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Happy New Year!
12/30/15 –

    The streets were icy. Maigret turned up the collar of his overcoat and rushed into the little bar in the middle of the Pont-Neuf. He ordered a grog, and the hot liquid immediately gave him a feeling of well-being, reminding him, though he didn’t quite know why, of the flu he’d had when he was ten. In fact it had been the very same time of year, around the 31st of December, and he’d been in Nantes, at his aunt’s house. He’d spent Christmas in Saint-Fiacre with his father, and then he’d left on the little night train. Had it been at the church that he’d caught cold? He remembered that he’d shivered during the midnight mass. Or maybe on the way back to the château, with the wind chasing the leaves before him? There hadn’t been any snow that year either, and the Chief Inspector felt the same disappointment as when he’d been a child.

    By the time he’d arrived at his uncle’s bakery in Nantes, he'd been sneezing constantly, his nose red from blowing it during the entire trip. His aunt had immediately noticed that his eyes were too bright, put her hand to his already burning forehead, and sent him to bed. Little Jules hadn’t protested. She’d brought him some herb tea, in which she’d put some rum. Maybe a little too much, for the child had felt himself slipping into an agreeable drowsiness, accentuated by the dampness of the bed already soaked with his sweat. He’d had strange dreams, whose content he couldn’t exactly remember, except that they’d been pleasant, and that when he woke up, he’d tried to prolong the feeling by keeping his eyes tightly shut.

    Maigret swallowed his second grog, pushed open the door of the bar and found himself once more in the cold air. The difference in temperature made his blood pulse quickly at his temples, and he felt a bit dizzy. He walked quickly, crossed the bridge, and came to the Quai de la Mégisserie, which he followed to the Place du Châtelet. He headed towards Hôtel de Ville, taking Rue de Rivoli to the great department store, Les Grands Magasins du Louvre. There, slipping between the passers-by, he pressed his face to the window and watched, in the illuminated display, the running of an electric train through a snow-covered landscape. The passengers were teddy bears, and dolls in frilly dresses.

    It was when he saw next to him a boy with a mop of red hair, the string of a red balloon clutched tightly in his cold hand, that he made his decision. He walked on, crossed the Place des Vosges, where the fountains sent forth water so silver they seemed frosted, and reached the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir. Climbing the stairs, he put on a haggard face, but he could hardly hide the little flame gleaming in his eyes.

    Mme Maigret opened the door, needing but a glance to understand, when her husband said... "I think I’m coming down with the flu." Not taken in, she smiled and sent him to bed, making him some herb tea with plenty of rum.

    That evening the Maigrets didn’t go out to a restaurant to celebrate the arrival of the new year. The Chief Inspector spent the night sweating in his bed, having strange dreams. But it was all quite pleasant. And when, in the morning, his wife awoke him with his coffee, he kissed her tenderly, and promised to take her to Alsace that day. Who knows, the two sisters might find time to prepare some fragrant cinnamon pastries, and his brother-in-law might notice that there was still an old bottle of sloe gin to uncork…

Happy New Year fellow Maigretphiles!

Original French

Murielle

tr

20 Years!

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park
1/1/16 – This year marks the 20th Anniversary of this Maigret site! It "went on the air" on August 29, 1996, "broadcasting" from Tokyo, via gol.com... and is still going today, from sunny Honolulu, Hawaiʻi!

Before the first year was up, we had a Forum, and it wasn't long before we were hearing from Maigretphiles world-wide, whose names still appear here... John Dirckx, Oz Childs, Vladimir Krasnogor, Jérôme Devémy, Don Greenfield, Mattias Siwemyr, Przemyslaw Charzynski... to name a few who've been visiting since the first few years.

Who have I missed? Whether you're a long-time visitor or a new-comer - this would be a great time to sign in and say hello - let us hear how you found the site, what you like about it, what brought you here, why you're a Maigret fan, what your favorite story is, what you like to see...whatever!

Happy New Year to us all!

I'm looking forward to hearing from you... and another Maigret year!

Steve

re: 20 Years!
1/2/16 – Congratulations to you, , Steve, for having reached the 20th Anniversary of this Maigret site! I am looking forward to a big celebration on this year's August 29!

Berthold

Happy New Year!
1/2/16 – I wish you a Happy New Year and many thanks for all the work you put into the Maigret web site & forum. This is really a place that provides interesting information and allows all Maigret friends to exchange ideas. Thanks a lot for this.

Toutes mes Amitiés Maigretienne

Jérôme

Maigret comics by Blondeau...?
1/4/16 – You list the Maigrets which were serialised as Jacques Blondeau comics in French newspapers between 1950 and 1953. But at least two of the titles you mention, Maigret et la jeune morte and Maigret tend un piège, did not appear in book form until after 1953.

Is it likely that they were put into comic strip form before they were published? Especially when, according to Yves Martina's site, there was no [known] “préoriginale” publication for Blondeau to refer to?

All best
David Derrick

re: Maigret comics by Blondeau...?
1/4/16 – Thanks, David - very astute observation. Where did I get that (mis-?)information, and what's the truth of the matter?

Maigret in the Comics has been on the Gallery page for over 15 years, at least as far back as October, 1999, and the information there about Blondeau first appeared in Nov. 1999 as a link to http://perso.club-internet.fr/bernadac/p14.html, a (1998) page entitled "La bande dessinée policière", a page no longer active on the web and only accessible via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, which shows the page as late as December 2004. The list of fourteen serialized novels and the dates 1950-1953 were given on that site, and five reference sources were cited .

In July, 2011, I dropped the link and added the information (originally in a posting to the Forum) to the Gallery page, as the site was no longer dependable.

A search of the internet today results in a repetition of the information here, all sources reporting 1950-1953 for the years Blondeau drew the Maigret comics for a number of newspapers. It's possible of course, that some of that repetition is from information on this site.

However, on Maurizio Testa's (Italian) Simenon blog site, last mentioned here as the original site for Murielle's "Maigret's Mustache" article [8/3/15], there's a 9/28/2014 posting by illustrator, Maigret enthusiast and collector, Giancarlo Malagutti, listing fourteen Maigret novels drawn by Blondeau, and the number of episodes/strips for each. He begins his description with [appx. translation from the Italian] "Inspector Maigret, titled only as "Maigret" was published in France in daily strips, from Monday to Saturday, from 1950 to 1953, a total of 1,273 strips"...

Presumably, he bases his dates on actual publication dates of the newspapers, and so I've sent a question to that page, requesting the publication dates for the newspapers which ran the two series in question. I'll share any information I receive to try and clear up this question...

ST

re: Maigret comics by Blondeau...?
1/5/16 – Michel Schepens's essay in Cahiers Simenon no 27 reveals that the correct years for Blondeau's Maigret productions should be 1950-1955:

Cahiers Simenon no 27 (2013)

Maigret en bandes dessinées et en romans-photos
Essai de bibliographie

Michel Schepens


1. PÉRIODIQUES
Série « Le commissaire Maigret »
Bandes dessinées d'après les romans de Georges SIMENON publiées chez Arthème Fayard et aux Presses de la Cité.
Adaptations : Jacques Blondeau.
In Samedi-Soir, hebdomadaire. Paris.
Quinze récits (le quinzième est resté inachevé). 1473 bandes.
© Opéra Mundi.

1. Le Chien jaune, 114 bandes. nos 281-299, du 18/11/1950 au 24/03/1951. Repris dans Semaine du Nord, revue éditée par La Voix du Nord, Lille. Cinq bandes par numéro. Début : no 48. semaine du 25/02 au 03/03 1955.
2. Le Port des brumes, 150 bandes, nos 300-325, du 31/03 au 30/09/1951.
3. La Pipe de Maigret, 48 bandes. nos 326-333. du 06/10 au 24/11/1951.
4. L'Amie de Mme Maigret, 76 bandes, nos 334-349, du 01/12/1951 au 08/03/1952.
5. Maigret au Picratt's, 90 bandes. nos 350-366. du 15/03 au 05/07/1952.
6. Les Vacances de Maigret, 104 bandes, nos 367-390, du 12*07 au 18/12/1952.
7. Maigret en meublé, 95 bandes, nos 391-416, du 24/12/1952 au 18/06/1953.
8. Maigret, Lognon et les gangsters, 102 bandes, nos 417-443, du 25/06 au 24/12/1953.
9. Maigret et la vieille dame, 60 bandes. nos 444-458, du 25/12/1953 au 08/04/1954.
10. Maigret se trompe, 68 bandes, nos 459-457, du 15/04 au 05/08/1954.
11. Maigret et la guinguette [d'après La Guinguette à deux sous], 104 bandes, nos 476-502, du 12/08/1954 au 03/02/1955.
12. Le Revolver de Maigret, 120 bandes, nos 503-531, du 10/02 au 31/08/1955.
13. Maigret et la jeune morte, 64 bandes, nos 532-547, du 07/09 au 21/12/1955.
14. Maigret tend un piège, 78 bandes, à partir du nos 548 du 28/12/1955.
15. Récit inachevé (titre non identifié), 20 bandes, numérotées 79-198.

Rééditions : Paris-Journal, Paris-Jour, La Dépêche du Midi, Le Courrier Picard, Nord-Matin, La Montagne, Le Télégramme de Brest (1952), Le Nouveau Méridional, L'Echo-Soir d'Alger.

Murielle

re: 20 Years!
1/5/16 – Steve, you have done a super job running this website for Maigret fans. Keep on!

Thanks.
Vladimir,
Canada

re: Davies series theme music
1/5/16 – But it isn’t just a matter of that Grainer track vs Quelle!

My favourite Maigret theme is Luigi Tenco’s song Un giorno dopo l’altro for the Gino Cervi Maigret series which ran on Rai 1 in Italy from 1964 to ’72.

Tenco was the lover of the French-Italian-Egyptian singer Dalida, who began life in the cabarets of Cairo, like Sylvie Baron in Simenon’s Le locataire. I don’t know whether Tenco wrote the song and whether it had a pre-Maigret life, but it works hauntingly in the credits. See here on YouTube.

And that’s not the only good music in the Cervi series. See Le inchieste del Commissario Maigret on YouTube.

I have 3 hours and 19 minutes of Simenon music, nearly all of it Maigret-related, on a playlist, and that’s only what I’ve bought from iTunes. Some of Nicola Piovani’s music for a forgotten Maigret series on the Italian Canale 5 with Sergio Castellitto (2004, I am not sure whether more than 2 episodes were actually made) is excellent. He worked with Fellini.

Michel Michelet’s music for the credits of The Man on the Eiffel Tower (1949, after La tête d’un homme), which has Charles Laughton as Maigret, is memorable. It’s in a few places online, in rough sound. For example here. The sudden juxtapositions aren’t to do with bad film editing: they were the style of the time.

I could go on...

David Derrick


re: Maigret comics by Blondeau...?: Thank you, Murielle. Very helpful. I keep meaning to go through all the Cahiers and Traces – and all your articles.

I remember...
1/5/16 –

...it's nearly the end of 2005... I've recently rediscovered the world of Maigret, thanks to DVDs of the Jean Richard series, a lovely memory from my childhood. And as I've just made my first steps into the world of the web, I go looking for sites about my favorite Chief Inspector. And that's how I discover a site in English, wonderfully filled with information about Maigret, his world, and Simenon. The site is managed by Steve Trussel, and it provides a very active Forum, where internet Maigretphiles come, not only to post questions, but also to provide valuable information. I visit regularly, and one day, "titillated" by a question about an orthographic detail (Porquerollité, 12/23/05, Oz Childs), I gather my courage in both hands and present my own response...

How things developed from there is what I've attempted to reconstruct by going back through the Forum archives to find my own contributions... not in any sense to revel in my accomplishments, but simply to show how a simple interest can quickly develop into a consuming passion.

It was in May, 2006 that for the first time I dared to enter into some "friendly competition" with Peter Foord by presenting my first contribution to a Maigret of the month, one of the most original features Steve created. Now things have been set into motion... getting into it, I reread the entire Maigret saga, and begin my first purchases of reference books on the world of Simenon and Maigret, and soon I want to display my little studies to the world, for I've discovered that the saga is, really, a universe that I want to decipher. First there was "Maigret and his collaborators", then a study on the titles of the chapters of the novels, followed by a first pastiche ("Murder in a minor key"). And then a study of Maigret's wardrobe, and one about his pipe... and all that between August and December of that same year, 2006!

In other words, I'd "caught the bug", and it was never going to go away... From Maigret of the month to various studies, through small contributions in response to questions from users, I began to be part of the the regular team of active users of the site: Jérôme and his marvellous photos, the late Peter Foord, David Derrick, David Simmons, Joe, Roddy, Mattias, Keith, Vladimir, Ward, John Dirckx, and more recently, Berthold Deutschmann, Arlene Blade and Andrew Walser, to mention only those names appearing most often... but also so many others (Jane, Viola, Ian, etc…), who come from time to time to add their little stones to the huge building this site has become...

Steve has created a page in the "texts" section with a chronological index of the articles appearing on the site. If you're curious enough to take a look, you'll see that from the year 2006, it's my name which appears most often, and is, in fact, pervasive... In all modesty, I can say that I'm not a little proud of this position, because I hope that in my way, I've contributed to make this extraordinary site one of the major references for those who want to know Maigret's world...

And I ask myself, how would I have lived, since 2005, almost 10 years, without knowing Steve's site...?! This site about to celebrate 20 years of existence, an almost exceptional longevity in this world where on the internet, even more than anywhere else, everything changes very quickly, passing rapidly from "fashionable" to "vintage", and then to "has been"... I measure all the more the exceptionality of this time since I know, having co-managed Jacques-Yves Depoix's site since 2008, before taking over full responsiblity since 2011, and having created my own site in 2008, how much energy it takes to maintain an active site, constantly finding new ideas, staying aware of news and current events...

The site finds its strength in the fact that it is a "bible" for those who want to know Maigret's world, thanks to the features Steve has set up, above all, the "Maigret Encyclopedia", but also the sum of magazine articles about Simenon, the bibliographic and cinematographic information, the Maigret of the month, not to mention all the information arriving via the Forum. But it's also an international rendez-vous for Maigretphiles from every country, who find here a place to share their passion... Long live this wonderful site, with the hope that it will one day celebrate 30, 40, or even 50 years!

original French

Murielle

re: I remember...

Thanks Murielle!!
Merci Beaucoups!!

1/5/16 –

Your contributions to this site over the past 10 years are the most valuable of all!!

I'm sure I speak for all Maigretphiles in saying how enriched we are by your passionate and creative writings!

To the next 10 years!

in appreciation,
Steve

re: Maigret Music themes
1/8/16 – Let me add three Maigret music themes that also belong to my favorites:

Bruno Cremer Maigret Theme by Laurent Petitgirard
Gino Cervi "Maigret a Pigalle" Theme by Armando Trovaioli
Michael Gambon Maigret Theme by Nigel Hess

And, of course, I could go on as well ...

Kind regards
Berthold

re: Two different covers?
1/9/16 –
The Penguin UK website shows the "old" cover (left), while the Penguin USA site shows the "new" cover (right). (In other cases they have had identical covers.)

David Derrick

BBC Worldwide Shops "Maigret" to International Broadcasters
1/10/16 –

BBC Worldwide Shops "Maigret" to International Broadcasters

January 10, 2016
Posted by News on News
Published in BBC Worldwide

BBC Worldwide has announced pre-sales of Maigret to French public television channel - France 3, German public broadcaster ARD, Swedish broadcaster TV4 and Denmark’s DR ahead of its launch to market at BBC Worldwide Showcase (22 – 24 February 2016).

The deals mark BBC Worldwide’s first international sales of the 2 x 120’ dramatic films, Maigret Sets A Trap and Maigret’s Dead Man, featuring the legendary French fictional detective Jules Maigret, played by Rowan Atkinson.

Tobi de Graaff, Executive Vice President of Western Europe at BBC Worldwide: “The Maigret novels are some of the most classic detective stories of their time, and we’re delighted to be bringing one of the best-known characters in world literature, along with one of the greatest international stars, to viewers worldwide.”

Set in Paris in the 1950’s, Rowan Atkinson, who is best known for portraying iconic characters such as Johnny English, Blackadder and Mr Bean, will play the dramatic role of Jules Maigret, the magnificently measured and insightful French detective. Georges Simenon, who wrote 75 Maigret novels, is considered one of the greatest writers of the 20th century –selling around a billion books worldwide to date.

Maigret is written by Stewart Harcourt (Love & Marriage, Treasure Island, Marple) and produced by Jeremy Gwilt (Undeniable, Foyle’s War, Torn, Home Fires). The Executive Producers are Barnaby Thompson (Easy Virtue, Dorian Gray, St. Trinians) and Ben Latham-Jones (Nina, D Train, Midsummer Nights Dream) for Ealing Studios, John Simenon and Paul Aggett for Maigret Productions, and Stewart Harcourt. It has been commissioned by ITV.

BBC Worldwide is the international partner for Maigret and will oversee the global rights for the series in all territories outside the UK.

re: BBC Worldwide Shops "Maigret"...
1/11/16 – Sadly, no Canadian or USA broadcasters are listed as potential purchasers. If so, we from "across the pond' will be out of luck for some years. On the other hand ... I am waiting to read on this forum reviews from our European members: - Are these series as good as anticipated? The length - 2 hours - is a sign of possible "slow action" (long walks, circular philosophical discussions, etc.).

Vladimir

Maigret films/tv with English subtitles?
1/11/16 – As a lover of Maigret, I have seen (I think) all of the dvds/videos in English or with English subtitles, such as the ones with Bruno Cremer (which are not my favourite due to the absence of a Mme Maigret).

Do you know of any other productions with English subtitles? I seem to recall a few years ago seeing a reference to some for the French Film Festival in London, some of the older versions made in France probably, that looked interesting but I can’t track them down. Can you help?

With many thanks,
Peter Johnson
Stockport

re: Maigret films/tv with English subtitles?
1/14/16 –
Surely on the one hand Maigret is an international phenomenon, and, on the other hand, a national one as well. I suffer from this awareness, too. For example, at Christmas I watched "Un Natale Di Maigret" (Gino Cervi) in Italian, although I don't even understand a word of that language. As far as I know, the only Cervi Maigret that also does exist in French and in German, is "Maigret a Pigalle", and, unfortunately, the German version at present seems to be lost (but it really was in German and Dutch cinemas in the sixties). I already would be happy with German or English subtiteled Cervi Maigrets.

In the Netherlands they didn't want the Rupert Davies Maigret at that time, they preferred to produce a well made series themselves, with, firstly, Kees Brusse as Maigret, and than with Jan Teulings. But they did use a number of scripts from the British series, for example some written by Giles Cooper. I would be very delighted to watch a few (or all) Netherlands Maigrets, even in the Dutch language (although I wouldn't understand a word), but that series seems to be very hidden in the archives.

In Germany they produced a Maigret film with German star actor Heinz Rühmann, after Rupert Davies had stepped back from the leading role. That film appeared also as an Italian and a French version (Maigret und sein größter Fall / Il caso difficile del commissario Maigret / Maigret fait mouche), but not in English (not even with English subtitles, as far as I know).

Fortunately, the Jean Gabin Maigrets can be watched in French, Italian, Spanish and German, but do they exist in English, at least with English subtitles? - Why not?

Maigret Michael Gambon only exists in English and Spanish, but, hopefully, the new Rowan Atkinson Maigret will be a real international detective ...

Kind regards,
Berthold

re: Maigret films/tv with English subtitles?
1/15/16 – Jean Gabin 'Maigret' is also available in Russian. It is two hours long and includes few events that are not in the book.

Vladimir

re: Maigret films/tv with English subtitles?
1/15/16 –

And at Amazon.com you can find DVDs of two Jean Gabin films with English subtitles:
Maigret tend un piège [Maigret sets a trap] and Maigret et l'affaire Saint-Fiacre [Maigret and the Saint-Fiacre affair].

Murielle

re: Maigret films/tv with English subtitles?
1/16/16 – Very nice, there you have found something! In the meantime, I've found out that one of the Jean Gabin Maigrets (Maigret tend un piège / Maigret Sets a Trap) already had English subtitles from the US cinema premiere in 1958. The film title there in the beginning was simply "Inspector Maigret", later on also known in the States as "Woman Bait". A movie review by Bosley Crowther, published in The New York Times on October 9, 1958, says towards the end, "Some very good English subtitles translate the very good French dialogue."

Berthold

Sette piccole croci
1/17/16 – Berthold mentions [1/14/16] Un Natale di Maigret in the 1964-72 Cervi TV series. It’s interesting to note that much earlier, in 1957, Rai 1 put on a semi-Maigret, Sept petites croix dans un carnet, which is another Christmas story from the same book.

The credits have very much the same style and flavour as those in the series, with ordinary street scenes and atmospheric music. They feel like a dry run for Cervi. But the rest is shot on a low budget in one room.

The actor who plays Janvier also appears, in a different role, with Cervi in 1967 in the last-ever Maigret cinema movie, Le Commissaire Maigret à Pigalle/Maigret a Pigalle.

You can turn on YouTube subtitles for Sette piccole croci, but you get mainly gobbledegook. Still, it’s a nice opening.

David Derrick

Maigret poster
1/19/16 – In search of Maigret news I discovered a good old movie poster that I haven't found yet in our poster section: Heinz Rühmann as Maigret. [The French version of Maigret und sein größter Fall, based on La Danseuse du Gai-Moulin.]

That movie does have an English title, too: "Enter Inspector Maigret". But I don't know if it has ever been shown in English-speaking cinemas. According to a California newspaper*, it appeared several times in 1970 on Palm Springs TV, as late-night mystery reruns. Maybe with subtitles.

*"The Desert Sun", April 10, 1970, Palm Springs, California (Vol. 43, No. 212), p. 20

Berthold

re: Maigret films/tv with English subtitles?

Anne Bellec as Mme Maigret in Maigret et l'affaire Saint-Fiacre

1/22/16 – I'm bemused by Peter Johnson's comment [1/11/16] that the Bruno Cremer videos disappoint because of the lack of Mme Maigret. I have just watched The St Fiacre Affair and Mme Maigret certainly features (although to complicate matters she doesn't feature in the book). Mme Maigret appears in other Cremer episodes, once when she is recovering from an appendectomy.

Thank you Murielle for pointing to the Amazon Jean Gabin dvds with English sub-titles [1/15/16]. Unfortunately Amazon/the exporter will not send them to New Zealand. I don't know why.

Does anyone have information on when the BBC will reintroduce the Rupert Davies Maigret series? Perhaps Penguin Books could persuade the BBC that a reintroduction would be commercially valuable alongside the new Penguin Maigret series?

Cheers
D J Greenfield
New Zealand

John Simenon and Natasha Cooper discuss Maigret on BBC Radio

1/22/16 – John Simenon and Natasha Cooper discuss Maigret on BBC Radio 4, January 8.

David Derrick

Brusse and Teulings corrections and questions

Kees Brusse as Maigret, 1965

Jan Teulings as Maigret, 1966
1/23/16 – Kees Brusse [1925-2013] and Jan Teulings [1905-1989] were the actors who played Maigret on Dutch television in the 1960s. We list the Brusse series (6 episodes, 1964-65) and three alleged Teulings series (6, 6 and 4 episodes, 1964-68). I have a few corrections to make, and some questions.

Which channels?
    I guess there was only one Dutch tv channel, but we don’t mention “channels”. The Internet Movie Database doesn’t either, but gives the “production company” for both the Brusse and Teulings series as Belgische Radio en Televisie (BRT). Not Dutch at all! Were the programmes shown simultaneously in Belgium?
    In the case of Teulings, we mention OTP. This is not a channel but an association of independent programme makers, the Vereniging voor Onafhankelijke TV-producenten.

Too many Teulings
    More importantly, our first Teulings series lists exactly the same 6 episodes as the 6 in the Brusse series and says that they were broadcast on the same day.
    I don’t think there were two rival Maigret camps not speaking to each other, so our Teulings series 1 needs to be taken out!
    That leaves 10 Teulings episodes instead of 16. Teulings starts in 1967, not 1964.

… and too few Teulings
    6 and 4 episodes respectively for the remaining Teulings series suggests that the last might be missing a couple of episodes.
    And imdb.com shows that to be the case: we need to add Maigret incognito, shown on 1968 06 04, and Maigret en de gangsters, shown on 1969 03 02. So there are really 12 Teulings episodes, running from 1967 to 1969.
    Kees Molders’s Dutch checklist suggests that Maigret incognito was based on Maigret s’amuse. We don’t need its help to identify Maigret en de gangsters.
    imdb agrees with our broadcast dates for the 10 “true” Teulings episodes and for 5 of the 6 Brusse episodes. (Dutch Wikipedia doesn’t have a listing.)

Maigret at the Grocer’s
    Our “false” Teulings series 1 list gives the date of Maigret en de kruidenier as 1964 01 29.
    Our Brusse list gives it as 1965 01 29.
    imdb gives it as 1964 01 29. My guess from the rhythm of the Brusse dates is that 1965 01 29 is correct. In which case imdb is wrong here. Can anyone guess what that episode is based on?

Which mistake?
    Our “false” Teulings list shows De moedwillige vergissing as based on the story Une erreur de Maigret (Maigret’s Mistake).
    Our Brusse list shows it as based on the novel Maigret se trompe (also called Maigret’s Mistake in English). imdb and Dutch Wikipedia do not say what anything is based on.
    As everything else in these series that we can identify is based on a novel, I would put my money on Maigret se trompe – which was published in Holland as De vergissing van Maigret. The story was published as Een vergissing van Maigret.

Maigret and the Blue Evening Dress
    Our “true” Teulings list and imdb have Maigret en de blauwe avondjurk (literally Maigret and the Blue Evening Dress).
    We don’t say what that was based on – but I am sure it was Maigret et la jeune morte. Molders gives the Dutch title of that novel correctly as Maigret en de blauwe avondjapon. Avondjurk and avondjapon are both correct Dutch, but the tv version apparently had a different name – or we and imdb list it wrongly.
    I don’t know whether any of the published filmographies have already said what I am saying! Please correct what I’ve got wrong here.
    Do some of the confusions come out of the never-reliable The Complete Maigret by Peter Haining?

All the best
David

re: Brusse and Teulings corrections and questions
1/23/16 – Nice work David! Very convincing - I've deleted the first series duplicates from the Teulings list, and added the two missing titles. And I concur on the date and source suggestions.

I'm afraid Haining can't get credit for these... He did miss the "s" in Teulings, but listed no Teulings films, and didn't recognize Brusse.

In fact, Brusse was still unknown to us back in 2001, where the Forum asked, "Kees Bruce?". But by 2003, Missing Maigret Actors, he'd been identified. A day later Joe Richards suggested a source for Maigret en de Kruideniers:

Would the story of Maigret en de Kruideniers with Kees Brusse be based on Maigret and the Flemish Shop? This shop, on the border between Belgium and France, sold provisions to passing bargemen. It seems to fit, especially considering that the Dutch and the Flemish are very close cousins of a sort so there would be some affinity for the orginal Dutch viewing audience.
Which certainly looks good enough to be included with a "(?)".

Another title question is Teulings #10, Maigret en de drie gehangenen (Maigret and the Three Hanged Ones). While Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien [PHO] has one person hanged, and La Péniche aux deux pendus [pen] has two, there's no story with three hanged ones... I've left it as Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien (?).

Though the Teulings series ran from 1967-69, the photo is dated 1966... advance publicity?

ST

Maigret film clips with Brusse and Teulings
1/24/16 –
Here you can watch Kees Brusse as our chief inspector in a six-and-a-half-minute excerpt of "Maigret en de inbrekersvrouw" (literally: Maigret and the burgler's wife) ("Maigret et la Grande Perche").

And here is a four-minute excerpt of the Jan Teulings episode "Maigret en de ter dood veroordeelde" (literally: Maigret and the man condemned to death) ("La Tête d’un homme")

(In both cases you'll have to wait for the stream to download for about a minute before it will start.)

By the way, the Teulings episode from the novel "La Tête d’un homme" has not been listed yet in our sites, nor has the one adapted from "Maigret tend un piège". Surely this photo was taken from that episode (look at the teddy bear in the corner behind Teulings, as a symbol of Monsieur Moncin, the decorator, not having overcome his childhood):

Berthold

re: John Simenon and Natasha Cooper discuss Maigret on BBC Radio
1/24/16 – With some surprise, I must admit that in this picture from BBC, Rowan Atkinson looks very convincing as a Paris police superintendent with not a trace left from Mr. Bean. As I understand from this discussion, the first episode already has been released and shown in the UK.

Cheers,
Vladimir

Brusse and Teulings episode titles
1/24/16 – Here's what I've found regarding the two episodes whose titles are in question:

1. Maigret en de Kruideniers: If you examine the episode in the imdb, and check the list of characters, they are those of La première enquête de Maigret, as confirmed here. "kruideners"= "grocers", probably because the Gendreaus were coffee producers...

2. Maigret en de drie gehangenen: This is, in fact, L'écluse no 1. The "three hanged ones" are Jean Ducrau, Bébert and Gassin. As can be seen here:


Maigret (Jan Teulings), Lapointe (Wies Andersen), and Gassin (Paul Storm)

Murielle

tr

Dutch Maigrets... More questions...
1/24/16 – Thanks to Murielle's research we've answered two of the Dutch Maigret questions, but Berthold has raised a few more... with the addition of two more Teulings episodes, based on "La Tête d’un homme" and "Maigret tend un piège".

Here's the current Teulings episode list, 6 episodes in 1967, 5 in 1968, and 1 in 1969. Except for the Sunday one in 1969, all the dates are Tuesdays:
1. Maigret en zijn dode (Maigret et son mort). 1967 (4/11/1967).
2. Maigret en de blauwe avondjurk (Maigret et la jeune morte). 1967 (4/25/1967).
3. Maigret in de verdediging (Maigret se défend). 1967 (5/23/1967).
4. Het geduld van Maigret (La Patience de Maigret). 1967 (6/6/1967).
5. Maigret viert kerstmis (Un Noël de Maigret). 1967 (6/20/1967).
6. Maigret en Pieter de Let (Pietr-Le-Letton). 1967 (7/4/1967).

7. Maigret en de Kabeljauwvissers (Au Rendez-vous des Terres-Neuvas). 1968 (4/9/1968).
8. Maigret en het meisje voor dag en nacht (Félicie est là). 1968 (4/23/1968).
9. Maigret met vakantie (Les Vacances de Maigret). 1968 (5/7/1968).
10. Maigret en de drie gehangenen (L'Ecluse No. 1). 1968 (5/21/1968).
11. Maigret incognito (Maigret s’amuse). 1968 (6/4/1968).

12. Maigret en de gangsters (Maigret, Lognon et les gangsters). 1969 (3/2/1969).

"La Tête d’un homme". We find a listing for this episode here, as Maigret en de ter dood veroordeelde [appx: Maigret and the condemned-to-death man], which is shown on the Dutch book title list as "La Tête d’un homme". The listing says it was televised on January 5, 1969, and originally recored on Oct. 14, 1968. Although it doesn't indicate the cast, it's clearly within the Teulings range. Jan. 5, 1969 was a Sunday.

"Maigret tend un piège". Berthold seems to have used this picture as the basis for assigning the episode to Maigret tend un piège. It shows a date of Feb. 10, 1967, a Friday. Possible, but the other images in this collection from the same episode, or at least from one with the same date, don't look appropriate for this title: image 1   image 2   image 3   image 4   image 5

"Maigret et le fantôme". At zoeken.beeldengeluid.nl, the site where Murielle found the Kruideniers info, they list a number of Dutch Maigret episodes, including this one, Maigret en het spook, April 27, 1969, a Sunday.

"Un crime en Hollande". The same site shows Maigret in Nederland, (Sunday) Sept. 3, 1966, here (and here).

The Last Episode. An entry at www.gahetna.nl (above, the site where Berthold found [TEN]) has an entry dated Apr. 17, 1970 (a Thursday), which is marked, Laatste aflevering van de TV serie "Maigret", the last episode in the Magiret TV series. Like most of the entries at both sites, this one and zoeken.beeldengeluid.nl, most of the titles aren't shown, and the dates vary wildly from those we have listed (above). Possibly there was a rerun series for the second half of the year. More investigation is required, as it clear that at least for the Teulings series, there are more episodes to be found.

Another correction: Along the way I noticed that for the first Brusse episode, Maigret en de inbrekersvrouw, I'd incorrectly listed the source as Maigret et le voleur paresseux, rather than the correct Maigret et la Grande Perche. Unfortunately, as is the case with many of these, the error has been perpetuated now throughout the web...

Revised Teulings List:

1. Maigret in Nederland (Un crime en Hollande). . 1966 (9/3/1966).

2. Maigret en zijn dode (Maigret et son mort). 1967 (4/11/1967).
3. Maigret en de blauwe avondjurk (Maigret et la jeune morte). 1967 (4/25/1967).
4. Maigret in de verdediging (Maigret se défend). 1967 (5/23/1967).
5. Het geduld van Maigret (La Patience de Maigret). 1967 (6/6/1967).
6. Maigret viert kerstmis (Un Noël de Maigret). 1967 (6/20/1967).
7. Maigret en Pieter de Let (Pietr-Le-Letton). 1967 (7/4/1967).

8. Maigret en de Kabeljauwvissers (Au Rendez-vous des Terres-Neuvas (?)). 1968 (4/9/1968).
9. Maigret en het meisje voor dag en nacht (Félicie est là). 1968 (4/23/1968).
10. Maigret met vakantie (Les Vacances de Maigret). 1968 (5/7/1968).
11. Maigret en de drie gehangenen (L'écluse no 1). 1968 (5/21/1968).
12. Maigret incognito (Maigret s’amuse). 1968 (6/4/1968).

13. Maigret en de ter dood veroordeelde (La Tête d’un homme). 1969 (1/5/1969).
14. Maigret en de gangsters (Maigret, Lognon et les gangsters). 1969 (3/2/1969).
15. Maigret en het spook (Maigret et le fantôme). 1969 (4/27/1969).

ST

Vol. 3 trailer of German Rupert Davies Maigret
1/25/16 –
Here is a Vol. 3 trailer of the German Rupert Davies Maigret.

For one or two seconds there you can see the youngest Sergeant of Maigret's team, Lapointe, played by Neville Jason, who died on October 16, 2015 (age 81). In that series he emerges as Lapointe in 29 out of 52 episodes. There is another remarkable life date to be mentioned: Helen Shingler, who played Mme Maigret (in equally 29 episodes), fulfilled her 96th birthday in 2015. Both actors accompanied Rupert Davies as well in the 90 minutes TV special "Maigret at Bay" (BBC, 1969).

Berthold

re: Dutch Maigrets... More questions...
1/25/16 – I've found some more on the Dutch presentation of "Maigret in Nederland"... In fact it isn't a Jan Teulings episode at all, but rather a report on the unveiling of the Maigret statue at Delfzijl. The explanation is in the text that was put on line here. There's an article about it on page 16 [click on volgende pagina at right] of the (9/3/66) Utrechtsch Nieuwsblad, the same paper in which I found the L'écluse no 1 story.


British Pathé film clip of the 9-3-66 unveiling!

On checking the dates of the first episodes of the Jan Teulings series, I've confirmed that the first one on the list appeared in 1967, well after the ceremony at Delfzijl! Isn't it surprising that it was Jan Teulings who attended the ceremony, and not Brusse, since the Teulings series hadn't even begun yet!? To try to clear this up, I looked more carefully at the article above, and in the introduction, it says clearly (my free translation and emphasis): "In the Netherlands, Maigret isn't known as just a literary hero. Kees Brusse and in the future, Jan Teulings, give life to the Chief Inspector on television." In other words, the Teulings series definitely appears after the Delfzijl ceremony. Can we assume that Teulings had been invited to promote his series before its launch?

Murielle

tr

Dutch Maigrets... broadcast dates
1/25/16 – In addition to her latest research, Murielle checked the broadcast dates as listed in the Utrechtsch Nieuwsblad archives, so we now have confirmed broadcast dates for all the Brusse episodes, and the Teulings episodes through the end of 1967, when the archives end. The Brusse dates were only a few days off, but the Teulings are months earlier than those previously shown, confirming that they were on Sundays, and began in 1966...:
Brusse
10/23 > 10/11/64
11/20 > 11/22/64
12/18 > 12/06/64
01/29 > 01/31/65
02/26 > 02/28/65
03/26 > 03/28/65
Teulings
04/11/67 > 11/06/66
04/25/67 > 12/04/66
05/23/67 > 01/29/67
06/06/67 > 02/26/67
06/20/67 > 04/23/67
07/04/67 > 05/21/67
04/09/68 > 11/12/67
04/23/68 > 12/10/67

ST

Murielle: "I'm done dating Dutch Maigrets!"
1/26/16 – An irresistible headline, but the fact is that Murielle has now definitively completed the list of titles and first-broadcast dates of all the Brusse and Teulings Maigret episodes which appeared on Dutch TV from 1964-1969. She's additionally discovered two previously unrecognized Teulings episodes:

12.Maigret zet een valMaigret tend un piège11/10/1968
13.De woede van MaigretLa Colère de Maigret12/8/1968

The complete lists can be seen here:
Brusse
Teulings

And thanks also to Berthold, who was able to confirm almost all of these from listings in the German TV magazine "HÖR ZU" of the era, which listed Dutch broadcasts viewable in that area!

ST

re: Dutch Maigrets
1/26/16 – I am very happy with our new Dutch lists. Thanks a lot, Murielle, you have again done a superb job! I would buy all of the 22 episodes at once (6 Brusse Maigrets plus 16 Teulings Maigrets), if they were available on DVDs. They should publish them next week (or, better still: tomorrow) with at least English subtitles! I reckon, I would become a Jan Teulings Maigret fan, too.

The heaviest cross relating to Maigret is that valuable TV material from the Georges Simenon era is buried, sealed, perhaps forgotten and damned to death in the archives. First of all I think of the original English version of the BBC Maigret (Rupert Davies), and now, equally, of the Dutch interpretations.

Berthold

BBC Radio 4 - Maigret Gets Angry & Maigret in New York
1/26/16 –

January 9 BBC Radio 4 panel discussion, on two recent translations, Maigret Gets Angry & Maigret in New York. Tom Sutcliffe with David Schneider, Sophie Hannah and Dreda Say Mitchell. The Maigret segment runs for about 10 minutes after 18:30.

It’s great to hear people who have never read Maigret before, as two of the people here had not, reacting to these books. They feel that there is a straight novelist trying to get out of this “crime writer”. They don’t seem to know about the romans durs. How could they, when hardly anything is in print in English? And they show that they are novices when someone says that these are “late” Maigrets...

David

Stan the Killer translator?
1/31/16 – Here are a few more entries for Stan the Killer for the bibliography:

I'm sure the first two are translated by Boucher, but I'd especially like to know the translator for the AHMM issue. Can anyone help?

Thanks,
Phil Stephensen-Payne
www.philsp.com

re: Maigret comics by Blondeau...?
1/31/16 – Murielle very helpfully drew our attention to Michel Schepens’s piece in the Cahiers about the Blondeau comic strips [1/5/16]. But I am puzzled by this list too. Samedi-Soir was a weekly, but many of the dates here are not a Saturday.

If anyone can shed light on that one, it’s Murielle! Or perhaps Michel Schepens can. Also, does the numbering of the “incomplete” strip suggest that it’s the earliest? One could imagine the last strip being incomplete, but the first?

It’s fun, incidentally, to see a 1928 pseudonymous novel, Le secret des lamas, set in the Himalayas and Calcutta, serialised in the périodique de bande dessinée Jumbo from 1943 10 03 to 1944 06 13.

David

re: John Simenon and Natasha Cooper discuss Maigret on BBC Radio
2/2/16 – Further to Vladimir's recent post [1/24/16], I think the new tv version of Maigret with Rowan Atkinson in the lead part is to be screened in March.

Alan Cheshire

Paris this morning...
2/7/16 –


Quai des Orfèvres


Place Dauphine

Regards
Jérôme

Simenon-Simenon
2/9/16 –

FEVRIER 13 - NOUVELLE VERSION DE SIMENON-SIMENON

Nous sommes toujours là. Après une pause de quelques mois, Simenon-Simenon est de retour.

Et ce n'est pas qu'un simple retour. C'est un nouveau départ pour une nouvelle version du blog quotidien dédié au romancier Georges Simenon, blog qui depuis 2010 a reçu plus d'un million de visites.

En effet, dès le 13 février, Simenon-Simenon, en plus de maintenir son rythme quotidien, publiera des billets également en français et en anglais. La revue de presse internationale aura une plus grande importance, et l'apparence graphique sera renouvelée.

Ainsi, la publication quotidienne des billets se fera grâce à une équipe d'experts et de passionnés de l'écrivain et créateur du commissaire Maigret, une équipe qui couvrira également les domaines d'expression francophone et anglophone, avec des correspondants à l'étranger, et jusqu'aux États-Unis.

Simenon-Simenon se renouvelle pour maintenir cette primauté qu'il a occupée au cours des dernières années en Italie, la seule initiative, dans le monde du blog, dédiée exclusivement à Simenon, et la seule qui avait une base quotidienne.

Maintenant, le défi vise l'Europe et même au-delà du continent. Nous espérons que ceux qui nous ont suivis au cours de ces dernières années vont continuer à nous suivre dans cette nouvelle version, et nous souhaitons aussi nous faire connaître aux nombreux passionnés de Simenon dans le monde entier.

C'est un défi ambitieux ... très ambitieux. Quand nous avions lancé, en novembre 2010, l'idée d'un blog quotidien centré sur un seul personnage, cette idée avait été jugée irréaliste... Et pourtant nous l'avons poursuivie pendant près de cinq ans… Maintenant, après cette pause de quelques mois, avec un nouveau projet et un staff chevronné, nous voici prêts à nous lancer dans ce nouveau défi.

Et pour vous, nos lecteurs, nous souhaitons être de plus en plus intéressants ... et divertissants !

Rendez-vous à tous pour le 13 février.

Murielle

Simenon-Simenon
2/9/16 –

February 13 – THE NEW VERSION OF SIMENON-SIMENON

We’re still here. After a break of a few months, Simenon-Simenon is back. It’s not just resuming; it’s a fresh start for a new version of the daily blog dedicated to novelist Georges Simenon, a blog visited more than a million times since 2010.

In fact, beyond resuming its usual pace, Simenon-Simenon will be publishing posts in French and English as well. International media review will get greater attention, and graphics will be updated.

Thanks to a knowledgeable team of Simenon and Maigret enthusiasts, daily postings will reappear from now on. With foreign correspondents as far away as the USA, the team will cover French- and English-speaking regions in addition to Italian-speaking ones.

Simenon-Simenon renews itself in order to preserve the top position it occupied in Italy during the past years, its undertaking being singular in the blogosphere for its exclusive devotion to Simenon and for its unique daily basis.

Now, the challenge extends to all of Europe and even beyond the continent. We hope followers in past years will continue to follow us in this new form and we want as well to make ourselves known to the numerous Simenon enthusiasts worldwide.

It’s an ambitious challenge… a very ambitious one. In November of 2010, when we launched the concept of a daily blog focusing on a single figure, it was considered unrealistic. Yet, we carried on with it for almost five years… Now, after this few months break, here we are, with a new plan but an experienced group, ready to throw ourselves into this latest challenge.

And for you, our readers, we want to be more and more interesting… and entertaining! So, everyone, please join in on this February 13.

Murielle

Michel Lemoine 1944-2016
2/10/16 – This news just came in via a tweet from John Simenon: Michel Lemoine, the last of the Simenon "musketeers", has just left us. This is a very great loss to the world of Simenon studies and his scholarship will be missed...

L'Autre Univers de Simenon - Index des personnages de Georges Simenon - Liège dans l'oeuvre de Simenon - Paris chez Simenon - Liège couleur Simenon 1,2,3 - Le Liège de Simenon en cartes postales d’époque - Simenon. Ecrire l’homme - L'univers de Simenon - Georges Simenon. Album de una vida - Lumières sur le Simenon de l’aube

Murielle

re: Michel Lemoine 1944-2016
2/10/16 – Michel Lemoine's disappearance is a great loss for friends of Simenon.

Laurent Demoulin, in an article in Textyles, a Belgian magazine, wrote about him:

Parmi les nombreux spécialistes de Simenon, Michel Lemoine détient sans doute la palme de la connaissance encyclopédique. L’ensemble forme un ouvrage d’érudition étourdissant de précision. Michel Lemoine y fait montre de sa connaissance des Maigret et des romans « durs » de Simenon...
Among the many Simenon specialists, Michel Lemoine undoubtedly holds the prize for encyclopedic knowledge. The whole forms a work of erudition stunning in its precision. Michel Lemoine thereby demonstrates his understanding of Maigret and Simenon's 'hard' novels...

I own 3 of his books and they are really significant for gaining a profound insight into Simenon and Maigret.

Regards
Jérôme

Maigret’s strange wanderings - Place Dauphine and the Brasserie Dauphine
2/12/16 –

On rereading the beginning of La colère de Maigret [COL], it seemed to me that Maigret was making a strange detour to get from his office to the Brasserie Dauphine… a new little Simenon mystery to clear up…

In the first paragraph of Chapter 1 we’re told that Maigret, after having passed "under the perpetually cool archway, and through the gate flanked by two uniformed policemen", looked first "towards the courtyard, then towards the Place Dauphine, and then back towards the courtyard." The Chief Inspector was in fact hoping that some colleague might come by, which would give him a pretext for taking an apéritif at the Brasserie Dauphine. A little further along we’re told, "Normally he would have had to turn left along the Quai, towards the Pont Saint-Michel".

Up to this point, nothing strange, and, if we look at the map, we see that if Maigret had left the PJ, he would indeed have had to turn left to go towards the bridge.

However, since no one happened along, what did Maigret do? "With a slight shrug of his shoulders, he turned right instead and walked into the Place Dauphine, cutting across it diagonally. He had suddenly felt an urge, on leaving the office, to go to the Brasserie Dauphine and… to treat himself to an apéritif." And that’s just what he did…

But if we understand that he turned to the right, we have to wonder why he crossed the Place Dauphine diagonally… Looking at the location of the Brasserie on the map, why would he have passed by the Place? It would seem more logical for Maigret to simply continue down the Rue de Harlay, since the restaurant was located at the end of it…

The only hypothesis I can come up with to explain this little mystery is that by “Place Dauphine”, Simenon meant all the space in front of the stairway of the Palais de Justice, including therefore all that’s found of the Rue de Harlay on the right on our map… What do you think?

remainder of article (and pictures of the scene)
original French

Murielle

Penguin Maigret - A Crime in Holland
2/23/16 –
A Crime in Holland

a review by Andrew Walser

When Inspector Maigret arrives in Holland, he finds a “clash between reality and . . . preconceived ideas” – a discrepancy between the “picture-postcard” version of the Netherlands, all tulips and Amsterdam, and the real thing, a “heath-covered wasteland . . . a hundred times more Nordic in character than he had imagined.” At first he delights in this discrepancy, just as his creator delights in describing the strange landscape:

The farm, in the morning sunshine of eleven o’clock, reminded him of his first steps on Dutch soil, the girl in her shiny boots in the modern cowshed, the prim and proper parlour and the teapot in its quilted cosy.

The same calm reigned now. Very far away, almost at the limit of the infinite horizon, a large brown sail floated across the field looking like some ghost ship sailing in an ocean of grassland.

Yet the charm quickly fades. A “rancid air” of hypocrisy and deceit hangs over picturesque Delfzijl, and the murder of Conrad Popinga – which Maigret has been sent, somewhat unofficially, to investigate – comes to seem like a symptom of a more fundamental violence.

Life in Delfzijl is defined by the gap between its comfortable middle-class citizens and the working-class sailors who frequent the port: “The same sky, of heavenly limpidity. But what a frontier between these two worlds!” Like many of the artists and intellectuals of his era, Simeon is inclined to sympathize with anyone but the bourgeoisie. Yet he makes an exception for Popinga, the victim, whose vitality – a tendency to flirt with milkmaids and dance to the jazz on the radio – separates him from the rest of his class. His murder becomes a figure for the destruction of life and liveliness by the powers of respectability.

Maigret’s nemesis in the novel is Professor Duclos – a criminologist, an amateur detective, and the very man the Inspector was sent to defend. The Professor is a respectable theorist, a particularly distasteful combination in this universe. True, the “set of plans and diagrams” that Duclos uses, with “dotted lines drawn on them which must indicate the paths taken by certain persons,” are reminiscent of Simenon’s own compositional practice. Yet, as Alfred Korzybski famously noted, “the map is not the territory.” In his own investigation, Maigret makes sure to actually enter the territory, to recreate the night of the crime in painstaking detail – to reconvene the Professor’s lecture, to walk with the suspects beside the canal, to tune to the radio show to which the dead man danced. The implication is that only through such a method can one discover anything like the truth. The theories of academics are less effective than a kind of imaginative projection, grounded in sensory details and psychology – less effective, in other words, than narrative art.

A few years after solving the crime, Maigret runs into Beetje the milkmaid, the object of Popinga’s dalliance, and is dismayed to find her domesticated, diminished, in the end as “respectable” as everyone else in Delfzijl. You can almost hear his disappointment: This is the future I am safeguarding? This is the order I have restored? It is one last instance of the “clash between reality and . . . preconceived ideas.”


Simenon, Georges. A Crime in Holland. trans. Siân Reynolds. London: Penguin, 2014.

Maigret's First Case 1913?
2/26/16 –

Why do some people – including French Wikipedia – refer to La première enquête de Maigret as La première enquête de Maigret, 1913?

The first edition doesn’t seem to have had 1913 on the cover, but even Murielle has used the longer form here. The English first edition has Maigret’s First Case, 1913 on the dust jacket, but they don't show 1913 as if it’s part of the title...

David

re: Maigret's First Case 1913?
2/27/16 – At the link in David's article to Yves Martina's page on Maigret's First Case, we learn that on the typescript of the novel, conserved at the Fonds Simenon, the first title was struck out and replaced by La première enquête de Maigret (1913), apparently showing that that was the title Simenon wanted.

In fact, on the cover of the first edition, the year 1913 does not appear, nor is it on the frontispice (an interesting bibliographic term) of that book. On the first reprint edition (below), it doesn't appear directly in the title, but it is found in the image (at bottom left, below the word "rapport"). I don't know if it appears on the frontispiece, for I don't have a copy at hand. On the other hand, in the oldest reprint I do have, from 1974, (below) that year does appear on the frontispiece. And it seems likely that its appearance in later editions presents the title as Simenon wanted it.

first reprint

1974

1974

Murielle

tr.

re: Maigret's First Case 1913?
2/28/16 – Thank you, Murielle. If 1913 crept in after the first edition, that suggests an active intervention, possibly by Simenon himself. (But it’s on the title page in 1974, surely, not frontispiece, or am I wrong?*)

It half-crept in in 1958, on the English first edition cover (left). That borrows a motif from the French first reprint edition, but whereas in the French reprint, presumably circa 1950, 1913 is an afterthought in the illustration and not really part of the title, in the English edition there is no distinction between text and image, leaving it ambiguous.

On the other hand, it makes an uncharacteristically awkward and hesitant title, especially with the use of two type sizes. And later French and English editions go back again to plain La première enquête de Maigret.

And there are examples given by Yves Martina of published titles which differ from any suggested on the manuscript or typescript. For example, Maigret et le tueur.

David


*Correct...

frontispiece: an illustration facing the title page of a book.

ST

Boats along the Seine...
2/28/16 –


Boats along the Seine, with the Louvres in the background. Near where Simenon kept his boat in Paris

And two photos of the Quai des Orfèvres this morning...

Regards
Jérôme

re: Boats along the Seine...
2/28/16 – Beautiful boats, nice picture, Jerome. I do not see this type of boat often; all boats here - we have marinas with hundreds of boats - are for ocean sailing. These in Paris must be for quiet river waters.

Vladimir,
Canada

re: frontispiece
2/29/16 – In Murielle's comments on Maigret's First Case, she used the French word frontispice to refer to what we would call in English, the title page. David's reply included the remark, "(But it’s on the title page in 1974, surely, not frontispiece...)", using the English word frontispiece, and I agreed with him, frontispiece refers to an illustration on the left page, facing the title page.

Murielle responded to this "correction" today, by quoting a French Wikipedia article, Page (livre), which includes, among other useful definitions, the explanation:

"Page de grand titre (ou frontispice) : la page contenant le nom de l'auteur, le titre de l'œuvre, la raison sociale de l'éditeur, la ville d'origine et le millésime de l'édition."

[The page of the large title, or frontispice, is the page containing the name of the author, the title of the work, the name of the publisher, the city of publication, and the year."]

(In short, frontispice = title page.)

However, the French Wikipedia article Frontispice_(livre), apparently contradicts this:

"Un frontispice est une illustration, placée au début d'un livre, généralement sur la fausse page (verso) qui fait face à la page de titre (recto)."

[A frontispice is an illustration, placed at the beginning of a book, generally on the false page (verso) opposite the title page (recto).]

(In short, frontispice = an illustration on the page facing the title page.)

An explantion for these divergent definitions can be found in the English Wikipedia article Book frontispiece:

A frontispiece in books generally refers to a decorative or informative illustration facing a book's title page, being the verso opposite the recto title page...
The word comes from the French frontispice...
In the 17th century, the French term came to refer to the title pages in books, which were often decorated at the time with intricate engravings that borrowed stylistic elements from architecture, such as columns and pediments. Over the course of the 16th century, the title pages of books came to be accompanied by illustrations on the facing page, known as antiporte, and the term took on the meaning it retains today as early as 1682. By then, the English spelling had also morphed, by way of folk etymology, from 'frontispice' to 'frontispiece' ('front' + 'piece').

(In short, frontispice once meant title page, but its meaning shifted in the late 17th century to the illustrated page facing it...)


frontispiece and title page of
John Raymond's "Simenon in Court" (1968)

[And this interesting state of affairs reminds us that Wikipedia, as wonderful as it is, is "crowd sourced", and explanations are not necessarily definitive...]

ST

re: Boats along the Seine...
2/29/16 – Bravo! Jérôme, for your magnificent photos of Paris! It's always a great pleasure to discover them, and I'm sure I'm not the only one for whom these images instill a true feeling of nostalgia for the city of our favorite Chief Inspector...

Best regards,
Murielle

tr.

re: frontispiece
3/2/16 – Thanks, Steve and Murielle. Wikipedia may not be definitive, but the full Oxford English Dictionary is supposed to be, and it bears out what you say, right down to the year 1682.

Perhaps the older meaning has not completely died out in France.

OED adds that frontispiece originally meant the decorated entrance of a building.

David


Murielle reports that both meanings are still current in France, and appear in modern dictionaries...

ST

New Simenon book by Carly and Libens
3/3/16 –


La Belgique de Simenon - 101 scènes d'enquêtes
[Simenon's Belgium - 101 scenes of investigations]

by Michel Carly and Christian Libens
268pp
Weyrich

Joe Richards

re: New Simenon book by Carly and Libens
3/3/16 – 33 euro comes to $48 CAN !? Wow, books are expensive in Europe.

Vladimir

Atkinson trailer
3/3/16 –


A very brief Atkinson trailer on Youtube
...

David

Maigret translations
3/4/16 – I've just discovered your excellent, comprehensive Maigret site. In addition to the listings of translations, do you have any comments upon the translations?

After having dithered around with different titles from the series for a long time I've just recently started making my way systematically through the entire set. The easiest translations to get a hold of are the most recent Penguin publications. However, I've felt that the language in these hasn't been as allusive or elegant as translations I have previously read.

I'm not sure if I am imagining that. Have you written upon this or are you aware of any articles that have commented upon different translations?

Thank you very much,
Benjamin


There have been a number of Forum articles commenting on translations, the most extensive by Peter Foord, in 2003, The Translation of Maigret Texts into English, which includes links to others. There have been a few recently about the new Penguins, like Jane Jinks, John H. Dirckx, Vladimir...

ST

re: Maigret translations
3/4/16 – Benjamin is right, I discovered the same thing long ago- some translations are much better than others. So if you get a Maigret translation that does not read easily and flawlessly, do not give up on Simenon, better try a different translation or a different Maigret book. From personal experience, I find Maigret stories set in Paris more interesting and fascinating than those set elsewhere in France, Belgium, etc.

Vladimir

re: Maigret translations
3/5/16 – I've just gotten a note from Don Buck, with regard to a recent article about Simenon by John Gray, The Stark Moral World of Georges Simenon, which appeared in the NewStatesman of February 16, 2016. The section of the article which Don brought to my attention was this:

"Even in the Maigrets, the question is not why a crime was committed, but how the person who committed the crime departed from a settled routine of living, and the detective resolves the conundrum by imaginatively entering into the life of the suspect. Identifying the criminal is rarely the principal focus of the story, though this fact has been obscured for English readers by the uneven quality of the versions of those Maigrets that have been available to date, in some of which the endings were altered in an effort to make the novels more closely resemble crime fiction. The new and freshly translated versions of Simenon’s novels that Penguin is publishing give us, for the first time, the opportunity to read them as he wanted them to be read." [emphasis added]

Don has written to John Gray asking specifically which Maigrets he had in mind when he made the comment about the endings having been changed.

Certainly a number of the cinema and television versions of the Maigrets have been radically changed, including some of the endings, and some translators (notably Geoffrey Sainsbury) have taken a fair amount of liberty with Simenon's originals, but I can't think of any English translations in which the endings have been changed... Can you?

A few minor points about Gray's remarks quoted above...

  • "those Maigrets that have been available to date", suggests that he's unaware that all the Maigrets have appeared in English translation.
  • That the new Penguin translations are the first ones to be faithful to Simenon's originals is at the very least, unlikely, and clearly a questionable claim.

ST

Simenon-Simenon
3/7/16 –

Simenon-Simenon, the international daily blog,
exclusively dedicated to Simenon

Dear web surfers — Although this site is currently the most complete and informative Maigret site on the web, there's another where you can learn a little more about Maigret's creator, Georges Simenon. Visit the blog created by Maurizio Testa, Simenon-Simenon, which offers a daily post on Simenon, alternately in three languages, Italian, French and English, as well as an international press review.

Simenon-Simenon, le blog quotidien et international
consacré exclusivement à Simenon

Chers internautes, si le site de Steve est actuellement sur le net le site le plus complet et le plus informatif sur Maigret, peut-être avez-vous envie d'en savoir un peu plus sur son créateur, le romancier Georges Simenon. Pour cela, rendez-vous sur le blog créé par Maurizio Testa, Simenon-Simenon, qui vous offre un billet quotidien sur Simenon, et cela alternativement dans trois langues, italien, français et anglais, ainsi qu'une revue de presse internationale.

Murielle and Maurizio

Two longer Atkinson trailers
3/9/16 – David's found another Youtube trailer, and Murielle's found an interesting contiguous segment from France...

www.youtube.com

www.premiere.fr

re: Two longer Atkinson trailers
3/9/16 – The trailers - especially the longer one from the French site - look interesting. What are the options for watching this movie in Canada? I mean, soon, not in many years until this movie makes its way to a public TV station.

Cheers,
Vladimir

Maigret Sets a Trap - Atkinson cover
3/11/16 – Cover of new translation by Siân Reynolds. She has already done A Crime in Holland and The Dancer at the Gai-Moulin in the new series. I haven’t read them, and although (like Benjamin and others) I do have slight doubts about some of the other new translations, I found her recent one of The Mahé Circle* excellent.

(*That’s a previously untranslated non-Maigret, and one of the three “Porquerolles novels” along with Justice and My Friend Maigret. It got a wonderful review by John Banville at the New York Review of Books blog in 2015 called Simenon’s island of bad dreams.)

PS Did Maigret ever say “If I can understand the killer, I can find him”? I’m not sure it makes sense, since how can you understand a person you haven’t found?

David

re: How can you understand a person you haven’t found?
3/12/16 – With regard to David's PS comment (3/11/16), "I’m not sure it makes sense, since how can you understand a person you haven’t found?"...
But yes, it makes perfect sense, because that's just what this is about. When, early in the novel, Maigret has a long conversation with Professeur Tissot regarding the killer... they're trying to figure out his personality, to understand his emotions, his way of acting, his mentality, so that the Chief Inspector will have a chance to find him. He doesn't set his trap randomly, in any old way — he relies, as he puts it, on "an intuition", and on what Tissot tells him regarding the psychology of serial killers, and particularly their pride. By making the killer believe that they've arrested a suspect, it challenges him to act again, while creating the conditions in which he has usually acted — placing women of a certain type where they could be met in the darkness of streets. And that's why the trap actually works... the killer acts according to his psychology, and he leaves a clue which puts the police on his trail… If Maigret hadn't "understood" the motivations of the killer, he wouldn't have been able to set up an effective trap… Of course, when he arrests Moncin, he hasn't completely "undertsood" him, but he is already convinced enough that he's found a "good suspect" to have no doubt about his guilt, even when another young woman is murdered while Moncin is already in jail... (tr.)
Justement si, it makes sense, parce que c'est bien de cela qu'il s'agit, lorsque, dans le roman, Maigret a une longue conversation avec le professeur Tissot à propos du tueur: c'est en essayant de cerner sa personnalité, comprendre ses motivations, sa façon d'agir, sa mentalité, que le commissaire a eu une chance de le trouver. Il ne tend pas un piège au hasard, n'importe comment, il s'appuie, comme il le dit, sur "une intuition", et sur ce que Tissot lui a dit de la psychologie des tueurs en série, et en particulier l'orgueil de ceux-ci: en faisant croire qu'il a arrêté le suspect, il met au défi le véritable tueur de se manifester à nouveau, en créant les conditions dans lesquelles il agit d'habitude: des femmes d'un certain type qu'on peut rencontrer dans la pénombre des rues… Et c'est pour cela que le piège fonctionne en réalité: le tueur a agi selon sa psychologie, et il laisse un indice qui met le policier sur la voie… S'il n'avait pas "compris" les motivations du tueur, il n'aurait pas pu tendre un piège efficace… Bien entendu, au moment où il arrête Moncin, il n'a pas encore tout "compris" de lui, mais il est déjà assez convaincu d'avoir trouvé le "bon suspect" pour ne pas avoir de doute sur sa culpabilité, même lorsqu'a lieu le meurtre sur la jeune fille, alors que Moncin est en prison…

Murielle

re: How can you understand a person you haven’t found?
3/12/16 – Thanks, Murielle. As usual, I was writing in a hurry, and of course you are right.

In general terms, I guess the statement means “I must understand a person before I know he/she is the killer”.

David

Maigret on the Seine
3/12/16 –

Maigret on the Seine: bridges and quais

In homage to Michel Lemoine

Preamble

In the works of Simenon, and particularly in the Maigrets, it could be said that the city of Paris has acquired the status of an actual character. The novelist understood, in evoking the names of the Parisian streets, how to build a personal geography of the city in a way so evocative that the reader could create his own representation of the capital. While we have previously discussed this Maigret geography, that picture still lacks, among other things, a discussion of the bridges and quais, since they are truly a part of this geography, the importance of the Seine and fluvial images for Maigret being well known…

This new study is dedicated to the memory of Michel Lemoine, in a modest and respectful homage, and with the immense regret that we will no longer be able look forward to his newest commentaries…

Which bridges and quais are most often evoked in the Maigret saga, how are they presented by the novelist, and what is their importance in the plots of the novels? These are the questions this study will attempt to answer. To carry out this inventory, we've obviously relied on the essential work of Michel Lemoine, Paris chez Simenon, allowing us to refine our results, complete our research, and not only to find certain information that would have otherwise eluded us, but also to discover things he himself hadn't reported, and which we can only regret not being able to discuss with him…

For our statistical inventory, we'll proceed as follows. Rather than count the number of mentions of each of the bridges and quais, we've taken the number of novels in which each of them appears at least once. The great majority of these mentions are "nominal", that is, the bridges and quais are noted by name. Sometimes however, though rarely, when the text only contains the words "bridge" or "quai", the specific one can be determined by context. Once more we acknowledge the assistance of the work of Michel Lemoine in identifying some of these mentions. Finally, we note that our inventory is limited to the 20 arrondissements of Paris, ignoring surrounding areas.

  1. "Just across the bridge…"

    To leave for Suresnes
    Or even for Charenton,
    All along the river Seine
    You go under the bridges.

    During the day, following its course,
    All Paris passes by boat...

     
        (beginning of the song,
        Sous les ponts de Paris
        [Under the bridges of Paris])

    The bridge is, by definition, a place of passage, a theme dear to Simenon. In Paris, the bridges serve to cross the Seine, to go from one bank to the other, but in the Maigrets, bridges also have other roles... They are the scenery that surrounds the barges, moored nearby, or tirelessly led by tugs, whose whistles form the soundtrack entering by the wide-open windows of Maigret's office... The bridges are also the refuge of clochards, a place to watch the fishermen (particularly the one at Pont Saint-Michel evoked in Ch. 8 of La patience de Maigret [PAT]), but also a means for setting the action of a novel at a precise Paris location.

    We have catalogued 16 different bridges in the texts, (with the number of novels in which they appear in parentheses)... Pont Saint-Michel (34), Pont-Neuf (21), Pont d'Austerlitz (10), Pont Marie (5), Pont-au-Change (3), Pont Saint-Louis (3); several bridges appearing in two novels, Pont Louis-Philippe, Pont des Arts, Pont Mirabeau, Pont National; and lastly bridges mentioned in just one novel, Pont de Bercy, Pont de Sully, Pont de la Tournelle, Pont de la Concorde, Pont de Bir-Hakeim, and Pont de Grenelle.

    1. Pont Saint-Michel

      Readers familiar with the Maigrets will certainly not be surprised to find that this is the most frequently mentioned bridge, for they'll know that this is the view on which the Chief Inspector casts his eyes from his office. It's from its appearance and that of the Seine that he often deduces the weather, but he also finds pleasure in regarding the barges passing under its arches. And it's a place of passage for Maigret himself, when he arrives at or leaves his office, or goes to crime scenes on the other bank of the Seine. We note that while it's most often cited by name, sometimes simply the word "bridge" will do, especially when the author is speaking of the scene from Maigret's window. And since it was established from the beginning that the Chief Inspector has a view of the bridge from his office, ("From the window, he could see an arm of the Seine, the Place Saint-Michel, and a floating wash-house, all under a blue haze through which the gas lamps twinkled like stars as they lit up one by one," at the beginning of Pietr le Letton [LET]), it becomes almost superfluous to mention it by name...

      complete text
      original French

      Murielle

re: How can you understand a person you haven’t found?
3/13/16 – Considering the comments from David and Murielle, I am even more curious about how this Maigret story will develop in the newest Atkinson interpretation, and how different it will be from the Gambon series.

In my opinion 'understanding' the murderer in this case applies not to the 'original' murderer, but to his mother and wife, one of whom also became a murderer. By that time Maigret knew that either of them was capable of anything to help their "man", including murder. The original murderer, by the way, was caught using standard detective work, from the unique button to rare fabric to only one person who had a suit from that fabric and was in Paris at the time of the crime.

One of the best examples where Maigret's understanding of the psychology and motives of the murderer was instrumental in solving the case was when the mother of rich dentist killed his wife (Maigret et la Grande Perche [GRA]. After Maigret explained to her why she did it - jealousy - she immediately confessed.

Cheers,
Vladimir

Brelan d'as (Full House) 1952
3/13/16 – As well as being a big Georges Simenon fan, I’m also a great admirer of the wonderfully Falstaffian Swiss actor Michel Simon and would love to see this portmanteau film [Brelan d'as] in which he appears as Maigret in one vignette [Le Témoignage de l'enfant de chœur [tem]]. Tracking the damn thing down is seemingly impossible though, which is surprising considering that one of the other episodes features cult character Lemmy Caution.

Has anyone on here had the opportunity to see it or have any knowledge of it’s commercial status? It must rank as one of the few French Simenon adaptations not to make it to DVD or (to the best of my knowledge) VHS. Does it ever show up on French television? All I’ve been able to find is one short clip and a few production stills.

Any help would be much appreciated.

Matthew Hewitt

Maigret and the Penguin Books
3/14/16 –
I've recently received a copy of this delightful book published by the Penguin Collectors Society (2015), "Maigret and the Penguin Books", with a size and cover design reminiscent of a Penguin Maigret of the 1960s.


Introduction

6
George Simenon Returns by Julian Barnes8
Penguin and Maigret: a little publishing history by James Mackay17
The Maigret books in Penguin: an illustrated historical bibliography39
      The French and Penguin titles of the 75 Maigret novels41
      The French and Penguin titles of the 28 Maigret short stories52
      Illustrated Catalogue of the Penguin Maigrets55
Sources, Further Reading and Acknowledgments105

As can be seen in the above summary of the contents, the bulk of the book's 112 pages is made up of bibliographic listings of the Penguin Maigrets, with all the covers, dates and design information:


(You can buy a copy online here.)

The Julian Barnes article, George Simenon Returns, is reprinted from The Times Literary Supplement, May 7, 2014, available online here.

I asked James Mackay for permission to reprint his enlightening article, Penguin and Maigret: a little publishing history, but because of certain copyrighted material it contains, he has, instead, generously provided a lengthy extract, which can be read here. (You'll have to pick up a copy of the book to enjoy the rest...)

ST

re: How can you understand a person you haven’t found?
3/15/16 – I believe the ‘If I can understand the killer, I can find him’ and it’s variations, is meant as a tagline for the entire series rather than specifically ‘Maigret Sets a Trap’. It’s nothing more than P.R flimflam, since every Detective has to have their gimmick these days and of course, Maigret is known for his insight into human nature.

As to how it’ll differ to the earlier ITV series; despite finding him rather endearing in the role, I always thought Gambon to be a bit too laid back and affable. Whereas Atkinson, despite being the wrong build physically, seems appropriately subdued and reflective from the trailers. I’d also imagine the series itself to be slicker and more stylised than the earlier version, since British television drama has changed a lot in the last couple of decades (not always for the better IMO).

Kind regards,
Matthew

My Friend Maigret: escapism, dreams and the imagination
3/15/16 –
From the London School of Economics and Political Science, website, an audio recording (90 mins.) of the excellent session of the Literary Festival 2016 held in London a couple of weeks ago, on Saturday, February 27, My Friend Maigret: escapism, dreams and the imagination in Simenon, with Professor John Gray, Ros Schwartz, and John Simenon.

James Mackay


One of these speakers is Professor John Gray, whose article, The Stark Moral World of Georges Simenon, was the subject of a post here a few days ago, [3/5/16]. He mentions the changed endings in some of the English translations of the Maigrets in this panel discussion as well. Ros Schwartz is one of the translators of the new Penguin Maigrets.

ST

Penguin Maigret - Night at the Crossroads
3/15/16 –
Night at the Crossroads

a review by Andrew Walser

The crossroads is as archetypal as symbols get. Think, for instance, of Oedipus’s encounter with his father, which happened, according to Sophocles, “near the branching of the crossroads,” or Robert Johnson’s deal with the devil, a central myth of American music. Night at the Crossroads draws on the power of this archetype. When a perplexing murder occurs outside Paris, the Inspector arrives at an isolated intersection marked only by two houses and a dingy garage. This crossroads serves, in the usual way, as a site for fateful decisions, but also becomes a meeting place for three sorts of stories – as if Simenon wanted, within the strict limits of his chosen form, to construct a kind of playful polyphony.

The first story is a bourgeois novel, set in an impeccably respectable house – a “small villa of millstone grit with a narrow garden, surrounded by a six-foot-high fence.” There we meet Émile Michonnet, an insurance salesman of such blandness and conventionality that he cares less about the jewel merchant’s corpse discovered in his new car than about whether the replacement vehicle comes in burgundy – the most fashionable color, apparently. With his gout and his penchant for lawsuits, Michonnet is a wicked parody of an entire class. So is his wife, who lurks behind curtains and spies on her neighbors, the way Gladys Kravitz used to on Bewitched. One might argue that this desire to snoop lies at the root of the bourgeois novel, and that the chief downside of the genre is that the objects of your attention – your focus for four or five hundred pages – may be as mundane as the Michonnets.

The second story is a Gothic novel, all morbidity and dread. It is set in the Three Widows, a ramshackle old mansion named after the ancient mother and two elderly daughters who barricaded themselves inside and exterminated each other in various lurid ways. I am tempted to read these widows as the Fates, making their decisions at the crossroads of each life –but, in any case, they are certainly generic signposts. The current residents of the house, the Andersens, are themselves unmistakably Gothic, a couple in whom the decaying nobility of Europe seems to have coalesced. Carl is an elegant but disfigured aristocrat, Else his alluring companion, and around them hangs a heavy air of incest and insanity. Small wonder Lucas confesses to his boss: “I get the sense that there’s something wrong with this case, something weird, almost malignant.” That Lucas wavers between exonerating Else completely and declaring her the “only poisonous thing” in the house is sadly characteristic of one kind of masculine psychology.

The final story is in some ways the most wholesome – a hardboiled crime novel, revolving around the tough customers who run the garage. Simple crime looks more tolerable next to decadence and rank hypocrisy. When Oscar, the garage owner, mocks Michonnet’s respectability and laughs at Else’s sensational tale – “’It’s just like a novel[!]’” – the comment reminds us that Simenon’s work claims to be sui generis, to possess a realism deep enough to escape generic conventions altogether.

Ultimately, we might see these disparate stories as stationed along the same road, poaching off the same transient energies. The myth of genre insists on separateness, but they all intersect at the crossroads called narrative – and it was in narrative, as Thornton Wilder observed, that Simenon was the genius of his century.


Simenon, Georges. Night at the Crossroads. trans. Linda Coverdale. London: Penguin, 2014.

Simenon's Le train - Paris

3/15/16 –

Not a Maigret event, but I an interesting one, I think...

Concerts de radio france
Le Train, adapted by Pierre Assouline
Wednesday, April 15, 2016, 7:00 pm
Maison de la Radio - Studio 104
(116 Avenue du président Kennedy, 75016 Paris)

Regards,
Jérôme

Rowan Atkinson: why I just couldn't say no to Maigret... [and other articles]
3/18-27/16 – “...I don’t think you can decide to play a mainstream role in an ITV drama,” he explains, “without being reasonably certain you can play the part as well as it can be played. The demand of modern TV drama is very low-key and naturalistic. Directors constantly tell you, 'Don’t act, don’t try.’ It’s inflection-free acting and I wasn’t really sure if I could do it...”

Rowan Atkinson: why I just couldn't say no to Maigret. The Telegraph, by Jasper Rees - March 18, 2016


From Mr Bean to Monsieur Maigret: Rowan Atkinson ditched the slapstick to play the French detective in his first major TV role for 20 years. Daily Mail, by Tim Oglethorpe, March 18, 2016
Few laughs as Rowan Atkinson takes on role of Maigret in ITV's new detective drama. International Business Times, by Fiona Keating, March 19, 2016
Rowan Atkinson on Inspector Maigret, the artistic value of comedy, and playing an ordinary man. Independent, by James Rampton, March 22, 2016
Inspecting Maigret: Rowan Atkinson puts on his thinking hat . The Guardian, by Mark Lawson, March 25, 2016
Rowan Atkinson on playing Maigret: He’s just an ordinary guy doing an extraordinary job. Sunday Express, by Mark Lawson, March 27, 2016

re: Place Dauphine and the Brasserie Dauphine
3/20/16 – Following Murielle's request at the end of her note of February 12...
"I wonder if the building we can see in the background of the photo from the episode still exists… in the picture it looks as if it’s on the other side of the Seine, but if we compare it with today’s photo, it doesn’t seem to be as large… Can our Parisian friend Jérôme possibly take us a photo at the proper angle, so that we can make a better comparison?"


(Rue de Harlay 1961)

I went to the back of the Palais de Justice and took a picture from the same position as the one in the movie... The building in the background is still there, and it is on the other side of the Seine. That's the Quai de la Mégisserie:


(Rue de Harlay 2016)

Regards,
Jérôme

re: Place Dauphine and the Brasserie Dauphine
3/21/16 – The difference between Rue Harlay in 1961 and 2016 is amazing. Thanks Jerome for the great picture. The building on the left looks like it was demolished and rebuilt in a heritage architectural style. It fits the area well, and the area still has same feel as in the older photo. I always find it fascination looking at old and recent photos of the same streets, buildings - one of my little hobbies.

Vladimir,
Canada

3/22/16

BBC Radio 4 Reviews Atkinson's "Maigret"

3/22/16 – BBC radio 4 critics’ programme ‘Front Row’ from Mar. 22, [audio track appx 16:30 to 21:30] Jeff Park reviews Rowan Atkinson's Maigret in the television film, ‘Maigret Sets a Trap’, which will be released on Monday.

James MacKay

Rowan Atkinson articles
4/3/16 – These keep on coming in... Check here from time to time for more...


The week in TV: Maigret Sets a Trap. The Guardian, by Euan Ferguson, April 3, 2016


Lucy’s Franglais demolition of Maigret puts film noir in the dark. The Guardian, Letters, March 29, 2016


Maigret Sets a Trap review: zut alors – c’est terrible!. The Guardian, by Lucy Mangan, March 29, 2016


CHRISTOPHER STEVENS on Rowan Atkinson as Jules Maigret in new TV crime drama. The Daily Mail, by Christopher Stevens, March 28, 2016


Rowan Atkinson on playing Maigret: He’s just an ordinary guy doing an extraordinary job. Sunday Express, by Mark Lawson, March 27, 2016
Inspecting Maigret: Rowan Atkinson puts on his thinking hat . The Guardian, by Mark Lawson, March 25, 2016
Rowan Atkinson on Inspector Maigret, the artistic value of comedy, and playing an ordinary man. Independent, by James Rampton, March 22, 2016
Few laughs as Rowan Atkinson takes on role of Maigret in ITV's new detective drama. International Business Times, by Fiona Keating, March 19, 2016
From Mr Bean to Monsieur Maigret: Rowan Atkinson ditched the slapstick to play the French detective in his first major TV role for 20 years. Daily Mail, by Tim Oglethorpe, March 18, 2016
Rowan Atkinson: why I just couldn't say no to Maigret. The Telegraph, by Jasper Rees - March 18, 2016

Penguin Cover Previews
3/27/16 – David has located three new Penguin Maigret cover previews (scheduled for June release), including a second TV tie-in cover for the Atkinson release:
Here's an image of the earlier Atkinson cover he sent in a few weeks ago.

The two covers from the new series are #35 (Memoirs) and #36 (Picratt's). Number 34, Mme Maigret's Friend, has been announced, but I haven't found the cover yet. (I wonder if Memoirs is in the final form... The title design is different and there's no Penguin logo...)

ST

One more Teulings Maigret
3/27/16 – Although it was reported here on Jan. 26 that Murielle had "definitively completed" the list of Jan Teulings Maigret episodes, she has actually discovered one more (!), an "extra", aired in the Netherlands on May 1, 1970.

It was "Maigret en de zakkenroller" [Maigret and the pickpocket], based on "Le Voleur de Maigret". (The image, from the May 1, 1970 article in Het vrije volk, is of Teulings and Willem Nijholt, who played François Ricain, the "pickpocket".)

ST

re: Penguin Cover Previews
4/3/16 – Here's the cover for the upcoming Penguin release of "Madame Maigret's Friend", thanks to Ward Saylor.

All (?) the released covers for the first 36 can be seen here on the Penguin page

ST

re: Penguin Covers
4/3/16 – The question is: "Who is more popular - Maigret or Simenon?"

You notice that on new Penguin book covers, the Simenon name is prominently displayed, while Maigret, as well as the title, are in small print. But on the books for Atkinson TV, and most covers I have seen, it is Maigret that's most visible.

Vladimir

re: New Penguin Maigret Translations
4/3/16 – There are some problems with the current series of Penguin retranslations aside from “are they better than the old ones?”, wonderful as it is that they are appearing.
  1. ) They are only Maigret. They don’t fully support the series of critical snippets about GS printed before the title pages, which may leave some readers scratching their heads. In other words, the whole exercise is once again skewing perceptions of GS outside France. Maigret is certainly not second-tier Simenon, but it was his light relief.

    Very few non-Maigrets are in print. One that has just appeared in Penguin is Quand j’étais vieux, which printed some autobiographical notebooks. Good title, and I can see why it means a lot to John Simenon. It presents a picture of GS's family life in the early 60s and is often very interesting. But at other times it rambles – which GS never does except when he departs from the short novel (and did disastrously in his last, long book of memoirs). He even rambles (by his standards) in Les mémoires de Maigret.

    Quand j’étais vieux rambles to the degree that many people, dipping in, will say: “Why on earth is this in Penguin Classics?” He has reasons for writing like that, but no new reader is going to pick them up immediately.

  2. ) Some recent Simenon translations have had an American flavour which, although fine in itself, distance the books from GS’s world, at least for British readers. That is not the case here, but sometimes there is the sense that new translators don't quite “get” the old France and that the older ones made for more comfortable reading. Just as an old Penguin feels closer to the unsandblasted world of jettons and zinc bars. It doesn’t mean that the older translations were technically better.

  3. ) Penguin are issuing the Maigrets in order of publication. That means that novices were getting the Fayard Maigrets first, which, talent though they showed, were in some cases slapdash and confusing. I know that some readers regard them as “the” Maigrets, but others may have been put off.

I haven’t seen the Atkinson yet, so I can’t say whether he will skew the image of Maigret. In clips, he seems so keen not to be Mr Bean that his face is an impenetrable mask.

David

re: New Penguin Maigret Translations
4/4/16 – David's third point is so true. Re-publishing Maigret in chronological order could be a big mistake because not all the novels are equally good. No writer has all books equally good. If a reader will try one or two Maigrets which are not so good, they will just lose interest in Maigret and never read another.

This almost was my experience - I got two Maigret books, and by chance the first one I tried was very good. If I started with the other - which I did not like at all - I would have given up on Maigret, which would be very unfortunate.

So, Penguin could do much better by publishing in order of popularity and reader appreciation. And they could easily find this info on this excellent forum.

Vladimir
Canada

Merci, Simenon Simenon!
4/6/16 – If you go over to the Simenon Simenon site today, you'll see that our Maigret site has gotten a glowing review!

Merci, Simenon Simenon!

ST

Pipe dreams: on the trail of Maigret’s Paris
4/18/16 – "By rights Le Bar du Caveau, on the Ile de la Cité’s Place Dauphine, one of the most picturesque squares in the very centre of the tourist’s Paris, should have been crammed with foreigners. Instead, at lunch hour, the only time it was open, it was filled with lawyers from the adjoining Palais de Justice who clearly hadn’t got to talk enough in court because they were now screaming their heads off..."

full article: by Tom Downey, The Guardian, Sunday, April 17, 2016

Atkinson Maigret?
4/26/16 – I believe the first episode has been already aired in Europe. Do we have any reviews and comments? Did it attract enough audience so they will continue the series?

Vladimir
Canada


There were some (mixed reviews) a few weeks ago... see Rowan Atkinson articles...

On the new Penguin Edition covers and titles...
5/7/16 – A few clarifications...

This image is used to portray the ebook edition, but has not yet appeared in printed form. I surmise that it may be a forthcoming USA print edition cover. The USA issues of the series, which began a month or two later than the UK, are now steadily six or seven months later. But I guess that publication of this volume in the USA will be tied to a date for the film being broadcast there.
This is the only cover published for the UK tv tie-in issue.
There are two cover designs for just one of the books (so far):
This is the UK edition, published in October 2014.
And this the USA, published in April 2015. It will be interesting in due course to learn from Penguin why the difference was decided upon. That book is one of a handful of which the title has been in some flux. Again, one hopes that sometime soon the task of translating the new editions will be written up, and issues like this explored.


published titlepreviously announced as
The Two-Penny Bar(notes that this is the 2003 translation, then titled The Bar on the Seine. The revised title is much better for La guingette à deux sous.)
The Shadow PuppetThe Shadow in the Courtyard, the revised title again superior for l’Ombre chinoise.
The Flemish HouseThe Flemish Shop, neither of which is very directly Chez les Flamands.
The Misty HarbourThe Port of Shadows, both understandable translations of Le port des brumes.
Maigret and His Dead ManMaigret’s Dead Man, merely a grammatical change in translating Maigret et son mort.

with best regards,
James

Simenon's Le Train
5/9/16 –


earlier report (3/15) here...

You can listen to Pierre Assouline's adaptation of Simenon's Le Train,
read by Comedie Francaise actors,
with original music by Éric Slabiak,
here:

or here, at their site

Jérôme

"Unknown" French author’s noir crime novels set for UK
5/16/16 – Fascinating piece in the Guardian about Frédéric Dard:

“Maigret author Georges Simenon and Frédéric Dard were friends.
Will Dard now emulate his success?”

Readers of Simenon biographies might remember him as an admirer of Simenon who worked with GS on a theatrical adaptation of La neige était sale. It seems he was both good and highly prolific in his own right, and some of his novels are about to appear in English.

The publisher says: “One of the reasons that I think it’s a particularly good time for Dard’s novels to be coming into English for the first time is that there’s a trend away from police procedurals and detective novels and towards the psychological thriller.”

Though Dard, like Simenon, wrote both. His answer to Maigret was Detective Superintendent Antoine San-Antonio.

Wikipedia: Frédéric Dard

On the subject of psychological thrillers, see also this recent Radio Times piece about a planned BBC TV adaptation of Simenon’s La chambre bleue.

Radio Times: The Blue Room

More on Dard (and Maigret) in The Armchair Detective, 1989

David

Penguin Maigret - The Grand Banks Café
5/18/16 –
The Grand Banks Café

a review by Andrew Walser

Simenon wrote the early Maigrets at an astonishing clip, and by the ninth book – published, like the first eight, in 1931 – he has already begun to revisit familiar scenes and themes. In The Grand Banks Café, the investigation once again centers on a café, as in The Yellow Dog, while the mystery once again involves fishermen and Fécamp, as in Pietr the Latvian. Such repetitions should not be taken as a sign of literary exhaustion. Like Shakespeare – another popular artist who combined great productivity and high literary quality – Simenon is confident that each return will also be a first visit, with new motives to plumb and new vantages to explore.

The Grand Banks serves the sailors who work fishing for cod off the coast of Newfoundland. The milieu is overwhelmingly male, and misfortune and death are constant threats. Yet, even in this environment, the murder of the captain of the Océan seems extraordinary, an indication that something uncanny must have happened on the trawler’s last voyage. When the ship’s bookkeeper, a young man named Pierre Le Clinche, is charged with the crime, the air of dread in the town only intensifies.

Maigret enters a case marked by sex, secrecy, and “rage.” The constellation first appears when the café’s landlord shows the Inspector a photograph he found in Le Clinche’s room – a picture of a woman, voluptuous and attractive, but with her head “scribbled all over in red ink.” The image suggests both erotic obsession and misogynistic fury: “The pen had bitten into the paper. There were so many criss-crossed lines that not a single square millimetre had been left visible.” The desire to possess and the desire to destroy are disturbingly proximate.

They will remain close throughout the novel. Pierre’s fiancée Marie – a charmingly Gallic Nancy Drew – starts her own investigation and discovers, underneath the bed in the Captain’s cabin, a hiding place, with the words “Gaston – Octave – Pierre – Hen . . .” etched obsessively into the wall, a kind of clandestine sexual inventory. The etcher’s name is Adèle, and even the Inspector finds her “seductive, desirable in the full bloom of her animal presence, magnificent in her sensuality.” She is the most obvious cause of the discord on the ship – the reason

three men [the Captain, Pierre, and the mechanic Laberge] had circled for days, for weeks on end, far away in the middle of the ocean, while other crewmen in the engine room and in the foredeck dimly sensed that a tragedy was unfolding . . . and talked of the evil eye and madness.

The tendency to make women the focus of all desire, as well as the corresponding tendency to blame women for the uncontrollability of that desire, is a constant over three thousand years of Western literature. (Perhaps I should say Western culture – and not just Western.) Simenon seems aware that this is a masculine rationalization. He makes sure that the underlying crime – the one of which the Captain’s murder was a mere symptom – has little to do with anyone’s “animal presence,” no matter what the sailors believe.

In the end, the revelation of Le Clinche’s desire to hear Adèle call him “my big boy” comes across almost as a mockery of Freud – one as outrageous as that scene in Blue Velvet where Dennis Hopper and Isabella Rossellini reenact the family triangle with the aid of a blue robe, amyl nitrate, and scissors. Simenon is not as dark and strange as David Lynch, but he has the same keen sense of the secrets buried beneath the normal, and of how their uncovering is a surprise each time it recurs.


Simenon, Georges. The Grand Banks Café. trans. David Coward. London: Penguin, 2014.

Cremer's Maigret se trompe   [Maigret's Mistake]
5/27/16 – There is no mention of who played Alberte (the woman who wore a man's suit)... was she also Bernadette Lafont who played Madame Brault?

[No, Alberte was played by Rébecca Potok.]

Bruno Cremer as Superintendent Jules MAIGRET -- his objective demeanor endearing, his brilliant crime solving most admirable, and the man behind that man is dearly missed.

Gwynne Seward

New Penguin pre-release covers
6/1/16 – A Maigret and three non-Maigrets. This is the first time La neige était sale has had its title translated literally. The Hand has never appeared in Penguin before and seems a better as well as more literal title for La main than The Man on the Bench in the Barn.

David

Rowan Atkinson: Maigret his biggest challenge
6/5/16 –

Rowan Atkinson on why the French detective Maigret has been his biggest challenge yet
by Robert Wainwright,
The Sydney Morning Herald, June 6, 2016.

Atkinson has just returned from Budapest where the streets of Paris in the 1950s were recreated for the two films – Maigret Sets a Trap and Maigret's Dead Man. Viewers can expect something "quite distinct, dark and seedy", definitely not Agatha Christie, he adds.

Vol. 4 trailer of German Rupert Davies Maigret
6/18/16 –
Click here to watch a Vol. 4 trailer of the German Rupert Davies Maigret:

In Germany the series is a success, that's why there will be DVD Vol. 5 as well (from 22nd of July). 45 episodes out of 52 have survived in the ZDF archives, plus "Maigret und die alte Dame" ("The Old Lady"), which lacks good picture quality and is time coded throughout the film. The whole collection will look like this, but unfortunately can be heard in German only: www.pidax-film.de

Kind regards
Berthold

ITV orders two more 'Maigret' movies starring Rowan Atkinson


6/19/16 – LONDON, June 18 (UPI) -- Britain's ITV network says it has ordered two more Maigret television films starring Rowan Atkinson.

Atkinson will reprise his role of French fictional detective Jules Maigret in the small-screen mysteries, which are set in 1950s Paris and based on Georges Simenon's novels.

The next installments in the franchise -- Night at the Crossroads and Maigret in Montmartre -- will be shot this fall and winter...

UPI - By Karen Butler | June 18, 2016 at 10:51 AM

6/20/16 – C21 Media - By Andrew Dickens - 6-20-2016 -
ITV detects more Maigret

Penguin Maigret - The Grand Banks Café
7/15/16 –
The Dancer at the Gai-Moulin

a review by Andrew Walser

Maigret is not exactly a round character. He does not “change” or “grow” the way creative writing teachers insist a compelling character must; he never has an epiphany, and the experiences he has in one book are usually utterly forgotten by the time we get to the next. No, Maigret is always self-identical, in the manner of heroes and villains or gods and monsters. Always the same pipe, always the same hat, always the same impassive and imperturbable manner. An actor who plays him – whether he is Jean Gabin, Michael Gambon, Bruno Cremer, or Rowan Atkinson – may be tempted to slip into these traits as if he were donning a cape to play Dracula.

In The Dancer at the Gai-Moulin, the minimal development of Maigret – or what we might now redescribe as the efficiency of his characterization – is used to striking effect. For much of the book, Maigret is conspicuously absent. Yet we know he is near. He must be the stranger in the “bowler hat” who enters the nightclub in the opening scene; he must be the “man with the broad shoulders” who appears so often – and so hauntingly – on the periphery of events. Unnamed and unrecognized, Maigret is the mystery here. Even the Belgian police begin to suspect he may be guilty of the murder at the Gai-Moulin, and the papers in Liege all wonder: “Where is the man with broad shoulders?” What was he doing at the club that night? Why does he not come forward?

In the near-absence of Maigret, the book zeroes in on two teenagers, Delfosse and Chabot, who, robbing the club after closing time, are stunned to find a corpse in the middle of the dance floor. We immediately empathize more with the younger of the two, Chabot, and see in his relation to the older boy a familiar dynamic, reminiscent of Leopold and Loeb or, much later, Harris and Klebold – one in which a strong psychopath dominates and leads astray his weaker companion. Chabot senses that, by hiding in the cellar of the Gai-Moulin, he and Delfosse have crossed a terrifying line. He is horrified by a life so sordid, so dangerous, so low. The dread and guilt he feels make him too nauseated to eat his mother’s cooking, and he is still juvenile enough to imagine his pursuer as an “unknown man pacing the street, just in front of the school he had attended as a child.”

When he does appear, Maigret functions as a kind of deus ex machina – or, more accurately, an auctor ex machina. A plot always seems to move by its own volition in the early stages, but as things come closer to resolution – as the strands of narrative converge, and the themes begin to bend toward a desired outcome – the writer’s hand inevitably becomes more visible. Here the process is done mostly in fun, as we (and the Belgian police) learn just how much Maigret really intervened in the case: “‘Yes, all right, I cheated! I didn’t tell you at once all I knew.’” Even the title of the book is a piece of legerdemain, since the Adele in The Dancer at the Gai-Moulin is considerably less important than the Adele in The Grand Banks Café.

The eventual salvation of Chabot involves two ironies. The first is his posting in the Congo – a location that would have been well known to European readers of the time as a criminal enterprise in its own right, the site of unspeakable atrocities under King Leopold II and the Congo Free State. If Delfosse was a bad influence, surely a corporation only a generation from genocide is even worse.

The second concerns the source of much of the public’s knowledge of those atrocities – a bestselling book called The Crime of the Congo.

Its author? Arthur Conan Doyle.


Simenon, Georges. The Dancer at the Gai-Moulin. trans. Siân Reynolds. London: Penguin, 2014.

New Penguin pre-release covers
7/17/16 – Is this a good moment to ask: do people actually like these covers? I don’t much. The Revolver one, although it does show the Savoy, is full of anachronisms. Not that that need be a problem in itself...

(The woman’s hairstyle, her bracelet, the shape of the taxi, the Exit sign are all from today. Not from 1952. It’s OK to do contemporary covers, but do we really want that? The longest-ever Maigret TV series, the one starring Jean Richard, was always set in the present and was not “in period”. But he was Simenon’s least-favourite Maigret actor.)


Maigret et la grande perche

Le Revolver de Maigret

Maigret, Lognon et les gangsters

David

New Penguin pre-release covers
7/18/16 – I would agree with David that these covers do not add anything special to the Maigret story. As simple photographs, not much creativity went into creating these covers.

Vladimir

Simenon-based play to open in London
7/19/16 – Further to New Penguin pre-release covers (6/1/16), La Main has in fact appeared under the Penguin imprint previously, though not in a stand-alone version. It was included under the title The Man on the Bench in the Barn in the 10th Simenon Omnibus (1976) along with Maigret and the Madwoman and The Glass Cage.

The new Penguin edition, The Hand, will coincide with a new play by renowned dramatist David Hare based on the book and opening at the National Theatre in London on 6 October with the title The Red Barn. John Simenon will be joining David Hare at the theatre to discuss the play and Simenon's legacy on 7 November.

As a footnote, the translation that appeared in the Penguin Omnibus was by Moura Budberg, surely the most exotic of Simenon's many translators. Described in press reports as "a glamorous tsarist beauty" suspected of spying for both Russia and Great Britain, her lovers included Maxim Gorky and H G Wells. To cap it all, she was the great great aunt of former leader of Britain's Liberal Democrat party, Nick Clegg.

Richard Thomas


"The Red Barn" at the National Theatre
more...
more...

New Penguin pre-release covers
7/23/16 –

The Guardian newspaper has an interesting article with commentary by picture editor Samantha Johnson on the Penguin covers.
www.theguardian.com

and there's more from the same at www.creativereview.co.uk

"Using sparse typography, paired with Gruyaert's back catalogue of photographs, the intention was not to closely reflect a particular storyline, but rather evoke the atmosphere of Maigret and Simenon's writing."
3-years.blogspot.com.au

Ward Saylor

Simenon Pipe Rack
7/25/16 – Are there any Simenon fans in NYC that may want my Simenon pipe rack? I'd rather give it away than throw it away. But it costs too much to mail...

Guy

Previous titles of new Penguins?
7/27/16 – Is it possible to note a new Penguin Maigret title/translation in the currently-issuing series and quickly tell whether I already have the same book (old translation of course) under some earlier English title?

In other words, has this magnificent web site keyed each 2013-2016 Penguin Maigret to all or most previous English titles?

Thank you and best wishes.
Don Buck
Orford NH


Although I haven't finished rewriting the old index program, which did exactly what you're asking, here's a fairly easy way to check. Click on any of the new titles below and you'll get to the bibliography entry showing all the previous titles for that book... (In fact, most of the new titles are very close to literal translations of the French originals, so that may be a help as well.)

A Crime in Holland My Friend Maigret
A Man's Head Pietr the Latvian
Cécile is Dead Signed, Picpus
Félicie The Carter of La Providence
Inspector Cadaver The Cellars of the Majestic
Liberty Bar The Dancer at the Gai-Moulin
Lock N° 1 The Flemish House
Madame Maigret's Friend The Grand Banks Café
Maigret The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien
Maigret and the Old Lady The Judge's House
Maigret at Picratt's The Late Monsieur Gallet
Maigret at the Coroner's The Madman of Bergerac
Maigret Gets Angry The Misty Harbor
Maigret in New York The Night at the Crossroads
Maigret Takes a Room The Saint-Fiacre Affair
Maigret's Dead Man The Shadow Puppet
Maigret's First Case The Two-Penny Bar
Maigret's Holiday The Yellow Dog
Maigret's Memoirs

ST

Simenon et Maigret en Normandie
8/2/16 – My new book Simenon et Maigret en Normandie: perspectives historiques et sociales (Presses Universitaires de Liege) will be available from 18 September (Amazon.fr, amongst other places). The book is in French but I know the Commissaire Maigret website has a plurilingual readership...

Regards,
Bill Alder

Penguin Maigret - The Two-Penny Bar
8/22/16 –
The Two-Penny Bar

a review by Andrew Walser

The detective novel relies on a few simple assumptions:

  1. That the individual may attain truth by his own efforts;
  2. That such truth comes through the powers of observation and the exercise of logic;
  3. That logic and empirical evidence have an authority that transcends the authority based on tradition and force;
  4. That this new authority moves the world in the direction of justice.
These four assumptions derive, I think, from the Enlightenment worldview – the combination of science and progressive politics that had become a default position (at least in Europe and the United States) by the time Edgar Allan Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle developed the rules of the detective genre.

Are the Maigret novels an embodiment of this Enlightenment myth, or are they a critique? Perhaps a bit of each. This becomes clear in The Two-Penny Bar, a 1932 novel in which the Inspector tries to identify a murderer hidden, six years after the fact, in a group of friends who meet every Sunday at a makeshift tavern near the Seine. We see right away that Maigret does not really resemble a Dupin or a Sherlock Holmes. He works by intuition rather than by logic, waiting for “that nibble, that little shift, the ‘click’ that told him he was on to something” – a flash of intuition triggered not by evidence, but by the “mildness of the evening” or the way a “little white house” looks at dusk.

When analytic logic necessarily takes over – when the givens of the case begin to constrain Maigret’s imagination – he tends to feel let down, “as if he thought it was all falling into place rather too easily.” He wants to prolong the state of not yet knowing indefinitely, to be an inquisitive stranger in a “little world which some event had shaken up.”

As for justice, Maigret seems to prefer criminals to his colleagues. The events in The Two-Penny Bar stem from his visits to a condemned man, Lenoir, whose common sense, confidence, and lack of self-pity have made the Inspector “[take] something of a shine to him.” When the young man mentions that he saw a body dumped in the Seine years earlier, and muses that “There are others who deserve this,” Maigret takes up the case out of curiosity and something like loyalty. Justice appears in his considerations, if at all, mostly in the way he resents – just as Lenoir does – the way the rich and respectable enjoy an unearned freedom from consequences.

For Maigret, detective work is a “bolt-hole,” a place where he can hide from the mundane. Fortunately, he has made his desire to retreat useful to the larger society, just as Simenon made a similar need to escape – to create entire worlds out of guidebooks and maps – useful to millions of readers. Yet such isolation does take its toll. At the end of The Two-Penny Bar, the Inspector feels a “dull, grey despair” – one that only dispels when he makes it to the country and the presence of Madame Maigret.


Simenon, Georges. The Two-Penny Bar. trans. David Watson. London: Penguin, 2014.

Les Petits Cochons sans queue?
8/28/16 – I don't see any reference to this compilation [Les petits cochons sans queue] at your excellent site. Did I miss it?

Also, TV episode 29, Cremer, Madame Quatre et ses enfants has the English title "Mrs. Four and her children". Did I miss the English title?

Norm Mikalac


Actually, there are many references in the Archives... Try a search for Les petits cochons sans queue (using the Search form above), and the first one on the list is probably Murielle's Maigret of the Month column, January, 2012, where she wrote:
Les petits cochons sans queue [The little pigs without tails], Nov. 28, 1946, Bradenton Beach (Florida). We note that Maigret doesn't appear in this story, which gives its name to the title of the volume... the title was probably chosen for marketing purposes, as the book was included in Presses de la Cité's "collection Maigret", and using the Chief Inspector's name no doubt contributed to sales...
In that same article she lists:
Madame Quatre et ses enfants [Mme Quatre and her children], January 1945, Les Sables-d'Olonne, a story without Maigret.
So, the answer is that those two Simenon stories didn't originally include Maigret, but they were made into Crémer TV episodes with Maigret. The collection "Les petits cochons sans queue" contains two Maigret stories: L'Homme dans la rue [The man in the street] and Vente à la bougie [Sale by auction]. It was reissued in 1957 as "Maigret et les petits cochons sans queue", as Murielle explains above.

ST

David Hare: the genius of Simenon
10/3/16 –

"As he brings one of the crime writer’s novels to the National stage, David Hare reveals why he loves the pithy, power-obsessed creator of Maigret..."

"...But when I discovered that the author of the Maigret series – which I knew chiefly through the BBC television series with Rupert Davies – was also the author of stand-alone novels, my expectations of the genre changed and expanded. These books belonged more alongside Camus and Sartre than Arthur Conan Doyle..."

in The Guardian

Jérôme

New book on Simenon

10/12/16 – A new book (in French)... Le Paris de Simenon by Jean-Baptiste Baronian... More here

Jérôme

Simenon's "La Main" in English?
10/14/16 – Was La Main ever translated in English? Under what title? Could not find any so far on the web.

Cheers,
Vladimir


Yes, as "The Man on the Bench in the Barn". And a new Penguin translation is coming, as "The Hand"... see Richard Thomas's discussion on July 19... about the publication and the stage presentation of The Red Barn.

Brilliant Staging for "The Red Barn"
10/17/16 – It will be interesting to see what the critics attending tonight's press showing make of David Hare's new play but the audience at the preview I saw a week ago certainly seemed to enjoy it. Brilliantly staged, especially the opening storm scene, and with Mark Strong as Donald Dodd looking at times uncannily like Simenon, it exerted a tight and intimate grip for its less than two hours uninterrupted running time.

The programme (£4) contains David Hare's article about his lifelong fascination with Simenon (see 10/3/16), a study of Simenon's "unique style" by novelist Julian Barnes, and a piece on Simenon's move to America by Patrick Marnham, author of "The Man Who Wasn't Maigret: A Portrait of Georges Simenon".

It was good to see all the new Penguin Classics translations of Simenon's work on display - and attracting interest - in the National Theatre shop.

An omen perhaps...on the tube on the way to the theatre the throng of people entering my carriage at Piccadilly Circus included the great Roger Allam, my dream casting for Maigret in a TV series that does justice to the original stories. This is the second time I have seen the actor during one of my Simenon-related excursions into London.

Richard Thomas

Richard's (7/19) announcement of The Red Barn

Aperitifs in The Patience of Maigret?
11/5/16 – In Chapter Two of Maigret Bides His Time [La Patience de Maigret] M lunches with Magistrate Ancelin at Chez l'Auvergnat across from the scene of the murder. Simenon's evocative description of the bistro makes you wish you could go there for lunch now!

Question: He describes the bistro "with its aperitifs which only old men drink now." What might these aperitifs be, does anyone know?

Keith Marr

re: Aperitifs...
11/7/16 – This might be one.... In Maigret se défend, [Maigret on the Defensive] after the Chief Inspector had been suspended from his functions, he goes into a bar where he orders the same apéritif he had drunk when he'd been appointed to the Homicide Squad (see Maigret's Memoirs):
"He remembered his first days in Paris. A new drink was being introduced then, and it had been his favorite apéritif for one or two years. 'Does Mandarin-Curaçao still exist?' 'Yes. It's not much in demand and the young people don't know what it is, but whe've still got a bottle on our shelves..."

Murielle

re: Aperitifs...
11/7/16 – Regarding Keith Marr's question about "aperitifs old people drink"... it is not easy to answer.

"La Patience de Maigret" was written in 1965, so we need to find what was no longer in fashion at that time. As the bar has specialties from Massif Central, I can suggest Gentiane from Salers, or Suze, as both are from Auvergne... but this is seen from today in 2016.

Regards,
Jérôme

Swiss Pride
11/8/16 – With regard to the previous message on this forum, regarding Maigret's apéritifs, a correction: Suze is a Swiss drink (and not from Auvergne), and I want to clarify this, because this alcohol was invented in my home region. It bears the name of the river that crosses our area...

Murielle

Swiss Pride
11/9/16 – I understand the Swiss pride from Murielle, but some Googling shows the following at suze.com/histoire-creative-suze and fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suze: My idea isn't to start a controvery about the origin of the apéritifs. In my analysis, Murielle is correct about the origin, but the commercialized apéritif is certainly French, and so if Maigret ever tasted it, it was surely the commercial version.

[L’idée n’est pas d’ouvrir une polémique sur l’origine des apéritifs :-). Dans mon analyse, Murielle à bien raison sur l’origine, mais l’apéritif commercialisé est bien français, et si jamais Maigret en a goutté, c’est bien la version commercialisé.]

So, Murielle is right on its origin, but the (old-fashioned) commercial version seems to be French.

[J’ajouterai bien au liste des apéritifs nostalgiques Lillet (http://www.lillet.com/fr-fr/), depuis 1872 et qui a fait les dernières années une remonte.]

And I'll add a list of nostalgic Lillet apéritifs -- since 1872, and recently making a return...

Cheers,
Dirk Soenen

Rowan Atkinson spends Night At The Crossroads...
11/18/16 – ATV Today - Nov. 14, 2016

Rowan Atkinson spends Night At The Crossroads with latest Maigret episode

"ITV has commenced filming Night At The Crossroads, the first of two new films in the Maigret series, featuring the legendary French fictional detective Jules Maigret, played by Rowan Atkinson. Night At The Crossroads, adapted by Stewart Harcourt, features Aiden McCardle, Shaun Dingwall, Lucy Cohu and Leo Starr. Further cast includes Kevin McNally, Tom Wlaschiha, Mia Jexen, Stephen Wight, Mark Heap and Robin Weaver..." more...

Jérôme

Maigret : covers from Presse de la Cité
11/19/16 – I went this morning to visit the exhibition at Bibliothèque Nationale François Mitterand, about the photographer Nicolas Yantchevsky [1924-1972]. He produced around 30 covers for Simenon books during the Presse de la Cité period in the years 1950-1960.

The exhibition show various versions of pictures he took for Maigret covers. The process was usually for him to receive the manuscript from the editor, propose some covers and then let Simenon choose. Simenon always had the final choice. These three photos should give you some idea of the exhibit. The Maigret books on display are in pristine condition, a pleasure to look at. There is no exhibition catalogue, just a short article in the BNF monthly review.

Jérôme

Suze : answer to Dirk
11/20/16 – One more about Suze... I agree with Dirk, but you can see this: swissinfo.ch.

Whatever the origin, what's important is the fact that in the novels, the only time Maigret drinks a Suze is when he tries to act as "little Albert" in Maigret and his dead man:

In Chapter 3, "Little Albert", while trying to escape his followers, goes into a number of bistros, and there "orders a Suze-citron, as was his habit". In Chapter 4, when Maigret discovers Albert's café, the Chief Inspector serves a drink to Lucas, and "since he wanted to indentify strongly with the patron, he served himself a Suze."

Best regards,
Murielle

Happy Thanksgiving!
11/25/16 – I just had a family dinner where I met Sandy, the 93-year-old father of my 2nd cousin's wife.... At some point he mentioned Simenon and I joined in the conversation to say that he was my favorite author. After dinner, Sandy enthusiastically climbed 3 flights of stairs to show me his collection of about 250 Simenon books, Maigret's, pulp novels and everything else! A holiday miracle!

Cheers,
Abby

Maigret covers exhibit
11/26/16 – The exibit described by Jerome looks interesting. What does it say in that oficial-looking letter? I can understand one word - manuscript - and the title. The photographer Nicolas Yantchevsky must have been tallented artist and could understand Simenon well if he produced so many of his book covers.

Vladimir.


[The letter requests Yantchevsky to create a cover for Maigret chez le ministre, probably this one from 1955.]

Maigret se trompe
11/29/16 – I am gradually rereading the Maigret opus. I always read the French version, and I strongly felt that Simenon was imitating Hemingway in this one. Hardly a wasted word anywhere, and a very tight construction too, with the resolution only at the very end. And of course, the good doctor was second only to Simenon himself when it came to sexual activity with an amazing number of women. "Trompe" is, I think, Simenon at his very best, from a literary point of view.

Oz Childs

More about Yantchevsky Maigret covers
11/30/16 – More Maigret covers by Nicolas Yantchevsky, along with information about them (in French) can be found at Murielle's site...

re: Maigret se trompe
12/6/16 – Oz is fortunate he can read Maigret in the original language, just as Simenon wrote it. I agree with his praise of Simenon's writing style. I'm not sure Simenon resembles Hemingway, for two reasons. First, Simenon is only four years younger, and lived far apart in Europe. By the time Hemingway became popular in Europe, my guess is Simenon had already developed his writing style. Second, I like Simenon; but I tried and could not 'get into' Hemingway.

When on this forum someone names a 'best' Maigret, I get curious. (My best is "M. and Saturday night caller").

Unfortunately, none of local libraries has "Maigret's mistake" as a book. But they have the Bruno Cremer DVD with this episode, in French with English subtitles. I will keep trying to find the book, in a used book store, maybe. I am a strong follower of Gambon Maigret. I find reading subtitles interferes with appreciating the movie.

Vladimir

Rowan Atkinson's Maigret on Christmas Day TV
12/6/16 –

"Rowan Atkinson is set to return as French detective Jules Maigret on ITV on Christmas Day, facing off with BBC big hitters including Call The Midwife and EastEnders...""

11/30/2016


ITV Sets Premiere Date For ‘Maigret’s Dead Man’

"Maigret’s Dead Man – the second film in the new series of Maigret adaptations – will premiere on ITV on Christmas Day (Sunday December 25th) at 9pm, it has been announced..."

12/3/2016

re: Maigret se trompe
12/7/16 – Vladimir, ten copies of "Maigret's Mistake" in paperback are currently offered on amazon.com at a price of one American cent, plus $3.99 postage and handling.

With cordial regards,
John H. Dirckx

Simenon - Loustal - Maigret
12/7/16 – A new edition of Simenon's (non-Maigret) story "Un nouveau dans la ville" has just been issued by Omnibus, illustrated by Loustal, in which Loustal gets equal billing with Simenon on the cover...

The story, written at Desert Sands, Tucson, Arizona in 1949, and published the following year, was apparently never translated into English

Maigret fans are no doubt familiar with Jacques de Loustal's illustrations, which have been reported on these Forum pages a number of times... The Forum article of May 2, 2003 included links to the 2000 Figaro Magazine article on Loustal's Simenon/Maigret illustrations.

In addition to two Yantchevsky (see 11/19, 11/30) Maigret covers, the covers of four Loustal Maigrets appeared in the Sept. 7, 2005 Forum, Maigret et l'inspecteur malgracieux (2002) [mal], Le témoinage de l'enfant de choeur (2002) [cho], Le client le plus obstiné du monde (2000) [obs], and On nu tue pas les pauvres types (2000) [pau].

Two other Loustal Maigrets, Ceux du Grand Café [ceu] and Menaces de Mort [men] were published in 2001, and all six were published in a single volume in 2014, Six enquetes de Maigret.

From Oct. 15, 2014 - Feb. 28, 2015 there was a Loustal/Simenon Exhibition at BILIPO in Paris, attended by Jérôme, who reported to the Forum on Oct. 7, 2014, and sent several of his photos of the exhibition on Oct. 18.

A postage stamp designed by Loustal was issued by France (on my birthday!) in 2013, portraying 36 Quai des Orfèvres, the site of Maigret's office...

ST

Simenon's French
12/8/16 – I wonder if Murielle has any thoughts on any differences between Belgian French and French French as I usually have to use the dictionary more often with the earlier books. This may also be because Simenon repeats himself less as he got older (no criticism as he also was building suspense).

12/27 ps Meant to say Simenon repeated himself much more in the later books (eg La Chambre Bleue).

Jane Gwinn

re: Simenon's French
12/9/16 – In response to Jane's question, here's a link to a rather scholarly article about Simenon and "belgicism"... Georges Simenon et le français de Belgique by Christian Delcourt and Janine Delcourt-Angélique. (in: Revue Belge de philologie et d'histoire / Année 2006 / volume 84 / Numéro 3 / pp. 799-827)

The introductory paragraph...

1. Objectif et méthode
Georges Simenon se trouve vingt-huit fois appelé à la barre dans le Dictionnaire du français de Belgique (Delcourt : 1998 et 1999). Ses divers témoignages n'y reflètent toutefois qu'imparfaitement sa profonde belgitude linguistique. Soucieux de décrire une réalité nationale, le dictionnaire en question ne pouvait, en effet, ni convoquer trop souvent un meme témoin, ni recenser des particularités trop régionales. En outre, une attestation n'est propre à servir d'exemple dictionnairique que si elle est parlante et, sans nécessiter un complexe exposé des motifs, probante. L'obligation d'être bref, enfin, interdisait la redondance des citations alléguées et n’autorisait qu'à titre exceptionnel de mettre une citation en perspective (biographie et esthétique de l'auteur ou contexte fictionnel).
C'est cette belgitude linguistique que nous voudrions examiner ici...

1. Objective and Methodology
Georges Simenon is cited twenty-eight times in the Dictionary of Belgian French (Delcourt: 1998 and 1999). These various examples, however, only imperfectly reflect his profound linguistic "Belgian-ness". In an attempt to describe a national reality, the dictionary in question could neither summon a single witness too often, nor identify too many regional particularities. Furthermore, a dictionary example is only suitable if it is self-explanatory and, without requiring complex exposition, convincing. Lastly, the obligation to be brief, restricted the redundancy of the citations and only exceptionally allowed a quotation to be put into the perspective of biographical or aesthetic aspects of the author, or fictional context.
It is this linguistic Belgian-ness which we would like to examine here...

I hope Jane's French is sufficient to the task...

Murielle

English film version of "Maigret et le fantôme"?
12/10/16 – Wow! Thank you so much for your work on the Maigret series. I am no slouch in English but prefer watching Bruno Cremer. However, I am at a loss to find the equivalent title -- preferably on YouTube -- using an English-speaking cast, but equivalent to "Maigret et le fantôme." Is it possible there actually is such an equivalent? Or have I used half the day searching in vain?

I am assuming you cannot possibly be stateside to have undertaken such a remarkable work with your site. I am a dreary colonist hoping to enrich her life on the border of Mexico by studying various languages, one of which is NOT Spanish. If you could direct me to a film in English that would better and more clearly help my comprehension of the apparition film, I would be very happy. Thank you kindly, and assuming you are in the UK, my best to HRM.

Emma Peel in EP


I can't find any trace of an English version, but the Cremer version is available with English subtitles...
many copies on eBay at about €11 with shipping...

(Mahalo! This site was born in Tokyo, but is now resides in Honolulu...)

ST

Maigret's Jurisdiction
12/11/16 –

Maigret's Jurisdiction

by Elliott Colla, Los Angeles Review of Books, Feb. 15, 2015.

THESE MIGHT BE Jules Maigret’s best years ever. It is not hard to picture the sardonic hero of Georges Simenon’s best-selling novels smiling down on us from policier heaven. And why wouldn’t he? Contemporary American mass culture is awash with procedurals, and Maigret’s jurisdiction now covers the entire world.

Police stories are so ubiquitous today that it is hard to remember back to when detectives tended not to be police. It’s even harder to imagine that the police hero had to be invented in the first place. But that is more or less what Simenon did back in 1930 when he created the jaded, savvy Maigret, dressed always in an overcoat, his pipe in one hand, a beer in the other, and his wife half-forgotten at home. Seventy-five titles and 80 years later, Maigret’s literary DNA pervades crime fiction from Paris to Hollywood. Maigret’s descendants are by now a motley squad spanning from the 87th Precinct of Ed McBain to the LAPD of Dragnet and James Ellroy. From Ian Rankin’s Rebus to Henning Mankell’s Wallander — from The Wire to CSI, from Dexter to True Detective — the precincts of our imagination are staffed with Maigret’s heirs...

complete article

Maigret en Meublé
12/12/16 – (Or "moobles" as my daughters loved to say when we took them to France when they were 11, 10 and 7). And if you have children or grandchildren there really is no better place on Earth for you to take young children to. We divided our time between Paris and Provence, with a huge car in Provence and no car in Paris except for a Renault Espace to take a quick trip to Normandie, Chartres, and Mont-St. Michel. And yes we danced on the Pont d'Avignon and went to at least one beach where the women were topless.

I have just re-read "Maigret en Meublé" and did notice at first that there was a differently-named sister for Mme Maigret. But I do think that one of the potential "sisters'" in a later work, set when Maigret had retired was in reality a niece or perhaps a cousin once removed. Eventually, Mme Maigret would have had relatives in the younger generation.

Oz Childs


Mᵐᵉ Maigret's family

On the family side, Mᵐᵉ Maigret is originally from Alsace, where the couple sometimes spends their vacations, near Colmar, where she happily helped make jams and liqueurs. The family includes a number of cousins, one of whom lives in Nancy, and eleven aunts, one living in Quimper. Mᵐᵉ Maigret also has family on the Isle of Ré. A good part of the Alsatian branch worked for the Highways department. But the family relationship that is of most interest in the novels is Mᵐᵉ Maigret's sister. For the Maigret researcher, this sister continues to raise questions, for she has, depending on the novel, different names, as does her husband, whose family name also changes with the texts… One way to clarify (?) the situation is to say that Simenon wasn't always overly concerned about consistency with regard to the name of Mᵐᵉ Maigret's sister. Another possibility is that the "sister" of Mᵐᵉ Maigret is actually "sisters", in other words, that there are more than one. This is the premise of the little game that we've played below, in examining the texts concerning this character… Get your pencil ready!

We learn, in L'ombre chinoise, that Maigret's sister-in-law arrived from Alsace with the plum brandy, along with her husband André, who ran a brickyard. In Mon ami Maigret, the couple, on a visit to the Maigrets, has the last name Mouthon. Apparently they have no children. In Maigret en meublé, Mᵐᵉ Maigret is in Alsace caring for her sister Hortense, who's recovering from an operation. In La danseuse du Gai-Moulin, the Maigrets receive a card from a sister who's about to have a new baby. In Le fou de Bergerac, the sister-in-law in Alsace gives birth to a daughter... she's had three children in four years. In Maigret, we have the appearance of Philippe Lauer, a police inspector, who comes from the Vosges and is Mᵐᵉ Maigret's nephew. In the same novel, the sister-in-law's husband is named Emile, and he works in an office. In Félicie est là, the sister-in-law, Elise, comes from Epinal (in the Vosges) with her husband and children. In Maigret et l'inspecteur Malgracieux, mention is made of Maigret's nephew, Daniel, who has a wife and daughter, and who works at Police Emergency Services. He could be Philippe's brother, and in this case, the baby announced in the card in La danseuse du Gai-Moulin could be either Philippe or Daniel. In Maigret et son mort, Mᵐᵉ Maigret's niece is called Aline (possibly the baby born in Le fou de Bergerac?).

In Maigret s'amuse, the sister-in-law lives in Colmar with her husband Charles and their children, while in Maigret et le clochard, Mᵐᵉ Maigret's sister, Florence, lives in Mulhouse, her husband works in the Highways department, and they also have children. There's no reason why this couldn't have been one couple who moved from Colmar to Mulhouse…In Jeumont, 51 minutes d'arrêt!, we find another nephew, Paul Vinchon, an Inspector on the Belgian border. Could he be Florence's son? In Mademoiselle Berthe et son amant, there's yet another nephew, Jérôme Lacroix, an inspector in the PJ, who has a wife and a son. In L'homme dans la rue, Mᵐᵉ Maigret sister comes from Orléans (could she be Jérôme's mother?). In L'amoureux de Mᵐᵉ Maigret, Mᵐᵉ Maigret has gone to meet her sister who lives in Paris, and in Maigret et son mort, the sister, Odette, apparently single, is invited to dinner. But, in Une confidence de Maigret, the Maigrets have no family in Paris (has Odette moved? And if so, does she live in Orléans?)

Got it?!

Here's the situation as we can imagine it... Mᵐᵉ Maigret has four sisters... Hortense, who lives in Alsace, married to André Mouthon, with no children; Elise, who lives in Epinal, married to Emile Lauer, with three children, Philippe, Daniel and Aline; Florence, who lived in Colmar and then moved to Mulhouse, married to Charles Vinchon, with a number of children, of whom one is Paul, an inspector on the Belgian border; and Odette Lacroix, who lived in Paris then moved to Orléans, probably a widow, and who has a son, Jérôme… Voilà!

Murielle and Steve
Maigret's World

re: Simenon - Loustal - Maigret
12/12/16 – One more famous Loustal drawing from the 11/22/14 Forum... drawn and autographed by Loustal for Jérôme:

ST

re: Simenon / Loustal "Un nouveau dans la ville"
12/12/16 – There was a significant error in my report on the new edition of Simenon's (non-Maigret) story "Un nouveau dans la ville"" [12/7]. I wrote, incorrectly, that it had been translated by Bernard Lechtman as The Novel of Man, and appeared as a limited edtion in 1964 (Harcourt, Brace & World, 59pp), "a lecture delivered in the Main Auditorium of the Brussels World Fair on October 3, 1958... published as a New Year's greeting to friends of the author & the publisher."

Actually, Lechtman's book was a translation of Simenon's "Le roman de l'homme", which was in fact the text of a lecture delivered by Simenon in the Main Auditorium of the Brussels World Fair on October 3, 1958, published by Presses de la Cité, 1959 (not the edition shown above). Un nouveau dans la ville has apparently never been translated into English.

My mistake was the result of believing an ad for a copy of The Novel of Man, in which it was described as a translation of "Un nouveau dans la ville." I ordered a copy and it just came in. When I compared it with the French text of "Un nouveau dans la ville," the error was obvious.

My apologies.

ST

Merry Christmas!
12/16/16 –And A MERRY CHRISTMAS to you, Helen Shingler! In addition to many other remarkable roles you were the perfect Madame Maigret at Rupert Davies' side in the sixties, chosen out of many photos of actresses by Denise and Georges Simenon personally. In the present German DVD edition of that series we have the chance to admire you again and again. We simply love you!

Your fan
Berthold

(This photo was published, for example, in "The Australian Women's Weekly", October 16, 1963)

Maigret Title Index
12/16/16 –There have been a few requests since the new Penguin series started to appear, for a list of correspondences between the new titles and existing translations... of the "Have I already read this one under a different title?" variety.

The title index on the Bibliography page was unfortunately out-of-date and needed to be reprogrammed to answer those questions. It's now back up-to-date (at least the Simplified index so far), and can be accessed from the Bibliography page by simply clicking the Indexes link at the top center of the page. I'll work on getting the other indexes updated, but for now, the simplified index will answer these questions.

Click on the title in the Index and you'll get to the list of all the English titles, and most of the English editions for that book.

ST

La patience de Maigret
12/18/16 – Although this is a later novel [1965 PAT] in the Simenon oeuvre, it strikes me as a franc homage to the noir era. I had fortunately forgotten the plot before I reread it just now, and it struck me in the end as being a story that could have come from 1938 or 1947. Well crafted of course and the references to the Holocaust date it to a postwar era. But the overall flavor is very dark. There is no one to fall in love with other than the juge d'instruction, who I think never appears again. Certainly no suspects that one can admire in any way.

It did leave me wondering if there is a difference between "dorenavant" and "desormais" both of which my dictionary translate as "henceforth" or as I might say "from then on". I think Simenon felt they were not total synonyms since he used both words.

Oz Childs

re: La patience de Maigret
12/20/16 – With regard to Oz's remarks, while désormais and dorénavant are considered to be synonymous, we can detect a small shade of difference. For my part, intuitively, I would rather use dorénavant when the action is described in the present, while désormais could be used when the action is in the present or past. For example: "the Chief Inspector could have questioned him as much as he wanted, désormais he wouldn't have answered his questions"; "the Chief Inspector can question him as much as he wants, désormais/dorénavant he won't respond to his questions". I wouldn't use "dorénavant" in the first sentence, but it's more a question of "feeling" than grammatical logic…

Etymologically, désormais means "from now and more", and dorénavant "from now on", so just about synonyms. Following an explanation found on the internet, we could say this: "The moment in a narrative which serves as the reference point could be the present or a moment in the past, where désormais is thus a synonum for dès lors. According to certain authors, dorénavant is more in the present than désormais. This is probably why désormais is used more often than dorénavant when the event is in the past.

It seems to me that in the text of La patience de Maigret, these nuances also appear: "it was the beginning of an affair that would be called, désormais, at the Quai des Orfèvres, Maigret's longest case" (Ch. 1): we envision the action more in the future, i.e. the case will be called this way; "Désormais, you're alone, you understand?" (Ch. 2): Maigret is talking to Aline to make her understand that in the future she will be alone, without Palmari; "As for his phone, it is désormais being tapped, like yours." (Ch. 5): Maigret tells Aline that from now on her phone will be tapped; "Fear of being dorénavant harassed by the police" (Ch. 5): Maigret reflects on Pernelle's behavior, and imagines that from now, from the time he speaks with Maigret, he will be afraid of being harassed in the future.

Naturally, all these are subtleties, and it's difficult to know if Simenon knowingly used "dorénavant" in this phrase in Ch. 5, or if he was simply looking for a synonym for "désormais"…

As for Oz's question about the English translation of the two terms, I believe it's the context which will determine whether "henceforth" or "from then on" is more appropriate… At first glance I'd say that "henceforth" is closer to "désormais" and "from then on" to "dorénavant". But once again, it's a subtle question.

As for the remark, "Certainly no suspects that one can admire in any way," I think it must be qualified. It's true that Barillard is particularly odious, but Aline is not regarded on the same level. Simenon notes several times in the text Maigret's somewhat ambiguous feelings about her... on the one hand, he considers her and Barillard a "couple of savage beasts", and he's no doubt unable to forgive her for being an accomplice to Palmari's murder; but he still can't help feeling a certain sympathy for her, or at least something a little unclear.

We can find a number of examples, but the most striking one is from the last chapter, when Aline says to Maigret: "Confess that you had a weakness for Manuel", and when Maigret replies, "In a way, yes," Aline adds, "And for me as well, no?" and Maigret replies, "In a way..." And I think it's important not to lose sight of the fact that Aline also appears in Maigret se défend [DEF], and that there too, Maigret's attitude toward her shows a certain ambiguity.

In the episode adapted for the Bruno Crémer TV series, the Chief Inspector utters this phrase (not found in the novel, but striking)... To Judge Ancelin who is asking Maigret's opinion about Aline's guilt, Maigret answers: "in your position, I would be wary of the sympathy that certain police officers may have to certain accused..."
(tr.)

Désormais et dorénavant sont considérés comme des synonymes, mais on peut y voir une petite nuance. Pour ma part, intuitivement, j'utiliserais plutôt dorénavant lorsque l'action est décrite au présent, alors que désormais pourrait être employé lorsque l'action est décrite au présent ou au passé. Exemple: "le commissaire pouvait l'interroger tant qu'il voulait, désormais il ne répondrait plus à ses questions"; "le commissaire pourra l'interroger tant qu'il voudra, désormais/dorénavant il ne répondra plus à ses questions". Je n'utiliserais pas "dorénavant" dans la première phrase, mais c'est plus une question de "feeling" que de logique grammaticale…

Etymologiquement, désormais signifie "dès maintenant et plus", et dorénavant "dès maintenant en avant", donc quasi synonymes. D'après une explication trouvée sur internet, on peut dire ceci: "Le moment qui sert de repère peut être le présent ou un moment du passé, dans un récit, où désormais est alors synonyme de dès lors. Selon certains auteurs, dorénavant insisterait davantage sur le moment présent que désormais. C’est peut-être pour cette raison qu’on emploie plus souvent désormais que dorénavant lorsqu’il est question d’un événement du passé."

Et il me semble que dans le texte de La patience de Maigret, ces nuances apparaissent aussi: "c'était le commencement d'une affaire qu'on appellerait désormais, au Quai des Orfèvres, la plus longue enquête de Maigret" (chapitre 1): on envisage l'action plutôt dans le futur, i.e. on appellera cette affaire de cette façon; "Désormais, vous êtes seule, vous entendez ?" (chapitre 2): Maigret parle à Aline et lui fait comprendre que son futur est d'être seule, sans Palmari; "Quant à son téléphone, il est désormais branché comme le vôtre sur la table d'écoutes." (chapitre 5): Maigret dit à Aline que dès à présent son téléphone est sur écoutes; "Peur d'être dorénavant harcelé par la police" (chapitre 5): Maigret réfléchit au comportement de Pernelle, et imagine que dès maintenant, dès le moment qu'il a parlé avec Maigret, il a peur d'être harcelé dans le futur.

Naturellement, tout ceci sont des subtilités, et c'est difficile de savoir si Simenon a sciemment utilisé "dorénavant" dans cette phrase du chapitre 5, ou s'il cherchait simplement un synonyme de "désormais"…

Quant à la question de Oz à propos de la traduction en anglais des deux termes, je crois que c'est le contexte qui déterminera si "henceforth" ou "from then on" est plus approprié… A première vue, je dirais que "henceforth" est plus proche de "désormais" et "from then on" de "dorénavant". Mais encore une fois, c'est une question de subtilité…

Quant à la remarque à propos de "Certainly no suspects that one can admire in any way.", je crois qu'il faut nuancer: c'est vrai que Barillard apparaît comme particulièrement odieux, mais Aline n'est pas traitée sur le même plan. Simenon note à plusieurs reprises dans le texte le sentiment un peu ambigu que Maigret ressent vis-à-vis d'elle: d'un côté, il est conscient qu'elle appartient au "couple de fauves" formé avec Barillard, et le commissaire ne lui pardonne probablement pas d'être la complice du meurtre de Palmari; mais d'un autre côté, il ne peut s'empêcher de ressentir pour elle une certaine sympathie, ou du moins quelque chose d'un peu trouble. On pourrait citer plusieurs exemples, mais l'un des plus parlants est celui du dernier chapitre, lorsque Aline dit à Maigret: "- Avouez que vous aviez un faible pour Manuel", et que Maigret répond: "-Dans un certain sens, oui." Puis Aline ajoute: "- Pour moi aussi, non ?" et Maigret répond "Dans un certain sens." Je crois aussi qu'il ne faut pas perdre de vue que le personnage d'Aline apparaît également dans Maigret se défend, et que là aussi, l'attitude de Maigret envers elle comporte cette ambiguïté. Dans l'épisode adapté pour la série avec Bruno Crémer, le commissaire a cette phrase (qu'on ne trouve pas dans le roman, mais qui est parlante): au juge Ancelin qui veut solliciter son avis sur la culpabilité d'Aline, Maigret répond: "à votre place, je me méfierais de la sympathie que certains policiers peuvent avoir pour certains accusés…"

Murielle

Mme Maigret's Alsatian Investigation
12/25/16 – Here's a short article by François Hoff, published in Le Carnet d'Ecrou No. 23, November 2016, the newsletter from the Strasbourg Sherlock Holmes Association, about Maigret and Alsace...

MAIGRET ET LE CLOCHARD.
MADAME MAIGRET'S ALSATIAN INVESTIGATION
François Hoff

Maigret et le clochard was published in 1963.

Two boatmen pull a clochard from the Seine who'd been beaten and tossed into the water. Maigret goes to see him at the Hôtel-Dieu hospital, where the man is in a coma with a fractured skull. He is François Keller, a doctor from Mulhouse, who'd left his family and moved to Gabon, "some hundreds of kilometers from Libreville", but had upset the colonial administration. Alone, bitter, alcoholic, he'd returned to France, where, on the fringe of society, he'd wound up living with a group of clochards under the bridges of Paris. They called him "Doc".

In the Alsatian Revue of Literature1, Jean-Paul Sorg, who presents this novel, sees him as "an inverted figure of Dr. Schweitzer", too rigid, too inflexible to keep strictly to his medical mission.

Maigret is sympathetic to this pure idealist incapable of making concessions, but Doc remains silent, and it's Louise, Mme Maigret, who provides the most useful information about him to the Chief Inspector.

We know that Louise is originally from Alsace, and she calls her married sister in Mulhouse, who informs her that Dr. Keller had been a doctor for the poor, who couldn't handle the sudden change in his life: his wife had suddenly become rich as a result of a large inheritance. They'd moved into a private mansion, but François Keller had been unable to adapt to the fashionable life which so pleased his wife .

Some details will trouble the regional reader... Simenon puts Mulhouse in the Bas-Rhin, and the Keller's mansion on the "cathedral square". He has confused Mulhouse with Strasbourg. Jean-Paul Sorg states that "to write his novel, he hadn't bothered to visit the site of the action". Simenon wrote quickly, and much...

We've already noted this casualness with regard to Le Relais d'Alsace (1931)2... Simenon describes the Schlucht pass without having seen it, probably from a picture postcard, reversing east and west, and surrounding the chalet with "roses and hydrangeas" in the Hautes-Vosges, between Schlucht and Hohneck.

Moreover, Louise Maigret's sister (once called Henriette, it seems) appears several times in the Maigret "Canon". But she is called variously Florence, Hortense, Élise (in Colmar) and Odette. In a search worthy of the best pages of "Holmesolgy", a scholar has endeavored to provide biographies of the "four sisters": "(Madame Maigret’s Four Sisters").

One last point, which, this time, illuminates and enriches our reading of the novel: Mme Keller's inheritance. Mme Maigret's sister carries out a parallel investigation to that of the police, and she discovers the actual reason for the doctor's departure for Gabon.

Mme Keller had a maternal aunt, a nurse at the Strasbourg hospital. A little before the war, this sister married a rich scrap metal dealer, with a bad reputation. He made a fortune during the war, through usury and metal trafficking with the Germans. Sought by the FFI, French resistance fighters, in 1945, he fled to Spain, then to Argentina, and died with his wife in a plane crash. Mme Keller inherited without concern for the source... We now understand that it was not just the sudden enrichment of his wife that had led her husband, a doctor of the poor, to leave, but the origin of the fortune.
(tr.)


The Maigrets à table. Maigret et le clochard,
telefilm with Annick Tanguy and Jean Richard, 1982

original article:

François Hoff
MAIGRET ET LE CLOCHARD
L’ENQUÊTE ALSACIENNE DE MADAME MAIGRET

Maigret et le clochard a été publié en 1963.

Deux bateliers tirent de la Seine un clochard qui a été battu et jeté à l’eau. Maigret va le voir à l’Hôtel-Dieu. L’homme est dans le coma ; il a une fracture du crâne. Il s’appelle François Keller et c’est un médecin mulhousien. Il avait quitté sa famille pour s’installer au Gabon, « à des centaines de kilomètres de Libreville », mais il s’est mis l’administration coloniale à dos. Solitaire, aigri, devenu alcoolique, il a été rapatrié, s’est marginalisé, et a fini par rejoindre un groupe de clochards qui vit sous les ponts : on l’appelle le « Toubib ».

Dans la Revue alsacienne de littérature, Jean-Paul Sorg, qui présente ce roman, voit en lui une « figure inversée du Docteur Schweitzer », trop rigide, trop intransigeant pour s’en tenir strictement à sa mission médicale1.

Maigret se prend de sympathie pour ce pur idéaliste incapable de concessions. Mais le Toubib se tait, et les renseignements les plus utiles sur lui, c’est Louise, madame Maigret, qui les fournit au commissaire.

On sait qu’elle est d’origine alsacienne. Elle appelle sa sœur, mariée à Mulhouse, qui l’informe. Le docteur Keller était un médecin des pauvres, qui n’a pas supporté le changement soudain apporté à sa vie : son épouse s’est brusquement enrichie en faisant un gros héritage. Ils ont déménagé dans un hôtel particulier, mais François Keller n’a pas pu s’adapter à cette vie mondaine, qui faisait le bonheur de madame.

Quelques détails gênent le lecteur régional... Simenon situe Mulhouse dans le Bas-Rhin, et place l’hôtel particulier des Keller « place de la cathédrale ». Il confond Mulhouse et Strasbourg. Jean-Paul Sorg constate que « pour écrire son roman, il n’a pas pris la peine de visiter les lieux de l’action ». Simenon écrit vite, et beaucoup...

Nous avions déjà relevé cette désinvolture à propos du Relais d'Alsace (1931) : Simenon décrit le col de la Schlucht sans l’avoir vu, probablement à partir d’une carte postale, en inversant l’est et l’ouest, et situe un chalet entouré de « roses et d’hortensias » dans les Hautes-Vosges, entre Schlucht et Hohneck2.

D’autre part, la sœur de Louise Maigret (qui s’appelle une fois Henriette, paraît-il) apparaît à plusieurs reprises dans le « Canon » maigrettien. Mais elle s’appelle tour à tour Florence, Hortense, Élise (sise à Colmar) et Odette. Dans une recherche digne des meilleures pages de la holmésologie, un érudit s’est efforcé de donner des biographies aux « quatre sœurs » : « Madame Maigret ’s Four Sisters » (www.trussel.com/maig/sister.htm).

Un dernier point, qui, cette fois, éclaire et enrichit notre lecture du roman : l’héritage de madame Keller. La sœur de Madame Maigret a poursuivi une enquête parallèle à celle de la police, et elle a découvert la vraie raison du départ du docteur pour le Gabon.

Madame Keller avait une tante maternelle, infirmière à l’hôpital de Strasbourg. Peu de temps avant la guerre, cette sœur épousa un riche ferrailleur, de mauvaise réputation. Il fit fortune pendant la guerre, en pratiquant l’usure et en trafiquant des métaux avec les Allemands. Recherché par les FFI en 1945, il s’enfuit en Espagne, puis en Argentine, et mourut avec son épouse dans un accident d’avion. Madame Keller hérita sans états d’âme... On comprend que ce n’est pas seulement l’enrichissement soudain de sa femme qui a poussé son mari, le médecin des pauvres, à la quitter : c’est l’origine de cette fortune.


1 Jean-Paul Sorg, « La figure inversée du Docteur Schweitzer dans un roman de Simenon, Maigret et le clochard », Revue alsacienne de littérature, n° 119,1er semestre 2013, p. 132-134.
2 « Le Relais d’Alsace et ses mystères », Le Carnet d'écrou, n°8, février 2008, p. 31-32.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!
Jérôme

re: Simenon's French
12/27/16 – Thank you, Murielle, I will study it all with pleasure. [see 12/9/2016]
ps Meant to say Simenon repeated himself much more in the later books (eg La Chambre Bleue).

Jane

Exposition: Détective Magazine
12/28/16 – Exposition : Détective, fabrique de crimes ?

An interesting exhibit coming in January in Paris about Détective Magazine, published when Maigret began...

Exposition : Détective, fabrique de crimes ?

Regards
Jérôme

More Alsatian Simenon/Maigret
12/30/16 – Here's an article by the University Library of Strasbourg including references to François Hoff's article...

November 2016: Simenon's Fictional Alsace

After a tour of France on the canals which began in 1929 and provided material for various reports, Georges Simenon (1903-1989) moored his boat, the Ostrogoth, at the quai d’Anjou in Paris. It was there, in July 1931, that he wrote Le Relais d’Alsace, published several months later... The series that he himself called his "romans durs", his "hard novels" had just been launched. With the romans durs, Simenon sought to escape the constraints of his Inspector Maigret series, to vary the themes and plots of his texts as well as the characters and settings, to eventually leave strictly detective stories, and to experiment with other styles.

In an interview with Richard Dupierreux published in Le Soir, Dec. 6, 1936, Maigret's creator unveiled his method of writing: "How do I make a novel? It's very simple. I think of a place where I've lived, and I feel its atmosphere. I live in it. In my mind I reconstruct the odors, the colors, the climate... Then I think of a person, one I'd seen there. I ask myself, 'What was he like? What did he do? What did he become?' I sit myself down at my typewriter at 6:00 in the morning, and I type steadily until 8:00. Twenty pages are written. That's enough for the day. I take it up again the next day. In the meantime his life has become clearer, other characters have appeared, existing along with him. The atmosphere, the climate, the odors, the colors... they haven't changed..."

With Le Relais d’Alsace, things proceeded differently. Indeed, in spite of his many travels, nothing in Simenon's biography indicates a passage through Alsace... And François Hoff, in his article "Le Relais d’Alsace et ses mystères", published in Le Carnet d’écrou n° 8, suggests that Simenon may have decided to set his plot at the Schlucht pass after reading some newspapers... In fact, the 25th Tour de France passed through the Vosges pass for the first time in 1931. This lack of knowledge of the terrain provides an explanation for Hoff of the topographical improbabilities... "If the beginning of the novel gives the impression of a true report, the illusion quickly dissipates... Suddenly, midway between the Schlucht and the Hohneck, at the top of the ridge (!?), and thus in the Hautes-Vosges, appears a splendid "chalet in the pines," surrounded by "a small park with gravel pathways, with masses of roses and hydrangeas", the existence of which the reader can hardly believe. The Hautes-Vosges are covered with meadows and small shrubs at that altitude... which, while it hardly prevents you from continuing with the novel, makes it nonetheless harder to believe. It would have been preferable for Simenon to have placed his chalet a few hundred meters lower...""

Readers will experience for themselves whether this approximate geography detracts from the novel; the suspension of disbelief required of all fiction varies from one reader to another, and natives or connoisseurs of the Vosges will no doubt be more demanding of topographical credibility. For Simenon the essential was elsewhere, probably in the understanding of the human soul of which each of his texts endeavors to explore a hidden recess. And thus neither was he embarrassed by internal inconsistencies in the secondary aspects of his voluminous work (75 novels and some 30 short stoires for Maigret, 117 "romans durs"). The meticulous reader will note, for example, that Madame Maigret, originally from Alsace, returns to her native region every summer to visit her sister, sometimes called Hortense, but sometimes Odette or Elise, and a brother-in-law with an equally changeable name (Emile, André, Charles). These inlaws sometimes welcome them in Colmar, sometimes near Mulhouse. They also have a chalet in Schlucht pass, which they lend to the Maigrets, but nothing is said about its exact location...
(tr.)


Schlucht Pass, 1889

original article:

Novembre 2016 :  L'Alsace Fictive de Simenon

Après un tour de France des canaux commencé en 1929 et qui fut matière à divers reportages, Georges Simenon (1903-1989) amarra son bateau l’Ostrogoth quai d’Anjou à Paris. C’est là qu’il écrivit en juillet 1931 Le Relais d’Alsace, publié quelques mois plus tard : la série qu’il qualifiait lui-même de « romans durs » venait d’être lancée. Avec les « romans durs », Simenon cherchait à se soustraire aux contraintes de la série du commissaire Maigret, à varier les thèmes et les intrigues de ses textes autant que les personnages et les décors, en définitive à sortir du roman strictement policier et à expérimenter d’autres styles.

Dans un entretien accordé à Richard Dupierreux et publié dans le journal Le Soir le 6 décembre 1936, le créateur de Maigret dévoilait sa méthode d’écriture : « Comment je fais un roman ? C’est bien simple. Je pense à un lieu où j’ai vécu et j’en ressens l’atmosphère. Je vis en elle. Je recompose les odeurs, les couleurs, le climat, dans mon esprit. Puis je pense à un être humain, que j’ai vu là-bas. Je me dis : « Comment était-il ? Que faisait-il ? Qu’est-il devenu ? » Je prends place devant ma machine à six heures du matin, et je tape, régulièrement, jusqu’à huit heures. Vingt pages sont écrites. Cela suffit pour ce jour-là. Je recommence le lendemain. Dans l’entre-temps, la vie du personnage s’est précisée. D’autres personnages sont venus d’eux-mêmes, s’ajouter à lui. L’atmosphère, le climat, les odeurs, les couleurs n’ont pas changé… »

Avec Le Relais d’Alsace, les choses en allèrent autrement. En effet, malgré de nombreux voyages, rien dans la biographie de Simenon n’indique un passage par l’Alsace... Et François Hoff de suggérer, dans son article « Le Relais d’Alsace et ses mystères », publié dans Le Carnet d’écrou n° 8, que Simenon décida peut-être d’installer son intrigue au col de la Schlucht en lisant les journaux – de fait, le 25e Tour de France passa pour la première fois le col vosgien en 1931. Cette méconnaissance du terrain expliquerait pour Hoff ses invraisemblances topographiques : « si le début du roman donne l’impression d’un véritable reportage, l’illusion se dissipe bien vite : tout à coup, à mi-chemin entre la Schlucht et le Hohneck, ?à la limite de la crête?, donc dans les Hautes-Vosges, apparaît un splendide « Chalet des pins » entouré d’ « un petit parc aux allées de gravier, avec des massifs de roses et d’hortensias », qui donne sur une route carrossable, à l’existence duquel le lecteur peine à croire. Les Hautes-Vosges sont couvertes de prairies d’altitude et de petits arbustes. Cela n’empêche en rien la lecture du roman, mais enfin, on y croit un peu moins. Il aurait suffi que Simenon plaçât son chalet quelques centaines de mètres plus bas. »

Chaque lecteur expérimentera pour lui-même si cette géographie approximative constitue une insuffisance du roman ; la suspension d’incrédulité propre à toute fiction varie d’une personne à l’autre et les natifs ou les connaisseurs des Vosges seront sans doute plus exigeants sur sa crédibilité topographique. Pour Simenon l’essentiel était ailleurs, probablement dans la compréhension de l’âme humaine dont chacun de ses textes s’efforçait d’explorer un recoin. Aussi ne s’embarrassait-il pas de cohérence interne pour les aspects secondaires de son œuvre volumineuse (75 romans et une trentaine de nouvelles pour Maigret, 117 romans « durs »). Le lecteur méticuleux remarquera par exemple que Madame Maigret, originaire d’Alsace, retourne chaque été dans sa région natale pour retrouver une sœur qui s’appelle tantôt Hortense, tantôt Odette ou Elise et un beau-frère au prénom tout aussi changeant (Emile, André, Charles). Cette belle-famille les accueille parfois à Colmar, parfois du côté de Mulhouse. Ils possèdent également un chalet au col de la Schlucht, qu’ils prêtent aux Maigret, mais rien n’est dit sur son emplacement exact…

Happy New Year!
Jérôme

Penguin Maigret - The Shadow Puppet
12/31/16 –
The Shadow Puppet

a review by Andrew Walser

Certain lines jump out of literary texts, as if they were hidden messages from the author’s unconscious, hints on how to understand the work beyond the writer’s own comprehension. In The Shadow Puppet, such a line appears relatively early in the book, in the middle of an otherwise unexceptional description of an apartment building: “There are impressions that cannot be explained: something felt wrong, something that emanated from the facade itself.”

The line refers literally to the Place des Vosges, where Inspector Maigret has gone to investigate the murder of Couchet, the wealthy owner of what the narrative calls a “serum factory.” In this quiet, conventional locale, Maigret discovers an intricate family drama and a homicidal nihilism behind the closed blinds.

The early pages of this novel are all about imperfect concealment, about information leaking through and unsettling the recipient, as at a puppet show that has been shabbily staged. When Maigret first arrives to investigate the crime, he finds a kind of shadow world, without “proper lighting,” so that the lives inside the apartments remain disturbingly ill-defined, resistant to even the most general speculation. The dead body itself is a blurry shape behind “frosted-glass panes”; it resembles a “Chinese shadow puppet,” a phrase that gives the book its French title, L’ombre Chinoise.

Yet the phrase “something felt wrong” also points to a more general condition – a malaise that underlies not just bourgeois existence in all its “syrupy greyness,” but also existence itself, as if the universe were a “facade” behind which something unpleasant lurked.

The idea of an absurd cosmos was in the air in the Thirties, particularly in the Francophonic world. (Both Camus and Sartre published their first works later in the decade.) Critics have tended to pay more attention to the philosophical underpinnings of Simenon’s romans durs – works like Dirty Snow and The Man Who Watched Trains Go By – but I would suggest that existentialism is relevant to the Maigret novels as well. What “emanate[s] from the facade” in these books is the knowledge that there is only facade – that all of these “comical gesticulating shadow[s]” have no puppet-master to pull their strings. In this context, the behavior of Maigret – his patient immersion in the mundane, his resolute refusal to invent invisible motives – becomes a kind of replacement for metaphysics, a way to find meaning amid “all this day-to-day unpleasantness.”

In The Shadow Puppet, and in the other seventy-four novels in which he figures as protagonist, Maigret shows us something important behind his facade – what it means to be “good” in a world where the category is as shadowy as the courtyard of the Place des Vosges.


Simenon, Georges. The Shadow Puppet. trans. Ros Schwartz. London: Penguin, 2014.

Maigret's Dead Man - ITV
12/31/16 –


Maigret: Dead Man was a curiously cold case for Christmas - review
By Ben Lawrence - 25 December 2016 - 11:00PM

Last year, the final episode of Downton Abbey was the most-watched programme on Christmas Day. It is hard to imagine that Maigret: Dead Man will deliver the same sort of festive cheer for ITV.

This was the second outing for Rowan Atkinson’s Parisian detective, created by Georges Simenon in the Thirties and immortalised by Rupert Davies on British television in the Sixties. We first saw the comedian take on the role at Easter and reviews were unkind with headlines that predictably veered towards schoolboy French (“Zut alors! C’est terrible!” screamed one).

In truth, Maigret, and indeed Atkinson are not catastrophique (sorry!) but the production remains a curiously cold affair and, in the time it took the inspector to solve last night’s mystery, you could have jumped on the Eurostar and been pampering yourself in the Hotel Georges V....

complete review at The Telegraph

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