

Joe

A Maigret song by Simenon
Happy New Year!

12/31/06 –
Je suis en train de lire les "Dictées" de Simenon, et je viens d'y découvrir ceci (dans "A l'abri de notre arbre"). Amis maigretphiles, connaissiez-vous ce texte? I've been reading Simenon's [Dictations], and I've just found this text (in [In the shelter of our tree]). Fellow Maigret fans, have you seen this?

"J'étais à Londres. On y tournait la série Maigret et l'on cherchait un thème musical pour annoncer chaque épisode. Un compositeur australien dont j'ai oublié le nom a écrit une musique extraordinaire qui a été longtemps au "hit-parade" en Angleterre et un peu partout. Il m'a demandé d'y adapter des paroles, afin d'éditer un nouveau disque, cette fois chanté. Un disque sur Maigret! Ça me semblait ahurissant, sinon impossible. Un après-midi, pourtant, nous sommes descendus dans les sous-sols de l'hôtel Savoy, où j'habitais, pour essayer de mettre des paroles sur la musique. Je ne sais pas si j'ai réussi ou non mais, à ma connaissance, ce disque-là n'est jamais sorti. […]

La […] chanson que j'ai composée, par hasard, et presque contre ma volonté, s'intitule, même en anglais Monsieur Maigret.

"I was in London. They were producing the Maigret series and were looking for a musical theme to announce each episode. An Australian composer whose name I've forgotten had written some extraordinary music which had been on the "hit-parade" for a long time in England and a little everywhere. He asked me to adapt some lyrics, to produce a new record, this time with singing. A Maigret record! It seemed astonishing to me, if not impossible. One afternoon, however, we went down to the lower level of the Hotel Savoy, where I was staying, and tried to put some words to the music. I don't know if I succeeded or not, but, as far as I know, the record never came out…

The song which I composed, off the cuff, and almost against my will, was entitled, in English as well, Monsieur Maigret.


J'en donne d'abord la version anglaise:
I'll give you the English version first:


Voici la traduction approximative que j'en ai faite ensuite:
And here's the approximate translation I made afterwards:

Monsieur Maigret
by Georges Simenon
Monsieur Maigret
Your steps are hounding me
Heavy and slow
Endlessly trailing me
I know you're there
I feel your eyes on me
Monsieur Maigret
Pity the fool in me.

Refrain:

One must pay
That I know
Pay and pay,
'til the end.

I am so tired
Yes, I have killed, I know
But a dead man
He doesn't care at all
I am the one
Who cannot sleep or eat.
Always trembling
Running through endless streets.

Monsieur Maigret
Please take me in right now.
I long to sleep
Even in jail, alone,
Not jumping up
With ev'ry noise I hear
All I want now
Is to pay up, Maigret.

Monsieur Maigret,
J'entends vos pas, vos pas
Lents et pesants;
Vous êtes là, sans fin,
Derrière moi,
Vos yeux fixés sur moi
Monsieur Maigret,
Ayez pitié de moi.

Refrain:

Chacun paie,
Je le sais
On ne finit pas d' payer
 

J'en ai assez,
Oui, j'ai tué, tué.
Mais l' gars qu'est mort
Lui n' s'en fait plus du tout
Moi je n' mange plus
Je ne dors plus. Je fuis
Comme un lapin
Tremblant de peur, de peur.

Monsieur Maigret.
Arrêtez-moi, tout d' suit'.
Dormir enfin
Même en prison, prison
Sans sursauter
A chaque bruit, mais dormir !
Je paie comptant,
Finissez-en ! Pitié ! "


Bonne année 2007 à tous les fans de Maigret et de Simenon!

Happy New Year 2007 to all Maigret and Simenon fans!

Murielle

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