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Maigret Forum Archives 2010

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Maigret in Hungarian
1/4/10 – First of all I wish all contributors of the website a very peaceful and Happy New Year for 2010.
I would like to add some new titles. After some research I found some of the titles in literary anthologies and in a weekly journal.
Some interesting facts about the Hungarian Maigret editions:
Maigret se défend was published three times: in 1976, 1994, 2005 (2005 - new translation).
Nine Maigret novels were published twice, four of them were new translations.
The first Maigret novel in Hungarian was Le chien jaune in 1966. (As far as I know.)
New titles for the list:
Maigret utazása / Maigret voyage
Maigret vallomása / Une confidence de Maigret
A Világ legkitartóbb vendége / Le client plus obstiné du monde
Árnyjáték / L'Ombre chinoise
Vihar a csatorna fölött / Tempete sur La Manche
Senki nem öl meg egy szegény ördögöt / On ne tue pas les pauvres types
Árverés / Vente á la bougie

Best wishes,
Viola Bátonyi

Maigret à Vichy
1/5/10 – I am studying French at university and am currently on my year abroad where I have to do a project with the title 'How far is Maigret à Vichy a document of the town in the 60s, having discovered what traces of the town are similar today?'. I was wondering if you could give me any advice or ideas of possible resources?

Thanks,
Laura Murphy


Maigret-of-the-month - August 2009 (M. Wenger)
Maigret in France - Vichy-1 (G. de Croock)
Maigret in France - Vichy-2 (G. de Croock)

Maigret, starting all over
1/5/10 – I'm a literary translator with a decade of work behind me, and have long been a fan of Simenon (both Maigret and the romans durs) and have long been puzzled and angered at how shoddily and erratically he has been translated and published in English, and consequently - despite being to my mind the most spare and truly modern of Golden Age writers (though he hardly fits the mould), a scant handful of the Maigret books are in print. I've finally persuaded a major publisher to begin again (after years of hearing 'Simenon just doesn't work in English'). They have committed to retranslating and seriously publishing half a dozen in the first year and would hope to make it an ongoing project.

I have, obviously, my own ideas as to where to start: I'm reluctant to start at the very beginning beginning (Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien, Pietr-le-Letton) as I think it would be prudent to start later when the character of Maigret is fully established but I would welcome thoughts and ideas from you and from your Simenophiles for - say three books to be published together - either complementary or sequential–

My own ideas are hardly original: I would probably suggest beginning with the Gallimard novels (of which four are out of print and consequently available: Cécile est morte, La Maison du juge, Signé Picpus, Felicie est la)

Or three of the Presses de la Cité series that puts flesh on the bones of Maigret: (1913, Maigret et son mort, Maigret et la jeune morte)

I would be very grateful for any thoughts or insights you might have on the subject.

Faithfully,
Frank Wynne

Maigret of the Month - December 2009: Maigret et le marchand de vin (Maigret and the Wine Merchant)
1/5/10 – Photos of locations where some of the action takes place in Maigret et le marchand de vin...

Rue Fortuny


A building on Rue Fortuny - "The house was in the 1900s style, with sculpted stone around the windows, and arabesques"


Quai de la Tournelle


Quai de la Tournelle from a nearby bridge


Place des Vosges

Jérôme

re: Maigret, starting all over
1/6/10 –
Je trouve que ce serait effectivement une bonne idée de commencer une publication par les romans du cycle Gallimard (que je ne suis pas loin de considérer comme peut-être les meilleurs "Maigret"...).

S'il s'agissait d'inaugurer une nouvelle publication par un roman en particulier, je suggérerais Signé Picpus, parce qu'il est pour moi le meilleur du corpus, par son ton original, sa foison de personnages, ses touches d'humour, et son récit fait au présent sur une grande partie du texte (un beau défi à rendre pour un traducteur...).

Par contre, s'il s'agit d'inaugurer une publication par un trio de romans, je proposerais peut-être Cécile est morte, Félicie est là, et Maigret et la jeune morte, trois romans qui pourraient être regroupés sous le titre général de "Maigret et les jeunes filles".

On pourrait évidemment trouver d'autres "trios" de romans à publier ensemble: par exemple, trois romans qui montrent la force d'empathie et d'identification du commissaire par rapport aux personnages qu'il rencontre dans ses enquêtes: Maigret et son mort, Maigret et l'homme du banc, Maigret et le corps sans tête; ou encore, trois romans qui parlent des "origines" du personnage: L'affaire Saint-Fiacre, Un échec de Maigret et L'ami d'enfance de Maigret, auxquels il faudrait ajouter, pour faire bonne mesure, Les mémoires de Maigret; ou encore, trois romans qui parlent des rapports de Maigret avec les vieilles dames: Maigret et la vieille dame, Maigret et la Grande Perche et Maigret et les vieillards ou La folle de Maigret; ou encore, trois romans qu'on regrouperait sous le titre "destins de femmes": par exemple, Le chien jaune, Maigret se trompe et Maigret et Monsieur Charles.

Comme vous le voyez, les suggestions et possibilités ne manquent pas, et il y aurait sans doute encore d'autres façons d'aborder la question.

J'espère que mes suggestions vous auront été utiles.

Meilleures salutations

Actually, I think it would be a good idea to begin publication with the novels of the Gallimard cycle (which I'm not far from considering perhaps the best Maigrets...).

If it's a question of beginning with one novel in particular, I'd suggest Maigret and the Fortune Teller, because for me it's the best in the corpus, in view of its original tone, its abundance of characters, its touches of humor, and its narrative in the present tense for most of the text (a great challenge for a translator...).

On the other hand, if its a trio of novels being considered, I'd probably propose Maigret and the Spinster, Maigret and the Toy Village, and Maigret and the Young Girl, three novels which could be grouped under the general title, "Maigret and the Young Women".

We could clearly find other "trios" of novels to publish together... for example, three novels showing the depth of empathy and identification the Chief Inspector shows characters he encounters in his investigations... Maigret's Special Murder, Maigret and the Man on the Bench, and Maigret and the Headless Corpse; or three novels showing the "origins" of the character... Maigret on Home Ground, Maigret's Failure and Maigret's Boyhood Friend, to which must be added, for good measure, Maigret's Memoirs. Or further, three novels dealing with Maigret's relationships with old women... Maigret and the Old Lady, Maigret and the Burglar's Wife and Maigret in Society or Maigret's Madwoman; or again, three novel which could be grouped together as "Women's Fates" – for example, The Yellow Dog, Maigret's Mistake and Maigret and Monsieur Charles.

As you see, there is no shortage of suggestions and possibilities, and there are no doubt still other ways of handling the question.

I hope my suggestions are of some use.

Best regards,

Murielle Wenger

Maigret in translation
1/7/10 – Here's something I ran across today - It's been online here for about 5 years, but maybe not to easy to find... and it seems relevant to the current translation discussion.

Maigret in Translation

Anthony Abbot translations

see: Translators

The first Maigrets to appear in English were six 1931-32 Fayard novels, published in five volumes by Covici-Friede, New York in 1933-34, and in three volumes by Hurst & Blackett, London, 1933-34, translated by Anthony Abbot:

Abbot's name does not appear in the two Covici-Friede volumes I've seen; no translator is credited. Peter Foord lists Abbot as the translator for the Hurst & Brackett editions, which I haven't seen.

Anthony Abbot is a pseudonym for Charles Fulton Oursler, better known as Fulton Oursler [1893-1952], editor, journalist, novelist... (editor, Liberty magazine, 1931-42; The Greatest Story Ever Told, (life of Christ), 1949; Thatcher Colt mysteries (as Anthony Abbot) 1930s-40s... He also used the pseudonym Samri Frikell.) [Fulton Oursler, Jr., Fulton Oursler's son, reports (May 22, 2010) that his father was not the translator of these early Maigrets.]

The six novels were all retranslated and reissued under new titles by Penguin in 1963-64, (C2023-C2028). Few Maigret novels have been issued in two different translations.

1931. M. Gallet décédé. Fayard, Paris.
1932. The Death of Monsieur Gallet. 262 pp. Covici-Friede, NY
1963. Maigret Stonewalled. (tr. Margaret Marshall) 144 pp. (C2026) Penguin Books.

1931. Le pendu de Saint-Pholien. Fayard, Paris.
1932. The Crime of Inspector Maigret. 244 pp. Covici-Friede, NY
1963. Maigret and the Hundred Gibbets. (tr. Tony White) 122 pp. (C2025) Penguin Books.

1933. The Crime of Inspector Maigret. in: Introducing Inspector Maigret. 288 pp. [with: The Death of M. Gallet]. Hurst & Blackett. London.
1931. Pietr-le-Leton. Fayard, Paris.
1933. The Strange Case of Peter the Lett. vi, 267 pp. Covici-Friede, NY
1963. Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett. (tr. Daphne Woodward) 144 pp. (C2023) Penguin Books.

1931. La nuit du carrefour. Fayard, Paris.
1933. The Crossroad Murders. 240 pp. 19.6 cm. Covici-Friede, NY
1963. Maigret at the Crossroads. (tr. Robert Baldick) 144 pp. (C2028) Penguin Books.

1933. The Case of Peter the Lett. in: Inspector Maigret Investigates. 288 pp. [with: The Crossroad Murders]. Hurst & Blackett.
1931. Le charretier de la Providence. Fayard, Paris.
1934. The Crime at Lock 14. 317 pp. 19.7 cm. [with: The Shadow on the Courtyard]. Covici-Friede, NY
1963. Maigret Meets a Milord. (tr. Robert Baldick) 128 pp. (C2027) Penguin Books.

1932. L'ombre chinoise. Fayard, Paris.
1934. The Shadow in the Courtyard. 317 pp. [with: The Crime at Lock 14]. Covici-Friede, NY
1964. Maigret Mystified. (tr. Jean Stewart) 144 pp. (C2024) Penguin Books.

1934. The Crime at Lock 14. in: The Triumph of Inspector Maigret. 288 pp. [with: The Shadow on the Courtyard]. Hurst & Blackett.
[I can't locate any references to Oursler as a translator, but presumably he's the Anthony Abbot credited with these Maigret translations.] Can anyone with access to the Hurst & Blackett editions confirm that Abbot is listed as the translator? Or shed any more light on this Mystery of the Maigret translations?

ST

Maigret of the Month - January 2010: La Folle de Maigret (Maigret's Madwoman)
1/7/10 – Enjoying a short week of vacation in Paris, I walked around this afternoon, following Maigret in La Folle de Maigret...

Place des Victoires


Place des Victoires, nice little round Place

Boulevard Beaumarchais


Boulevard Beaumarchais

Place de la Bastille


Place de la Bastille

Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville


Hôtel de Ville and BHV behind

Pont Neuf


Pont Neuf

Quai des Orfèvres


Quai des Orfèvres

Place Dauphine


Place Dauphine

Quai de la Mégisserie


8 Quai de la Mégisserie, there is a pet shop on the ground floor. The street is noisy
with a lot of traffic, I wouldn't open my window, and hearing birds would be difficult.


Quai de la Mégisserie. Note the booksellers' stalls on the right. It's strange that Maigret doesn't ask them about any unusual visitor, as bouquinistes spend their days waiting for customers.

More photos here

Jérôme

Book titles for Cremer Maigrets?
1/11/10 – I bought the tv-video's starring Bruno Cremer as Maigret. There are 2 titles I cannot find anywhere in my lists. The 2 titles are :
-Maigret en Finlande.
-Meurtre dans un jardin potager
(In Dutch: Maigret en de moord in de volkstuin).
I suppose they used other titles for the film/tv. Do you know what the correct titles are?

Greetings,
Jan Laffeber


Maigret en Finlande is based on Un crime en Hollande
Meurtre dans un jardin potager is based on Le deuil de Fonsine, a non-Maigret. Peter Foord discusses this book in response to a similar question about this film title here, in 2006. And Murielle Wenger added to that here.

There's an index to film titles here, which will lead to the original titles.

ST

Maigret of the Month: La folle de Maigret (Maigret and the Madwoman)
1/21/10 –

1. Introduction

A number of "Simenonians" and several "Maigretphiles" believe that the last Maigrets of the corpus are not among the best, and that the vein of the author had run a little dry... But I'm not entirely of that opinion, and if the best Maigrets are not necessarily the last, nevertheless there are still, in this end of the corpus, several gems worthy of attention... And Maigret and the Madwoman is no doubt one... For me, it's an absolutely typical Maigret.

In this novel, Simenon takes up several notes from his own writing, and evokes with a certain underlying tenderness, some of the most characteristic themes of Maigret's world... Consider, for example, the "topographical" description of the Quai des Orfèvres at the beginning of Ch. 1 (the courtyard of the PJ, the staircase, the long hallway, Maigret's office on the second floor), springtime in Paris, the Chief Inspector's meals, or how he spends his Sunday with Mme Maigret.

This novel is a mixture of lightness, with its evocations of Maigret themes, and gravity, with the basis of the plot, in particular the description of Angèle's future, having certain accents of the "hard" novels.

2. Maigret in May...

In the Maigrets, the weather is always an important element of the plot... The Chief Inspector uses the weather as a true barometer of his moods. Sensitive to atmospheric conditions, Maigret rejoices like a child at the slightest ray of sunshine sliding over an object, or the odor of springtime, or the first snow. I've already analyzed elsewhere the Chief Inspector's relationship with the weather, and perhaps you recall, faithful internet Maigretphiles, that I discovered, through an analysis of the corpus, that the majority of Maigret's cases take place, contrary to expectations, in springtime, and that the further he advances into the corpus, the more often the author places his character in an investigation during the warmer half of the year.

Might you be interested in knowing which cases took place in which season? Here are two tables which present a response:

Novels

green = spring   blue = summer   red = autumn   yellow = winter

complete article
original French

Murielle Wenger

MoMs, Plots, and Maigen
1/23/10 –

If you read Murielle's MoM, you'll note that we're approaching the end of the corpus in the Maigret-of-the-Month series, which began in January, 2004 (six years ago!) with Le chien jaune , and has traveled through 72 of the 75 novels in more or less the chronological order of writing/publication. Only three to go!

(What about the stories...?)

Plots

All of these MoM's are "attached" to their respective entries in "Plots" (which might be better thought of as "Corpus", as I'll show here: Click on "Plots" (top menu), then select FOL, for example, and you'll come to the listing for La folle de Maigret. The "Plots" page shows the original French title, where and when it was written, the publication information for the first French edition, the location in Tout Simenon (The Complete Simenon), and the various English titles and translators by their first year of publication. The translator is shown as a link to associated translations, and there's a link to the work in the Main Bibliography, as well as in the Filmography. And... there's a link to the MoM - which tries to gather together all the articles written in the Forum about the book, photos, maps, and links to other information about it. Whew! Lots of information you might want to find, if you knew it was there.)

And, almost finally, there's the plot summary, including links to...

Maigen

Maigen, short for Maigret Encyclopedia, was quietly introduced to this site on Christmas Day, 2005. One of the reasons it was "quietly" introduced (rather than shouted about), was that for all practical purposes, it couldn't be updated. It could be edited, but not easily regenerated. Like many of the lists on this site, Maigen was produced by a computer program which makes web pages (html documents) from data. But because Maigen was first developed a number of years ago, the programs and data were no longer a good match for today's machines, and could only be run with difficulty.

Now, five years later, most of the Maigen programs and data have been converted to their modern counterparts, and Maigen is once more alive.

The original Maigen was basically an attempt to index the capitalized words - and other interesting words or ideas - in the English translations, by what book or story they were found in... and provide an informative, or at least memory-jogging citation or explanation.

Entries for street names were expanded to include the arrondissement number and name, and extents (from... to...), to help in locating them on a map, and some place name information was given for France. Some other "famous" words were given expanded explanations and/or illustrations (like Empress Eugenie).

Now we're seeing the new Maigen, and I've started looking at entries with citations but no explanations (for example, I just noticed Mistral, possibly the name of a train), and I'm adding references to the sort of thing Murielle has provided in this month's MoM and so often before. For a small example, the section on Maigret's doodling / drawings. Now we can link directly to that section of the MoM from Maigen, "drawings" or "doodling".

In other words, much of the difficult-to-find-again information that passes across the Forum over the years, or lies hidden in magazine articles and other sources... can now be more easily added to the Maigen index as links. (Of course the Google site index may find more, but not as selectively.)

And there's where you may be able to help. Maybe, when you find something on the site you think should be added to Maigen, you can let me know. Or if you have something to add, send it over. (No guarantee as to whether, when, or where it might appear...) Or how you think Maigen could do something, or... I'll keep adding as I notice things, though I have only a vague idea of how this will happen... Certainly, the MoMs show that everything related to a title can be "grouped", or at least be a location for links. Somehow I imagine a sort of Wikipedia situation... Suggestions?

Steve

Pierre Simenon in his father's footsteps
1/30/10 – An article in French on Simenon's son Pierre - "Pierre Simenon sur les traces de son père" - in his father's footsteps - on his publishing his first book - a mystery - at age 50.

Roddy

Cycle Simenon at the cinematheque in Toulouse
2/1/10 – The cinématheque in Toulouse has a special cycle on Simenon from January 16th to February 28th.

www.toutsimenon.com
and
www.lacinemathequedetoulouse.com

They will show movies like
Cécile est morte by Maurice Tourneur (1943)
Maigret tend un piège by Jean Delannoy (1958)
La Nuit du carrefour by Jean Renoir (1932)
Picpus by Richard Pottier (1942)

Regards
Jerome

Télévision Suisse Romande : Simenon
2/1/10 – I found at archives.tsr.ch a short film interview of Simenon about his pipe done in 1966.

There is a lot more here

Regards
Jerome

Cremer scripts?
2/6/10 – Is there an online archive of the scripts for the Bruno Cremer series; in particular episodes 7-12?

P. J. Hiorns
Alresford, Hampshire

re: Cremer scripts?
2/6/10 – A ma connaissance, il n'existe pas d'archives online des scripts des épisodes de la série; sur le site consacrée à la série, il existe de petits résumés des épisodes; il y a aussi des résumés un peu plus conséquents sur le site du producteur DUNE.

Sinon, il reste la ressource de se procurer le guide (voir la photo) que Jacques-Yves Depoix a consacré à la série. Dans ce guide se trouve une analyse très détaillée de chaque épisode. Le guide est en vente chez Amazon.

Murielle

How many Maigrets in the Harvest/HBJ series?
2/9/10 – Hello to Maigret Forum. I have been a Maigret fan for a little while now, although probably nowhere as long or as devoted as fellow Forum folks. I have recently acquired a small collection of Maigret books in paperback, issued in American paperback editions from Harvest/HBJ. They are the ones with an illustration of Maigret standing in profile, and each book is accompanied then by a black and white photograph of some scene. According to the catalogue, there were 46 produced. I am wondering if that was all they issued? In other words, to get the whole series of Harvest/HBJ in that design, how many were there? I would love to see all their covers as well! (I would gladly scan mine to begin this project...) Anyway, I would like to know as I start my collection. Thank you!

Raymond Jow


At least some of the covers were issued in more than one version, like these for The Flemish Shop... By "catalogue" I guess you mean the lists inside the covers? I have a copy of Maigret in Exile that lists 47 books, the 47th being A Maigret Trio which contains Maigret's Failure, Maigret in Society and Maigret and the Lazy Burglar in the hardcover HBJ edition, so that would make 49. Here's the list. (Send in your scans, I'll start a page...)

ST

The Harvest/HBJ Maigrets
2/10/10 – Raymond has sent in some cover scans, and I've added a few, and they're all displayed here. If you have other images, or know of missing titles, send an email.

Steve

Simenon Films with Dutch Subtitles?
2/14/10 – Does anyone know where to buy Simenon movies with Dutch subtitles? I am especially searching for the movies with Jean Gabin.

Greetings,
Jan Laffeber

Bilipo - Bibliothèque des littératures policières
2/17/10 – An article on Bilipo, the crime literature library...
"...Hidden behind a firehouse in the Latin quarter, the Bibliothèque des littératures policières (Bilipo) or Library for crime literature, houses about 70,000 novels, 7,000 documents, 3,500 reference books, 3,000 press reviews, 2,000 comics, 50 subscriptions, posters… all related to suspense, crime, murder or detection.
The public institution is unique in the world. The idea for such a place sprouted in the 1970s, when detective novels (roman policiers), albeit already popular, were still not considered “Literature” and were neglected by French libraries. Library aficionados decided to reference all works of the genre and created an association, which in the early 1980s, obtained the right to stock and preserve all mystery-related publications from the National Library and the City of Paris. Since 1983, every mystery novel published in France has been automatically added to the collection. In 1985, the Bilipo opened its door to the public and ten years later, already weighted down by of its accumulated documents, the collection moved to its present location, where exhibitions and conferences also take place..."

Old Tricks, Fresh Goose Bumps By Julie Pecheur - The Paris Times - 2/1/2006.

Roddy


Bilipo has appeared in Maigret Forum articles over the years, including these...

May, 1999 (Oz Childs)
August 2002 (Joe Goodrich)
October, 1999, February, 2000, 2003 Maigret exhibit (Jérôme Devémy)
...and a few more here.

Bruno Cremer DVDs - English Subtitles?
2/21/10 – Is there any further information as to whether or not the 5th collection (vols 21-25) and vol 26, has been released with English sub-titles. It is not clear on the FNAC site.

Regards
Martin

Maigret of the Month: Maigret et l'homme tout seul (Maigret and the Loner)
2/25/10 –

1. Bio-bibliographical Markers

We might ask ourselves why Simenon has taken up once more the theme of the vagrant who has broken his family ties, which he has already dealt with in other novels (Maigret and the Bum [CLO], for example). Of course we recognize Simenon's attraction to the life of the clochards, and I believe in this novel, it's above all the theme of solitude that he wanted to treat, a solitude not imposed, but deliberately chosen by a man who decided to put himself outside of society.

If we consider this novel in light of elements of Simenon's life at the time of its writing, we could say that it was written during a difficult time (the novel is dated February, 1971)... His mother had died in December (1970), his wife Denyse had again undergone a serious breakdown, and his daughter Marie-Jo was causing him great anxiety... On the novelistic side, the book before this one was the non-Maigret, The Disappearance of Odile, which described, almost as a premonition, the flight of a young girl, resembling the one Marie-Jo would make... In March, 1971, came his next, The Glass Cage, another novel about solitude...

In fact, I think another thing which motivated Simenon to write Maigret and the Loner, was to immerse himself once more into the biography of his character, and the desire, perhaps unconscious, to explain once and for all the reasons for his stay in Lucon, which was the setting for the investigation in Maigret in Exile [JUG]. Simenon may say – along with those who write about him – that he never rereads his books, but we note all the same that the author remembers astonishingly well the biographical elements of his Chief Inspector... If not, how can we explain his reference, in this novel, to memories of the Vendée from another novel written 30 years earlier?

Also very interesting – and at the same time intriguing – is the fact of the precise dating in the novel (Ch. 1: "It was 1965 and Les Halles market had not yet been moved from Paris to Rungis"; and the allusions in a number of chapters to the years 1945 and 1946 when Vivien had known Nina Lassave). It's actually extremely rare that we find in the Maigret corpus explicit mention of the year of the investigation. We often have to infer it from textual clues, and that's why it's so difficult to make a chronology of Maigret's career... see the attempts by Jean Forest and David Drake, and that by Jacques Baudou. In fact, besides this novel, the only two others which expressly give the date of an investigation are: Maigret Stonewalled [GAL] (1930) and Maigret's First Case [PRE] (1913).

But even more striking is this passage in Ch. 6, when Maigret goes to the newspaper archives searching for traces of the Lassave case...

"As for him, in 1946, he hadn't been in Paris. It was the time when he had displeased the Director of the PJ, who had retired several months later. They'd sent him to Luçon where he'd had hardly anything to do, and where, to kill time, he played billiards almost all day long. He was dejected for nearly a year, and Mme Maigret also didn't adapt well to the Vendée. Happily, the new Director had recalled him to Paris. He was not yet the principal Chief Inspector, not yet in charge of the Crime Squad. This stay in Luçon was like a hole in his career and in his memories."

Even if we take into account the chronological inconsistencies of the dating of the stay in Luçon during WWII, we note with interest this strange overlap of a character who was exiled to Luçon, and his author who had actually lived in the Vendée during the same period...

complete article
2. Maids and chambermaids
3. Maigret's beers
original French

Murielle Wenger

Re: Bruno Cremer DVDs - English Subtitles?
2/27/10 – The only response to this so far has been from Stephen Cribari, who has been on the lookout for any info but hasn't seen any. This basically means we've never heard from anyone who has bought this set of DVDs (the 5th collection (vols 21-25) and vol 26).

Has no Forum reader bought them yet?

ST

More on the Bruno Cremer DVDs
2/28/10 – Murielle has pointed out that on the forum of the J.-Y. Depoix Bruno Cremer website, there is some current discussion of the new DVDs, including one from a recent buyer. Apparently Coffret 5 is different in appearance from the earlier ones and, of the first three he's seen in the set, Maigret et l'etoile du Nord, Maigret et la gande perche and Maigret en vacances, only the last one has subtitles and additional material. He says he'll report more as he watches more. See the discussion (in French) here.

ST

Bruno Cremer DVDs - No Subtitles
3/2/10 – Regarding the question from Martin on English subtitles in Maigret Coffret 5 and Vol 26, I contacted the publisher of the DVD at "One plus one".

They kindly answered my email this afternoon... (below) There are no English subtitles for Coffret 5 (21-25) and Vol. 26. Their web site shows all of the Maigret volumes (using 'Maigret' in the search box).
 

Q: Je désire savoir si le DVD "MAIGRET VOL 26 DOUBLE DVD" dispose de sous-titre en anglais ? De même pour le coffret N°5 : vol 21 à 25 ?

A: Ces DVD ne contiennent pas les sous titres anglais.

Regards
Jérôme


Thanks, Jérôme!

Reference Page now Maigen gateway
3/3/10 – The Reference page (linked on all the top menus) has changed... it's now the gateway to Maigen, and the (growing) topical list at the top includes all the links that were on the old Reference page...

ST

No Subtitles: A Vile Conspiracy!
3/3/10 – Regarding the “no subtitles” posting, all I can say is that it’s a vile conspiracy to get us to brush up on our French!

Stephen Cribari

Re: No Subtitles...
3/5/10 – Thank-you Jerome for the latest information on "The Case of the Missing English sub-titles". However buyers be aware just because the information provided on "oneplusone" would indicate no sub-titles are available on a particular DVD it does not mean a copy with sub-titles can't be obtained. For instance Coffret's 3 & 4 are not listed as available with sub-titles also vol 21, and I have these with sub-titles.

Regards
Martin

Re: No Subtitles...
3/5/10 – Greetings from Down Under. I should have joined the fray on this subject some time ago but I plead the distraction of building, painting and moving into a new house. I purchased "coffret maigret, n. 5" from amazon.fr in November last year. As you will know there are 10 dvds/episodes. Volume 21 (Maigret et les Plaisirs de la Nuit; Maigret et L'Etoile du Nord) have English sub-titles. The other 8 dvds/episodes have no sub-titles. I do not know why this is the case. Jerome's interlocutor at One-Plus-One probably hasn't viewed the dvds and anyway may not be a Maigret adherent. I am warming to Stephen Cribari's suggestion it is a conspiracy to get us to brush up on our French.

Kind regards
D. J. Greenfield
Hanmer Springs,
New Zealand

"Maigret review: Wrong artist"
3/7/10 – In "Mon ami Maigret," the artist who is forged is Toulouse-Lautrec, not Van Gogh. Cremer isn't as charismatic as Gabin, but he's still fun to watch.

William Rodarmor
Berkeley, CA


It's Toulouse-Lautrec in the Bruno Cremer television series, but Van Gogh in the Simenon original, and the English translation. (As far as I can tell, Toulouse-Lautrec was never mentioned in a Maigret.) There are numerous other changes... in the book Mrs. Wilcox lives on her yacht, not in a villa on the island, and Anna's fate is very different... Although the television and movie versions of the Maigrets are usually very similar to the originals, there are often large differences, not the least of which are the "Maigrets" in which he never appeared, like the Bruno Cremer episodes, Maigret and les petits cochons san queues, Madame Quatre et ses enfants, and Maigret et les sept petits croix.

ST

Maigret a homophobe?
3/10/10 – I have a question about L'Ombre Chinoise. The author of the Twayne study of Simenon writes that the son in the book is gay. In my translation, Maigret Mystified, the son is sleeping with a female prostitute/mistress and no indication is given that he is gay. Do you have an explanation of this discrepancy? The author also says Maigret is pleased when the son commits suicide, but in my translation he has some measure of sympathy for the son (as opposed to the mother).

Curt Evans


Lucille F. Becker, "Georges Simenon Revisited", Twayne's World Authors Series (1999), p. 49:
Maigret's hostility to homosexuals mirrors his feelings for women. When Couchet (L'ombre chinoise) disinherits his homosexual son, the action pleases Maigret, particularly because it drives the young man to suicide. The homosexual Philippe Mortemart in Maigret au Picratt's, described with all the clichés used by homophobes, is treated more harshly than murderers, and is told that he "doesn't have the right to soil the earth." His very prejudices serve to make Maigret a fully developed, completely believable human being.

See also Patricia Clark's Forum comment 6/24/02. (My response at the time missed the Philippe Mortemart reference.)

ST

More on L'Ombre Chinoise
3/11/10 – I must say that I'm perplexed by the take of the Twayne critical study. If the translator of Maigret Mystified [OMB] changed the son from gay to straight that is seriously altering Simenon's book! But I think the translation dates from the 1960s, so one would have thought the translator would have been more respectful. Another thing that confused is the author of the Twayne book, Lucille Becker, states that the son commits suicide because he is left out of the will, but in the version I read he does so more over his knowledge of the truth about the murder. Maigret, who had looked down on the son as a dissolute sponger (though not gay that I can see), feels some sympathy for him as a result. The mother is the one portrayed most unsympathetically, essentially as the wrecker of the lives of her weak son and second husband.

The son seemed similar to the dissolute son (also heterosexual) in the The Saint-Fiacre Affair, except he is denied a chance to redeem himself.

Curt

Subtitles for Maigret DVD from France
3/23/10 – Here in North America, English DVDs often come with subtitles in French and Spanish. So I am really puzzled by the logic of French publishers to issue Maigret DVDs without subtitles, not just in English but other major languages, too. Besides reducing DVD sales, absence of subtitles unfairly prevents growing of popularity of this significant character in French literature.

Cheers,
Vladimir

Maigret of the Month: Maigret et l'indicateur (Maigret and the Informer, Maigret and the Flea)
3/25/10 –

My personal copy, in which I read a Maigret case for the first time...

1. Introduction

This novel holds a special place for me in the corpus, for it's the first Maigret novel I discovered in my childhood readings, when I was around 10...

It's also a novel that I liked, as it contains the essential elements which make up a typical example of the Maigret series... a case in Montmartre, in streets glossy with May rain... an investigation led by a Chief Inspector who enjoys good meals, whether at the Brasserie Dauphine or those concocted by an attentive and loving spouse, with whom Maigret forms a couple bathed in tenderness... encounters with several characteristic personages, and some touches scattered throughout the narrative which add to the allure... the view of the Seine from Maigret's office, the visit to the forensic laboratory... without overlooking a little escapade at the seashore...

2. The stairways of Parisian apartments

"In the stairwell floated the odors of cooking..." (Ch. 4)

In his investigations, Maigret is often led to climb the stairs of a building, and, before meeting the inhabitants, the condition of the stairways often gives him an indication of their social status.

So let's go together, if you will, traversing the corpus once more, towards the discovery of these Parisian microcosms which Simenon knows so well how to describe...

The descriptions of stairways generally concern two or three elements, of which the variation provides a clue to the "type of house": the steps, the walls, doors and elevator (the presence of which being a good indicator of the status of the building).

The first stairway described in the corpus is that of Eléonore Boursang's building (GAL), Rue de Turenne. The description is short, but evokes sufficiently the old houses of the Marais district... the stairway is narrow, to the extent that Maigret brushes against the walls.

Still in the Marais, here's the stairway of a building in the Place des Vosges, where the Martins live (OMB): "Up to the second floor, the building had been redone, the walls repainted and the steps varnished. From the third floor on, it was another world, dirty walls, a rough floor. The apartment doors were painted an ugly brown."

Totally different, on the Charenton side, Maigret discovers the stairway of the building where Ducrau lives (ECL): "There was a worn carpet in the stairway, dark red, and the steps were varnished, the walls painted in false marble. The landing smelled of dust, mediocrity, and decency, with its two dark doors and the brilliant gleam of the well-polished brass button."...

complete article
original French

Murielle Wenger

Maigret Mystified - missing Penguin
3/30/10 – Hello, I was an art director an advertising agency called Pritchard Wood. One of the accounts I worked on was Austin Reed of Regent Street. The shop was (notionally) divided into twenty one shops under one roof. One of them being 'Cue at Austin Reed' for the younger man!

We commissioned Alan Aldridge to render some magazine ads as whole page comic strips. I became quite friendly with Alan. Indeed, he took my girlfriend on as his assistant at Penguin.

I did several covers for him, one of which was Maigret Mystified between '65 and '66. It was an illustration of a man lying in a coffin shape, photographed to look as though it was cut into the book. It was in colour, and I had a couple of copies from Alan when it had been produced - but I lent them to people over the years and no longer have them.

I came to your site to see if you had a copy listed - but you don't. Any ideas where I might find one please?

Regards,
Digby Atkinson

Simenon: "The Trojan horse of foreign crime-writing"
4/6/10 – I've just read a list on the Times Online (February 5, 2010) under the title: "The 50 Greatest Crime Writers".
G. Simenon is the 2nd on this list and he is called "The Trojan horse of foreign crime-writing". I just found this characterization funny. He is the only French speaking writer on the list. Of course most of them are English or American.

Viola from Hungary

"Ode aan Georges Simenon" - A tribute to Simenon on YouTube
4/18/10 – Here's a nice YouTube presentation on Simenon, in Dutch, but somehow with the images of Paris, including many from Franck's "Simenon in Paris", the meaning comes through.

There are several other links to YouTube Simenon on the page.

Roddy

Maigret of the Month - April 2010: Maigret et M. Charles (Maigret and Monsieur Charles)
4/18/10 – I walked around Paris this afternoon and took some pictures related to Maigret et Monsieur Charles...

Quai de Grenelle

Quai de Grenelle

Building at 297 Blvd. Saint-Germain

Rue Saint-Simon

Rue Jean Goujon

Rue Ponthieu Club

Another Rue Ponthieu Club

Rue de Brey Club

Jérôme

Maigret of the Month: Maigret et Monsieur Charles (Maigret and Monsieur Charles)
4/21/10 –

1. Some comments

I should say first off, that this novel isn't one of my favorites... but there are, nevertheless, some interesting elements...

  • The character Nathalie, this woman whose alcoholism reminds us of that of Aline Calas [COR], is a more pathetic case... Aline Calas had, in a way, "chosen" her alcoholism, or at least she wanted it, while Nathalie sunk into cognac like she was drowning in despair...

  • Maigret's empathy for this character, whom he tried to understand... we note the beautiful passage in Ch. 5, which could serve as a definition of Maigret's personality...

    "There is one thing," said Pardon, "that I can hardly understand. You are exactly the opposite of a dispenser of justice. You could even say that when you arrest someone, it is with regret.

    "That happens, yes".

    "While you take your cases to heart as if they affected you personally..."

    And Maigret answered simply,

    "Because each time it's a human experience that I share."

  • The style of the novel, composed for the most part in dialogues: very little description, and above all the verbal exchanges between Maigret and those he questions...

2. A final novel

When Simenon, on February 11, 1972, wrote the last word at the bottom of the typescript of this novel, he didn't suspect, it is said, and as he said himself, that it was the last novel he would write. In September of that same year, Simenon began his "writing ritual"...

"Monday, September 18, 1972... I went down to my office to prepare the "yellow envelope" for a new novel I'd decided to write. It was 9:00 when I closed myself in. It was a matter of finding the names of my characters, their situations, origins, sometimes their childhood friends, all the notes of which I usually use only a small part. I have a need to know everything about them, so I draw the plan of their houses, sometimes the district where they live... On my big Manila envelope, I wrote the name of my character, which would serve as a title: Victor. A few more names, some notes. What I call my "plots" have never really been that, since I don't imagine the actions and reactions of my heroes except as things go along, chapter by chapter, not discovering the ending until the final page... The next day, I give myself time to think of my starting point, as usual, that is to say, the "click" which will lead my principal character to his finale." (in Intimate Memoirs)

But the novel will not get very far... it is abandoned, and to mark a sort of stage, Simenon also decides to leave the great house at Epalinges: in October, he moved to an apartment building in Lausanne, and had the word "novelist" removed from his passport. He led his personal life (moving into the "little pink house" in 1974) until 1977, when he began his Dictations. He wouldn't take up the pen again until 1980, to write his Intimate Memoirs.

If we want to believe that he didn't suspect, while writing it, that Maigret and Monsieur Charles would be his last novel, there are, nonetheless certain indications in it which lead us to think that, perhaps unconsciously, the author felt that he was going to let his character lead his own life in the hearts of his readers, and enter into the legend of heroes, without further intervention of his creator... I believe that that is how we can interpret the beginning of the novel, with these few phrases which let us believe that the author was making a sort of "taking stock", or rather presenting this novel like an "epilogue", while letting Maigret follow his career in an autonomous fashion: these two extracts from the first chapter in particular seem to me significant...

"He had just made a decision about the remainder of his career. He had no regrets, but still he retained a certain feeling of melancholy."

"He had, in a few minutes, made a decision about a future path which would not, in fact, have lasted very long, since in three years he was going to retire."

complete article
original French

Murielle Wenger

Maigret of the Month
4/21/10 - Thanks to Murielle and Jérôme for once more contributing to the Maigret of the Month series, this time for the last Maigret novel, Maigret and Monsieur Charles. Murielle recaps for us a little of the MoM history, in which she points out that we've been doing this series for a little over 6 years! - and now that the novels are past, we'll continue on into the short stories...

And she reminds us of the wonderful contributions made by Peter Foord before his death... I remember writing to him once when the usual time of his contribution had passed, and he answered that he was fine and hoped he'd be able to continue to the end of the series. But it wasn't to be. We're so lucky to have had Murielle's wonderful studies to carry us forward.

If you promised yourself you'd use the MoMs to read a Maigret in French every month... but somehow it was just too much work... the remainder of the series - the short stories - may be just the thing. Feel free to contribute your own takes on these stories... they often seem slightly at odds with the Maigret world we're familiar with in the novels, and should be an interesting adventure...

Steve

A good Maigret to read on the way to Liège?
4/21/10 – I hope you do not mind me sending you this silly email ... but I am taking the boat from Maastricht to Liège in a few weeks time and I wanted to read a Maigret novel on the journey. Can you recommend a title that would be appropriate: something about travelling the Meuse of the waterways of the region, or that takes place in Liège. I see one title that almost does it: Chez les Flamands, but perhaps there is one more specific with the Liège region. I prefer to read Simenon in French. Thanks...

Regards,
Dave Cooper
Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Not so silly... and not so easy... My first thought is La Danseuse du Gai-Moulin, set primarily in Liège, or maybe Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien... Anyone else have a recommendation for Dave?

ST

Simenon/Maigret trip to Luik/Liège and Paris
5/5/10 – We're organizing a trip to Luik/Liège and Paris, May 22-25, 2010, in the footsteps of Georges Simenon and Maigret. We'll travel by bus from Rotterdam/Breda, and stay overnight at the Château de Meridon, south of Paris. Special attention will be given to good food, old, rustic places, and the enigma of Simenon, Maigret and Paris.

People who want to join can contact Jan Maas at Meridon@hccnet.nl

Machiel van Wolferen,
Rotterdam, Netherlands

By the way, your site is very good and elaborate. My compliments.

Rupert Davies Maigret's Little Joke on YouTube
5/12/10 – Has anyone else noticed that Maigret’s Little Joke has been uploaded onto "You Tube"?

It is split into six parts. I will attempt to download them and stick them together!

Best wishes
Steve Beamon
Aylesbury

Maigret of the Month: La péniche aux deux pendus (Two Bodies on a Barge)

5/16/10 –

1. Brief history

What was it that moved Simenon, after he'd symbolically put his character into retirement in the final novel of the Fayard cycle, entitled Maigret (1934), and had proclaimed, in the newspaper which had announced its publication (see this text), that no further adventures of Maigret would appear in the paper, what drove the author to take up his pen to write these stories which featured his character once more?

To try to find a semblance of an answer, I will take as a common thread two extracts from the text of the foreword written by Gilbert Sigaux in the Rencontre edition, which collects the majority of these stories. Into the stream of Sigaux's text (in blue below), I'll insert some comments and notes regarding the stories.

"With The New Investigations of Maigret begins Maigret's second "cycle", which will be followed up with Maigret Returns (three novels: Maigret and the Spinster [CEC], Maigret and the Hotel Majestic [MAJ], and Maigret in Exile [JUG]), then with Maigret and the Fortuneteller [SIG], Inspector Cadaver [CAD] and Maigret and the Toy Village [FEL]. The stories and novels of this second cycle had been written between 1938 and 1941, and published between 1938 and 1944.

The first form of the New Investigations of Maigret is not that which we are familiar with; we find indeed the subjects (but not the developments) of a certain number of these stories in Paris-Soir-Dimanche, beginning Oct. 25, 1936; we recall that The Thirteen Enigmas, The Thirteen Mysteries, The Thirteen Culprits had been, in Détective, the object of a series of competitions; it was the same for the New Investigations in 1936."

In fact, before the publication of the first Maigrets, Simenon had written short stores with a detective theme. It was Joseph Kessel who had asked Simenon to write, for the weekly, Détective, some new detective stories which would become the object of a competition among the readers. Simenon then wrote, under the pseudonym Georges Sim, a series of texts grouped under the title The Thirteen Mysteries, which appeared in Détective beginning in March, 1929. The success of these stories led Simenon to write a new series of stories, under the title The Thirteen Enigmas, and then still one more, The Thirteen Culprits. In the first series, the investigator is a certain Joseph Leborgne, in the second, it's Inspector G.7 who leads the investigation, and in the third, it's Judge Froget who is at the center of the intrigue. These three series were published by Fayard, this time under the author's real name, in 1932.

Is it because he had liked this particular form of literary text that Simenon renewed the experience in 1936 for the daily, Paris-Soir? Or did he feel a certain nostalgia for having "abandoned" his Chief Inspector? Or was it the idea of an "interactive" exchange, to use a word of our era, with the readers, which attracted him? The actual form of the appearance in Paris-Soir was the following: in a first part, which would appear on Sunday, the elements of the plot would be given, and in the second, a week later, would be given the solution in four lines...

complete article
original French

Murielle Wenger

re: "The 50 Greatest Crime Writers" List
5/21/10 – I am puzzled how the list of 50, mentioned by Viola, was composed. While most of names are unfamiliar to me, a very deserving name is missing - I mean Earl Gardner, creator of Perry Mason. Arguably, Conen Doyle is fitting for Number One, since name Sherlock Holmes became almost synonymous with 'private detective'.

Cheers,
Vladimir

re: "The 50 Greatest Crime Writers" List
5/22/10 – Regarding the “50 Greatest Crime Writers” list, if it’s “crime” writers and not “mystery” writers, I agree with Vladimir. What justifies not including Erle Stanley Gardner, the creator of one of the most enduring crime story characters? And frankly, I put Dorothy Sayers ahead of Agatha Christie. The latter’s novels have contrived endings and, to my mind, the plots too often do not encourage the suspension of disbelief necessary to engage you successfully with the story, and the characters are, again to my mind, more often caricatures. Dorothy SayersWimsey-Vane novels, like Simenon’s novels (Maigret and non-Maigret alike), are significant works of fiction that transcend the “crime” genre. The four Wimsey-Vane novels are a romance quartet the offer a perceptive study of personality; many of Simenon’s works are psychological studies of great value beyond their entertainment value as “crime” stories. Speaking from the lawyer’s perspective (and the law teacher’s perspective), the Perry Mason novels are dead-on-the-money. They get the law right! And they get the courtroom drama right. And they, like the Sayers and the Simenon, stand the test of time. As with Conan-Doyle, you can read them over and over and always find something new, as well as something wonderfully familiar.

And I’ve just read Simenon’s The Glass Cage. Along with du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn and C-D’s Hound of the Baskervilles, one of the most frightening books I’ve ever read.

Stephen Cribari

Error concerning Simenon translator
5/22/10 – My son, James, grandson of Anthony Abbot and Samrri Frikell alerted me to your excellent work on Georges Simenon.

But I was surprised to find my father listed as translator for Simenon's first books to appear in English, in the Hurst and Blackett editions, London l934-5. I am quite certain this is an error.

I have delighted in heralding my father's many achievements ever since his death in l952, He never completed grammar school, working first as a water boy, bringing buckets of ice to the men who put down Baltimore's trolley tracks in the summer of l906. He was an autodidact who mastered many careers: magician, ventriloquist, reporter, newspaper-and-magazine editor, novelist, screen writer, playwright, news broadcaster and criminologist. Long after he died, I learned he was a spy in World War II, helping to service 12 FBI agents in Latin America. And indeed, he was a translator once: as a teenager he learned enough German to translate Illustrated Magic, by Ottokah Fischer.

I completed my father's autobiography, Behold This Dreamer, published by Little, Brown in l964. It has no mention of Simenon, and there was no book by Simenon in the library he left of more than 5000 books. Alas, I fear cannot shed any more light on this matter, beyond adding that Covici Friede did publish the early Anthony Abbot detective novels, as well as Simenon's. Perhaps in some way the error started there.

Cordially,
Fulton Oursler, Jr.

Any monument for Maigret in Paris?
5/26/10 – We returned from Luik/Liège and Paris yesterday after four days in the footsteps of Simenon and Maigret.

Luik was filled with monuments, touristic and historic routes, pride in the succes of Simenon. And with very capable and enthousiastic guides. But we could find nothing in Paris - not even at Place des Vosges 21 or at the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir or the Quai des Orfèvres. Not even a commemorative plate. Worse still - at the Quai des Orfèvres everything is closed and we were chased away when we wanted to take a photo of the group.

Am I right in noticing this absence, and if Yes, why is this? Why doesn't Paris want to remember this writer and his work - so positive for Paris and the whole of France?

Machiel van Wolferen
Rotterdam, Netherlands


The only one I've heard of that mentions Maigret is this plaque at the Quai des Orfèvres.

ST

Maigret's Little Joke on YouTube
5/27/10 – I have been re-reading some Maigret stories and I thought that I should look in and check the site. It is some time since I have visited but I see that there seems to have been little progress on stirring the BBC to release the four Rupert Davies series.

I noticed Steve Beamon's note dated May 12, 2010 and have downloaded the six parts of "Maigret's Little Joke". I did notice that this episode had modern colour bits before and after it and the introductory announcement said that this episode was from almost 28 years ago and was the last ever episode. IMBD gives the date of original broadcast as 24 December 1963 which means that this re-broadcast was in 1991.

Trivia perhaps, but were any more broadcast at that time and was the BBC testing the water to see if there would be much reaction? If they go by the small number of views on YouTube they must conclude that there is little interest. Pity!

Paul Thomas
Sydney, Australia

Maigret's Little Joke on YouTube
6/4/10 – My recollection is that this episode was shown as part of a theme evening - Cops on the Box or some sort - which also had an old episode of Z Cars. Just one-offs I'm afraid. Rather like the one-off repeat they gave to an episode of Colditz around the same time in a theme evening about mental illness.

If the Beeb can show single episodes when it suits them to show how proud they are of their back catalogue - why on earth can't they show the whole series?! BBC4 show ITV's The Avengers, for goodness sake! Black and white in all it's glory - surely their own Maigret deserves an airing...

Graeme Sutherland

BBC
6/7/10 – I too am really sad along with Graeme Sutherland and Paul Thomas that the BBC refuses to show the wonderful Maigret series. I feel the years are running out now for me to see it again. It is unlikely that many people who would like to see it again are into Facebook so the reaction there is not much to go on. Can't we find someone involved with the licence fee to bring pressure to bear! If it was up to me I'd sack the lot of them.

Jane Gwinn

12th Sables d'Olonne Simenon Festival June 12-20
6/11/10 –

Information here.

Jérôme

Maigret's name / firearms?
6/17/10 – In 'Maigret Goes Home" we learn Maigret's first name and that he was a medical student. Is this the only book where this info is revealed?

6/18/10 – And another: In what books Maigret - or his assistants - used a firearm? Not necessarily having fired, but take with them on a case.

Just curious,
Vladimir

re: Maigret's name / firearms?
6/19/10 – In answer to Vladimir, here's what I can say on the two subjects he brings up...

1) Maigret's first name:

I've already taken up this subject in one of the MoMs. Here is some additional information.

The first time the Chief Inspector received a first name in the corpus was in The Lock at Charenton [ECL], when Ducrau asks Maigret to work for him, and he dictates to a secretary the words of a contract...

"Between the undersigned Emile Ducrau and Maigret... First name? ... and Maigret (Joseph), an agreement has been reached as follows. From March 18, M. Joseph Maigret will enter into the service of..."

And thus Maigret was first called Joseph... We have to wait until the beginning of the Presses de la Cité cycle to find another mention of his given name. Indeed, it is in Maigret in Retirement [FAC] that the Chief Inspector is called – to his great displeasure – Jules , by an old schoolmate from lycée, Ernest Malik. We encounter this name again in Maigret's First Case [PRE], used by his wife, and by Dédé the crook. Finally, it is the Americans (Maigret at the Coroner's) [CHE] who "force" the Chief Inspector to admit to his name...

"What's your first name?"
He couldn't very well tell them he didn't have one, and so he was forced to admit that his name was Jules. His questioner thought for a moment.
"Oh! yes... Julius!"
They pronounced it Julius, which didn't seem as bad to him."

The Chief Inspector wasn't finished with his tribulations with regard to his name. In Maigret's Memoirs [MEM], he tells how, as a young inspector, he was teased about his name by prostitutes. Here's an extract of the passage...

"I wouldn't have chosen it [his name] if they had asked my opinion. But it no longer embarrasses me... One day the chant started – for it quickly became a chant. I was walking by one of the old girls installed at the doorway of a seedy hotel, when I heard through those rotten teeth, a laughing
"Bonsoir, Jules!"
I thought she had picked a name at random, but a little further along, I was welcomed by the same words...
"So, Jules?"
...the famous Jules was integrated into a song which they proceeded to sing loudly whenever I appeared."

We encounter the American familiarity again in two other novels, Maigret and the Gangsters [LOG], where the Chief Inspector is called Jules by his American colleague MacDonald, in Maigret's Revolver [REV], where, on the revolver he received from the USA, was engraved the inscription, To J.-J. Maigret, from his FBI friends.

"Why J.-J. Maigret? ... The Americans, who have the habit of using two first name, were informed of his. The two first, happily, Jules-Joseph. [and there we find Joseph again!] In fact, there was a third: Anthelme."

We find mention of Jules in four other novels - in Maigret Afraid [PEU], where Julien Chabot's mother welcomes him saying,

"It's you, Jules!"
How many years had it been seen anyone has greeted him like that?"

In Maigret in Court [PEU], the Chief Inspector has to declare his identity as a witness in court...

"Your name, given name, age and position...
Maigret, Jules, 53s, Divisional Chief Inspector, Judicial Police, Paris."

In Maigret and the Nahour Case [NAH], it's his wife who – exceptionally (see the MoM cited above) - calls him by his first name in the opening scene of the novel. Finally, in Maigret's Boyhood Friend [ENF], he is relieved that Florentin is satisfied to use the familiar "tu", but calls him by his family name.

To end, we should point out, that if "officially", Maigret is named Jules-Amédée-François, as all his biographers state, in fact that combination of names never appears in the corpus... So where does it come from? Actually, it was in a preface written by Simenon in March, 1966, for the inauguration of the Rencontre editions...

I would like further, to close the subject, to ask the following question of Vladimir: he mentions in his question that he found the name Jules in Maigret and the Saint-Fiacre Affair [FIA]. Since, in examining the corpus to respond to his question I didn't find that name mentioned in the novel, I'd be interested to know whether it was found in an English translation, and in what part of the text.

2) Maigret and his revolver...

complete article
original French

Murielle Wenger

Maigret of the Month: L'affaire du boulevard Beaumarchais (The Mysterious Affair in the Boulevard Beaumarchais)
6/20/10 –

After the life of canals and barges, here is another setting characteristic of Maigret's world, that of his office, and the locales of the PJ, with all the indispensable ingredients of the scene of an interrogation... an office filled with pipe smoke, the rain streaming on the windows, and a silent suspect opposite Maigret, the two awaiting the sandwiches and beer which will be brought up from the Brasserie Dauphine... The scene thus set, we can imagine a story, in this case taking up one of Simenon's classic themes - that of a "triangle", comprising a couple, in which the wife has a sister who is herself in love with her brother-in-law. The theme will appear at least twice more in the corpus... first in the story, Maigret and the Surly Inspector [mal], but above all a second time in Maigret has Scruples [SCR], where it will be amply developed.

Another theme evoked to set the scene, is that of All Saints' Day, which, for Simenon, is often there to give a feeling of grayness, of gloomy sadness, mediocrity, here making an echo of the mediocrity of the characters, particularly Ferdinand Voivin, this dull man who could inspire, to Maigret's astonishment – and Simenon's – great passion.

If, in the preceding story (Two Bodies on a Barge [pen]), we see Maigret above all "ruminating" over his case, asking but a few questions of various witnesses, but rather immersing himself in the setting, the atmosphere of the canal and the barge, to discover the truth, in this story, the essential part of the Chief Inspector's work is in the form of interrogations, of "getting someone to sing", first off of Nicole, which allows him to understand the relationships which existed in the "triangle", and then that of Ferdinand Voivin, where Maigret is satisfied to ask one or two questions, the responses to which are enough for him to confirm his hypotheses. And it's the Chief Inspector himself, who, as is often the case, provides a "verbal reconstruction" of what actually took place.

Finally we note that during the second interrogation, Maigret does something we will see numerous times during other interrogations - offering a caved-in suspect a glass of brandy. I'd like to cite here a book by Paul Mercier, entitled "La botte secrète de Maigret: le verre de cognac (Maigret's Secret Weapon: the glass of brandy"), published by Le cercle noir in 2009 for the 14th Detective Fiction Fair at Cognac. This little book, very well done, is difficult to find, but I had the luck to get one... Paul Mercier, in this work, analyses the use that Maigret makes of the glass of brandy in various interrogations. Here are two extracts...

"The glass of alcohol facilitates the transition to confession of a repentant criminal who will finally come clean. It relieves the craving alcoholic. It supplies punctuation in a confession which begins to get long, permitting a mid-point break. But also, it gives comfort in a moment of distress and suffering, and so seems more a humanitarian act than a simple gesture of normal courtesy. So the bottle of brandy, from time to time, filled a great variety of functions in Maigret's office."

"The closet existed from the Fayard period... but simply for washing his hands or cooling his face at the enamel fountain, or for dry clothes, when he was soaked with rain... From 1951 to 1991, [the act of taking out the bottle of brandy] is frequent, occurring more than 20 times in 49 novels... The closet and the bottle are missing in the stories, with one significant exception - they make their appearance in "The Mysterious Affair in the Boulevard Beaumarchais"... Maigret interrogates a certain Voivin, a diamond dealer whose wife has been poisoned. The dealer is innocent, he didn't kill his wife to marry his sister-in-law. As for his conjugal setting, he also appears to be easy prey for the feminine sex... to escape from the jealousy of his wife, he had considered suicide. After drinking Maigret's brandy, he is still not free, now subject to the fiery assaults of his young sister-in-law..."

Murielle Wenger

original French

re: Maigret's name / firearms?
6/20/10 – Thanks to Murielle for a so detailed and well-researched post regarding Maigret's first name and gun use.

To answer Murielle's question, I was referring to 'Maigret Goes Home' - the TV series with Michael Gambon. In the series, Maigret was called "Jules" by an older woman selling flowers at the cemetery when Maigret came to pay respect to his father's gravesite. This woman still remembered Maigret as a boy growing up in that village. If the book does not include this first name, than we have just discovered an interesting item of TV trivia.


Frankly, guns are mentioned in more Maigret's novels than I thought. My guess is that I did not read most of books that mention guns because they have not been translated into English. If this is correct, I am not surprised. Probably, English publishers wanted to make Maigret more popular in Britain by making him look more like British police, who traditionally do not carry arms.

Cheers,
Vladimir


(All the Maigrets have been translated into English - My guess is that because guns are so unimportant in the Maigrets we just don't remember that they were mentioned.   ST)

Jules
6/22/10 – Vladimir is correct about the woman calling Maigret “Jules” in “Maigret Goes Home” in the Gambon series. The Edward Petherbridge character in “Maigret's Boyhood Friend” in the same series also refers to him as “Jules,” to the amazement of Madam Maigret and again to the surprise of Janvier or Lapointe or Lucas (I forget which). I do not recall that happening in the Cremer “L’Ami d’enfance de Maigret.”

Stephen Cribari

re: Jules
6/23/10 –
Dans l'épisode L'ami d'enfance de Maigret, dans la série avec Bruno Crémer, Florentin l'appelle "Jules" au tout début de l'épisode, lorsqu'il le hèle dans la rue: on voit Maigret avancer sur le trottoir, et on attend la voix de Florentin qui crie: "Jules ! Jules Maigret !" Par la suite, il l'appellera "Maigret", tout en continuant de le tutoyer, comme dans le roman...

Le rapport de Maigret avec son prénom est évoqué à plusieurs reprises dans la série avec Bruno Crémer. C'est un sujet intéressant, et quand j'aurai un peu de temps, je vous ferai un petit texte sur la façon dont cette "histoire de Jules" est traitée dans la série...

In the episode Maigret's Boyhood Friend, in the series with Bruno Crémer, Florentin calls him "Jules" at the very beginning of the episode, when he calls to him in the street; we see Maigret walking along the sidewalk, and we hear Florentin's voice calling, "Jules! Jules Maigret!" After that he calls him "Maigret", all the while continuing to use "tu", as in the novel...

Maigret's relationship with his first name comes up a number of times in the Bruno Crémer series. It's an interesting subject, and when I find some time, I'll produce a little text on the way this "story of Jules" is treated in the series...

Murielle

"River Squad" Celebrates 110th Anniversary
6/30/10 – The 'Brigade fluviale' (River squad) that appears in some of the Maigrets when there is murder near the Seine or a weapon to look for, will celebrate its 110 year anniversary this week. (details here - in French).

Jerome

Maigret of the Month: La fenêtre ouverte (The Open Window)
7/8/10 –

After having discovered Maigret on the job outside Paris (Two bodies on a barge), then during an interrogation intra muros in his office at the PJ [bea], now we find Maigret at work in his city of Paris, on a street of that mythical district, Montmartre. Let us note, however, that we see almost nothing of the ambiance of the street in this story, hardly a mention outside of the building where the offices of Laget are located. The entire case will unfold in these very offices, Maigret leading his investigation by immersing himself in the place, and coming to the truth thanks to an olfactory clue (the odor of cooling powder) and a sensation (the current of air from the open window).

In this story, Simenon attempts a "locked-room murder", a technique dear to English authors, and Maigret must use his intuition and knowledge of people (whose failings he detects through interrogations where he has the art of asking – with an innocent air – most unsettling questions) to come to a discovery of a murder disguised as a suicide.

We can remark several touches used by the author to make the reader understand and feel that he is actually in a "condensation of Maigret's world"... the presence of Sergeant Lucas and Inspector Janvier, Maigret's "familiar" attitude... "sniffing around, observing his surroundings, his hands always in his pockets, hat pushed back on his head", the stove in Mme Laget's office, that Maigret can't help poking at, and the furtive appearance of the men from Forensics and the Prosecutor's office.

Another interesting point to underline is the allusion to World War I, and above all to its aftermath. Allusions to this war are relatively infrequent in the Maigrets, and it's probably intentional that this story goes into a little more detail. He wrote the text in 1936... if the memory of WWI was beginning to fade into time, the specter of a second World War was beginning to slowly rise...

Finally, I encourage you, if you have the opportunity, to view the adaptation of this story made for the Bruno Crémer television series. It's one of the better episodes, and the screenwriters have stuck to the basic framework, keeping to the facts of the text.
(Note in particular how Laget's creditors have been transformed into a gallery of more or less colorful characters... a woman nightclub manager, a young couple who want to start a television company, a survivor of the "death camps"... And how the sentence "We'll have to go through the buildings, the hallways, examine the two building completely" is rendered in the onscreen images... how the clues about the murder weapon and the open window are treated... and how Maigret, alias Crémer, remarks that the investigation is like a "locked-room murder" à la Agatha Christie.)
At the same time it highlights some of the recurring themes of the series, for example, the allusions to WWI allow speaking of the Second... The episode is supposed to be set in the early '50s.

In fact, the episode ends with a scene were Maigret walks the concierge's little boy to school... and the Chief Inspector learns that the boy, he too, is called Jules...

Murielle Wenger
translation: S. Trussel
Honolulu, July 2010

original French

New article: Le Charretier de La Providence
8/6/10 –Les Amis de Georges Simenon reported recently the publication of a new study (in French), Le Charretier de La Providence : Georges Simenon et son commissaire Maigret dans la Marne en 1930. In the journal, Études marnaises, Volume CXXV, 2010 (12pp), by Sylvain Mikus. More here.

Jérôme

Bruno Cremer has died
8/8/10 –Bruno Cremer died Saturday at age 80, in a Paris hospital after a long illness. He was born October 6, 1929, and for the last few years had been battling cancer.

He played Maigret in 54 episodes on French tv for 14 years, from 1991-2005, following a successful career in film and on stage.

Obituary in Le Monde

Another film Maigret: Czech Rudolf Hrušínský
8/18/10 – Thanks to Miroslav J. Kozák for reporting the 29th film Maigret we've found so far... Rudolf Hrušínský (1920-94), a noted Czech actor, portrayed Maigret in Obavy komisaře Maigreta, a 1970 tv adapation of Les Scrupules de Maigret (Maigret has Scruples). He also played Maigret in a number of Czech radio adaptations of the same era.

Maigret of the Month: Monsieur Lundi (Mr. Monday)
8/21/10 –

Monsieur Lundi was the Cremer tv episode, Maigret chez le docteur (Maigret at the Doctor's)

1. After Montmartre, Neuilly...

Considering the stories written by Simenon relating Maigret's cases, it is striking to note to what extent the author describes a significant number of different social milieus, as if he'd wanted to plunge his Chief Inspector each time into a different ambiance, having him "make a tour" of all imaginable microcosms. And it's even more interesting that, if he effectively provided his character with an impressive voyage into all the levels of society, the voyage is spread out, in the novels, across a great number of years. While in the majority of these stories, this same voyage is in a sense, resumed, but gathered into the two or three years (1936-1938) of their writing.

In this story, after one about a barge (pen), a ménage à trois (bea), and one of vengeance (fen), this time Maigret goes to investigate in a "chic" milieu of the capital, the Neuilly district. We will see him, in the stories which follow, going to other, very different environments, like, for example, a border train station (arr), a "tough-guy" bistro (pig), and a family boarding house (man), among so many others.

The milieu of the bourgeoisie of fashionable districts is clearly not, we suspect, one where Maigret feels most at ease, no more than that of the notables of small provincial cities. In this regard, we can consider the beginning of this story...

"Maigret stood a moment before the black metal gate... In front of him, on the other hand, beyond the gate, was a small, modern Neuilly residence... with its elegance, its comfort... It is always troublesome to disturb the life of a quiet house... all the more so when the intruder comes from the Quai des Orfèvres, his pockets filled with unpleasant documents.... The foyer was elegant, and Maigret had mechanically stuffed his pipe into his pocket."

The same attitude of discomfort, and the same reaction of the Chief Inspector, when he goes to the Deligeards', in Bayeux (bay)...

"Maigret finished his pipe while regarding with a bemused eye the vast gray house, the porte cochère with its copper ring, the main courtyard with its bronze candelabras. It was what he called a "pipeless case", which is to say, an investigation which unfolds in locations where the Chief Inspector couldn't decently keep his pipe clenched in his mouth.... "This'll be fun!" he sighed, tapping at last the bowl of his pipe against his heel."

Nonetheless, in spite of the uneasiness he feels, as always, the Chief Inspector can't resist the temptation to go and "sniff up" the atmosphere, to go nosing about in the affairs of others, in this case of the "better" class... The kind of restraint Maigret feels in the face of certain milieus ("high society"), a restraint retained from his childhood passed in the shadow of a château, never impedes him, in spite of everything, from pursuing his investigations to the final truth...

2. A short synopsis of the story

To reduce it to a single sentence, this story could be titled, "The doctor, the beggar and the hysterical madwoman", in a word, the story of a woman madly in love, literally, to the extent that her passion leads to murder, a crime of madness, attempting to reach the one who had rejected her by harming those he holds dear. Using the subterfuge of the beggar, she concocts her crime with cruel sophistication, taking the risk of even killing the innocents... not only the children of the doctor, but whomever might buy these poisoned cakes from the bakery, and so it was the young maid who paid with her life for the madness of Miss Wilfur...

3. Maigret and doctors

The first two characters Maigret meets in this story are, on the one hand, the doctor's chauffeur, Martin Vignolet, and on the other, a doctor, Dr. Barion. These are two types of characters that Maigret often encounters, and here I'd like to make a little tour of the corpus to summarize them.

We'll consider first the doctors. The best-known doctor in the corpus is, of course, Maigret's friend, Dr. Pardon. I won't repeat here the analysis of the subject I've already taken up elsewhere. We recognize the special relationship Maigret maintains with medicine, a discipline which he would perhaps have pursued if it hadn't been for the interruption of his studies by the death of his father. Maigret explains about this in Maigret's Memoirs [MEM], on the role played in his life by the story of Dr. Gadelle. And if Maigret may not practice the medicine of the body, he has nonetheless become, in a way, a "doctor of the soul"...

complete article
original French

Murielle Wenger

BBC Archives
8/28/10 – A few years ago when I spoke to someone very helpful at the BBC I was told that the old Maigret series was available for hire, I think the cost was around £90, but only for research purposes. I never took up that offer but wonder if anyone on the forum has been given the same information and whether it has been followed up. I know that a petition has been compiled but has it been sent to the BBC? I believe that there must be other ways to place pressure on the BBC and that perhaps an action group should be started through this forum, I would be happy to be part of such a group.

Steve Beamon


The petition, with 848 signatures at this point, is online at www.petitiononline.com/maigrets/petition.html. In March of this year, I wrote to Robert Fairbanks, who'd started the petition, asking him if he were planning to submit it, and how to handle those that were still "pending approval", but got no reply, at which point I stopped posting the link at the top of this page...

ST

Suite at the Majestic
9/4/10 – Thanks to William Chrisant, a Virginia rare books dealer, for updating some bibliographic information on early Maigret translations.

He has identified the three issues of Harper's Bazaar in which the (presumably Anthony Abbott) translation of Le Charretier de "la Providence" was serialized as The Crime at Lock 14, Jan-Feb-Mar 1934 (Jan. cover shown).

And he has discovered that the May-Jun-Jul 1933 issues contained the serialization of Pietr-le-Letton as Suite at the Majestic, also presumably translated by Abbott.

These are among the earliest Maigrets to appear in English.

ST

"Maigret Hasn't Aged..."
9/10/10 – Here's a little blurb I just ran across, on the reissue of "Les Caves du Majestic" ("Maigret and the Hotel Majestic")

Gallimard
« Folio policier »
n° 590, 214 p., 5,32 €:

Maigret sans une ride

Au moment où disparaît Bruno Cremer, l'un des meilleurs interprètes du commissaire Maigret à l'ecran, relire l'une des enquêtes du célèbre personnage de Simenon tombe à pic. Les Caves du Majestic, publié en 1942, fut adapté pour la télévision en 1993. Le roman n'a pas pris une ride. L'intrigue, au cordeau, permet de découvrir le monde étrange des employés des grands hotels, qui n'a sans doute pas évolué tant que ça. Quant au style, avec ses clairs-obscurs, ses descriptions bougonnes, c'est une petite merveille de modernité. Il pluvine dans ce Simenon et il s'en dégage un parfum très particulier. Appelons ça la littérature. Y.P.

Maigret hasn't aged

The occasion of the loss of Bruno Cremer, one of the best interpreters of Chief Inspector Maigret on the screen, provides a perfect moment to reread one of the cases of Simenon's famous character. Maigret and the Hotel Majestic, published in 1942, was adapted for television in 1993. The novel hasn't aged. The plot, straightforward, allows the discovery of the strange world of the employees of the grand hotels, which no doubt hasn't changed as much as all that. As for the style, with its chiaroscuro, its grumbling descriptions, it is a little marvel of modernity. It showers in this Simenon and gives off a special perfume. Let's call that literature. Y.P.

Jerome

Pedigree reissued
9/18/10 –

Pedigree by Georges Simenon
Anthony Cummins
The Guardian

Soon after this baggy tale of Belgian boyhood first came out in 1948, Simenon ditched plans for a three-part saga and changed the closing words "End of Volume One" to "The End". Pedigree may be uneven — after 250 pages it abandons what initially seems a key plot line about an anarchist bomber's escape to Paris — but it's always enjoyable, and good to have back in English after Penguin let Robert Baldick's 1962 text go out of print. The main character, Roger, doesn't speak until nearly a third of the way in, the early part of the book being given over to a tender account of his young parents' struggle to make ends meet. By the time his Flemish mother Élise saves enough money to open a flea-ridden boarding house, he's old enough for the novel to settle down to the job of charting his mixed-up adolescence in German-occupied Liège. When the troops leave in 1918, and Roger at last looks ready to put awkward sex, vomit-stained nights out and fashion faux pas behind him, Simenon stops writing.

Roddy

"British TV News: Tise Vahimagi on THIRTEEN AGAINST FATE, by Georges Simenon (1966)"
9/18/10 – GEORGES SIMENON IN THE NEWS by Tise Vahimagi

In mid-September 2010 the Library of Congress proudly announced that not only had it (the Library’s Moving Image Section) discovered some 68 rare British TV recordings in the Library’s National Educational Television (NET) Collection but they were handing over digital copies of this treasure trove representing Britain’s “golden age of television” to a very grateful British Film Institute (BFI).

These treasures include such rare finds as Sean Connery and Dorothy Tutin in Jean Anouilh’s Colombe (BBC, 1960), the Zeffirelli-directed (stage) Much Ado About Nothing (BBC, 1967) and director-producer Rudolph Cartier’s Rembrandt (BBC, 1969).

Perhaps for the crime and mystery buff, one of these treasures is (I am delighted to say) the 1966 BBC series Thirteen Against Fate, long considered “missing, believed wiped.” Now, along with the few surviving episodes held by the BFI, the discovery of the rest of the series (ten additional episodes from the Library of Congress) makes this, finally, a “complete” series. Soon, hopefully, all will be available for viewing; and, perhaps, one day, they’ll be out on DVD!

The following quotes are from the the British editions of the daily newspapers:

  • The series’ producer Irene Shubik said, at the time: “These plays are not for the squeamish. They are not light detective stories, but intense psychological studies of individuals deeply involved in the aftermath of murder or death.” (The Sun, 13 July 1967).
  • “At the its best the series has given an insight into the criminal mind and brought a welcome relief from the cliché of the effortless, infallible and more or less immaculate detective.” (Daily Telegraph, 8 August 1966).
  • “The new Simenon series made an excellent start on Sunday. It is unlikely to be as popular as its predecessor [Maigret, BBC 1960-63)] for it lacks a reiterative figure like Maigret to give it a common stamp. “Simenon is a master of naturalism, and absolute accuracy of detail and careful selection of that detail are essential for transposing him.” (Financial Times, 22 June 1966).
  • “An intelligent television crime series that concentrates on the character of the criminal instead of the almost invariably successful process of detection is overdue.” (Daily Telegraph, 20 June 1966).
  • “With Irene Shubik as producer the plays are so thoroughly and carefully set in their time and place that the atmosphere generated becomes a powerful element in their appeal.” (The Guardian, 27 June 1966)

This seems like an appropriate opportunity to present an episode guide for your perusal:

THIRTEEN AGAINST FATE

A BBC production. Produced by Irene Shubik. Transmitted via BBC1: June to September 1966. Based on 13 non-Maigret stories by Georges Simenon.

  1. . The Lodger (transmitted 19 June)
    Script: Hugh Leonard. Director: James Ferman.
    Cast: Zia Mohyeddin, Gwendolyn Watts, Gemma Jones.
    Based on Simenon story “Le Locataire” (1934).
    • “The first of the new series was strong on all these points [previous Financial Times quote]. Hugh Leonard didn’t compromise with the tale itself, a grimy little murder committed out greed and lust.” (Financial Times, 22 July 1966).
    • “‘The Lodger’ was the first of 13 Simenon stories adapted for television, and it contained, surprisingly, not a whiff of Maigret, garlic or pipe-smoke. It was about the agony of a murderer on the run, and the terror of a simple Belgian family at discovering their paying guest is a killer.
      “It kept its promise of being unsuitable for the squeamish, and, although the end was inevitable, it was a tense and moving experience.” (The Sun, 20 June 1966).
    • “The series made a telling, if high-pitched, start, dramatised by the admirable Hugh Leonard. The police get their man, but this is incidental, and the play chiefly shows what can be explored once the Maigrets and Barlows [the latter in reference to a popular Police Detective character played by Stratford Johns in the UK police series Softly, Softly (1966-69)] of this world are moved to one side.” (Daily Telegraph, 20 June 1966).
    • “Everybody concerned made a powerful affair of ‘The Lodger,’ the first of 13 novels by Georges Simenon to be shown on BBC1.” (The Times, 20 June 1966).
  2. Trapped (26 June)
    Scr: Julia Jones. Dir: George Spenton-Foster.
    Cast: Ronald Lewis, Keith Buckley, Sylvia Coleridge.
    Based on “Cours d’Assises” (1941).
    • “The second of a series of plays is a better test than the first; though the first impact is over, familiarity has not had time to set in. In the second of the Simenon plays on BBC1 last night the quality of the production was more firmly established than in the first, and on this showing they are going to be very good. Simenon’s stories in this series are about criminals rather than detection.” (The Guardian, 27 June 1966).
    • “Those who turned to BBC1 last night hoping that the second of the new Simenon series would provide them with a nice, cosy murder mystery, must have had an uncomfortable time. “Simenon, of course, is concerned with crime, not with setting puzzles for his readers, and crime is on the whole a depressingly sordid business. Because character is destiny, a young petty criminal finds himself sentenced for a murder he has not committed.” (The Times, 27 June 1966).
  3. The Traveller (3 July)
    Scr: Stanley Miller. Dir: Herbert Wise.
    Cast: Kenneth J. Warren, Hywel Bennett, André van Gyseghem.
    Based on “Le Voyageur de la Toussaint” (1941).
  4. The Widower (10 July)
    Scr: Clive Exton. Dir: Silvio Narizzano.
    Cast: Joss Ackland, Henry Gilbert, Patricia Healey.
    Based on “Le Veuf” (1959).
  5. The Judge (17 July)
    Scr: Hugh Leonard. Dir: Naomi Capon.
    Cast: Alexander Knox, John Ronane, Peter Howell.
    Based on “Les Témoins” (1955).
  6. The Schoolmaster (24 July)
    Scr: Alun Richards. Dir: Peter Potter.
    Cast: Stephen Murray, Helen Cherry, Cyril Shaps.
    Based on “L’Evadé” (1936).
  7. The Witness (31 July)
    Scr: John Hale. Dir: John Gorrie.
    Cast: Pamela Brown, Daphne Heard, Moultrie Kelsall.
    Based on “Le Haut Mal” (1933).
  8. The Friends (7 August)
    Scr: Anthony Steven. Dir: Michael Hayes.
    Cast: Jessica Dunning, Frederick Jaeger, Sandor Elès.
    Based on “Chemin sans issue” (1938).
  9. The Survivors (14 August)
    Scr: Stanley Miller. Dir: Rudolph Cartier.
    Cast: Lila Kedrova, David Buck, Kathleen Breck, Terence de Marney.
    Based on “Les Rescapés du Télémaque” (1938).
  10. The Son (21 August)
    Scr: Jeremy Paul. Dir: Waris Hussein.
    Cast: Joan Miller, Simon Ward, Jack Woolgar, Clive Dunn, [way down the cast list] Lila Kaye.
    Based on “Les Destins des Malous” (1947).
  11. The Murderer (28 August)
    Scr: Clive Exton. Dir: Alan Bridges
    Cast: Frank Finlay, Michael Goodliffe, Annette Crosbie, Lyndon Brook.
    Based on “L’Assassin” (1937).
    • “The original story was particularly interesting, concentrating as it did upon the mind and motive of a murderer who was never finally charged, and [Clive] Exton built a powerful play upon it. “It was set in a respectable little Dutch town where Dr. Kuperus shot his wife and her lover and the story follows his gradual disintegration as he becomes the object of suspicion.” (The Guardian, 29 August 1966).
  12. The Suspect (4 September)
    Scr: Donal Giltinan. Dir: Michael Hayes.
    Cast: Marius Goring, Mary Miller, Peter Halliday.
    Based on “Les Fiançailles de M. Hire” (1933).
    • “Goring conveyed movingly the confusion and uncertainty of a man with some petty vices trying to cope with the police and the treacherous advances of a girl who is shielding the real killer.” (The Sun, 5 September 1966).
  13. The Consul (11 September)
    Scr: Leo Lehman. Dir: John Gorrie.
    Cast: Jonathan Burn, Michele Dotrice, Jeannette Sterke.
    Based on “Les Gens d’en Face” (1933).

Editorial Comment: A complete listing of this recently uncovered cache of vintage BBC programs can be found here. (Scroll down.)

Roddy

Maigret of the Month: Jeumont, 51 minutes d'arrêt! (Jeumont - 51 Minutes Stop)
9/21/10 —
According to Stanley G Eskin, whose critical biography is a must-read for Simenon fans, this was one of 43 detective stories, of which 10 are Maigrets, published by Offenstadt between 1938 and 1941. The bibliography indicates that Jeumont was written in 1936. I have not been able to find much information about Offenstadt except for some hints that they were brothers who were associated in some way with Artheme Fayard, the publisher Simenon left after Maigret (1933). The stories were collected and republished by Gallimard.

Eskin comments that "these are light pieces of little import" (Eskin, Jefferson NC, 1988) and certainly Jeumont reads like an outline for a longer novel. There are several points of interest in it, however.

Firstly, it appears that Maigret has two nephews. The first, Philippe Lauer, Mme M's sister's son, from Alsace, appeared in Maigret (Maigret Sits It Out), and he is accused of murder. In this story his nephew is Popaul Vinchon (Paul Vinchon), who finds a dead body in the carriage of a train.

Trains are of course significant in Simenon's work (anyone want to write a thesis on this?)
    [NB see Maigret's Trains, Maigret Enters the Station]

And Maigret himself makes the most cursory of appearances, being woken from a heavy sleep, going to the Quai d'Orfevres to make a few phone calls, then getting on a train to Jeumont, where he looks around grumpily, growls at his nephew and then brilliantly solves the case.

Information on the station at Jeumont at wikipedia (French)

Bibliographical information and summary (French)

Filmography (IMDB)

You can see Jeumont on Google Streetview, but I doubt if you really want to.

Roddy

Maigret Petitition - BBC
9/22/10 – I've e-mailed Robert Fairbanks and also got no reply (Steve Beamon's post 8/28/10). I hope the guy is ok, but perhaps someone else could take over. It is all probably a BBC plot as they are so utterly determined not to re-show this series.

I'd be happy to join any action group.

Jane Gwinn
London

Simenon TV treasures unearthed
9/22/10 – A cache of classic British TV dramas found in the Library of Congress, Washington DC, includes ten adaptations of Simenon stories shown by the BBC in 1966. For details see here [and below]. No Maigrets, I'm afraid, but we live in hope.

Richard Thomas

Maigret of the Month: Jeumont, 51 minutes d'arrêt ! (Jeumont, 51 minutes stop)
9/25/10 –

We encounter once more, in this story, a setting typical of Maigret – and, we may say, of Simenon – that of a railway station. The cases that Maigret investigates in stations or trains are numerous, and we've already touched on this subject more than once in the Maigrets of the month. The "body on a train" is a theme we know from the beginning of the corpus: cf. Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett [LET]. We find additionally another reminder of that novel: the victim was killed with a needle to the heart, the same method used therein for Torrence.

The setting of this story also recurs several times in the corpus... Jeumont, this border point between France and Belgium, is a location where Maigret often finds suspects seeking to escape French justice - we can recall, for example, M. Martin in Maigret Mystified [OMB].

And yet another reminiscence in this story... its introduction. The story indeed opens with a scene found numerous times in the novels. Maigret, asleep in his bed, is awakened in the middle of the night by the ringing of his phone. But this time, rather than a call from the Quai des Orfèvres, it's his nephew who's asking for his help. So thus we learn a little more about Maigret's family, though this information does more to muddle than to clarify the family relations of the Chief Inspector and his wife. We know, through the novel Maigret Returns [MAI], the nephew, son of Mme Maigret's sister, named Philippe Lauer. So who then is this Paul Vinchon, who should also be the son a one of Mme Maigret's sisters, since Maigret himself has neither brother no sister, his mother having died giving birth (cf. Maigret's Memoirs [MEM])? We can dismiss the hypothesis of a son of Mme Maigret's brother, who couldn't have been named Vinchon, since Louise's maiden name was Léonard. So we must turn to other assumptions, which you will find in another Maigret of the month.

The plot of this story was adapted for the television series with Bruno Crémer [Un meurtre de première classe], and, in spite of some modifications in the scenario, this epidsode is one of the successes. Transposed into the 50s, the plot of the episode allows making allusions to WWII, echoing the allusions to Germany after WWI, found in the story. We should note that historical allusions are rare in the corpus, to the extent that it is said that the Maigrets exist "outside of time". This is not completely true, however, for we find all the same, here and there, some allusions to the contemporary epoque of the story. Thus, in this story, we see the beginnings of Naziism at the end of the 30s, with the first agression toward the Jews. And, in the novels toward the end of the corpus, allusions to modifications in fashion... women taking to wearing slacks, men abandoning wearing hats, etc.

The originality of this story consists of the fact that the investigation led by Maigret, in this sort of "closed-room" of the car detached from the train (the "closed room" very well rendered in the televised episode), is described in two phases which are characteristic of the Chief Inspector's "method". After the exposition of the situation, at the opening of the story, where we find Inspector Vinchon somewhat out of his depth, we await – with him – the arrival of Maigret, the only one capable of untangling the intrigue. The first phase of the investigation led by Maigret comprises the interrogations of the occupants of the car, interrogations to which is added the information Maigret has gotten on these characters, along with the search of their baggage. Then, without transition, we move to the second phase of the investigation, which is at the same time its conclusion. Maigret, without showing us in the text his manner of thinking, exposes his deductions to his dazzled nephew. In other words, Simenon doesn't describe the development of the Chief Inspector's thinking, how he arrived at his deductions, what reasoning or which clues he followed. Following his habitual "technique", Maigret is content to go to dinnner – alone – at the station buffet, and while he digests his food, he mulls over the case, resulting in his reconstruction of the facts, such as they must have occurred. Vinchon has nothing to do but follow Maigret's advice: find the weapon (the hatpin) and have the suspect believe that they'd been found out. And, by this "old trick", as Simenon writes, like a magic trick, the guilty party must simply confess – they cannot deny the evidence, since it was presented by Maigret....

Murielle Wenger

original French

Maigret of the Month: Jeumont, 51 minutes d'arrêt ! (Jeumont, 51 minutes stop)
9/26/10 –

A Jeumont Station Postcard Gallery - Early 20th Century
click to enlarge

A Visit to Epalinges

10/1/10 – Here a fellow Simenon/Maigret admirer from the Netherlands. I've just come back from a short break to Switzerland and guess what... I visited Simenon's old mansion in Epalinges and the house he died in on rue des Figuirs 12 in Lausanne!

But the visit to his grotesque villa in Epalinges was an unforgettable experience. Let me share my adventure.

Since I did not have any address, I first tried to find a tourist office, which wasn't located in Epalinges. Then I spoke to several locals, but none of them (I asked only two) knew who/what I was talking about (probably due to my awful "French"), so I started driving around the surroundings of Epalinges. I took some twists and turns on a road going uphill... and then suddenly I saw the huge factory-sized building lying like a sphinx in the sun on the top of the hill overlooking the grand panorama of the Swiss and Bernese Alps.

At the entrance of the property there were big signs saying "private property", "no entrance" etc. but the building looked abandoned so I parked my car behind the fence. I started filming with my camcorder as soon as I stepped out of my car, I walked/filmed alongside the house into the garden to film behind the house... and suddenly I saw evidence that someone lived in part of the house, so I backed off and left in my car, filmed some more from the road and a big building on the property, supposedly the swimming pool.

But then I thought, wait a minute, I drove all the way up here and since someone lives in the house I might have a chance to see the inside! So I drove back to ring the doorbell, expecting a resolute "Non, get out of here" from the present owner/renter because he was totally fed up with all kinds of strangers filming and photographing the house and ringing his doorbell to get inside.

None of the above happened! A friendly English speaking Italian opened the door. I asked jokingly and with a big smile if he gave tours through the house. He laughed and answered "sure, come in"!!!!

And there I was, entering Simenon's monstrous kitchen with two of every kitchen appliance. George (yes that was his name ;-) happily showed me the living room, the dressing room with all built-in cabinets, the bathroom, bedroom, rooms of the children, the guest rooms and the wing of the house where the personnel used to reside and last but not least THE SWIMMING POOL!!!

It was a truly amazing visit and after thanking George heartily I left to go and find Simenon's last home in Lausanne.

However, I have a question. George told me Simenon had an exact copy of this house built in the United States. I cannot find anything about this house in America. Do you know anything about it?

I hope you found my story interesting and wish you all the best with your site.

Sincerely,
Erik de Moei

An unflinching eye: Georges Simenon's photography

10/6/10 – via The Man from London by Jonas Milk on 10/5/10

While I was in Paris I was lucky enough to stumble across the catalogue for an exhibition of photographs by writer Georges Simenon. It's beautifully reproduced so, as with many photography shows, I don't feel too badly to have missed the original event, which was held at the Jeu de Paume back in the spring of 2004.

The prurient side of you might like to see pictures of some of the 10,000 women he claimed to have slept with - and the book's cover sneakily alludes to that (pictured) - but this is a rather splendid collection of travel photos, held by the University of Liège's centre for Simenon studies. The pictures are taken over only a few years (1931-5) but cover a wealth of locations, from north and eastern Europe to Africa and north America...

Complete blog here

Roddy

Maigret's Paris: a walk

10/6/10 – via The Man from London by Jonas Milk on 9/13/10

Georges Simenon's books, as I've noted before, are so thick with atmosphere they almost serve in their own right as guides to the cities in which they're set. He's best on Paris, most notably in the novels dedicated to Chief Inspector Maigret. It would be the work of a lifetime to plot the locations from his books - and many are long gone, of course - but a few obvious sites stand out.

Start at 36 Quai des Orfèvres, the headquarters of the Police Judiciare and Maigret's base, on the Île de la Cité. (This wonderful Life article includes a photo of Simenon climbing the stairs there, in the mould of his hero - and what great ads.) Behind it, on the Place Dauphine, is the setting for the fictional Chez Paul, the bar to which Maigret used to send for beers and sandwiches in the midst of one of his night-long interrogations....

Complete blog here

Roddy

Maigret on YouTube

10/9/10 – Here is a link to another Maigret on YouTube [just the introductory few minutes... of Murder on Monday (Maigret et l'homme du banc / Maigret and the Man on the Bench)].

The quality seems to be exceptionally good and therefore I suspect that if we were to be fortunate enough to have the BBC re-produce the series we would experience a rare treat.

However am I wrong to be suspicious of this clip after viewing the Maigret’s Little Joke clip that I mentioned earlier this year after finding it on YouTube? The quality of both clips are completely different...

And here is the first part of the complete episode of Maigret und die Gangster (Maigret, Lognon et les gangsters / Maigret and the Gangsters), with Rupert Davies, but, sadly, dubbed in German...*

Best wishes
Steve Beamon


*This German-dubbed version of the Rupert Davies series is clearly part of the "mysterious" German Maigret series alluded to by Peter Haining in his "Complete Maigret", discussed in the Forum of January 2001, where Haining mistakenly reported that Maigret was played by Heinz Ruhmann in the series.

ST

New Simenon Bibliography

10/9/10 – Les Amis de Georges Simenon have just published a new book, "Bibliographie illustrée des écrits sur Georges Simenon publiés en langue française":

Bibliographie illustrée des écrits sur Georges Simenon publiés en langue française

Cet ouvrage de Michel Schepens comporte 140 pages.

Dans le chapitre I, sont recensés tous les ouvrages de langue française consacrés à l’œuvre et à la personne de Georges Simenon.

Cet inventaire est assorti des illustrations à l’échelle 1/3, des couvertures ou jaquettes des éditions originales ainsi que de toutes les mentions qui précisent les contributions et autres données de nature bibliographique. Sont intégrés dans ce premier chapitre quelques publications hors commerce, des tirés à part issus de périodiques et divers dossiers pédagogiques.

Le chapitre II présente un choix de catalogues d’expositions consacrées à Simenon ou à son œuvre.

Dans le chapitre III sont réunis des catalogues de ventes publiques ou de librairies de livres anciens.

Le chapitre IV est dévolu aux principaux numéros de revues intégralement (ou en très grande partie) dédiés à Simenon.

Le chapitre V recense les publications simenoniennes périodiques de langue française qui ont Simenon pour thème unique.

Quant au chapitre VI, il regroupe quelques ouvrages de fiction, romans ou récits, dans lesquels Simenon est l’un des personnages nommément cité ou, dans les romans à clef, un personnage masqué.

Ne sont pas repris les innombrables articles dispersés dans la presse généraliste ou littéraire non plus que les thèses universitaires et les pastiches.

Illustrated bibliography of writings on Georges Simenon published in French

This work by Michel Schepens comprises 140 pages.

In Ch.I are collected all the works in French devoted to Georges Simenon and his work.

This inventory is accompanied by illustrations at 1/3 scale, of covers or jackets of the original editions, as well as comments clarifying the contributions, and other bibliographic information. Included in this first chapter are some non-commercial publications, drawn from periodicals and various scholarly sources.

Ch. II presents a selection of catalogues of expositions devoted to Simenon or his work.

In Ch. III are collected various auction catalogues, and those of used book dealers.

Ch. IV is devoted to magazine issues (at least predominately) about Simenon.

Ch. V collects Simenon-related periodical publications in French which have Simenon as the unique theme.

As for Ch. VI, it collects various works of fiction, novels or stories, in which Simenon is one of the named characters, or, in the case of romans à clef, a disguised character.

Not included are the innumerable articles appearing in the general or literary press, nor university theses, nor pastiches.

Regards
Jérôme

re: Maigret on YouTube

10/16/10 – I'd like to thank Steve Beamon for the links - really enjoyed them. I thought the German dubbing was very reasonable (although I've forgotten most of what I learnt at school) in that the voices followed the eyes and emotions very well. The film quality does indeed seem very good on both although I'd buy the dvds whatever if the BBC produced them..

The BBC made much of the Paris locations which have now pretty much all gone so that is another reason to bring out the series again. The ITV Maigret had to be filmed in The Czech Republic.

Thanks,
Jane Gwinn

re: Maigret on YouTube

12/17/10 – A small correction to Jane Gwinn's post... The ITV (Michael Gambon) series was filmed in Hungary and not in the Czech Republic.

David Cronan

One Way Out - French title?

12/23/10 – In the English Penguin book ESCAPE IN VAIN are two stories: The lodger (Le locataire) and One way out. Can anybody tell me the French (or Dutch) title of that book? I cannot find it.

Jan Laffeber
The Netherlands


Les Suicidés

Maigret of the Month: Peine de mort / Les larmes de bougie /Rue Pigalle (Death Penalty, Death of a Woodlander, In the Rue Pigalle)
12/24/10 –

Three stories, three locations, three atmospheres... Or how Simenon has the art of plunging his Chief Inspector into three very different types of "baths", which, each in its way, function to reveal Maigret's way of working...

The first of these stories, Death Penalty, tells us the story of a "tail", in which the Chief Inspector applies himself to following a suspect, badgering him without seeming to, like a monolithic block, taciturn as his creator sometimes describes him, especially in the Fayard cycle (see for example Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett [LET], where, there too, Maigret stays on Pietr's trail, from Fécamp to the Majestic): always on the heels of the suspect, an implacable mass, like "certain certain characters of a child's nightmare... who advance on the sleeper as if to crush him" ([Maigret and the Hundred Gibbets [PHO]), he stays there, awaiting the "slip" which will topple the suspect, the false step which will constitute a confession. The atmosphere of this story, and the Maigret described therein, evoke for me exactly Maigret and the Hundred Gibbets, and, as if by chance (though certainly not...), the denouement of the plot will come in Brussels, like that of the Hundred Gibbets in Liège, as if Maigret's "weight" was even heavier in Belgium...

The second story, Death of a Woodlander, plunges us into a completely different milieu, that which is sometimes called "deep France"... in a hamlet lost deep in the Orléans forest, where they live almost as if in the 19th century, it's a story of family hatred... even sharper for its being shared by two sisters, and at its base a story of money – such as Simenon has described in more than one novel, and also in the non-Maigrets> (see also the story Le deuil de Fonsine. Two sisters who had always lived together, but one had had a lover and the other not, and the hatred was all the stronger as the child of that love "profited" from the shared assets of the two sisters. A plan of vengeance, well mixed with hatred, had almost succeeded, but Maigret, who knows how to swim like a fish in the troubled waters of smoldering grudges, soon discovers the truth. And "soon" is hardly an exaggeration, since he had simply to see a drawing of the scene of the crime, to understand what had taken place. Born in the country, "of peasant stock" as they say in the story, he knew the ways of the village... He knew so well that here, no need for long ruminations, long interrogations... a little candle wax on a wine cask, and with a handsaw Maigret cuts to the quick...

The third story, In the Rue Pigalle, brings us back to Paris, in a district well known to the Chief Inspector, that of Montmartre. It's in the milieu of "punks" and "gangsters" that Maigret leads his investigation this time. Once more, it's not a question here of gathering physical evidence, or coming up with brilliant logical deductions, but of impregnating himself in an atmosphere, or merging into the ambiance... no forceful intervention, revolver in hand, of an acrobatic policeman, but simply "a heavyset man in a thick overcoat, who smokes his pipe, back to the stove, all the while warming a glass of alcohol in his hand", Maigret in one of his favorite poses, observing the life of a café around him, from time to time making an innocent-sounding remark. For he'd been observing everything without seeming to, for he let his observations settle in, to understand the role of the delivery truck at the building. Simenon, once more, has the art of being able to capture in a phrase the "Maigret method" — "But wasn't there also a considerable factor of professional skill, a knowledge of people, and even what's called 'flair'?" The experience of his years as a policeman, his ability to put himself in another's place, his intuition, there in three phrases are what makes Maigret such a special character...

"a heavyset man in a thick overcoat, who smokes his pipe, back to the stove, all the while warming a glass of alcohol in his hand" – Maigret as he is imagined on the cover of the 1964 Fayard edition of The Yellow Dog [JAU].

Murielle Wenger

original French

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