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Maigret Forum Archives 2011

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Jérôme  

Another Maigret Actor?

1/3/11 – Mikk Mikiver (1937-2006) was a prominent Estonian stage and film actor and theater director. His Wikipedia page says (in Estonian) that he was part of a television program : "Cecile on surnud" (1995, 6 osa) and played a police director.

Does anyone know if it is a version based on the Simenon book?

Best Regards
Jérôme

Multi-lingual Maigret at Murielle's site

1/7/11 – Murielle reports that with Jérôme's help, she's added a new section to her Maigret site, Couvertures des éditions en langues étrangères (Covers of foreign-language editions).
Pour le plaisir des yeux...

Maigret of the Month
1/20/11 (11/20/10) – Photos of locations where some of the action takes place in L'affaire Beaumarchais [The Mysterious Affair in the Boulevard Beaumarchais], Peine de Mort [Death Penalty], La fenêtre ouverte [The Open Window]...

L'affaire Beaumarchais : Boulevard Beaumarchais (from Place de la Bastille). Maigret lives on Bd Richard Lenoir, just 200 m from there so he knows this part of Paris very well.


L'affaire Beaumarchais : Metro entry, on the Bd Beaumarchais


L'affaire Beaumarchais : A building on Bd Beaumarchais : they were living on the 4th floor.


Peine de Mort : Gare du Nord, the big clock


Peine de Mort : La Brasserie in front of Gare du Nord


Peine de Mort : Bd des Batignolles


Peine de Mort : Hôtel du Louvres


La fenêtre ouverte : Rue Montmartre and Rue des jeûneurs


La fenêtre ouverte : Interior of a courtyard, Rue Montmartre

Jérôme

Maigret of the Month: Une erreur de Maigret (Maigret's Mistake)
1/22/11 –

This story, the last of the series of eight written by Simenon for Paris-Soir-Dimanche (appeared Jan. 3, 1937) shows us Maigret in an unusual light.

While we are familiar with the great humanity, empathy and compassion the Chief Inspector shows toward his "fellow human beings", we discover him here disgusted, exasperated, and irritated by someone to the point of feeling the need to strike him, an attitude far from common for him.

In fact we can count the rare cases when Maigret feels this repulsion toward someone he encounters... There is Dandurand (Maigret and the Spinster [CEC]):

"He who, despite his gruff airs, had so much indulgence for most human weaknesses, bristled before certain types of being, feeling physically sickened at their approach. Now, M. Dandurand was one of these..."

Similarly, it's even rarer that Maigret strikes someone... He slaps Philippe de Moricourt (My Friend Maigret [AMI]), and Alban Groult-Cotelle (Inspector Cadaver [CAD]), "petty racketeers" that he despises. He uses his fists even less frequently, only when he feels a true loathing for the person before him. In these cases, the person he strikes has made an innocent victim suffer... like Labri in the present story, or Ramuel in The Hotel Majestic [MAJ]):

"Then he looked at his hands. It was a Maigret that few people knew, and those who did rarely boasted about it afterwards. ... In an instant, Maigret's fist shot out, striking the nose of the accountant, who'd raised his arms too late."

There, it was the "dirty trick" played on Prosper Donge that Maigret sought to avenge by hitting Ramuel, while here it's the shattered innocence of young Emilienne that Maigret responds to by punching Labri in the face. In both cases, Maigret puts himself in the victim's shoes, or at least he feels very close to them. And it's with "almost a father's rage, as if he were avenging his own daughter" that he hounds Labri...

And perhaps if Maigret is so harsh, it's because he has a special interest in innocent young girls and victims of bad luck... Thinking of Louise Laboine (Maigret and the Young Girl [JEU]), Emma (The Yellow Dog [JAU]), Arlette (Maigret in Montmartre [PIC]), and others, it's as if he feels a special mission to defend these helpless beings...

Finally, we note this "gut reaction", violent and physical, of Maigret, a part of the character as he was in the first part of the corpus... It is interesting to see that in this story, where Maigret appears so hard, comments on his massive physical aspect abound... "Maigret was too big, too wide for this basement"; "the facts that Maigret, his mouth in a snarl, mulled over in his massive head", "he could hardly restrain his large fists". We find here the Maigret of the Fayard cycle, with the elephantine traits as described, for example, in Maigret and the Hundred Gibbets [PHO], this massive silhouette ends up, however, by "slimming down" with time, if not literally, at least figuratively... The terms describing the "rustic" characteristics of Maigret are much more numerous in the Fayard period, and if his silhouette remains as corpulent in the Presses de la Cité cycle, the author no longer attaches any importance to it, as if the heavines had become, above all, "interior". And with the "erasure" of the rough-hewn features, there was also a certain indulgence which replaced the repulsions. Certainly, Maigret continues to to be angered by the nastiness of which a human being is capable, but more and more, it becomes possible for him to understand all the deprivations, or rather, all the human weaknesses...

Murielle Wenger

original French

Maigret of the Month: Une erreur de Maigret (Maigret's Mistake)
1/31/11 – In the recent article "Maigret of the Month" dated 1/22/11, it is said that:

"This story, the last of the series of eight written by Simenon for Paris-Soir-Dimanche (appeared Jan. 3, 1937)..."
This date is incorrect. I know that Cl. Menguy indicates Jan. 3, but the correct date is Jan. 2. Paris-Soir-Dimanche published its weekend issues on Saturdays and Sundays with the same content for both.
Claude Menguy always indicates the Sunday date. But in fact the story appeared for the first time on the Saturday. I have written an article on this matter which will be published soon in the "Bulletin des Bibliophiles"

Best regards
Philippe Proost

Simenon's Lakeville address?

2/19/11 – I really like your Maigret/Simenon site. Lots of info! Do you happen know the address of Simenon’s Lakeville house? My wife and I want to make a pilgrimage there. Thanks!

Sebastian

Maigret of the Month: L'amoureux de Mme Maigret (Madame Maigret's Admirer)
2/26/11 –

1) This story is part of the series of 10 stories written during the winter of 1937-1938 at Porquerolles, and which appeared in 1938-1939 in the volumes of Police-Film and Police-Roman (see this site for the original covers). Madame Maigret's Admirer [amo] is actually the last to have appeared in this series (see here for the publication dates).

If we compare this second series of stories with the preceding, one fact is immediately striking — their lengths. They are noiceably more sizable than those of the first series. In the Édition Rencontre collection of these stories, the first have an average of 13 pages, while the second average 38 pages. This higher number of pages results in the author dividing his texts into chapters, between three and four according to the story.

While the two stories written in 1939 (The Man in the Street [hom] and Sale by Auction [ven]) are again shorter (around 17 pages each), the stories of 1945 and 1946 are noticeably longer (averaging 42 pages), and the last story written by Simenon (Maigret's Christmas) [noe] is even longer (70 pages), to the extent that it's difficult to decide whether to call it a story or a novel (see here).

Here is a summary graph:

Édition Rencontre page count is at left; along the bottom, the stories in order of appearance.

2) This story shows us the Maigret couple in a new light, with a Mme Maigret who plays a larger role, leading her own investigation in parallel with that of her husband, who, moreover, is somewhat irritated by this, feeling that she's encroaching on his territory... To make matters worse, not only was it thanks to her that he was set on the right track, but he couldn't avoid feeling a certain admiration for Mme Maigret's intuitions...

3) You may be astonished to find that, in this story, the Maigrets are living on Place des Vosges... Simenon himself later offers an explanation for this "incongruity", in Maigret's Memoirs, where he writes, through the intermediary of his Chief Inspector,

"In several of his books Simenon described us as living on Place des Vosges, without offering the slightest explanation... It is quite true that for a number of months we lived on Place des Vosges. But we were not in our own home. That year our landlord had at last decided to get the building refaced, which it had been needing for some time... We had been promised that it would take three weeks at most. After two weeks they had got nowhere, and just at that time a strike was declared in the building trades, and nobody knew how long it might last. Simenon was just off for Africa, where he was to spend nearly a year. "Why don't you move into my apartment on Place des Vosges until the job's finished?" And so it happened that we went to live there, at Number 21, to be exact, without incurring the reproach of disloyalty to our dear old boulevard. "

Simenon must have felt some pleasure at conveying this idea that the Maigrets had lived "chez lui", for we find the same affirmation in Maigret on the Defensive [DEF] (to Vivier who gave him Mlle Motte's address, Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, Maigret responds that he knew the building, for he had "lived nearby for a while on Place des Vosges"). And in Maigret and the Bum [CLO] ("During the several months that Maigret had lived on Place des Vosges, while his apartment on Boulevard Richard-Lenoir was being renovated, they often went out, he and his wife, for evening walks around the Île Saint-Louis."). And in Maigret and the Killer [TUE] ("He knew the Île Saint-Louis fairly well, for they had lived on Place des Vosges, and in those days they often had occasion, in the evening, to walk arm in arm around the isle.").

On the other hand, except for the present story, I've found no trace of this move of the Maigrets to Place des Vosges before the explanation we find in Maigret's Memoirs, except in a single novel, and that's in Maigret in Retirement [FAC]: Maigret, retired, telephones his wife who is at Meung to come Paris to take care of Georges-Henry Malik. He told her to go to Place des Vosges, to "their old Parisian home, which they'd kept."

Finally, as an anecdote, we note that if the Maigrets had lived on Place des Vosges during Simenon's travels to Africa, that would place the affair in 1932 (it was in fact from May to September of that year that the author traveled the dark continent for the magazine Voilà), but we know that at that date, Simenon no longer lived at Place des Vosges, since he had moved to La Richardière (Marsilly, near La Rochelle) in February 1932...

Murielle Wenger

original French

Maigret of the Month: L'amoureux de Mme Maigret (Mme Maigret's Admirer)
2/26/11 – Two remarks in the story challenge Simenon's explanation in Maigret's Memoirs. The second paragraph of the story begins, "Thus during the many years they had lived in the Place des Vosges..." (Ainsi, depuis des années et des années qu'ils habitaient place des Vosges...) And later, when Mme Krofta asks Maigret, "You were in the neighborhood already?" and he replies, "I'm here all the year round, for I'm one of your neighbors." (J'y suis toute l'année, car je suis un de vos voisins.

ST

Bruno Cremer Maigret DVDs
2/26/11 –Recently "ONEPLUSONE" advertised vol 22 thru 25 with English sub-titles, the image displayed was different to the French only version indicating a different version. Unfortunately they sent the French only version when ordered and when advised of this error have refunded me. However when asked about the sub-titled version I was informed that the advertised version was an error, and indeed the web-site has been amended accordingly. But do the sub-titled versions exist? I cant find an answer if anyone can enquire I would like to know.

Regards
Martin

Simenon's Lakeville address?
3/1/11 –In reply to Sebastian's query, Pierre Assouline (Simenon) places Simenon's Lakeville, Connecticut estate at the (north) end of Cleveland Street. Google Earth can take you there.

John H. Dirckx

Bruno Cremer Maigret DVDs
3/1/11 – I was most interested to see Martin’s comments (2/26/11) about volumes up to 25 being issued on “ONEPLUSONE”. Some time ago I purchased 40 of these episodes in 4 sets of 10 each. They were described as “Maigret – La Collection, Coffret No. 1” to No. 4. These collected together the 40 discs issued in 20 “Volumes” of 2 discs each. I also bought Volume 21 which contained the last 2 discs available at the time. At some point all 42 discs appeared in one big box which suggested to me that this was the lot from that source (but now it seems that there are more). All of the 42 discs in my collection have good English sub-titles can be switched on.

Now Martin’s message set me looking again. I have looked at www.alapage.com, which is where I bought the discs I have. I have also checked www.amazon.fr which I find is cheaper. Volumes up to 27 are listed at Amazon but the last 2 are not currently available.

Also listed is “Coffret No. 5” which includes the 10 discs in volumes 21 to 25. I like this packaging because it saves on shelf space. All the Cremer DVDs are summarised at jy.depoix.free.fr/videos.htm.

The all-important question for me is about English sub-titles. Of these newer issues, Alapage.com describes only Vols 22 and 23 as having English subtitles. There is no comment about sub-titles on the 10 disc Coffret No. 5 or vols 24 to 27. Amazon is a little erratic when it comes to mentioning sub-titles in another language or sub-titles for hard-of-hearing.

This has been a uniform series so I would hope these concluding discs would be subtitled like the first 42. Can anyone throw any light on this?

All these discs are PAL, Region 2 (Europe), so viewers in other countries would need to be sure they can play them.

Regards and thanks to Steve for this excellent site.
Paul Thomas
Sydney, Australia

Annie Girardot 1931-2011
3/1/11 – The French actress, Annie Girardot, died Monday at age 79. She played the wife of the murderer in Maigret tend un piège (Maigret Sets a Trap). [Jean Gabin as Maigret]

New York Times

Wikipedia

ABC News

Le Monde

Le Figaro

Regards,
Jérôme

re: January Maigret of the Month - Great pictures of Paris!
3/3/11 (3/17) – I really liked the pictures of Paris placed in January Maigret of the Month by Jerome.

Vladimir

re: Simenon's Lakeville home
3/3/11 (3/17) – (Reply to Sebastian, 2/19/11)

Sebastian, hi: If you go, would you share pictures on this site? Thanks.

By the way, there is interesting story mentioned in one of Simenon's biographies about this house. When Simenon was selling it to go back to Europe, the previous owner claimed Simenon promised to sell the house back to him at the original purchase price. Simenon claimed no such promise existed. The house price appreciated by the time of sale, of course.

Vladimir

re: Bruno Cremer DVDs
3/3/11 (3/17) – (see 3/1/11) This subject has been discussed before... at length. I have Coffret No. 5, and my post of 5 March 2010 reveals all.

Cheers,
D.J. Greenfield

Maigret of the Month
3/5/11 (3/17) – Photos of locations where some of the action takes place in Une erreur de Maigret [Maigret's Mistake] and L'amoureux de Madame Maigret [Madame Maigret's Admirer]

Une erreur de Maigret [Maigret's Mistake]


Old building on Rue des Tournelles
rue des tournelles, maisons anciennes


Rue de Metz


Rue St-Denis - its reputation milder now than then
Rue St-Denis : la réputation est moins sulfureuse qu'à une époque


A shop on Rue St-Denis
une boutique rue St-Denis

L'amoureux de Madame Maigret [Madame Maigret's Admirer]


Arcade of the Place des Vosges
arcade de la place des Vosges


The facade of #17 Place des Vosges - There is no #17b. Numbers 17/19 are on the east side
Facade du 17 de la place des Vosges; le 17bis n'existe pas. les numéro 17/19 sont côté est.


Entrance to 17 Place des Voges - there is no 17b
entrée du 17 place des Vosges, le 17bis n'existe pas


Places des Vosges - children playing and benches
Places des Vosges : enfants jouant et bancs


Typical facade - you can see the windows of the maids' rooms where the shooter was
Facade typique : on voit les fenêtres des chambres de bonnes où était le tireur


The gate around the square, enough security for the doors
Barrière entourant la place, sécurisé les portes suffit


An old platform bus
Bus ancien à plate-forme


The platform where Maigret likes to smoke his pipe
la plate-forme : Maigret aime y fumer sa pipe


The cafe on Rue du Pas de la mule where Maigret goes to telephone
café rue du pas de la mule où Maigret va téléphoner


The square and one of the four fountains
le square et une des 4 fontaines


One of the entrances to the park
une des entrées du Parc / square


Facade of Place des Vosges, north side
Facade de la place des Vosges, côté nord

Jérôme

Piéchaud in Maigret
3/11/11 (3/17) – I've visited your website about Maigret, found it very interesting. In fact, as I do genealogy, I was looking for my surname (Piéchaud) in Google and found this page, years ago.

Yesterday I decided to make a post on my blog about that, here.

Thank you very much for this complete website about Maigret!

Sincerely yours,
Raphaël Piéchaud
www.desracines.fr

Bicycles on Rue de Metz?
3/17/11 – Jerome's Maigret-of-the-Month (March) picture (below) of Rue de Metz, shows a long row of parked, same model, bicycles... What are these bicycles?

Vladimir

Rupert Davies Maigret on stage?
3/18/11 – I alighted upon your tantalising 'Maigret' site yesterday in an attempt to find out more about the Maigret play I saw (circa 1965) at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham. It starred Rupert Davies with - I think - Michael Gough (who has sadly just passed away) Do you have any information about this play? Alas, I lost the programme years ago - and I can find no mention of it on-line. I would be grateful if could steer me towards my goal.

Many thanks
Chris Flanagan
(Solihull, West Midlands)

re: Bicycles on Rue de Metz?
3/18/11 – Those are Velibs. They're bikes-for-rent, and they're throughout Paris.

Sebastian

Rupert Davies Maigret on stage? continued...
3/26/11 –

Further to my message a week ago, when I sought information about the 1965 touring play featuring Rupert Davies as Maigret, I have managed to edge forward somewhat in my search. I've discovered it ran at the Strand Theatre, London that year. It may have been touring the provinces prior to October 1965 – and then come into the West End – or it may have commenced its run at the Strand and then toured provincial theatres. I'm not sure.

I clearly recall it at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham at that time and recall the late Michael Gough in a supporting role. In a recent listing of Michael's stage work it establishes him as appearing as the character Theo Besson in 'Maigret and the Lady'. (adapted for the stage by screenwriter Philip Mackie) at the Strand in 1965. I assume this play was developed from the novel 'Maigret and the Old Lady'.

Of course, what was most memorable about the play was the impact of seeing Rupert Davies effortlessly breathe life into Maigret and draw the audience into the story and all its nuances and tensions. Admittedly the Alexandra Theatre was the perfect venue for any tale of intrigue and mystery – something about its faded elegance, maybe - but I reckon Rupert Davies would have cast the same spell anywhere.

Thanks
Chris Flanagan
(Solihull)

Maigret of the Month: La vieille dame de Bayeux (The Old Lady of Bayeux)
3/27/11 –
This story is set in the city of Caen, where Maigret has been sent to reorganize the Flying Squad (Brigade mobile). This pretext permits the author to explain the presence of the Chief Inspector in Normandy, while in theory, he was limited to investigations in Paris. In fact, Maigret already knew the city from his investigation of the Death of a Harbormaster [POR]... It was the family home of the mayor of Ouistreham, M. Grandmaison, which provided Simenon the opportunity to sketch in a few strokes the atmosphere of provincial city, "a peaceful street, with such stately mansions as you only find in the provinces. The house, of age-blackened stone, was fronted by a courtyard" (POR, chap. 12)... We encounter that same atmosphere immediately in the present story, with it's country upper bourgeoisie, who, behind their austere facades and opulence, hide a full measure of secrets and depravities...

Simenon had gotten to know the town a little in the fall of 1931, when the Ostrogoth was moored at Ouistreham (while aboard, he'd written At the Gai-Moulin [GAI] and The Bar on the Seine) [GUI], and that November he'd sold the boat at Caen, before "heading south" to set himself up in Antibes.

This story puts Maigret up against a determined young woman, whose name, Cécile, reminds us of another young woman, whom Maigret will meet some time later in a novel (CEC). Unlike the unassuming Cécile Boynet, Cécile Ledru is self-assured, and is physically attractive... she's "very good", in Maigret's words, "almost too good", and she hides under her innocent demeanor some little secrets... which doesn't prevent her from actually being right, that the murder she suspected had actually taken place. Above all, she'll give Maigret the chance to plunge himself into the affair as he likes, where he must sniff around, scratching the polished surface to reveal the less shiny underparts of this class of bourgeoisie that he particularly dislikes. He feels at home in this sordid atmosphere, as shown by the fact that while he may be ill at ease in aristocratic circles, where he doesn't always know how to act (see Maigret on Home Ground [FIA], Maigret in Society [VIE], etc.), when on the other hand it's a matter of the upper bourgoisie, he handles the humor and irony with ease, playing with his pipe as well he knows how... While he might have been afraid of leading a "pipeless investigation", he manages to get one all the same...: "Was Maigret's indignation real, or admirably played... It's true that he took advantage of it to take his pipe from his pocket with a perfectly innocent air, as if he had forgotten the sumptuous surroundings in which he found himself", "Maigret, as if mechanically, though perhaps with malicious intent, proceeded to fill his pipe while pacing the office", two scenes which remind us of a similar one which took place in Coméliau's office (COR).

And we also note the contrast in Maigret's attitude, as it appears, for example, in the story Maigret's Mistake [err], where we saw a Chief Inspector beside himself, almost fierce, and the Maigret such as we find in this story, where the discovery of the unsavory secrets of the upper bourgeoisie, rather than infuriating him, makes him even calmer, working with "an almost voluptuous slowness", pretending "to be even denser than usual", hiding under his "good-old-boy" appearance, a sharpness of mind all the more acute...

And to close, I can't encourage you enough to see the television adaptation made of this story by Bruno Crémer, in the episode entitled "Maigret et la demoiselle de compagnie (Maigret and the Lady's Companion)", one of the best in the series...

Murielle Wenger

original French

New Maigrets in Hungarian
4/18/11 – Two novels were published for the first time in Hungarian by Agave Publ. Co.

Maigret nyaralni megy
Les vacances de Maigret

Maigret gyanút fog
Maigret et l'inspecteur malgracieux

The Park Co. stopped publishing its Maigret series, but Agave started a new series aiming to publish the novels which have been not translated yet.

Viola Bátonyi from Hungary


See more Maigret in Hungarian covers
collected at Murielle's site.

2011 Simenon festival in Les Sables d'Olonne
4/22/11 – The 2011 Simenon festival in Les Sables d'Olonne will take place from June 11 to 19, for the 13th edition. The festival web site is: www.festival-simenon-sablesolonne.com.

Jérôme

Maigret of the Month: L'auberge aux noyés (The Drowned Men's Inn)

4/23/11 –

1. In the November rain...

Here, once more, we find our Chief Inspector in the damp atmosphere of an autumn day... Of course the weather is nasty, and Maigret works in the rain and fog... with such a title, could we expect anything else? With the sinister sounding name of this inn where Maigret investigates, it's hardly possible to imagine the case set in the radiant days of spring, or in the heat of the summer...

With regard to weather, I had the curiosity to "take a tour" of the series of stories, to make a "mini-analysis" of the weather therein, as I did for the novels...

We note first off that the season is not always expressly mentioned in the text, but that in most cases we can deduce it from clues given by the author. For only one story was there no clue in the text which would lead us to the season, The Old Lady of Bayeux.

The chart summarizes the situation:

Thus we find that more stories take place during the "bad" seasons (I'm calling "bad" the seasons which Simenon generally described as cold and gloomy, fall and winter) than during the "nice" seasons (spring and summer) [15 vs. 12]. We note in passing that in the stories which take place in "fall-winter" (not clarified in the text), the weather is frequently described as cold, wet, and unpleasant. And so we find that in the stories, Simenon more often plunges his Chief Inspector into weather he finds unpleasant, the opposite of the novels.

The chart shows the stories in the chronological order of their writing, with their seasons:


(red = fall, orange = fall-winter, yellow = winter, aqua= summer, blue = spring.)

  • the first series of nine stories, written in October, 1936, takes place entirely in fall and winter. Was Simenon influenced by the weather at the time of writing?

  • the second series of 10 stories, written in the winter of 1937-1938, on the other hand, takes place mostly in the fine season (5 stories in spring, 2 in summer, 2 in fall, and 1 undetermined.)

  • the two stories of 1939 (The Man in the Street [hom] and Sale by Auction [ven]) take place in winter, while the one written in the winter of 1941-1942 (Death Threast [men]) takes place in summer.

  • Lastly, we have a story which takes place in the summer (Maigret's Pipe [PIP], written in June, 1945), then three stories written in the spring of 1946, which take place in winter, spring, and summer, and then one written in August 1946, which also takes place in August (Death of a Nobody [pau]), and finally the last story (provided that we group it with this category...), Maigret's Christmas [noe], which obviously takes place in winter, and which was written in May, 1950.

This brings us back to the finding for the novels, namely that over the years, Simenon tended more and more to offer his hero fair days, since he had often plunged him, at the beginning of the corpus, into the unpleasant weather of a rainy and cold late autumn...

complete article

original French

Murielle Wenger

Maigret on stage in Spanish, 1960

4/26/11 (4/18) – An image of a poster for a theater presentation in Spanish. Based on information I could find on the net, it's an adaptation of Maigret's Mistake [TRO], by Arturo Rigel, a play in three acts, called "Maigret y el asesino de la rue Carnot" [Maigret and the Rue Carnot Killer], presented for the first time in 1960 in Madrid. I don't know any more about it, but perhaps a visitor to this Forum can add something?

Murielle


(Here's an article on the play (in Spanish) that Jerome found on the web.)

Simenon and Rupert Davies in 1962

4/26/11 (4/18) – Here's a photo, probably taken at the time of the "Annual Pipemaker's Ball", in London, 1962, that Simenon presided over, along with Rupert Davies. Here's what Simenon wrote in his "Intimate Memoirs" about it:
"In February [March according to Michel Carly's chronology] I have to go to London, to co-chair, with the imaginative Rupert Davies, the British Maigret, a formal soirée that amuses me: the Pipemakers' Annual Dinner and Ball... An impressive room. I'm on the dais with Davies and the steering committe of the association... the ball follows an excellent dinner and some speeches, including the toast that Rupert and I had to make, all the while smoking our pipes, for here, the pipe is quite all right with white tie and tails, and each of us has been presented with one."

Murielle

Maigret in France pages

5/05/11 – Unfortunately I cannot see all the fotos and maps in the Maigret's journeys in France section. For the rest, a perfect site.

Greetings
Maurits de Wilde


Yes, I realize now that unless you enter from the link on the Links page, and start with Maigret-in-France/maigret3.htm, you won't see the message about the missing images at the top of the page...
That part of the site was recovered from the Internet Archives when it went offline, and unfortunately, not all the images could be recovered... It wasn't mine originally, but was made by Guido de Croock, whom I haven't been able to contact since the site went down.

ST

John Hendriks?
5/11/11 – I'd like to contact John Hendriks, who contributed to the Maigret of the Month for Liberty Bar / Maigret on the Riviera 5/22/2005. (I am a university lecturer writing my PhD on Maigret and Tourism.)

Charles Mansfield

Madame Maigret's Recipes
5/13/11 – Hello: I was talking about Maigret and someone mentioned seeing a cookbook called "Madame Maigret's recipes". Do we know about this book?

Thanks,
Vladimir


From Bernd Fischer's Bibliography:

The books Le cahier de recettes de Madame Maigret (Laffont, 1974) and Simenon et Maigret passent à table (Laffont, 1992, 2003) by Robert J. Courtine are cook books (the second book is provided with photographs of Paris and excerpts from Maigret novels). Translated into several languages (English, German).


Here's a page from Simenon et Maigret passent à table. (click to enlarge). The English edtion has no photos but some Maigret quotes...

ST

In Maigret's footsteps...
5/18/11 – There's information at Sur les pas de Maigret advertising a walk around Paris following in Maigret's footsteps...
The next one is scheduled for Wednesday, June 29th at 10:30 am – information is on the web site.

Regards,
Jérôme

The Maigret statue...
5/22/11 – Murielle spotted this (there are two copies up for sale on eBay now), from the Italian journal Domenica del Corriere, April 24, 1966. That's before the actual unveiling in September of that year (see The Maigret Statue at Delfzijl), and so the image of the statue is apparently from the artist's imagination... The actual statue has Maigret in a bowler hat, and his pipe in his hand...

We can recognize Simenon, Jean Gabin and Gino Cervi, and on the left, Andreina Pagnani, the Italian "Mme Maigret".

ST

(See the collection of international Maigret covers here at Murielle's site.)

Maigret is a name
5/23/11 – Most of you know this, of course, but it was a surprise for me to discover that 'Maigret' is an actual family name, and a quite common one in the French speaking parts of the world.

Vladimir,
Vancouver Canada

Great recipes
5/24/11 – In response to Vladimir's recent post, I've been using Mme Maigret's cookbook for years! The coq au vin blanc is superb! As are many of the other recipes and wine suggestions. It's a fun book to use, and a great way to plan a dinner party if you're also watching one of the films.

Regarding the subtitle-or-not issue with the 5th volume of the Cremer Maigret's, Amazon.co.uk indicated on its site that it had two new copies with subtitles in English. I have no idea whether that's accurate and, if so, whether all episodes are subtitled. Anyway, I've ordered it and if it's only in French, so be it. I'll report back after I've received it and viewed it.

Spent a lovely Easter weekend in Paris, in a flat on Ile St Louis, so I was convenient to the Quai des Orfevres!

Steve Cribari

Maigret of the Month: Stan le tueur (Stan the Killer)

5/25/11 –

This story is particularly interesting because it evokes several themes that we find in other texts of the Maigret corpus. To begin with, it takes place in a district of Paris often frequented by Maigret in his investigations, the Marais, and the entire affair evolves between three streets which form a rectangle parallel to the Place des Vosges: Rue Saint-Antoine, Rue de Birague, and Rue des Tournelles.

In the corpus, Simenon describes this quarter as he knew it in the years 1920-1930, peopled with colonies of immigrants, especially populations from Eastern Europe... Poles, Czechs, Russians and Jews. Rue Saint-Antoine, which crosses Rue de Birague, also borders the Saint-Paul district, meeting further along Rue du Roi-de-Sicile, which Maigret visited in Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett , when he was searching there for the hotel that Fédor Yourovitch and Anna Gorskine lived in. Rue Saint-Antoine is in a way the primary artery, "wide, bright, with its trams, its show window displays" (LET), with its crush of carts and stalls, serving the small back streets, cul-de-sacs where "one sensed the human swarm, a shifty, shameful life" (LET).

We will meet nearly the same Poles as those on Rue de Birague in Maigret and the Spinster [CEC] – this time, Janvier doesn't play a waiter at "Tonnelet-Bourguignon", but is sitting at a table in the "Vieux Normand", from which he watches, not the Hotel Beauséjour, but the Hotel des Arcades. Lucas is in his disguise as an old invalid, installed at the window of a neighboring apartment, and the gang of Poles is again led by a young woman. But, engaged in his investigation of Cécile's murder, this is not yet the time for the Chief Inspector to occupy himself with the gang.

We find another reference to this investigation in Maigret and the Surly Inspector [mal] – the phone call which reports the death of the diamond dealer reminds Maigret of another case... "that had inevitably taken place in a little hotel at the corner of Rue de Birague and Faubourg Saint-Antoine, where a dangerous Polish criminal, who had attacked numerous farms in the north, had taken refuge." This time the author adds, however, that the chief of the gang is a man named Stan, and that he killed himself rather than be arrested.

We must wait unil Maigret's Dead Man [MOR] for the affair of the Poles to reach its denouement, thanks to the intervention of Little Albert in this story... If, this time, the seedy hotel is situated on Rue du Roi-de-Sicile, if its name is Lion-d'Or, and that the gang is Czech and not Polish, it's still the same story: a gang pillaging farms in the north of France, led by a woman, the dark-haired Maria replacing the blonde Stéphanie.

And finally, it's in Maigret's Memoirs [MEM] that we find two more references to this case... the first at the beginning of the novel, when the head of the PJ asks the Chief Inspector, "Well, Maigret, haven't you arrested your Pole on Rue de Birague yet?", and the other near the end of the novel, when Maigret, to "inaugurate" his assignment to the Special Brigade, is entrusted with the arrest of a Czech, in a furnished room on Rue du Roi-de-Sicile.

The originality of the current story is the introduction of the character Ozep, Stéphanie's former husband. This person is rather astonishing, both cunning and very intelligent, but also weak, who wants at the same time to bring justice himself, but who can't find the courage to do so until pressed by circumstances.

Another pleasing touch in this story is the author's "impressionistic" descriptions, filled with colors, odors and sounds, as for example that of Rue Saint-Antoine, where "the sun streamed down from a clear sky on the little carts filled with fruits and vegetables", "artichokes were handled, cherries tasted", "the odors of cheese in front of the dairy, and further along the scent of roasted coffee", "the clangs of cash registers and the heavy sounds of the passage of the bus".

Lastly we note, once more, the presence of a "characteristic" Maigret, described both as a silhouette... "his hands behind his back, pipe in his teeth", pushing "his heavy bulk," and by his "methods", analyzed by the Chief Inspector himself... "the ideas and I have been muddling for some time. I go, I come, I sniff around. There are those who think I'm waiting for inspiration, but they're completely on the wrong track. What I'm waiting for, is the significant fact that never fails to arise. It all comes down to being there when it comes, and to take advantage of it...".

original French

Murielle Wenger

Maigret of the Month
5/29/11 – Photos of locations where some of the action takes place in Stan le tueur [Stan the Killer]


Rue Birague with Place des Vosges in the background


corner of Rue Birague and Rue St-Antoine


opposite Rue Birague, the café where Maigret waits (red awning)


Rue des Tournelles : building where M. Ozep lives


Bourse du Travail : near Place de la République, 30 min walk from Rue Birague

Rue St-Antoine is not as described in the story, cars have taken all the place, no more market. Perhaps during the week...

Jérôme

Rupert Davies BBC Maigret


6/02/11 – What a wonderful site, I'm surprised I haven't come across it before now!
Just a few details about the four series of MAIGRET staring Rupert Davies which the BBC produced between 1960 and 1963...

As you know, all 52 episodes still exist - and this is probably down to them having been preserved as 35mm Telerecordings, (sorry if I'm teaching granny to suck eggs, but the very basic idea is that a film camera records the action from an adapted screen which is showing either a live performance, or the transmission of a programme on videotape. So the end result is a reel, or several reels of film, which contain the image on film). Now from these, 16mm reductions prints would have been made for either internal use, or, in MAIGRET's case, for sale overseas. As many, many programmes retained this way were junked over the years it's somewhat of a miracle that MAIGRET exists complete. By the way, the 1969 PLAY OF THE MONTH continuation, MAIGRET AT BAY (Maigret se défend), is also preserved this way. And with the master copies being 35mm instead of 16mm, it does mean that the recordings are all of a marvellous quality.

You may be interested to know that most of these were repeated, usually in the weeks leading up to a new series - though oddly enough, the fifth episode THE OLD LADY (Maigret et la vieille dame) has never received a rescreening in the UK. After the end of the series, the BBC ran a "Best Of Maigret" season, which meant that some episodes have been on three times.

If you'd like a full list of the repeats, then I'll gladly send you it.

Unfortunately, repeats since have been few and far between, but they were...

30-03-69 THE TRAP (Maigret tend un piège) - picked by Davies himself, and repeated with an filmed introduction (now lost) as part of a series of repeats titled STAR CHOICE

31-08-82 SEVEN LITTLE CROSSES (Sept petites croix dans un carnet) - chosen to represent MAIGRET as part of the BBC's 60th Anniversary celebrations. Unfortunately, as this was a Maigret-light episode it provoked a lot of complaints about his absence...

...which meant that the BBC went to the trouble of repeating...

21-11-82 THE FONTENAY MURDERS (Maigret a peur) - to make up for it!

24-09-89 DEATH IN MIND (La tête d'un homme) - repeated as tribute to Simenon.

22-09-91 MAIGRET'S LITTLE JOKE (Maigret s'amuse) - repeated as part of the BBC's tribute to its Lime Grove Studios, which it was vacating.

Hope at least some of this has been of interest,

best,
Ian (Beard)

re: Rupert Davies BBC Maigret
6/8/11 – I managed to miss all but one of the recent (ish) repeats. Nick Faldo was winning the Open during one screening. Much as I should have preferred to see Maigret, I missed the listing along with the others!

This is indeed a great site and certainly enhances the enjoyment of reading the novels. Has anyone any suggestions for persuading the BBC to show these again or put them out on DVD?

Hopefully,
Jane Gwinn

re: Rupert Davies BBC Maigret
6/16/11 – I was cheered by Ian Beard's post [6/2/11] about all 52 episodes being in the BBC archive. My last message about this was way back in 2005, when I made a similar point about how the programmes would have been preserved as 35mm telerecordings. However it's one thing to know the episodes exist, but another to actually get to see them. Realistically, it is unlikely that the BBC will show anything more than the odd episode to mark an anniversary, but it would be fantastic if the series were released on DVD.

Jane Gwinn asks for suggestions in urging the BBC to take action As far as DVD releases go, it is BBC Worldwide (the commercial arm who deal with books and DVDs) who would take the decision to go ahead with the project. Because the costs would include unknown factors such as sorting out rights (including Simenon's estate), there is a better chance of this happening if a large number of people contact BBC Worldwide - by any means at their disposal to convince them of the demand for the Rupert Davies series to be released.

Best wishes,
Mel Roberts

Le Monde de Simenon
6/18/11 –

click to enlarge
Le Monde is republishing Simenon's works... "presented by Pierre Assouline", one volume (three novels) every Thursday. Jérôme reports that he got the first volume and it's only the texts, no photos or additional material.

Along with the notice, Jérôme also sent some articles they published about Simenon for the occasion... including two interesting ones by the publishers of the Italian (Adelphi) and German (Diogenes) editions. They both mentioned the shift (in publishing) from interest in Simenon as the author of Maigret only, to more of the Simenon of the "romans dur," the "Balzac of the 20th Century."

ST

re: Rupert Davies BBC Maigret
6/19/11 – With regards to Mel's post [6/16/11] about suggesting the Rupert Davies BBC series out on dvd, then it's 2Entertain that needs to be nudged into action - they handle the release, or licensing out, of BBC material. Though as it's recently decided NOT to issue a UK set of Douglas Wilmer's SHERLOCK HOLMES series (1965), I'm not holding out much hope.
2Entertain Video Ltd
33 Foley Street
LONDON
W1W 7TL

Not much consolation, but this company here... have issued soundtrack CD of Ron Grainer's incidental music for MAIGRET. And very good it is too!

Ian

Maigret of the Month: L'Étoile du Nord (At the Étoile du Nord)

6/21/11 –
I really like this story, because it describes a situation Maigret is often faced with, that of an interrogation where he goes one-on-one with a suspect, somewhat like a "duel", with the Chief Inspector running the gamut through calm, good-natured, irritated and annoyed, at grips with a man or woman from whom he wants to elicit an intimate truth.

This time it's the young Céline (or Geneviève) that Maigret grapples with... a determined young woman, hardly impressed by the stature of the Chief Inspector, who wants to preserve her secret at any cost. But Maigret is also stubborn — to Céline's attitude, he will first respond with a sort of "hardness", which, little by little, will change to a much more empathatic attitude, as the Chief Inspector begins to understand why the young woman refuses to talk.

In this story, Simenon tells us that his character is about to spend his last days at the PJ, before his retirement. We should note that of the six stories written during the winter of 1938-39, five take place with the Chief Inspector in retirement. These are the stories we will consider in the months to come, namely Storm in the Channel [man], Mademoiselle Berthe and her Lover [ber], The Three Daughters of the Lawyer [not], The Unlikely Monsieur Owen [owe], and The Group at the Grand-Café [ceu]. This modification of his policeman's status will permit his author to place him in situations where he operates in an unusual setting (for example, on vaction at the Côte d'Azur in [owe], or a boarding house in Dieppe in [man], and at the same time, he can carry out his investigation in a manner less "law-bound", and can allow himself some devation from the rules (as for example, when he lets Mlle Berthe's lover escape in [ber], or refuses to reveal that the butcher killed himself in [ceu].

At the Etoile-du-Nord is also an interesting story because it teems with little details, reminiscences, which evoke for us a number of other novels in the corpus... thus, the story opens in a characteristic atmosphere, and the descriptive introduction of the first few lines creates a setting that could be easily adapted into the opening scene of a film — the sound of a telephone ringing in the empty halls of the PJ, a Chief Inspector at daybreak, in an office blue with pipe smoke... through the window we see the quays glistening with rain, dotted with lights from the streetlamps... The remainder of the story will remain in type... beginning the case in a shabby little hotel near the Gare du Nord, on a chilly morning, then closeted in the Chief Inspectors office, pervaded by the odor of coffe and croissants, then a little detour – necessary? – to the anthropometric section... And we're not deprived of the stove stoked by Maigret, nor the sound of the whistle of a tug passing under a bridge... in short, a setting well adapted to one of these seemingly endless interrogations ... So typical, so engrossing, that the Chief Inspector is about to get bogged down. It takes a freeing phone call from Mme Maigret to bring in a little outside fresh air, the down-to-earth questions posed by his spouse, to lead Maigret to the reality and to regain his footing. Liberated, the Chief Inspector finds the thread, puts the clues together, sets his intuition to work and finally discovers the detail that puts him on the track... And to get out of this somewhat troublesome special intimacy which has developed between the Chief Inspector and the young girl, Maigret makes an unexpected move, but one which must be taken as the liberating one — he slaps Geneviève. That allows him to drop his case, and to let off the young girl with no regrets nor second thoughts... And so it is to once more feel his feet on the ground and to find again his equilibrium that Maigret, as at the end of other cases, heads for the depths of a brasserie to extinguish a monumental thirst for beer...

Lastly, in conclusion, I urge you to discover the television adaptation of this novel with Bruno Crémer. In my opion, it's a success. The duel between Céline and Maigret is perfectly rendered.

Murielle Wenger

original French

Maigret of the Month
6/22/11 – Some locations in L'Étoile du Nord [At the Étoile du Nord]


Gare du Nord : the big clock


Rue Maubeuge : starts from Gare du Nord and goes down toward Opera and Gare St-Lazarre


hotel, Rue Maubeuge, 5 min by foot from Gare du Nord


Bd Malsherbe : a large Hausmannian boulevard


Rue Mirosmenil ; 5 min by foot from Bd Malsherbe


17 Rue Mirosmenil : a nice stone building from 1896

Jérôme

Maigret comics in Portuguese - 1955


click to enlarge

6/27/11 – I've found that Le port des brumes was printed as a comic strip in Portugese in 1955. It was published in Século Ilustrado, No. 935, December 3 1955 and following editions. O Século Ilustrado was a weekly supplement to O Século, a Lisbon newspaper.

It seems to be the oldest comic with Maigret... The Maigret Gallery shows the French strip Maigret et l'affaire Nahour, but it seems to be more recent than 1955.

Best Regards
Jérôme

Early Maigret comics - 1950-53


7/1/2011 – I noticed in the Portuguese strip that the artist was Jacques Blondeau, whose Maigret image appeared in this Forum as a "Mini-Mystery" in 1999! And the link there shows he worked for Opera Mundi, which produced the Portuguese one too (see frames marked 96 and 99)

The Internet Archive has the old "La bande dessinée policière" site*, where it lists 14 Maigret strips Blondeau drew between 1950 and 1953: Le chien jaune, Le port des brumes, La pipe de Maigret, L'amie de Mme Maigret, Maigret au Picratt's, Maigret en vacances, Maigret en meublé, Maigret Lognon et les gangsters, Maigret et la vieille dame, Maigret se trompe, Maigret et la guinguette, Le révolver de Maigret, Maigret et la jeune morte and Maigret tend un piège. These appeared in numerous newspapers, including Samedi Soir.

Presumably the Portuguese version of Le port des brumes was the French one with the words redrawn...

ST

*(The site has reappeared on the web, but with strange, virus-like ads...).

Sub-titles in French?
7/5/2011 – Do you know anywhere I can get sub-titles (in French) for the TV Series 'Les Enquêtes du Commissaire Maigret'?

Many thanks if you can help.

Robin

re: Rupert Davies BBC Maigret
7/14/11 – I followed Ian’s suggestion [6/19/11] and contacted 2Entertain Video.

They told me that …"we…do not own the dvd rights to this programme… (you should) contact the relevant production company who produced the programme"…

I searched on IMDB looking at the credits for one of Rupert Davies’ episodes, and it shows that the BBC did produce it.

I must admit I’m confused and disappointed. I’ve seen Rupert Davies, Richard Harris (truly awful), Michael Gambon and Bruno Cremer in TV versions, and Davies was far and away the best in my view, and it would be good to see them again.

Alan Cheshire

Rupert Davies BBC Maigret
7/17/11 – The Rupert Davies Maigret series are, if not all certainly most of them, held in British Film Institute archives.

The BFI have in the past held "Simenon Week", and screened the odd episode and non Maigret plays by the BBC. As the series contract with Simenon and the BBC stipulated the screening to be limited to two broadcasts only, then the recordings to be destroyed in the presence of a bailif, that should be the end of it. However the fact that it did not happen (the BBC have since broadcast about three at least), the only reason nothing happens is down to the Simenon estate who own the sole rights. Therefore the only person/persons to approach would be the Simenon family. This has gone on for so long now I dont think they are interested. During the Simenon Week I approached the BFI representative at the screening outlining the debate about publishing these recordings and he showed great interest and not a little surprise that such an obvious commercial enterprise should be so overlooked. Nothing has happened so don't hold your breath.

Martin Cooke

Rupert Davies BBC Maigret - correction
7/18/11 – The BFI hold fourteen episodes of the BBC's Maigret, but these are copies taken from the master recordings held by the BBC, (all as high quality 35mm film recordings, as well as 16mm prints). Most episodes, if not all, were made as a mixture of 35mm film for the location sequences, and multi-camera in the studio using electronic cameras. However, (like the majority of series one of the later Adam Adamant Lives!), instead of being edited on videotape the series was edited entirely on film, with the output of the studio cameras being telerecorded - so the finished episode was assembled entirely on film. I'm led to believe that some of these "rushes" still exist, featuring non-broadcast studio sequences and behind-the-scenes material. And as the finished programmes were sent for storage in the BBC Film Library, it probably explains why they still exist now - if they had been videotapes, they would have been eventually been released for reuse by the Engineering Department. You can't re-record over film...

I'm afraid Martin is mistaken when he says...

"As the series contract with Simenon and the BBC stipulated the screening to be limited to two broadcasts only, then the recordings to be destroyed in the presence of a bailif, that should be the end of it."
There was absolutely no contractual calling for any Maigret recordings to be destroyed after two transmissions, (indeed a handful of episodes have had three screenings, and The Trap has actually had four!). Although there are examples of such a thing, (1967's The White Rabbit with Kenneth More for example), Maigret isn't among them.

It looks like Alan received a standard letter from 2Entertainment. This company has first option rights to the majority of the BBC archive holdings, and the more nudges they receive about releasing Maigret the better the chances of someone at the company actually taking notice. While it's true that 2E "…do not own the dvd rights to this programme…" that is a situation that could change.

Ian

R4 Plays
7/19/11 – Starting Wednesday 27th July, R4 2:15pm...

THE OTHER SIMENON.
Three stories by Georges Simenon.
1. In Case Of Emergency

Ian

Rupert Davies BBC Maigret - correction
7/23/11 – About the BBC / Simenon contract I wouldn't wish to mislead and can only quote my source. "The Complete Maigret" a book written by Peter Haining. The reference is on page 61.

Martin

Maigret BBC recordings
7/23/11 – Ian states (18th July) there was no contract limiting transmissions. I remember, when the series was originally publicised, reading that there was and Martin must have read the same article!

As Ian appears to be so well informed perhaps he could twist a few arms! I have drawn the online petition to 2entertain's attention - it is back on track now the chap running it has finished renovating his property and there are now nearly 1000 signatures (some still waiting for validation but getting there).

Jane

The "destroyed" Maigret BBC recordings
7/23/11 – Here is the Simenon quote Martin refers to (7/23/11), from page 61 of Peter Haining's The Complete Maigret:
"There is just one clause that D. probably did not read any more than I did, and which I was to become aware of only a dozen years later. It provided that, at the expiration of the contract, all prints and negatives were to be destroyed in the presence of a bailiff, so that today there is no trace of these 52 Maigrets."
Although Haining's book has numerous inaccuracies (see 8/6/02, 11/27/02 for examples), this one is an exact quote of the English translation of Simenon's Intimate Memoirs, appearing on pages 481-82.

ST

First TV Maigret: Basil Sydney

On the pavements of Montmartre a girl is found dead, and Maigret starts his investigation...
7/23/11 – As Robert Fairbanks wrote in his introduction to the petition (5/14/06), "Maigret was first introduced to BBC Television as part of their Sunday-Night Theatre presentations with Maigret and the Lost Life [Maigret et la jeune morte], broadcast on (12/6/59). It was a 75 minute production and it starred Basil Sydney as Maigret."

(Maigret and the Lost Life was also the title of the first BBC radio production of a Maigret, almost exactly two years earlier... presumably Basil Sydney played the role.)

Ian Beard has sent images of the Radio Times article (12/4/59) announcing the show, the text of which is reproduced below. Large images of the Radio Times pages, including the cast list, can be seen by clicking on these thumbnails:

Sunday-Night Theatre Presents Basil Sydney as the famous French detective in a TV adaptation by Giles Cooper

ALONG with Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, Georges Simenon's Commissioner Maigret must rank as one of the best known and best loved detectives of fiction. The secret of his popularity, apart from the success with which his efforts are invariably rewarded, must surely lie in his compassion and his understanding. For Maigret is by no means the cold-blooded sleuth, piling up evidence in a clinically efficient manner before making his arrest. His first interest is in the people he is dealing with, whether they are the victims or the perpetrators of a crime.

On Sunday, television brings Maigret to the TV screen for the first time in an adaptation by Giles Cooper of Maigret and the Lost Life. This is not so much a conventional 'whodunnit' — though both Maigret and his friendly rival, Lognon, are both involved in discovering the murderer of a sad lonely girl who is found dead one night on the streets of Montmartre — as a fascinating insight into Maigret's methods and the workings of his mind. For the discovery of the body sets in motion a swift and comprehensive search for identity, motive, and possible suspects, and extends as far afield as the South of France and New York, via the files of Interpol.

Playing the part of Maigret is Basil Sydney, recently seen as King Creon in the television production of Antigone, while Lognon, the man who both dogs his footsteps, and often beats him to the next clue, will be played by Henry Oscar.

ST

Maigret BBC recordings
7/30/11 – I've e-mailed Stuart Snaith at 2 entertain and he didn't know about the petition. He tells me they have considered the Rupert Davies Series before and will now look at it again.

It does occur to me that the BBC in general doesn't know about the petition. If the dvd set isn't forthcoming it would be nice if they could screen the series again. Failing that the only hope is that one of the signatures will turn out to be ex SAS, Special Branch or a burglar who could raid the BBC Film Store and pirate it!

Does anyone know what the copyright situation is for tv stuff? Certainly some Sidney Bechet films are available and I have just legally been watching Django Reinhart on youtube - wonderful! Maybe tv is different.

Jane

Please reissue the Rupert Davies Maigret series...
a petition to BBC

BBC and Rupert Davies
7/31/11 – Encouraging though Mr Snaith's words are, we've been here before.

A more favourable outcome might be achieved from a lobby to "OnePlusOne", to issue volumes 22 to 27 of the Bruno Cremer series with English sub-titles. Again a commercial opportunity or perhaps not?

Martin

BBC recordings
8/2/11 – I too have been in touch with Mr Snaith. Here is his reply to me:
Hi - many thanks for getting in contact directly and apologies that your earlier correspondence hasn't been replied to.

By coincidence we have been relooking at the commercial viability of releasing these much acclaimed series on dvd and/or on dto (download to own). When previously explored the costs were simply not justifiable but hopefully in this digital age we can make it work.

We are separate to the public service side of the BBC and consequently are required to assess the commercial viability of all projects.

We'll keep you updated.

I am not optimistic given the history of this quest, but who knows?

Bon courage.
D J Greenfield

Rupert Davies Maigret Series
8/3/11 – Martin may possibly be missing the point. Rupert Davies was the embodiment of Maigret and entirely captured the atmosphere of the books.

The location filming was also very special.

Jane

Maigret DVD release by BBC
8/5/11 – Here is a suggestion that Mr. Greenfield may forward to Mr. Snaith. To increase the commercial side of the project (for which Mr. Snaith is so concerned), why not release Maigret series in a mutual promotion deal with Maigret books publication. Something like books carying advertising for TV series (including discount coupons for DVD or DTO) and vise versa.

Vladimir

Maigret of the Month: Tempête sur la Manche (Storm in the Channel)

8/8/11 –

This story shows us Maigret in a new light, but still his old self... That is, our Chief Inspector is retired and, at least at the beginning of the story, avoids becoming involved in any criminal investigations. Out to enjoy his permanent holidays, he finds himself plunged into the murky atmosphere of a family boarding house, with initially no thought but to kill some time while awaiting the boat that will take them on their pleasure trip to England. Nevertheless, if we read between the lines, we realize that in spite of everything, this story contains numerous reminiscences of typical Maigret investigations.

We note that the action takes place in Dieppe, in November, set in a heavy storm, leading us right to the beginning of the corpus, to Pietr le Letton, where another "storm in the Channel" is evoked, a storm whose repercussions Maigret weathers simultaneously at the Gare du Nord in Paris, and another coastal town, Fécamp. Even if the locations differ, the effect is the same. We find it again in another novel, Le chien jaune, where this time the storm sweeps the Brittany coast.

We note also that the ex-Chief Inspector, once interested in the case, will quickly recover idiosyncrasies he had when working at the Quai des Orfèvres. So his placidity, his stoking the stove, and this sentence at the end of the first chapter, "Then he stuffed a pipe, lit it... and planted himself in his favorite pose... pipe in his teeth, back to the fire, hands clasped behind his back... etc."

Actually, in spite of the disorientation created by the place of the action, everything is done in this story to remind us of the "times at the Quai". Not only the manner in which Maigret leads the investigation, but also certain details scattered in the text, which should evoke for the informed reader the world of the Chief Inspector. We note for example, next to the stove in the boarding house, a black marble clock, which makes us think of the one in Maigret's office at the PJ; It's almost as if this Dieppe pension should recall, somewhat murkily, the atmosphere of the Quai des Orfèvres. Thus all the action of this story is concentrated on the inside of the house... "Puffs of air from outside" are only from the intrusion of persons external to the clientele, bringing, along with fresh air and sea spray, the news necessary to further the plot. The interrogations themselves are held in the heart of the pension, confined to the interior, like Maigret in his office at the PJ, in a closed-session to tighten the intrigue. We have but a single moment where the action takes place outside, and, as if by coincidence, it's a moment which passes in environs familiar to Maigret... a brasserie and a dance hall. Where, if not in an ambiance perfumed by grog punctuated with dancing maids, could the Chief Inspector more comfortably discover the truth?

Murielle Wenger

original French

Bruno Cremer as Maigret
8/11/11 – I’ve started to watch the French TV series on dvd (much cheaper if you buy them from Amazon in France rather than Amazon in the UK) and I notice that none of his assistants have the familiar names from the books such as Lucas, Lapointe etc.

Does anyone know why this is?

Alan Cheshire

Maigret of the Month: Mademoiselle Berthe et son amant (Mademoiselle Berthe and her Lover)

8/13/11 –

After the late fall storm on the Normandy coast (Tempête sur la Manche), it's the Parisian spring which greets Maigret in this story. The Chief Inspector is retired, but intrigued by the tone of a letter in the form of an SOS from a young woman, he leaves without too much conflict his garden on the banks of the Loire, proof that he hadn't lost his detective's reflexes as quickly as might have been expected....

However, angry at himself, Maigret is about to retake the train and to leave as fast as he can, but the enticing form and the little red hat of the plump young girl will restrain him. Of course, the pretext for staying is easily found... to protect a damsel in distress. But we know well that Maigret has always had a weakness for the young ladies, especially those wearing red hats (see another Berthe in Signé Picpus) and/or those with a well-rounded form (numerous examples in the corpus)...

And further, the investigation is set in a corner of Paris that Maigret is particularly fond of, that of Montmartre, and more precisely, Rue Caulaincourt, not far from Place Constantin-Pecqueur and the abode of Inspector Lognon, Maigret's "intimate enemy". It's all a very small world that Maigret finds again with pleasure... the sunny apartment of a seamstress, a little bar whose name is a pun, where the patron spends his time playing poker dice with petty pimps. And all it takes is a fricandeau à l'oseille, washed down with a Beaujolais Nouveau, to get the Commissioner into the atmosphere of a case typical of springtime in Paris...

Forget retirement – Maigret rapidly finds once more – (but had he ever lost them?) – the "reflexes of his trade", "grilling someone", with the necessary help of a collaborator (in the person of his Inspector nephew), and of course in the obligatory location of an office at the PJ, and a witness who knows more than he's telling... All the while "never thinking anything," smoking his pipe "with an absent air"... he lets his case simmer while filling himself with choucroute and swallowing a goodly quantity of beer...

Maigret, once he understands Berthe's motives, changes his attitude toward her. While in the beginning he was slightly uncomfortable with the familiarity he himself had created by having agreed to come to her place, after his last visit, it was no longer a man tantalized who visited Berthe, but the Chief Inspector, both "gruff and paternal" who would close his case in a way just as "classic"... reconstruction of the facts, using clues discovered while "mindlessly" fidgeting with objects in Berthe's apartment. And finally, having discovered the truth, he lets the presumed "guilty party" escape, for the happiness of a young girl...

Murielle Wenger

original French

Simenon Exposition


click to enlarge

8/20/11 – The Historial de la Vendée (south of Nantes, France) will present an exhibition about Simenon from 1st October 2011 to 26th February 2012.

Click here for the announcement.

Best Regards
Jérôme

re: Bruno Cremer as Maigret

8/24/11 – I would like to answer Alan Cheshire's concern (8/11/11). The four main Maigret's inspectors, Janvier, Lapointe, Lucas and Torrence, do appear in the series of 54 films where Bruno Crémer impersonates so well Maigret.

Much information may be found on the site jy.depoix.free.fr/commisse.htm, but here's a summary (the numbering of the 54 films follows their chronological order of production, which can be found on the aforementioned website).

Inspector Janvier appears in films 1. 7. 9. 13. 14. 15. 21. 23. /40., in the first eight he is very well played by Jean-Claude Frissung.

Inspector Lapointe appears in movies 4. and 5.

Insp. Lucas appears in movies 7. and 14., where he is played by Jean-Pierre Gos.

Insp. Torrence appears in movies 1. 4. / 8. 9. 10. 11. 21. , in the last five he is very well played by Eric Prat.

Hope this helps.
Dr Gabriel Bittar

Simenon: theme of the suicide disguised as murder

8/24/11 – I have just discovered your website on Maigret and am very impressed.

I read with pleasure your translation of "Menaces de mort", which I have never come across in the French version... Regarding your note no 4:

The theme of the desperate father ingeniously disguising his suicide into a murder was first treated in a short story published in L'Aventure (no 91-92, 1929), under the pseudonym of Georges Sim (I haven't read it, so I don't know the specifics, and in a Joseph Leborgne short story, Le pavillon de la Croix-Rousse, no 7 of Les 13 mystères, published in the weekly Détective during the 2nd quarter of 1929 (the father figure is Italian, the heir is his son);

Then in the long story La nuit des sept minutes, the 16th 'G7' story, written in June 1931, first published in 1933 in the weekly Marianne: from memory, it seems to me that the father is Russian in this story, and that the heir child is his daughter... but I do not have the text with me here (in Australia), so it would need to be checked.

And of course, as you mention it, the theme was reused in the excellent 2nd Maigret novel, "M. Gallet, décédé" (not a Russian figure, not a daughter).

So it seems to me that Simenon transfered a 'G7' story into Maigret's past -- I don't think it's deliberate though, Simenon often made errors of this kind.

High regards,
Dr Gabriel Bittar

RIP Bernd Fischer
8/25/11 – I just received, belatedly, the sad news from Leonard Fischer, Bernd Fischer's son, that Bernd (Hans-Bernhard) died on April 26, 2008, at age 60. Bernd created and shared with us his Simenon Bibliography, posted here on April 23, 2008, just a few days before his death.

15 Years!

8/25/11 – While looking through the archives, I noticed that this Maigret site first aired on August 29, 1996, making next Monday the 15th anniversary. The Forum began some eight months later, on April 7, 1997. The Maigret-of-the-Month feature, which has only five more stories before we've gone through the complete Maigret corpus – 75 novels and 28 stories – began at about the 7½-year mark, in January 2004. Thanks to the contributions of so many knowledgeable readers, I think we've made a significant contribution to Maigret scholarship and enjoyment.

Especial thanks go to our "resident Francophones", Jérôme, who has been a mainstay here from virtually the beginning, and Murielle, whose MoMs and numerous other fine contributions date from 2005. And to all the other "regulars", and many, many others... We remember fondly Peter Foord, and his fine articles for the few years preceding his death in 2007... the years pass so quickly.

And we're still being discovered... The current Forum, for example, includes interesting contributions from Ian Beard and Dr Gabriel Bittar, both of whom are new to the site.

Although I have a number of sites at trussel.com, Maigret is my favorite, the only one with an active Forum... It's a real treat to browse through the Forum archives! I'm looking forward to what we can do with it in the coming years... and I'd like to hear your comments and ideas...

There are many things wrong with the world...
but Maigret isn't one of them!

Steve

Geographical Maigret?
8/25/11 – Do you know if there’s a geographical breakdown of the Maigret novels and stories on the Maigret site? I’m trying to list all the works according to where they are primarily set. If there is I couldn’t find it, but nothing unusual there!

Thanks.
Stephen Cribari


Yes, there's Guido de Croock's "Maigret in France, outside Paris", and a geographical summary of all the Maigrets, including outside of France, in Murielle's MoM of August 2009, Maigret in Vichy, 3. Maigret takes a vacation.
There's really a lot on this site, so it's not so easy to find, but there are some powerful tools. I tried two ways... first, I put "geographic" in the search box, where I found

32. Maigret Forum Archives - 5 - 2002 ... just across the border from Belgium) should be added to Guido's list. My geographic distribution of Maigret's 102 cases (using the place of murder as the case's ... Terms matched: 1 - 15 Jul 2011 - 303k - URL: http://www.trussel.com/maig/archive5.htm

That took me to appropriate archive page, where I found David Drake's item by using "geographic" in the browser's Find box (F3). He mentioned Guido's chart, but I noticed the link a little lower down on that page.

Then I tried the Reference link, at the top menu. I looked through the topical list there, and I found Paris, M outside of, which I clicked and found the link: Maigret - in France, outside Paris.

For Murielle's, I tried "outside France" in the search box.

There may well be more... See Murielle's "Re: Maigret Map of France", and Guido's discussion of inside/outside Paris in the Forum below David's item... around the 6th anniversary of this site in 2002! (Guido had an excellent website, "Maigret's journeys in France", which went down in 2006. I've recovered much of it via the Internet Archives, and reposted it here.)

ST

Updates to Maigret 85 and Combined list of 245
8/27/11 – Here are my two lists (pdf) that have been up on this site for a while, [Maigret list by publisher], and [Combined list of 245], with some changes. I've made the order of books within each year correspond to Manguy's achevé d'imprimer dates as far as possible.

If anyone can see mistakes or omissions, please tell me. They are intended to be the clearest short lists of all the first (book) edition titles in French anywhere. If anyone is puzzled about how I get to 245, trust me: it does add up if you count everything and take out duplications!


8/30/11 – I have made 3 more changes to the two lists as a result of going through them again.
1. I have changed Maigret et l’inspecteur malgracieux to Maigret et l’inspecteur malchanceux. That was a howler. This is a list of French first editions, and malchanceux was used for the first edition, not malgracieux. Simenon wasn't happy with malchanceux.
2. I've taken out the entry for the unpublished story L'invraisemblable Monsieur Prou because a) it refers to a "roman radiophonique" – basically a radio script – and was thus novel in that form, not a story, and b) it was published in 2003 as Le soi-disant M. Prou. So I've made a new entry.
3. For good measure, I've added an entry for Victor, without counting it in the total. This was the novel Simenon would have published in late 1972 or early 1973 if he hadn't stopped writing novels. His notes for it are published here.
That (as some people reading this may not know, as the site doesn't have an obvious url) is by far the best Simenon bibliographic site, just as this is by far the best Maigret site. If you look at its entry for Maigret and M. Charles, the thought occurs: how charmingly old-fashioned Le Figaro looked in 1972!
If Victor had been published, then Maigret and M. Charles wouldn't have been Simenon's last book. His first – as Simenon – was also a Maigret. Some say it was Monsieur Gallet, décédé, some Le pendu de Saint-Pholien, some Pietr-le-Letton. It was actually the first of those if you go by order of printing.
9/16/11 – a few more small changes...

David Derrick

4 photos for a 15th anniversary...
8/30/11 – A word of congratulations to this site - and its author - for 15 years of activity! To "celebrate" the event, these four photos, taken on the occasion of a brief stay in Paris this past weekend, for non-Maigret purposes... However, I can't go to Paris without thinking a little bit of our Chief Inspector...

So of course I couldn't visit the capital without almost obligatorily passing by the Quai des Orfèvres... and photographing the "Pointed Tower" before the probable move of the PJ to a new location, scheduled for 2015... And then what will happen to these mythical places? A PJ museum, with a room dedicated to Maigret would seem like a good idea...

Another indispensable visit is the Place des Vosges. "Under the arcades, which form a prodigious belt around the Place, there were few lights. Hardly three or four shops." (L'ombre Chinoise ch. 1)

And another famous location, the Place de la Bastille. (I thought I remembered a passage in a Maigret novel in which the Colonne de Juillet was mentioned, but I can't find the quote. Thanks in advance if someone can tell me...)

The Place de la Concorde was too broad, too fresh, too airy, with, at its center, the protruding white obelisk." (Maigret et son mort ch. 1)

Longue vie au site de Steve, avec de nombreuses nouvelles contributions de tous les internautes maigretphiles !

Meilleures salutations
Murielle

Maigret Forum - 15 years!
9/1/11 – Fifteen years! I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the wonderful web site you created and maintain. I still remember the day I discovered it. It was the start of September 1997 and I was going on vacation the following day. I spent 2 weeks, waiting eagerly to come back to enjoy it and read through it. I waited one year before sending my first contribution to the forum in December 1998. I felt new to the subject, even though I started reading my first Maigret in August 1990, (I was in Basel, and the only books there in French were Maigret books..... that's how it started for me).

I really enjoy all the contributions and questions by the regular (thank you Murielle) and occasional visitor to the site. I feel lucky that I live in Paris where most of the books take place. That allow me to easily visit the locations. I try to share this with everyone through my pictures.

I hope that the reading of Maigret will bring us many more hours of pleasure and your site continue to escort us on this journey through Maigret books.

Best Regards
Jérôme

Rupert Davies Maigret on DVD
9/2/11 – Congratulations on the 15 year anniversary, long may the site continue.
I recently found a web site, www.radiotymes.co.uk from where I purchased a DVD of The Fontenay Murders and Seven Little Crosses [Rupert Davies as Maigret] at a cost of £4.99 plus postage – reasonable quality as well. Rest assured that I have no interest in the radiotymes website.

Best wishes
Steve Beamon

Fifteen interesting years
9/3/11 – Let me join Jerome, Murielle and all others with my appreciation of this Maigret site, and thank Steve for his dedicated effort all these years.

Vladimir,
Canada

Maigret on DVD
9/4/11 – Just want to thank Steve Beamon (my friend for life!) for tracking the Rupert Davies dvds. On the assumption that if his arrived so will the one I've just ordered, I am well chuffed!

And many thanks to the boss for this site from which I've learnt so much.

Jane Gwinn

Listmania - Simenon - The 13 American novels
9/5/11 – (French publication dates, UK titles first)

1. Three Rooms in Manhattan, aka Three Bedrooms in Manhattan 1946
2. Maigret in New York, aka Maigret in New York’s Underworld 1947
3. La jument perdue (untranslated) 1948
4. The Bottom of the Bottle 1949
5. Maigret and the Coroner, aka Maigret at the Coroner’s 1949
6. Un nouveau dans la ville (untranslated) 1950
7. Belle 1952
8. The Brothers Rico 1952
9. Red Lights, aka The Hitchhiker 1953
10. The Fugitive, aka Account Unsettled 1954
11. The Watchmaker of Everton aka The Watchmaker aka The Clockmaker 1954
12. The Rules of the Game 1955
13. The Man on the Bench in the Barn 1968

David Derrick

Rupert Davies/Maigret on YouTube
9/6/11 – Every once in a while I check out your website and enjoy it very much.

I'm writing because I notice several posts regarding whether the BBC will issue a dvd(s) of the Maigret series featuring Rupert Davies.

Someone may have already posted or advised you of this, but one episode, Maigret's Little Joke, split into parts, is available on YouTube. Here are the links:

Part 1     Part 2

Keep up the good work,
Lee Johnson

Greetings from Denmark: Maigret in new edition
9/7/11 – I'm just another great fan of le commisaire Maigret. My late grandmother Karen Nyrop Christensen (1895-1991) was a translator and responsible for many of Simenon's titles in Danish. This spring, a Danish publisher started the great project of publishing all of his novels in a new edition, with two books in each tome.

Since I found your excellent online resources some time ago, I have been dreaming of a Simenon/Maigret book blog for readers here in Denmark. I hope to be able to contribute with my thoughts as a reader, spiced with some more factual knowledge using your work as a primary source; hopefully also I can initiate some sort of book reader club online. I'll let you know as soon as there is something up online for the record

Susanne Nyrop

Paris Metro Tales


9/22/11 – Interesting new arrival. Le petit restaurant des Ternes isn't a Maigret story, but features one of his collaborators, Lognon, and is one of the trio of Christmas stories which were published together as Un Noël de Maigret.

It was the only one which had never had a translation ... until now. It's in an anthology published this year called Paris Metro Tales. A good Christmas stocking item.

David Derrick

Simenon in Plume, the magazine of patrimony

9/22/11 – The new issue of Plume has 14 pages on Simenon, including an interview with his son John...

Jérôme

Maigret of the Month: Le notaire de Châteauneuf (The Three Daughters of the Lawyer)

9/23/11 –

A lovely story, this one, rather unusual, since Maigret doesn't investigate a murder, but is occupied with a "simple" theft. But it's also an interesting story, because it is strewn with reminiscences, allusions to other Maigret cases.

In this story we find our Chief Inspector in retirement, a retirement which will be interrupted, once again, by a visitor who has come to solicit Maigret's help. And I have the impression that it's not only because of his reputation as an investigator that he is so often disturbed, but that it's also his author who cannot resist plunging his character "into the bath"... the bath where Maigret feels most comfortable, where he can sniff around and pry into in the nooks and crannies of everyday lives, apparently so peaceful...

Indeed, we can note this sort of "fatality", like history repeating itself, which drives Simenon, each time he tries to distance himself from his character – describing the last days of the Chief Inspector at the PJ, then his retirement – to bring him back, little by little, into service. So we find in the last two novels of the Fayard cycle, in L'écluse no 1 [ECL], Maigret is a week away from retirement, and in the following novel, entitled "symbolically", as if written, Maigret [MAI], the Chief Inspector is already retired. Simenon, petitioned by readers upset by Maigret's "disappearance", brings him back once more in a daily serial, but swears then that "this will be the last time" (see this text) that he will report one of the Chief Inspector's cases. However...

However, some two years later, appealed to once more by a newspaper publisher, Simenon, perhaps sad – who knows? – to have abandoned his character, agrees to bring to life some new adventures... and thus was born the series of stories which appeared in 1936-37 in Paris-Soir-Dimanche. In these stories, the Chief Inspector is once again active at the PJ.

A year passes, Simenon devotes himself to writing other novels, and then, in 1938, he is once more taken by Maigret, for another series of stories. And what's interesting to note is that this time the novelist follows exactly the opposite path of that of the Fayard series... he first writes five stories (ber, man, not, owe, ceu) where Maigret is retired but carries out his investigations nonetheless. This seems logical... it's hard to imagine Simenon telling us about the daily life, peaceful and without drama, of a retiree who fishes with a rod and reel in the Loire. Something must happen for the author to tell us again about his character. In a "non-Maigret", Simenon would describe an event which would upset the life of the quiet retiree, and in a story with Maigret, it's someone who comes to bring the ex-Chief Inspector some puzzling little thing...

Then, after these five stories "in retirement", the next one, (eto), shows us the Chief Inspector two days from retirement, and this will be, for this series, the last before Maigret returns to service. The four remaining stories (noy, sta, bay, amo) show us the Chief Inspector active at the PJ.

But the tale doesn't end there...

In 1939, Simenon writes two more stories (hom and ven) where the Chief Inspector is in active service, and then, during the war, another six novels for the Gallimard series, plus the story Menaces de mort [men]. In 1945, it's another long story, La pipe de Maigret [pip], followed by a short novel, Maigret se fâche [FAC], in which the Chief Inspector is once more put into retirement by his author, who is probably thinking of getting rid of his character, at the same time as he leaves "old Europe" to discover the New World. A new life, renewed writing, and the abandonment of a character who has taken perhaps a little too much space... But that's without considering that his new publisher, Sven Nielsen, who is also on the side of publishing "non-Maigrets", might benefit from the large printings associated with the adventures of the Chief Inspector. And it's also without considering the power of a character who haunts his author, like it or not...

And thus, established in Canada in 1946, Simenon writes a new Maigret novel, in which the Chief Inspector is again in retirement, Maigret à New York [NEW]. But this will be the last time... not the last time the author returns to his character, but the last time he'll show him in retirement. Henceforth, and through the last novel of the cycle, Maigret will be, forever, "the man of the Quai", trailing curls of pipe smoke from his office to the Brasserie Dauphine, from the Canal Saint-Martin to the streets of Pigalle, from his apartment on the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir to the little district bistros, with their odors of choucroute and fricandeau à l'oseille...

Murielle Wenger

original French

Maigret in the titles

10/4/11 – Following Murielle's interesting post, I am wondering why some titles start with "Maigret" and some not? Did this happen by chance, or had Simenon a reason why the book is not called "Maigret and Lawyer's Three Daughters"?

Vladimir

Simenon in The Museum of Letters and Manuscripts of Brussels

10/05/11 –
"The Museum of Letters and Manuscripts of Brussels will open its doors on September 23th, 2011. In addition to the hundreds of manuscripts by important historical figures which make up our permanent collections, we also offer a rotating programme of temporary exhibitions. The inaugural exhibition is dedicated to one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, whose turnover is estimated to amount to 550 million copies. In 1989, the man was ranked the 18th most translated author worldwide by the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, 4th among French-language authors and first among Belgian authors. We are, of course, talking about Georges Simenon. Between his birth in Liège on February 12th, 1903 and his decease in Lausanne on September 4th, 1989, Simenon authored - using 25 different pen names - 176 ‘popular’ novels. Under his own name, he produced over 200 novels, 155 novellas and 25 autobiographical texts. He owes his fame among the general public to his detective stories, and particularly to the series starring Commissaire Maigret who, from 1931 to 1972, applies his nonchalant but relentless intelligence in 75 novels and 28 novellas, virtually obliterating the rest of Simenon’s equally original works..."

(from the MLM website > temporary exhibition > current exhibitions)


Thanks to Joe Richards (A Walking Tour of Simenon's Liège, Maigret in Defzijl, In Maigret's Footsteps in Montmartre, Maigret's Bus...), and Claude Boehringer, for sending in notices of this new museum and the opening Simenon exhibit.


"In 1989, [Simenon] was ranked the 18th most translated author worldwide by the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, 4th among French-language authors and first among Belgian authors."

New Maigret in Hungarian

10/08/11 –

There is a new Maigret in Hungarian :

Maigret és a halott gyémántkereskedő

This is "La nuit du carrefour" which was never published in Hungarian before.

You can read the first 10 pages here.

Jérôme

Maigret of the Month: L'improbable Monsieur Owen (The Unlikely M. Owen)

10/29/11 –

This story, like all those examined so far, appeared first in the weekly, Police-Film, in 1938. This series of stories, and those written in 1936 for another journal, Paris-Soir-Dimanche, were collected into the anthology, Les Nouvelles Enquêtes de Maigret, published in 1944 by Gallimard.

But why was Monsieur Owen, along with Ceux du Grand-Café, excluded from the published anthology? (The public had to wait until 1967 for their appearance in a volume published by Rencontre.)

I have no answer to this question, for nothing in the story, it seems to me, justifies its exclusion. On the contrary, it's a very good story, where we discover, once more, Maigret in a new light, and an unexpected one... He's retired, and happily so, basking in the Mediterranean sun (though he hadn't cared much for this hot, lazy idleness when he was on active duty (see Mon ami Maigret, for example)!). A Maigret who spends his time sunbathing, with good food and drink, showing off fashionably by wearing outfits unexpected of this retired Chief Inspector... white flannel trousers, red and white shoes... and even six different ties! And for lounging on the beach, a bathing suit and a red bathrobe!

But his true nature will soon reappear, and when the mystery of the affair that Louis keeps pestering him about becomes enticing enough, we see him quickly dropping his "bored listener" role, and taking up once more the habits of "when he was at the Quai". And while sipping a beer in a little bar near the port, the ex-Chief Inspector's "gaze became at the same time heavy and acute, as renowned at the P.J., and he took on that strange placidity which seized him precisely when his spirit was working most actively. " (Ch. 2 of the story).

We also learn, in this story, some small details which add a touch to the Chief Inspector's portrait. For example, that Mme Maigret had eleven aunts (The Alsatian dynasty of Kurt and the Léonards was rather prolific...). In examining the corpus, we find the names of three of these aunts: Emilie (the one concerned with in this story) who lives in Quimper; Géraldine, married to Anselme Léonard, at whose house the young Jules Maigret had made the acquaintance of a certain Louise (see Les mémoires de Maigret)...; and Cécile, who passed her time regarding herself in the mirror (see Maigret et la jeune morte).

And further, we'll learn that the young Maigret at school was not talented at languages (that, we already knew... see for example, Le revolver de Maigret or Maigret, Lognon et les gangsters), and that his three prize subjects were French composition, oratory (and so perhaps we better understand the Chief Inspector's gift for handling the language when he interrogates suspects...), and, more surprisingly, gymnastics... However, in the end, it's not so surprising as all that... If the Chief Inspector is recognized for his heaviness, we also know that he can provide proof, when he wants to, and when necessary, of a certain agility. Consider his "acrobatic prowess" in his pursuit of Pietr on the beach at Fécamp (Pietr le Letton), or in certain turbulent arrests (for example, Bronsky in Maigret et son mort).

Finally, we note the very special atmosphere of this story, where Maigret solves a case by a rather original method (pretending to be a blackmailer), extracting from the clues that which could be useful in discovering the truth, all in a luminous setting bathed in the glitter of the sea, the luxurious background of the Côte d'Azur, barely out of reach of the echoes of the popular Front...

To conclude, I can only encourage you to see the adaptation (free enough...) made of this story for an episode in the series with Bruno Crémer. In spite of all the deviations from the text, it remains a very good episode, scattered with touches of humor, as is this story...

Murielle Wenger

original French

Rupert Davies Maigret on DVD

10/30/11 –
The Rupert Davies dvd from www.radiotymes.co.uk is a joy to behold!

It occurs to me that, as these episodes were shown relatively recently, many people will already have them on video and that probably applies to "Maigret's Little Joke" as well which I have. (post 9.6.11 Lee Johnson).

Let's hope the rest will be issued.

Jane


Is it still available? I just tried the link where I bought mine and it was gone...

ST

Simenon exhibition catalogue

11/03/11 –
Linked to the Simenon exhibition at L'historial de la Vendée that was announced earlier, it is possible to buy the catalogue from the museum shop.

dossier de presse

Jérôme

Maigret and Magritte


René Magritte (oil on canvas, 1928–29)
11/07/11 – I know that Magritte admired Simenon, and that his "pipe that is not a pipe" purportedly symbolized Maigret's pipe. Have you ever heard that this admiration was reciprocated, and that the name "Maigret" was derived from "Magritte"?

Although I've been unable to find anything to substantiate this on the internet, I could swear I read it many years ago when I was reading a great deal about Magritte. It is not mentioned in the only book I own about Magritte, although the pipe connection definitely is – the "rain" of pipes in at least one painting supposedly represents the same connection.

Thank you for considering this.
Sarah Fallaw
Darlington, SC

Rupert Davies Maigret on DVD

11/9/11 –
I had an interesting reply from radiotymes.co.uk when enquiring about the link. They have sold out and "due to new copyright restrictions" are not re-stocking. Maybe this was the BBC testing the water or the BBC making sure we can't get anymore!

Although the quality left something to be desired it was a great deal better than no dvd. I would liken it to the wonderful King Oliver 1923 stuff with Dodds and Armstrong before the "cleaned up" versions took all the warmth out!

Jane

le nom "Maigret"

11/13/11 – The following citation doesn't provide a definitive answer to Sarah Fallaw's recent query, but at least it gives one respected Simenon scholar's view. The entire article is of exceptional interest.

SIMENON, LE PASSAGER DU SIÈCLE: SÉANCE PUBLIQUE DU 23.XI.2002. Quelques considérations onomastiques, par MICHEL LEMOINE

Ceci n’exclut pourtant pas le clin d’oeil d’ordre humoristique : faire de Baboeuf un boucher, de Bureau un employé, de Beauchef un comptable, de Brosse le directeur d’une entreprise de peinture, nommer un médecin légiste Lazarre, un rentier Doré, un détective Leborgne est assez amusant. Dans le même ordre d’idées, on relève un marchand d’oiseaux nommé Caille, une maison de tissus d’ameublement Dumas et fils, un commissaire Merlin, un commerçant en cuirs et peaux appelé Mautoison, un entrepreneur de pompes funèbres nommé Caroon, un juge Calas ou un avocat Abeille, ce qui n’est drôle que lorsqu’on apprend qu’un autre se nomme Bourdon… On peut aussi ranger dans cette catégorie le nom de Maigret, ironique puisqu’il désigne un colosse. [We can also include in this category the name Maigret, ironic because it designates a giant. (maigre = 'thin')]

John H. Dirckx

Crémer TV series location?

11/16/11 – I have hunted high and low to discover where the bulk of the French TV series starring Bruno Cremer were shot. It is obviously not Paris. And very often not even France.

Can you please help?

Thank you.
Barry Fantoni
Calais, France

re: Crémer TV series location?

11/17/11 – Here's an answer to the question of the filming locations for the Crémer Maigret series:

The scenes which are supposed to take place in the streets of Paris were filmed in Prague. Because of budget issues, but also because Paris has changed so much since the 1950s, in which most of the action of the series is set, they preferred the Czech capital, where certain streets more or less resemble Paris. For the scenes set outside of Paris, they were mostly filmed in the Czech Republic. Some episodes were filmed elsewhere:

Following Maigret in Paris


click for info
11/21/11 – Dear readers of this forum, can I bother you with the following question:

Each year, my wife and I celebrate our wedding anniversary by making a trip of a few days to a city. A few years ago we were in Antwerp, where one day we followed the footsteps of the main character of Flemish writer Hubert Lampo’s novel ‘De komst van Joachim Stiller’(The coming of Joachim Stiller). This has whetted our appetite for such a ‘literary search’, preferably by bike.

This time, we intend to go to Paris. Can anyone of you recommend a ‘Maigret’-tale that takes place in Paris, and has a lot of ‘couleur locale’ on its pages? We will read this novel in advance of our little holiday, and then search Paris to find the different spots, mentioned in the book.

Thanks a lot in advance!
Peter Stöve
and Marjan Stalknecht
,
Amstelveen, Netherlands.

re: Following Maigret in Paris
11/22/11 –
Voici une réponse à propos des itinéraires parisiens de Maigret:

C'est une question difficile de choisir un seul roman à recommander pour une visite à Paris! Presque chaque roman est l'occasion de découvrir un "autre coin", de voir la ville sous un autre angle. Alors, les possibilités sont très nombreuses... Mais puisqu'il faut faire un choix, je vous propose les options suivantes:

  • pour découvrir le "cœur historique" de Paris, et en particulier la place des Vosges: L'ombre chinoise ou L'amie de Madame Maigret (ce second roman offre aussi une incursion à Montmartre)
  • pour découvrir Montmartre et Pigalle: Maigret et le fantôme ou Maigret et la jeune morte
  • ou alors Maigret et le corps sans tête, qui tourne autour de l'écluse Saint-Martin, un endroit encore assez bien conservé du "vieux-Paris", si on cherche la couleur locale
  • ou pour une balade plus étendue, permettant de découvrir plusieurs quartiers de Paris: Maigret et son mort

Comme vous le voyez, le choix est grand, et encore, je me suis limitée à quelques exemples possibles, tout en sachant qu'il y en a d'autres...

Mais, quel que soit le roman choisi, il faut se rendre compte que, depuis l'époque où il a été écrit, la ville a beaucoup changé, et il faut s'attendre à ne pas retrouver forcément l'ambiance des romans. Mais le plaisir est sans doute dans la recherche des lieux elle-même, et, une fois qu'on a retrouvé la rue décrite dans le roman, de la voir avec "les yeux de l'esprit", et de l'imaginer telle que la voyait Simenon – et Maigret...

Une dernière chose: pour partir vraiment sur les traces de Maigret à Paris, je pense qu'un endroit en tout cas est incontournable: le Quai des Orfèvres; la façade du vieux bâtiment est, heureusement, à peu de choses près, telle que Maigret pouvait la découvrir chaque matin en débouchant du métro de la place Saint-Michel...

Meilleures salutations
Murielle

Here's a response to the quesion of following Maigret around Paris:

It's difficult to choose a single novel to recommend for a visit to Paris! Almost every novel is a chance to discover "another corner", to see the city from a different angle. So, the possibilities are very numerous... But since a choice must be made, I propose the following options:

As you see, the choice is large, and even so, I've limited myself to a few possible examples, knowing full well that there are others...

However, whichever novel you choose, you have to realize that, since the period in which they were written, the city has greatly changed, so you shouldn't expect to truly recover the ambiance of the novels. But the pleasure is no doubt in the search itself, and, once you find the street in the book, to see it with "the eyes of the mind", and to imagine what Simenon saw – and Maigret...

One last thing: to truly follow Maigret's footsteps in Paris, I think there's one essential place... the Quai des Orfèvres. The facade of the old building is, happily, hardly different from that Maigret could have found each morning in getting out of the métro of the Place Saint-Michel...

Best regards,
Murielle

re: Maigret and Magritte
11/24/11 – Sarah wrote on 07.11: "I know that Magritte admired Simenon, and that his "pipe that is not a pipe" purportedly symbolized Maigret's pipe..."

Here's my response...

It is improbable that Magritte created the painting to honor Maigret - a simple examination of the dates leads me to that conclusion: Magritte painted his famous painting in 1928-1929, and Simenon published the first adventures of Maigret in 1930... Even admitting that Magritte could have met Simenon in Belgium around that time (this would be theoretically possible based on the dates, but unlikely considering Simenon's biography...), I doubt if the author would have spoken of his character, still "in gestation" in 1928, to the painter. Does Magritte's painting represent Maigret's pipe? That would be a great story... but unfortunately it's probably not true...

However, to console Sarah, here's a text (below) that I found in a book by Jacques Baudou, "Les nombreuses vies de Maigret" [The numerous lives of Maigret]. And to illustrate the text, the cover image (above) of the book Baudou talks about...

"An amateur actor named Magrite, in a youth theater festival, plays the role of his namesake, the famous Magrite, in an adaptaptation for the theater of the novels of the author, Georges Simon... The similarity with the name Magritte led to the creation of the bookcover..."

Best regards,
Murielle

Maigret of the Month: Ceux du Grand-Café (The Group at the Grand-Café)

11/26/11 –

Unlike other stories presenting Maigret in retirement, in this one, the ex-Chief Inspector is not happy to be so... While in the other stories Maigret displays a certain degree of displeasure toward those who come seeking his aid, and is reluctant to leave his tomato and lettuce plants, here he feels differently.

We see him happily at work in his garden, hoeing and weeding in his clogs and straw hat, or taking memorable naps in his deckchair. Yes, but voilà: after three years of retirement, Maigret seems to be tiring of it (at least according to his author, who has him missing his time at the Quai...), and nothing had pleased him more than his place by the Loire...

We must also note that it started in winter, and in winter, clearly, there was no gardening, no question of naps in the sun, and it was much too cold for fishing... So what was left? Out of idleness, he lets his wife convince him to join the card players at the Grand-Café, and he gets caught up in the game, bogged down in habits of which he's not far from being a little ashamed...

And along comes a chance to escape from this numbness, to find once more his talents as a policeman... a murder has been committed in this peaceful and provincial village, and this would seem the chance for Maigret to have the perverse pleasure of digging around in the stories of these uneventful-seeming lives... However... astonishingly, Maigret does nothing about it. He refuses, to the great surprise of everyone, to become involved with the story, and makes no attempt to search for the truth. Or rather... we end up understanding, he had discovered the truth immediately, but, in a sense of "moral honesty", had refused to reveal it. And when he'd said to Angèle: "I don't know anything... I don't want to know anything...", in fact, Maigret had known, but couldn't tell what he knew.

It wasn't until three years later that he revealed to his wife what had actually happened with the death of the butcher. And if he spoke of it at that time, it wasn't so much to justify his past actions as to show his wife – and himself – that he was still a sleuth, a man of intuition, someone who understood... Well, it's time for his author to take him out of this retirement that weighs so on him, and for him to take up his active life again... In the texts which follow, Maigret will be once more "in service" (except for Maigret se fâche), as if it were above all his author who'd had enough of describing the peaceful and monotonous days of a pensioner fishing on the quiet banks of the Loire.

This story is also interesting in that it unfolds over a long period of time. Most of the stories have their action concentrated in a very short time... ten stories take place in one day (bea, fen, pig, err, arr, not, owe, eto, noy, noe), seven in two days (pen, lar, ber, man, amo, pip, obs), four in three days (pei, bay, ven, cho), and only six stories take one week or more (lun, ceu, sta, hom, mal, pau). This shows us the talent of the writer, who knows as well how to handle the short text to construct a condensed time plot as to describe one taking place over an extended period. Note that the length of the text is independent of that of the action... we find short texts in which the action time is short (for example, fen, with 15 pages), short texts where the action time is long (lun, 15 pages), long texts where the action time is short (not, 41 pages) and long texts where the action time is long (pau, 40 pages).

original French

Murielle Wenger

Rupert Davies BBC Maigret
11/29/11 – I e-mailed Stuart Snaith at 2entertain Limited and yesterday got the following reply. I am unsure whether this is good or bad news but in case you or any of your followers have contact with the Estate it might be worth a follow up.
Dear Mr Keel
Having checked the BBC databases which are available to us at 2entertain, I am informed that the rights to this memorable series have, alas, reverted back to the George Simenon’s estate.
Kind Regards
Ally

Regards
Douglas Keel

The House of Anxiety
12/12/11 – I have just enjoyed your copy of M. Simenon's book. I cannot thank you enough. Very many years ago I read the Maigret stories when I was in the Peace Corps, in order to improve my French. Just the other day I found a copy of Tournants Dangereux in a sort of grocery store/used book corner. I have been dusting off the French with it and my son found your Maigret Forum on the computer! I don't know what to say, except that I am so delighted.

Sincerely,
Arlene Blade

re: Rupert Davies BBC Maigret
12/13/11 – I hope I'm not becoming a bore on the subject of a dvd release of the Rupert Davies MAIGRET series, but I thought I'd clear up a couple of recent points that have been made.

Firstly, the website that was providing a couple of episodes on dvd was doing so quite illegally - it hadn't cleared the rights to the episodes, let alone paid for any. They were just recordable discs using copies recorded from the more recent repeats. The fact that they are no longer doing so is probably down to a "cease-and-desist" order from the BBC.

Secondly, when someone at 2Entertain says that "the rights... have reverted back to the Georges Simenon estate" then it's absolutely no different to the vast majority of other vintage programmes where rights reverted to back to writers, performers, musicians, etc after a certain amount of time. These rights can be renegotiated if there is a will to do so - and they are, which is why there is a wealth of vintage programming available.

Unfortunately, despite having first dibs on the material held in the BBC's Film & Television Library, 2Entertain is one of the most conservative companies releasing dvds in the UK. And sub-licensing from 2E is fraught with extra stumbling blocks - the BBC insist that all of it's released programming is subtitled, so that's an extra cost, and if there are no broadcast standard copies available then new transfers from the master copies will need to be made, and that isn't cheap either.

In short, 2E have to be convinced that a MAIGRET release will turn a big enough profit for them. And if another company wants to do so, then they have to deal with 2E having a cut from any profits they will make.

On a happier note, Happy Christmas to all who are reading!

Ian (Beard)

Maigret of the Month: L'homme dans la rue (The Man in the Street)

12/18/11 – This story, as well as the next (Vente à la bougie ), was written in 1939, while Simenon was living in the Vendée, at Nieul-sur-Mer. Although we can be no more precise with regard to the month of the writing of these two stories, we can assume that they were the last Maigrets before the first novel of the Gallimard period, Les caves du Majestic, written in December of the same year, 1939.

L'homme dans la rue appeared first in the weekly Sept Jours of December 15 and 22, 1940, under the title Le prisonnier de la rue, while Vente à la bougie appeared in the same weekly of April 20 and 27, 1941. These two stories were published for the first time in the volume Maigret et les petits cochons sans queue, by Presses de la Cité in 1950.

We find again, in this story, the Chief Inspector in a "typical" investigation, where Maigret sticks to a suspect until he reveals the truth, and also some characteristic details of his portrait, like the description at the beginning of the story, "dressed in a heavy overcoat, his jaw heavy, bowler hat on his head, smoking a pipe", all the text is bathed in an atmosphere that I find particularly sad, due perhaps in part to the weather, the icy cold which turns everything as hard as stone. And not just things... this pursuit of the man, told in this story, is pathetic, and presented under a harsh light. We feel Maigret determined to go to the end, but at the same time moved by "contradictory feelings", as the text says, on the one hand motivated by his sense of duty, but also filled with sympathetic pity for this man he is pushing to his limits...

At the beginning of the story, Maigret is described in the following words, "grumpy-looking, turning his head like a bear". This isn't the only time that Simenon describes his character using animal metaphors. He frequently compared his hero to an animal, particularly in novels in the first part of corpus, for, after that, at the same time as Maigret lost his "monstrous", "monolithic" aspect, he became more refined, both literally and figuratively, and the animalistic comparisons become rarer.

We find one of the first of these references in Le pendu de Saint-Pholien, where Maigret is described as an enormous nightmarish mass, for those who have done something wrong... "And all the mass of the Chief Inspector contributed to giving his forced presence a menacing meaning. He was tall and wide, wide above all, thick, solid... A heavy face, with his eyes capable of maintaining a bovine immobility... Something implacable, inhuman, evoking an elephant heading for a goal from which nothing will avert it."

Many times in the corpus, Maigret's hands are described as "big paws", which also evoke the idea of an animal. An animal that we find in Le chien jaune... "he thought he could make out a dark mass, thickset, like an enormous animal lying in wait."

From an elephant, we pass to a smaller animal, where the comparison is less physical than psychological, alluding to the Chief Inspector's tenacity... in Au rendez-vous des Terre-neuvas, Maigret comes "to hang out" near the trawler around which the drama centers, "Like dogs come to camp, sullen, obstinate, before a terrier where they scent something."

Another comparison, another animal... in L'ombre chinoise, Maigret clears a path in the crowd gathered in front of the hotel where Roger Couchet has just committed suicide, "He charged through like a ram", again an impression of blind force...

We find again the elephantine comparison in two novels of the Gallimard series, in Les caves du Majestic, Maigret, prowling behind the scenes in the hotel, is addressed by the director, who attempts in vain to soothe him."In those moments, the Chief Inspector had the inertia of an elephant." And in L'inspecteur cadavre, the comparison is made by Clémentine Bréjon: "'Do you know, Louise, who served as elephant driver for the Chief Inspector?' Was the word 'elephant driver' chosen intentionally to underline the contrast between the thin Louis and the elephantine Maigret?"

In two other novels of this period, there is another animal that Maigret is compared to... in Signé Picpus, while the director read to the Chief Inspector the letter written by M. Blaise, Maigret "gave out the menacing sigh of an exasperated bear."; and in Félicie est là, "The patron of the Anneau-d'Or had brought him an old bicycle, on which Maigret looked like a trained bear." The comparison with a bear is fairly often found, if you consider the number of times where the author described his character as "grunting" or "growling"...

We find two additional animal comparisons, in the first novel of the Presses de la Cité period, Maigret se fâche, for one, when Ernest Malik brings Maigret to his home, "they gave the impression of one pulling the other on a leash, and that this one, growling and clumsy like a big, long-haired dog, lets himself be dragged", and the other, the description of Maigret in his garden, wearing "blue canvas pants which slid down his hips, looking like the rear end of an elephant". As mentioned above, the animal comparisons in the Presses de la Cité period will become very rare, then non-existent, and we can keep in mind this elephantine description of the Chief Inspector in his garden, evoking less the nightmarish pachyderm than a kind of nice big beast, like his author keeping the memory in later years... Indeed, in his Mémoires intimes, Simenon recalls a dream he'd had...

"I had a strange dream... I regarded with curiosity a man I could only see from the back. He was bigger than me, with broader shoulders, heavier. Though seeing only his back, I felt in him a placidity that I envied. He was wearing blue canvas pants, a gardener's apron, and wore a battered straw hat. He was in a garden... It took me a little while, in my semi-sleep, to realize that he wasn't a real person, but a character of my imagination. It was Maigret, in his garden at Meung-sur-Loire... Those images will fade. I have them in my mind, and then that will be, for me, Maigret's retirement." in Un homme comme un autre, 1973.

original French

Murielle Wenger

New Maigret in Polish
12/28/11 – New in Polish:

Maigret i sobotni klient. (Maigret et le client du samedi, Maigret and the Saturday Caller). Published by C&T in my city, Toruń.

Happy New Year!
Przemek

Derrick's Simenon Lists
12/30/11 – David Derrick reports that he's created a new site to host his Simenon bibliographic lists, Simenon lists. Some of these were previously found on this site. David says "I'd welcome corrections from any readers. More lists will be added over the next year."

ST

re: New Maigret in Hungarian
12/31/11 – Is it just me, or is there something depressing about the "branding" of Maigret books with that dreary pseudo-handwritten Maigret logo? There it is ... even in Hungary.

It's typical Chorion (the company that owns the Simenon rights). They've done something similar with Agatha Christie. It's disturbing to see the imaginative world of a writer reduced to, or supposedly summed up with, a piece (by the way, utterly undistinguished) corporate "identity"-making.

Publishers have done this kind of thing for a long time, but it bothers me less with them. "Brand owners" are a sad and calculating bunch and I resent being marketed to by them. I have my own, direct relationship with the author. This feel like an attempt to get in the way of it. I'm a reader, not a consumer and these are books, not packets of cereal.

David Derrick

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