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Maigret Forum Archives 1999

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Simenon Books
1/9/99 - My name is Herb Perone. I own 150 Simenon titles, all hardback, all in very good to excellent condition, all but one in English. I would like to sell them or donate them to a library that would really want them. If anyone has any suggestions, please email me at glitters@erols.com.

Herb Perone

Michael Gambon Videos
1/16/99 - I have recentlly discovered your site and am pleased to discover that I am not the only Maigret fan in the universe. I have been reading Maigrets for nearly forty years, but have only recently started trying to gather a complete set. I have not read through all the bulletin board messages yet but I see that a few people are looking for videos of the Michael Gambon, Granada Television series. A few years ago I enquired at a video store - possibly "Our Price" or "HMV" - I can't remember now, and was told that a set of three videos (two episodes on each cassette) was available from a distibution company called "Total Home Video" I was told that no copies were then in stock but that I could order them if I wanted to. Stupidly I declined this offer, thinking that I could probably pick them up at anytime. What a mistake, I am still looking! However, none of your correspondants has mentioned "Total Home Video" so maybe this is a lead worth pursuing.

Willie McRobert

Maigret Musik
1/18/99 - Dear ladies and gentlemen, I'm looking for the exact details of the maigret-musik. Could you please send me a mail with the interpret and the composer of the series and the movie? Thank you very much for your assistance. Greetings from sunny Munich,

Sylvia Petzinger

Maigret's Pipe Tobacco
1/27/99 - A question has arisen on the alt.smokers.pipes newsgroup as to what sort of tobacco Maigret might have been puffing as he wore out his hobnailed shoes on the streets of Paris. It seemed to make sense to ask the experts.
Here are the suggestions that have been posted to date:

Why, of course, Bergerac, (the town, not Cyrano de) made from the same weed that produces Gitanes and Gauloises. Buy it anywhere in France, still. My guess is you would not enjoy it much, though; it is rather a coarse and one-dimensional weed. Doesn't quite match the allure of the cigs, same maker, Seita, whatever charm they may hold.
MWR

I seem to recall he smoked "le petit gris" better known as caporal tobacco.
Chase
Thanks!
David Chute

Three Maigret Questions
1/31/99 - The answer to the first of Dave Drake's three Maigret questions is that Saint-Aubin-Les-Marais, the scene of "Maigret's Rival", doesn't exist! According to Simenon scholar Michel Lemoine, writing about Maigret locations in "Simenon: l'homme, l'univers, la creation", the name is invented. As for Dave's third question, about bus crashes in Maigret stories, I know it's not a Maigret book but "The Accomplices" (1956) begins with a bus-load of children going out of control on a steep hill and crashing into the wall of a chateau. As far as I know Simenon was within walking distance of all his schools in Liege, but was there something in his childhood or youth that sparked an interest in bus accidents?
Best wishes for 1999,

Richard Thomas

Maigret's Mistake?
2/1/99 - A question was posted about "Maigret se trompe" (Maigret's mistake). What was his mistake??
I wondered about that too. Here is my hypothesis. Maigret seemed to think there had been only one killer, instead of the two of them. He seemed to think that the wife had left her sister for a few minutes, went downstairs, committed the murder, then returned upstairs without her sister knowing. But instead... the sister had gone with her.
What do you think?

Barbee

Maigret Videos?
1/31/99 - Do you know if any of the BBC TV series of Maigret was ever released on video? If so, any idea where I might be able to find copies? Hoping you can help. Regards,

John Gibbs
Barbados
2/6/99 - Do you know where I can purchase any of the Maigret videos?
John Sacco
This is apparently the Maigret mystery!

L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre... plodding?
2/6/99 - Your new website is spectacular. A job well done. This visit, I especially appreciated the information on the Gambon series through Total Home Video... will wonders never cease? Mind you, I have never disliked a Simenon novel, but today I finished L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre, and I did find it somewhat plodding. Maybe because Maigret's detectives are not in this one, nor does it take place in Paris. Any comments? And does anyone know if Madame Maigret's Recipe Book is still in print? Thank you

Samantha Scott

Maigret's characters and locations
2/8/99 - Has anyone ever written a sociological analysis of Maigret's characters and locations within Paris? I am a member of a group that is studying Paris through the Maigret novels. We are concentrating on two novels, La tête d'un homme and Maigret se trompe. Interestingly, in Maigret se trompe, Simenon talks about a short street which has a corner on the Boulevard Rochechouart. He identifies it as Rue Riquet but I think he means Rue Briquet (Simenon se Trompe?).
The sort of thing I'm looking for is - what sort of people lived in the Quartier des Ternes in the 50s and 60s, or the rue Monsieur le Prince in the 30s?; which characters were Parisians and where did the other characters come from?
Any information - sources of books, pictures, videos, etc - can also be e-mailed to me direct at TSheldrake@Hastings.ac.uk.

Trevor
Rue Briquet certainly sounds more likely than Rue Riquet, as at least there is a corner with the Boulevard Rochechouart. But I also wonder why Lucas called the station in the Goutte d'Or district, described as "a few steps from the Boulevard Rochechouart". By my maps, that station is up on the rue Doudeauville, a half dozen blocks or more from the corner of Briquet and Rochechouart, while the station at Place Dancours in the Chapelle district actually is "a few steps from the Boulevard Rochechouart" and just a block from the corner of the Rue Briquet.
Steve

Detective Lognon
2/11/99 - I'm curious about the origins of Detective Lognon in Maigret and the Gangsters. Where did he live? How or why did Simenon choose the name? Did the character show up in another Simenon book?

Scott L.
Inspector Lognon first appeared in 1946, in the short story Maigret et l'inspecteur malgracieux (M and the Surly Inspector). Then in 1950 in Maigret au Picratt's (M and the Strangled Stripper), 1951 Maigret, Lognon et les gangsters (Inspector M and the Killers), in which he was beaten up by gangsters, 1954 Maigret et la jeune morte (M and the Young Girl), 1955 Maigret tend un piège (M Sets a Trap), 1961 Maigret et le voleur parasseux (M and the Lazy Burglar), and finally in 1963 in Maigret et le fantôme (M and the Ghost), in which he was seriously wounded, but recovered. He lived with his wife Solange, who always played the helpless invalid, in the Place Constantin-Pecqueur in Montmartre, and worked at the 2nd Precinct in the 9th arrondissement, his office at the police station on Rue de la Rochefoucauld.
Steve

That mysterious blue bottle
2/11/99 - In "Maigret Chez le Coroner," set in Tucson in 1950 or so, Maigret wonders how everyone can drink like a fish and still appear at work the next morning fresh as a daisy. The secret is

"In all the drugstores, in the cafés, in the bars, that bottle of a unique blue color, affixed upside-down to the wall, with a shiny apparatus that measured the dose. They'd pump some of this into a glass of water and let it fizz and crackle. They'd serve it to you as naturally as a café au lait or a Coca-Cola, and a few minutes later, the vapors left by your alcohol would be dispersed."
It sounds like Alka-Seltzer, but doesn't look like it, and Alka-Seltzer isn't all that effective in curing a hangover. What do you suppose it was, and where can I get some?
Oz Childs

Maigret Theme!
2/17/99 - Here's some good news for those looking for the Maigret theme - a copy the sheet music of The Maigret Theme by Ron Grainer, from the BBC TV "Inspector Maigret Series" as recorded by Ron Grainer on Warner Bros. Records. Click on the cover for a full-size jpg image, and on page 1 and page 2 to see the music. (© 1960 by Langham Music Ltd. Published by Erle Music Ltd, 50, New Bond Street, London, W.1)
And there's a (422k) wav file of the Maigret theme from the (now inactive) Spree TV Themes site.

Gambon videos again!
2/18/99 - Samantha Scott's eMail of the Feb. 6 seems to suggest that my hint regarding "Total Home Video" distribution, for the Gambon Series, struck gold. Do you think she could be cajoled into telling us what she has found? Although I was given this name at one time as a source of the much sought after "Gambon Videos" nobody in the home movie business now seems to know anything about them. Please Sam, tell us more!

Willie McRobert

That mysterious Tucson blue bottle
2/20/99 - I remember the blue bottle on the drug store wall very well, as a part of my childhood in Indianapolis. They were in drug stores nationally, and they contained "Bromoseltzer," a competitor of Alka-Seltzer that used this particular sales method. Presumably they helped with hangover, but they sure as hell didn't provide a sure path to a headache-free return to the office.

Seamas D.

Maigret Theme?!
3/2/99 - On 2/17/99 I posted the sheet music of the Maigret theme from the BBC production, and a wave file purported to be the Maigret theme. A friend of mine made a midi file from the sheet music. It sounds quite different from the (422k) wav file. Is the wav file from a French production? Can someone clarify what these two are?

Mme Maigret's Recipes?
3/5/99 - Samantha Scott asked (2/6/99) if Madame Maigret's Recipes is still in print - No, but it's fairly easy to locate used copies. Click this search button to see what BookFinder.Com can come up with:

Simenon / Maigret On Stamps?
3/5/99 - Thanks initially to Jérôme Devémy, of Paris, (who has added lots of nice items to this site) I've located some Simenon/Maigret stamps which I've posted images of on the Gallery page. Does anyone know of any others, or additional information about the ones I've shown?

Steve

Recurring Themes: The Gang of Poles
3/6/99 - Back in December, (12/10/98), Jim Doherty was asking about "some Maigret recurring themes", including "The 'Polish' gang of ruthless gangsters who ravage remote farm houses but live in squalor in Paris between crimes" ... (see also Stan the Killer above.)

The earliest reference might actually be this one in Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett [1930-31]: "The notorious Polish gang whose leaders all ended on the scaffold went in for killing."
But the specific details seem to have started with the short story Stan the Killer, [1937-38]: "During the past four years a gang of Poles... had attacked five farms, always in Northern France... the farms had always been isolated ones, the farmers in each case had been elderly people... they killed everyone they found on the farm including children..."
In Maigret and the Spinster, [1940], there's a reference: "A gang of Poles, 5 or 6 of them, were holed up in the squalid Hôtel des Arcades. One of them, nicknamed the Baron, had changed a bill stolen from the Vansittart farm, at a parimutuel window at Longchamps."
And possibly in Maigret in Exile [1940]: "M glanced through the papers on his desk. Routine stuff. A group of Poles that needed watching..."
The case is mentioned again in the short story Maigret and the Surly Inspector [1946], (which introduces Lognon), "In October of the previous winter a Pole, Stan the Killer, who had attacked a number of farms in the north of France, had holed up in a small hotel at the corner of the Rue de Birague and the Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antone. He'd shot down the two policemen outside, and had then shot himself...." In this case, Stan has become a "he", and the shooting of the policemen also differed from the verison in "Stan the Killer."
In Maigret's Dead Man, [1947] the gang becomes Czech: "As a few Poles were living in the area, and no Czechs, some people talked about a "Polish gang".... at the Hôtel du Lion d'Or, a Czech woman, Maria, is found in labor... it becomes clear that she is one of the band of Czechs who had brutally committed murder and robbery on farms in the north, the Picardy killers. "On a farm... in Picardy, an entire family was brutally hacked to death with an ax... an old farmer and his wife were killed in the same way... an old couple and their servant had been attacked with the same weapon..."
In Maigret's Memoirs [1950], another reference to the original Stan's gang: "M knew a Polish woman, who shared a hotel room on Rue Saint-Antoine with five men, whom she used to send out on robberies, rewarding those who were successful in her own fashion." In this book Maigret "apologizes" for the frequent reference to Poles: "M might find himself asked, "Haven't you arrested your Pole on the Rue de Birague yet?" It wasn't that he had anything against Poles. But at that time thousands had come to France to work in the mines in the north. Most were good workers, but there was also a percentage of trouble-making riff-raff.... In the Saint-Antoine district M found up to 7 or 8 Poles in a single room, most of them sleeping on the floor... "
In Maigret and the Gangsters [1951], a similar case is referred to: "They'd been involved in more difficult arrests. M thought of a Pole who had for months terrorized the farms in the North and finally holed up in a little hotel in Paris, armed to the teeth."
And in Maigret Sets a Trap [1955]: "M had been studying all the historical cases which bore some resemblance... Jack the Ripper, the Düsseldorf Vampire, the Viennese lamplighter, and the Pole who operated among the farms in the Aisne Department."
Viennese Lamplighter?
That about covers the references I've found to "a gang of Poles," but the last one brings up a question of my own: I've learned who the Düsseldorf Vampire* was, but haven't been able to "dig up" anything on the Viennese lamplighter. Anyone?
[*Düsseldorf Vampire: Peter Kurten, 1883-1931, born in Cologne-Mulheim. For forty years Kurten seemingly killed at will and at random in Düsseldorf, Germany, mainly by strangulation and stabbing. His victims were both male and female and included a number of children. After having been called in by the police for routine questioning, Kurten confessed his crimes to his wife and urged her to turn him in to collect the reward. He claimed no remorse and was guillotined on 2nd July, 1931.]
Steve

Lognon
3/12/99 - In reply to Scott L.'s query of 2-11-99, Inspecteur (not Inspector) Joseph Lognon first appeared in Simenon's non-Maigret crime novel Monsieur La Souris (1938). Lognon was attached to the 9th Arrondissement and lived at 29, Place Constantin Pecquer with his wife and their young son. He is described as having coarse features, heavy eyebrows, dark hair, and a timid, irritable manner. At this first appearance he has already been dubbed L'inspecteur Malgracieux ("Sergeant Grump") by Lucas. Incidentally, Lucas has been promoted to commissaire (=inspector) at the Quai des Orfèvres; Janvier is still an inspecteur (=sergeant). When Simenon wrote this novel it had been four years since his last Maigret, and it would be four more before he wrote another. Although he evidently wasn't trying to create a second major police detective character in Lognon, features reminiscent of Maigret--a gurgling pipe, domestic scenes, and a brooding, intuitive style of detection--are evident. The name Lognon was probably Simenon's invention, based on French grognon "grouch."

John H. Dirckx

Gambon Videos
3/18/99 - Doesn't Granada Television keep copies of the 2 series that Michael Gambon portrayed Maigret in? Am I right in thinking that they have never had a second airing? Is there no way they can be purchased at all?

David Mason

Merci, Steve et John Dirckx plus Commissaire Lucas
3/18/99 - Thanks, Steve, for your complete Polish Gang info, and to John for such useful Lognon info. I'll bet info on the "Flea" (under whatever name) is coming. John's info on Lognon's origin in a novel including Lucas as Commissaire reminded me that all Maigret fans are likely to love his novel THE MAN WHO WATCHED THE TRAINS GO BY with its vivid picture of the Paris underworld during the time of the early Maigrets. Here, too, the Commissaire involved is Lucas. The novel also is a classic Simenon theme of the man who suddenly drops his drab life for a new one. In this case--with horrible results.

Jim Doherty

Simenon bio available at low cost
3/21/99 - I've just received the latest catalog of the remainder seller "Edward R. Hamilton, Falls Village, CT 06031-5000." On page 2 they list Knopf hardback bio "Simenon: A Biography" by Pierre Assouline, 447 pp, @ $6.95. Original cost was $32.50. Hamilton charges $3 for postage and handling for any number of books ordered. I thought some readers of this bulletin board might be interested.

Jim Doherty

Simenon / Maigret sales
3/22/99 - A friend of mine who works in the Swiss statistics office in Bern, the capital, has forwarded some statistics on Simenon's sales. Simenon lived in Switzerland for many years, and the statistics office wanted to know what his fortune was estimated to be. He sold around 1.4 billion books from 1935 to 1997! Now 25% of his works have passed into the public domain. His total earnings were around 600 million Swiss francs. He paid a 20% taxation rate in Switzerland. And now, with investments, his family has a fortune of approximately 2 billion Swiss francs... I've appended a Simenon / Maigret sales list.

Daniel X A Gindraux

T.S. Eliot
3/30/99 - T.S. Eliot's response to the question "the two most important changes in his life?", in The Fiftieth Anniversary Report of the Harvard Class of 1910 -- "I now prefer Claret to Burgundy and I prefer Inspector Maigret to Arsene Lupin".

How to publish a book on Maigret?
4/7/99 - I've written a book, tentatively titled "The Real Maigret: A Primer for Americans," that contains an introduction to Maigret and Simenon; a biography of the chief inspector based on his cases and the memoirs, a chronology of his cases; analysis of his routines and rituals, his method of crime solving, his sense of justice, the importance of Madame Maigret; a brief bio sketch of each of the individuals playing major support roles in his investigations; and a chapter on the geography of his cases.
I've spent the last three months trying to find an inside contact or book agent who would negotiate around or through Harcourt Brace's wall against "unsolicited" or "unagented" book proposals. It's been almost as frustrating as the writing of the book was fun.
Shouldn't a book that seeks to encourage more Americans to read more Maigret novels be published by the firm that holds the American copyright to Maigret? Does anyone have any suggestions on how to break HB's review barriers or know of a book agent who has an especially good working relationship with HB that I could get to represent me?
Thanks,

Dave Drake

Simenon/Maigret Sales
4/7/99 - Although I am grateful for Daniel X A Gindraux's contribution on Maigret sales, I found the list somewhat confusing: the title suggests that the sales data are for 1935 to 1997, but the earliest copyright date is 1947; two post-1947 publications, "Maigret Takes A Room" and "Maigret Hesitates," are missing from the list; and one title, "Maigret et les petits cochons," is totally new to me. Is there a "Maigret and the Little Pigs," or is my translation too literal?

Dave Drake
Maigret et les petits cochons sans queue is the full title, and it's not a Maigret novel, but rather a (1950) short story collection that included (among others) a Maigret and a (1946) short story called Les petits cochons sans queue, "The little pigs without tails".
Steve

Pierre Renoir
4/7/99 - Simenon tells us in his book "Les memoires de Maigret" (1966) that the actor Pierre Renoir was to him the most perfect person for the figure of Maigret he had in mind. I've searched everywhere on Internet, but I cannot find a photo of him playing Maigret. Can somebody help me please? Does anybody know if a museum and/or an exhibition exists about Maigret and/or the works of Simenon? I would like to visit it if I go to Paris in July this year. Thanks!

Johan A. Jong
I've just added a number of photos of film and television Maigrets, including this one of Pierre Renoir, mostly adapted from Peter Haining's "The Complete Maigret", to the Film page.
Steve

Paris library of the crime novel
5/6/99 - According to an article at the Polar web site, Paris now has a library exclusively devoted to the crime novel, with among other things the complete collection of the Gallimard publishing house, tens of thousands of works of fiction and 3500 reference books.
Sounds like a perfect place to wile away a rainy Paris afternoon. The library is at 48 rue du Cardinal-Lemoine, behind a fire station in the Latin Quarter.

Oz Childs

Greetings from Italy
5/10/99 - [software-assisted translation from Italian]
My name is Carlo, and I'm writing from Italy. I'm a fan of Simenon and his great Commissioner Maigret. I'd like to exchange opinions and news with you all, but unfortunately I'm not good at English. If someone who participates in the Bulletin Board is in a position to write in Italian, I would be truly happy. If not, I will try writing e-mail in English. For now, greetings and my compliments for the truly wonderful site.

Io mi chiamo Carlo e ti scrivo dall'Italia. Sono un appassionato di Simenon e del suo grande Commissario Maigret. Mi piacerebbe scambiare opinioni e notizie con voi tutti, ma purtroppo non sono per nulla bravo in inglese. Se lei o qualcuno che partecipa al Bulletin Board è in grado di scrivere in italiano, ne sarei veramente felice. In caso contrario cercherò di farmi scrivere le e-mail in inglese. Per ora ti saluto e ti faccio tantissimi complimenti per il sito che è veramente stupendo.
A presto, Carlo

Delfzijl booklet
5/12/99 - A look on the map of the Netherlands will tell you that Delfzijl is located on the extreme North-East of that country, in the province of Groningen. The natives there are supposed to be silent, sober, unemotional, suspicious of non-locals and not at all interested in strangers, no matter how famous they may be in their country of origin or the world at large. The experiences of Richard Thomas and David McBrien are therefore not very surprising. I think that Simenon used this location precisely because of the "Northern" characteristics of the people who lived there. The relocation, for a TV-version, of the story of "A Crime in Holland" to Finland is, in the eyes of a Dutchman, not so strange as it may seem. Even the relocation of the entire province of Groningen to Finland would be regarded as not unfitting.

Peter van der Salm
(Netherlands)

News from Milan
5/12/99 - [software-assisted translation from Italian]
1) There is currently [until June 26] an exhibit at the Porta Romana Museum in Milan, on "Yellows" [Giallo] — detective stories and films. (Here in Italy detective stories are called "yellows" because of the Mondadori (Publishers) covers, as in the sample at left. (Cover of 1979 book, priced at 3500 lira [about $2.00, 1999], containing the story "Maigret and the Missing Ivories" ["Le notaire de Chateauneuf"]). I've heard that RAI, Italian national television, will air various Maigret films to coincide with the show, and Mondadori Publishers will exhibit many early Simenon/Maigrets. I'll send a report after I've seen it.
2) Andrew Camilleri, scriptwriter of the 1960 Maigret film with Gino Cervi, has started writing books that have as their protagonist "Commissario Montalbano," and from what I've read about the character, I have the impression that he's "borrowing" from Simenon. I'll acquire a copy and send you a passage so you can also evaluate it.
3) Italian journalist Maurice Testa wrote a book some years ago with the title "Maigret and the Simenon case." I've read it but didn't like it: It doesn't succeed in developing the atmosphere and the states of mind of the characters as Simenon did. I'll send a passage from this book too (language permitting).

Qualche notizia da Milano:
1) Qui è in corso una mostra presso "I musei di Porta Romana" che tratta del "Giallo". E' una mostra che tratta in prevalenza di libri polizieschi (qui in Italia i polizieschi li chiamano "gialli" per via della copertina di Mondadori ... poi ti spiegherò con un pratico esempio grafico) e dei film dello stesso genere. Mi hanno detto che la RAI (la nostra televisione di Stato) espone film di Maigret con interpreti vari mentre l'editore Mondadori espone libri anche "datati" (di molti anni fa) di Simenon/Maigret. Mi riservo di andare a visitare la mostra per poi farti sapere.
2) Andrea Camilleri, già sceneggiatore di film di Maigret del 1960 con interprete Gino Cervi, si è messo a scrivere libri che hanno come protagonista un tale "Commissario Montalbano" e, da quello che ho letto sul personaggio, ho avuto l'impressione che Camilleri abbia scopiazzato da Simenon. Acquisterò un libro e te ne scriverò un capitolo così potrai valutare anche tu.
3) Un giornalista italiano, Maurizio Testa, scrisse qualche anno fa un libro dal titolo "Maigret e il caso Simenon". L'ho letto ma non mi è piaciuto. Testa non riesce a rendere le atmosfere e gli stati d'animo dei personaggi come faceva Simenon. Anche per questo libro ti manderò un brano per avere il tuo parere (lingua permettendo).
P.S. Dimenticavo di dirti che la "Mostra del giallo" termina il 26 giugno ... per chi fosse interessato ed ha in programma una visita a Milano.
(Il libro, che è del 1979 e costava £. 3500, contiene il racconto "Maigret e gli avori scomparsi" - titolo originale "Le notaire de Chateauneuf")
A presto, Carlo in Italy

Pierre Renoir
5/20/99 - Johan A Jong asks (4.7.99) about obtaining a photo of "the most perfect Maigret", Pierre Renoir. If he is visiting Paris in July he can go one better and seek out the video of "La Nuit du Carrefour", Jean Renoir's classic 1931 film, issued in the René Chateau series "la Mémoire du Cinéma Français", in which Pierre Renoir made his one and only appearance as Maigret. Pierre Assouline's biography of Simenon contains interesting background to the making of the film, accurately described in the UK "Time Out Film Guide" as "weird, hallucinating and oddly poetic".

Delfzijl Booklet
5/20/99 - Not only are the natives of Delfzijl silent, sober, unemotional etc (Peter van der Salm, 12.5.99), they are also scrupulously honest. When I parked my car near the centre of town and walked off in search of the Maigret statue I accidentally left my wallet in full view on the vehicle's roof. I discovered it was missing only when ordering a beer in a cafe about ten minutes later. After sprinting madly back to the car - and thinking about the calls I would shortly be making to cancel credit cards etc - I found the wallet exactly where I had left it. Thank you, Delfzijl. I look forward with pleasure to visiting you again, especially as I now know where you have hidden the statue.

Richard Thomas

Maigret Sits it Out
5/25/99 - I'm looking for an English translation of "Maigret Sits It Out". The only copy I've located is priced at $US300 which is a bit outside my pocket!
If anyone can help me to find a cheaper edition I'd be extremely grateful.

"Maigret Sits it Out" is the title of an English translation of L'écluse No. 1 (in the Jonathan Press edition) and of a collection of "The Lock at Charenton" (L'écluse No. 1 ) and "Maigret Returns" (Maigret). These titles aren't easy to find, though they also appeared in the 1952 Penguin paperback edition as "Maigret Sits it Out".
 

Maigret series with Michael Gambon
5/30/99 - Interesting bulletin board. I have been interested in Maigret and Simenon books in general, since watching most of the original Rupert Davies series as a youngster. When the Gambon series appeared in 1992, I recorded them from the TV for my own use. The first series consisted of the following six stories (not necessarily in order of transmission) The Patience of Maigret; Maigret and the Burglar's Wife; Maigret Goes to School; Maigret and the Madwoman; Maigret on Home Ground; Maigret Sets a Trap. The second series (1993) consisted of: Maigret and the Hotel Majestic; Maigret and the Maid; Maigret on the Defensive; Maigret's Boyhood Friend; Maigret and the Minister; Maigret and the Nightclub Dancer. Also I have just managed to acquire an original video of the first two stories in the first series. This video was produced by Granada Television in association with WGBH Boston and marketed by Televideo, 22 Little Portland Street, London W1N 5AF. The video is numbered Telvid 26 and the blurb inside mentions three videos in the series, presumably each having two of the original stories. Don't know whether a video collection of the second series was released. However I am fortunate in having personal copies of both series even though they also have the adverts etc. Hope this info is of some help.

Brian T.
Lanark Scotland

Simenon Festival in Les Sables-d'Olonne
6/9/99 - There will be a one-week Simenon festival in Les Sables-d'Olonne, in France, between June 14 and June 20, organized by Didier Gallot, a magistrate. There is also an exhibition from June 5 through June 20 in the Abbey Sainte-Croix in Les Sables-d'Olonne. The festival and the exhibition take place 10 years after Simenon's decease. Didier Gallot has just published a book on Simenon (with Alphone Boudard): "Simenon ou la comédie humaine" (Editions France-Empire, a 300-page book). The ISBN is 2704808872. I haven't yet read it. Has anyone already bought it? Maigret was in Les Sables-d'Olonne in "Les vacances de Maigret" [Maigret on Holiday].

Jérôme Devémy
Paris

Maigret Chronology?
6/11/99 - Is there a list of the Maigret books chronologically based on Maigret's presumed age? For example, Maigret's First Case (1949) would be at the top of the list and Maigret (1934) would be one of the last.

William J. Quintavalle
Fair Lawn, N.J.
Jean Forest, in an Appendix to his "Les Archives Maigret", lists the ages of Maigret in various stories, as well as Simenon's age at the time of writing. I have a link to a copy I made of that chart and his chart of Simenon's ages in retirement at Reference: Maigret's Age.
Steve

Maigret Chronology
6/17/99 - I was fascinated by Jean Forest's "Maigret Chronology": His methodology was simply to record the ages that Simenon used in his novels. In fact, Simenon was totally inconsistent with numbers and chronology. The only points that Forest-Simenon and my biography agree on are the sequence of Maigret's retirement cases, and Maigret's age of 26 for his First Case. In that case it was clearly stated that Maigret was 26, and that the case occurred in the spring of 1913, which makes Maigret's birth in 1887. Because I thought Simenon had thoughtfully made that determination in 1950, I used it as the foundation for my time line of Maigret's life. For example, when M. Gallet died on June 27, 1930, I concluded that Maigret was 43, not 45 as Simenon said in the novel. The only two dates that were used in the stories that are not consistent with other events are the August 1965 date for finding the elegant bum's body in Les Halles [Maigret and the Loner], at which time Maigret would have been 78, and the 1922 date that is implied for "Maigret's Pipe," when he would have been too young to have been Chief Inspector and Superintendent of CID.
However, the principal problems with the Simenon-Forest sequencing schedule are the number of cases (17 in Forest's appendix) that would have occurred during World War II, and a number of inconsistencies with support personnel. For example, the Calame Report case was Lapointe's first case but Forest suggests that it came one year before Maigret's retirement, and Lapointe appears in a number of other cases by Forest's chronology; Dr. Paul's death was reported in several cases before Paul's last case in the Forest sequence; and Judge Comeliau's retirement is reported in the Reluctant Witnesses case even though he appears in subsequent cases in the Simenon-Forest order. I chose to use some imagination in my chronology of cases, to overcome the reincarnation of support people, and allow Maigret to serve in CID until 1956, when he was 69, but without having any cases during WWII.
In summary, Simenon employed a "Jack Benny method" of ascribing an age to Maigret, with lots of cases when he was 45, and more when he was 50 or 55 or just a couple of years before retirement. Like Benny's method, the age identified was only cosmetic and not accurate. That's what I mean by Simenon's inconsistency with numbers.

Dave Drake

Another fan of Inspector Maigret
6/23/99 - I have been reading Maigret novels for about 40 years (the first being Maigret and the Young Girl). I am now finding it very difficult to find any books in the shops, and my local library does not seem to have any at all. Has anybody had a similar experience? (Although I have just managed to find one in a second hand bookshop, Maigret on Holiday (1948) which I had not seen before.)
As a footnote to the Gambon series, this was filmed in Hungary, especially Budapest, because the locations matched Paris of the 40s and 50s.
I shall now keep visiting this site for further news.

David Cronan
6/29/99 - My advice is to ask the reference department of your local public library to obtain the unread volumes for you through interlibrary loan service. I was able to complete my reading of all the Maigret novels in this way.
Dave Drake

Ceux du Grand-Café
7/3/99 - Your translations are not only excellent, but more welcome than you can imagine. As a Simenon/Maigret nut, any additions to the English version of the canon are appreciated.

Rudy Kilianski
Scottsdale, AZ
7/4/99 - Thanks Rudy! I neglected to put a notice on the bulletin board that I've recently posted a translation of a third Maigret short story, Ceux du Grand-Café, as The Group at the Grand-Café.
I've started to work on the "precursors of Maigret" novels as well, and some of my work in progress on "La maison de l'inquietude" can be seen as "The House of Anxiety, which I'll add to whenever I can.
I've also been working on a page on comparative translations, to illustrate some interesting things I've noticed, like a section of "Stan the Killer" translated quite differently by two different translators, or a couple of versions of "the same" translation which aren't quite the same. That's also a page in progress, Maigret in Translation.
Lastly, I'd like to propose that rather than "the (Maigret) canon" which Rudy uses to refer to the full corpus of Maigret, we use "the (Maigret) Chronicles", since "the canon" is so strongly associated with Sherlock Holmes. Anyone have any thoughts on that subject?
Steve

New book on Maigret - in French
7/9/99 - In Le Monde, 9 July '99, there was a small article on a new book by Francis Lacassin, "Maigret entre en scène," 698 pages, published by Editions Omnibus for 110 French francs. This one is about the creation of Maigret by Simenon. (There's a second one on the creation of Inspecteur Sancette - same collection.) I wasn't able to find the book at www.alibabook.com or www.fnac.fr so it must be really new. [not at www.alapage.com either.] The article says it's "aussi indispensable que passionnante". I'm looking forward to reading it!

New book on Maigret - Not new!
7/10/99 - I went to la FNAC this morning and saw the book "Maigret entre en scènes". It's just the 4 "Maigret" books published by Simenon under pseudonyms (Georges Sim & Christian Brulls) [see Precursors of Maigret] : Train de nuit, La femme rousse, La jeune fille aux perles, La maison de l'inquiètude and a fifth one, L'homme à la cigarette, where the main character is Inspector Boucheron, who's a lot like Maigret, and so is included. All of those books have already been published individually, though it's nice to have them in the same volume.

Jérôme Devémy
Paris

Maigret tend un piège - film
7/14/99 - Does anyone know if the film "Maigret tend un piège" is for sale somewhere?

Novakwj
8/9/99 - I bought the movie "Maigret tend un piège" last year at la FNAC. It is edited by René Chateau vidéo, produced in the "Michel Audiard Collection" in 1995. It is a set of 2 tapes: "Maigret tend un piège" and "Maigret et l'affaire St-Fiacre," both of them featuring Jean Gabin as Maigret. "Maigret tend un piège" lasts 115 min. If you go to www.fnac.fr, select "video", and search for "Maigret", you'll find 2 references: one is the tape alone (169 French francs) and the second one is the set of 2 tapes (349 French francs). I hope this will help you to buy the movie. Best Regards,
Jérôme

Bruno Cremer videos?
8/7/99 - Does anyone have any idea where I could purchase videos of the Maigret series with Bruno Cremer? I live in Italy and have been searching everywhere. Thanks!

Regina
8/10/99 - [software-assisted translation from Italian] I can tell you that about two years ago (if I remember correctly) RAI broadcast some Maigret films with Bruno Cremer. Even though I've recorded many of them, I always hope that they'll re-broadcast them, since they're so difficult to find for sale. Personally I think that among the many actors who have interpreted Maigret, Cremer is one of the best. Regards,
Ciao Regina, ti informo che la RAI ha trasmesso qualche tempo fa (due anni orsono se non ricordo male) alcuni film di Maigret interpretati dal bravo Bruno Cremer. Io spero sempre che li ritrasmettano perchè è difficile trovarne in circolazione anche se molti li ho registrati. Personalmente ritengo che tra i molti attori che hanno impersonato Maigret, Cremer sia uno dei migliori. Un saluto,
Carlo

Map of Maigret's Paris?
8/10/99 - I'm looking for a wall map, preferably in French, of Paris, featuring locations that have figured importantly in Maigret novels — including, of course, the Quai des Orfèvres and the apartment in Blvd. Richard-Lenoir, but also various residences, brasseries, official buildings, etc. that have been identified more-or-less precisely by street location in those Maigret novels that are set in Paris. Any idea where I could get one? Thanks.
(PS - I'm also interested in finding a source in the USA where Maigret novels in French can be purchased for less than the $12 each typically charged by Borders or Amazon.com. Thanks again.)

Ralph Patrick

Simenon Festival '87
8/14/99 - I've recently acquired a copy of the program of the 1987 Simenon Festival in Washington, D.C., and added some of the articles and photos from it to innaugurate a new page at this site, Simenon, for articles and information not directly related to Maigret, but pertaining to his creator. (Other Simenon-specific articles have been moved there too.) Copies of the program are still available from the director, William Claire - there's a link and information at the page.

Steve
Maigret Paperbacks - Curtis & Popular Library
8/14/99 - For those who like old paperbacks, or at least the covers, I've added a new Gallery section of paperbacks from the '70s, the Curtis and Popular Library editions. I thinks it's interesting to see the transition of Curtis covers from the more-or-less typical crime-fiction type to the award-winning "artistic" covers of the '73 (and '76 Popular Library) editions. (I believe this is the complete set - if anyone knows of any others, please let me know.)
Steve

Maigret se trompe
8/15/99 - This is a reply to an old subject on the bulletin board [see: Maigret's Mistake?], but I just found the Maigret website.
I have a possible theory about "Maigret's mistake." I just finished reading this book a second time (maybe the third) in French, Maigret se trompe. The title might better have been translated "Maigret is mistaken."
Recall that Maigret was interested in Doctor Gouin on a professional level, because he recognized they were equals in the sense of being at the top of their respective professions and also had seen life in a similar way. Page 179 (in the dialogue between Maigret and Gouin at the end of the book) says of the two (roughly translated): "Their ideas about people and their motives were not all that different."
Then it goes on to say: " What was different was their attitude toward the problem. Gouin only used what Maigret would call 'cold reason.' ...Perhaps his (Maigret's) understanding of people gave him a feeling, not just of pity, but a sort of affection."
I think Maigret was mistaken/disappointed that Gouin was NOT like him in a way that mattered to him fundamentally. Gouin was a cold-hearted soul who believed "Man is alone, no matter whether he believes. He just needs to admit it once and for all and get used to the idea."
A few pages later, when Maigret is to the point of proving that it was Gouin's wife who committed the murder, and Gouin is giving the evidence that proves it, it says "Maigret would have preferred that Gouin lied. For an hour, he would have liked to see Gouin try to lie, but he had an implacable sincerity."
I think Maigret's desire there stems from him wanting to see Gouin have the decency to try to protect his wife, but he is disappointed/mistaken.

Beverly Graham
Springfield, MO
8/16/99 - I've just reread Maigret's Mistake myself, and now I'm convinced that Beverly Graham's analysis of the meaning of the book's title is correct — What M was mistaken about was what kind of man Dr. Gouin was. As we see at the beginning of Chapter 8, "What he knew of Gouin he had learned through the words and attitudes of five different women... He was now going to find out whether he was wrong." And, in fact, it appears that he was. Unlike M, Dr. Gouin didn't seem to really care about people at all.
I'm still puzzled by Gouin's wife's motivation in leaving the revolver on the table, unless it was to cast suspicion on the doctor himself. It seems that by using his gun she would have been the most likely suspect anyway...
Steve
8/17/99 - Possibly Madame Gouin left the gun on the table as a rather blatant way of trying to frame the professor. However, she doesn't strike me as that stupid.
Beverly Graham
Springfield, MO
8/17/99 - Right, I think I see it now. The gun was left to tell her husband that she'd done it. No one else knew he had the gun. Her sister had been called to provide an alibi, so she figured she'd get away with it, do away with "her rival" and at the same time send a message to Gouin. The crime would go unsolved. But the interference of the charwoman, Mme Brault, ruined the plan.
Steve

Maigret Limerick
8/16/99 - I ran across this in the January, 1970 issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, at the end of the Maigret story, Crime in the Rue Sainte-Catherine (Le témoinage de l'enfant de chœur):

I Love Paris When it Drizzles
by D.R. Bensen

In Paris' crummier streets
One needs caution about whom one meets;
For, day after day,
Inspector Maigret
Has new clients all covered with sheets.

©1969 D.R. Bensen

Steve

Stanislas?
8/19/99 - In Maigret et les vieillards [Maigret in Society], Maître Aubonnet said he'd first met Armand de Saint-Hilaire at Stanislas, and young Julien de V— said that two years earlier he'd had a friend at Stanislas whose grandfather had also been in the Foreign Service...
What is Stanislas?
Searching around the Internet I've found the Collège Stanislas in Paris, a Catholic boy's high school (?) which seems pretty famous. For example, "Rostand studied in Paris at the Collège Stanislas," "Anatole France received a thorough classical education at the Collège Stanislas, a boys' school in Paris," "Emmanuel d'Alzon ... received the baccalaureate degree at Collège Stanislas in Paris in 1828...".
Does anyone know any more about it — where it is, when it was founded, the level of studies (high school...), etc.? Is it so famous that any French reader would recognize it?

Steve
8/20/99 - Founded in 1804, Collège Stanislas (22 rue Notre-Dame des Champs 75006 Paris, not far from the Luxembourg Gardens on the Left Bank) is a private boarding school for studies from collège (age 11-15), through lycée (3 years preparation for the baccalaureat), and after the bac, classe préparatoire (2 or 3 years to prepare the competitive examination for French Engineering schools like Polytechnique or École Normale Supérieure). Well-known in France, and considered to be one of the best private schools in Paris, many of the students are the sons of upper-class families and foreign diplomats. Famous alumni include Edmond Rostand, Georges Guynemer, Anatole France, Claude Simon, Henry Gouraud, and, most notably, Charles de Gaulle. It was rebuilt in 1967.
Jérôme Devémy
Paris

Maigret's Favorite Buses
8/24/99 - In several of the Maigret novels, for instance "Maigret's Pickpocket," there is mentioned the Inspector's preference for the old open-platform Paris buses. Here he could smoke his pipe and watch Paris go by. A few years ago I saw one of these restored buses driving near my home here in England. I presume that this is probably kept in a transport museum and I am in the process of trying to locate it. I have sent a query to a classic transport magazine but have not received a reply yet. When I receive any news I shall post it up. Perhaps somebody else knows of the existence of this bus?
David Cronan

Paris open-balcony bus, introduced around 1920, in use until 1971. René Bellu, Les Autobus Parisiens, ISBN 2-85922-021-6, Editions Jean-Pierre Delville, Paris, 1979

Simenon's Agent?
8/26/99 - I am searching for the agent for Simenon's work. I have a client in Japan who is interested in making a film based on Les Frères Rico. If you happen to know where or who I should contact, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thank you in advance.

Taka Arai
8/31/99 - The Estate of Georges Simenon is at Avenue du Temple 19B, Ch-1012 Lausanne, Switzerland or by e-mail at asulzer@maigret.com. That's where copyright is given and where Harcourt Brace forwards requests.
David F. Drake

Maigret Food and Wine
9/6/99 - Greetings from a Maigret fan in Australia. Is anyone aware of any publications (or field research!) on Maigret's tastes in food and wine, perhaps some recipes etc. Would anyone be interested if I prepared something? It was through reading Maigret that I acquired a taste for calvados, although unlike him I seldom have the chance to indulge while I am working. I understand Maigret's robust drinking habits resemble those of Simenon.

Tom Dale

Maigret statue replica
9/11/99 - It must have been in the early seventies that a 10-inch replica was made of the famous Maigret statue in Delfzijl in the Netherlands. As a long-time collector of Maigret books, I am still looking for this small statue. It was issued with a series of Maigret books bound in leather. Does anyone have one for sale?
Jan Sander
The Hague

[An emotional Simenon blowing his nose after unveiling the statue of Maigret, September 3, 1966, Delfzijl. The bronze sculpture is by Pieter d'Hont (born Hilversum, April 24, 1917).]

9/15/99 - Regarding the query as to what Maigret's favorite foods are, some years ago I purchased for my wife (we both enjoy Maigret very much) a book titled "Madame Maigret's Favorite Recipies, Presented by Robert J. Courtine, With a Letter-Preface by Georges Simenon". The publisher is Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, the date of publication 1975. It is certainly worth an out-of-print search as it is a delightful read.

CowOnWall
9/16/99 - The March 1998 "Newsletter of the Culinary Historians of Boston" (online at http://www.foodbooks.com/chob_398.htm) has an (unsigned) article: The Role of Alcohol and Drinking in George Simenon's Maigret Novels.
There is also Robert Courtine's book, Madame Maigret's Recipes, which gives many recipes of meals cited in the Maigret stories. (Robert J. Courtine, 1987. Madame Maigret's Recipes. With a Letter-Preface by Georges Simenon. translated from the French by Mary Manheim. 183 pp, 22.8 cm, pbk, ill. drawings by Nikolaus E. Wolff. index. New York. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, "A Helen and Kurt Wolff book"). ISBN: 0-15-65017-24.).
Jérôme

Mme Maigret's Recipes is out of print, but it's fairly easy to locate used copies. Click this search button to see what BookFinder.Com can come up with:

See also the English translation (and original French version) of the section "The Paradoxical M. Maigret" from Alexandre Vialatte's No H for Natalie, at this site, for another article on Maigret's food and drink.

Rupert Davies Maigret videos?
9/19/99 - Do you have any of the 1960s Rupert Davies Maigret series on video, or can you tell me where I can obtain them?

Alice Fleck

PBS Mystery Maigret?
9/21/99 - Greetings from Scottsdale, AZ! I see from your bulletin board that someone else from Scottsdale has checked in. As a fan of Michael Gambon in the role of Maigret, I would like to know if the PBS Mystery series is planning on broadcasting any of the Maigret shows in the near future? With all the video catalogs I receive, I have yet to find a video of Maigret available. Your assistance in this would be greatly appreciated. P.S — was thrilled to find this web site!

Seekborias

 

Maigret éternel, ou Maigret historique
9/29/99 - Bonjour — Going through the forum I noticed that there are very few traces of Maigret's mother tongue. I know English is a sort of lingua franca, but reading Maigret in its original language gives quite a different atmosphere.
I'm an Italian fan of Maigret and Simenon (so Carlo you can contact me in Italian). I've been one for the last 30 years. Again this fall I've begun to read the whole bulk of the Maigret novels (maybe for the tenth time), discovering something new, their basic division into two groups: the Eternal Maigret and the historical one. Or, if you like, la comédie humaine on one side (Simenon's atmosphere stories like Le voleur paresseux or La nuit du carrefour or L'écluse n° 1), and the realistic novels on the other: stories connected to a particular historical event or suggested by one, and also stories connected to particular moments of our century. One can see, for instance, in Une échec de Maigret, a revival of the Matteotti affair in the explicit description of the victim and the murder, the restlessness of Europe during the depression in Stan le Tuer (by the way that's another Stanislaus, though I consider Simenon's use of that name as a stereotype of the polonaise immigrant), to come to Truffaut's and Goddard's nouvelle vague Paris in Maigret et le voleur. As the century ends, it is rather impressive to see Maigret as a witness of our times... but maybe this is not too far from Simenon's intentions, as his journalistic experiences made him a witness of his time.

Maria Dixon
Italy

Madame Maigret
9/29/99 - First, can anyone tell me the name of the book in which Maigret gets married? It was one of the first ones I read (in French) and I no longer have it. I'd like to reread it. It dealt with one of his earliest cases.
Secondly, I have been puzzled/intrigued about the relatively insignificant role Madame Maigret plays in his life. This may be reflective of the cultural expectations in France in the first half of the century, the good wife who stays home and cooks and cleans and has her husband's meals on the table at expected times, his clothes ready to wear and, en somme, seems to have her whole life defined by being there for him. I would even say Maigret takes her for granted. Obviously I shouldn't judge their life-style by the America of the 1990s; we've come through a lot of cultural change in the last 25 years as to the roles and expectations of women.
It also occurs to me that this relationship style may reflect the beliefs of the author—i.e., maybe those were Simenon's expectations of a wife.
Perhaps my perception is also colored by American police and detective TV shows of recent years, which show investigators in a multi-faceted way—conveying that they ARE more than just their jobs. We see them involved in the lives of their family, community service, pet projects or favorite causes, their character/beliefs/faith.
Whatever the case, I tend to perceive Madame Maigret as a "cardboard cutout" of a wife, as if the only real story is the police work, and the author just needed a place to send Maigret when he wasn't on duty at the Quai des Orfèvres. Anybody have some thoughts about this?

Beverly Graham
Springfield, MO

Madame Maigret?
9/30/99 - I need this information to prove our answer for a trivia question was right. What was the name of Maigret's wife? Did she have the same last name after marriage? In how many books approximately did she appear?

Sergey Kazachenko

Mme Maigret is mentioned in 69 of the 75 novels, and 18 of the 28 short stories – altogether in 87 of the 103 episodes which comprise the Maigret Chronicles. In only two of them is her first name used, and it's not the same name!

  • Louise: In Maigret's Memoirs (Les mémoires de Maigret 1950), the circumstances of the Maigrets' marriage are explained, how Maigret met the girl Louise Léonard, the niece of Geraldine and Anselme Léonard, over petit-fours. She became Mme Maigret.
  • Henriette: In the short story Madame Maigret's Admirer (L'amoureux de Madame Maigret 1937-38): "Maigret called out, 'Henriette, come and look' for the stranger was in the square."
    (In this story the Maigrets were living in the Place des Vosges, explained in the last chapter of Maigret's Memoirs as a temporary stay of a few months in Simenon's flat [N° 21] while he was in Africa and their Boulevard Richard-Lenoir apartment was being renovated.)

Liege and Georges Simenon
10/3/99 - Next spring I will be spending a couple of days in Liege (Georges Simenon's birthplace) and I am wondering if there are any sites to see connected to Simenon that can be visited. Looking at a town plan I note that there is a street named after him, and wonder if there are any other places of interest, including any connections at all with Maigret.

David Cronan

Le Fonds Simenon de l'Université de Liège
(The Simenon Collection of the University of Liège) [translated from the web page]
The Fonds Simenon is located on the 1st floor of the Château de Colonster, on the university campus of Sart-Tilman.
It is primarily a library, a place of work, which gathers together a unique documentation in the world:

  • various editions in French, and translations of the novels of Maigret's creator
  • part of his manuscripts
  • columns, stories and popular novels written under pseudonyms
  • cassettes of the "dictations"
  • thousands of newspaper articles
  • critical studies
  • nearly 2,000 photographs
  • portraits
  • correspondence
  • cassettes and video-cassettes of interviews, copies of films
  • etc...
It is also a museum where the visitor can admire objects and furniture which formed the daily environment of the novelist:
  • his office
  • his libraries
  • his work table
  • some very beautiful portraits
  • objects involved in the ritual of his writing (typewriter, golden ball, Tiki, yellow envelopes, lead pencils...)
  • etc...
According to the wishes of Georges Simenon, the Collection is primarily intended for students and researchers. It is however also accessible to non-specialists and groups who request it.

[see the Terres d'Écrivains site for a page on Simenon's Liège]

 
Maigret Heaven
10/5/99 - I'm so glad I found this site: it's heaven to a Maigret fan like myself - and in English as well!
I really love the sharp little observations Simenon makes to reveal a character or paint a mood.
And the plots, they are suspenseful without being melodramatic.
When I was younger, I loved Agatha Christie, but now, her books strike me as too stylised.
TZ

Seeking Michael Gambon videos
10/6/99 - Hello, I am looking for good clear copies of any and all episodes of "Maigret", starring Michael Gambon, that played on "Mystery!" on PBS. Hoping to find actual videos of it for sale, but homemade copies are acceptable. I am a big fan of Michael Gambon playing Maigret. Thanks,

[see Maigret series with Michael Gambon, (5/30/99) above.]

 

"In the latter years of Georges Simenon's prolific writing life, when he had already published close to 400 novels, Alfred Hitchcock was said to have telephoned, only to be told by Simenon's secretary that he couldn't be disturbed because he had just begun a new novel. Hitchcock, knowing that Simenon was capable of writing one novel — or two or three — every month, replied: That's all right, I'll wait."

Excerpted from Deirdre Bair's review of
Simenon, a Biography by Pierre Assouline, The New York Times.

[found at The Razz Site]

BILIPO: Bibliothèque des littératures policières
10/9/99 - This morning I went to visit the BILIPO: Bibliothèque des littératures policières. It's a wonderful place — you can find everything about detective novels, true crime, weapon history, crime history... There are books about major detective book writers such as Simenon, Doyle and many others. For Simenon, there is a large documentation, and all of his books. I've enclosed a copy of the newspaper article which led me to discover this library (below). It's a public library, and it's free. If you come to Paris, it is a "must go" place for everyone interested in detective novels or detective movies.
In the Forum, there was a question regarding food and drink in Maigret books a few weeks ago. I found the following reference at Bilipo: Cahiers Simenon, Vol. 8 by Les amis de Georges Simenon (Bruxelles, 1994). Vol. 8 is entitled "Boire et Manger" (Drink and Eat). It contains many articles by Simenon and others about food and drink in the Maigret books. Articles by Simenon are: "Why Maigret likes beer so much" and "Simenon's preferred meal."

Les amis de Georges Simenon is a non-profit organization. Members receive the journal Cahiers Simenon. Annual fee is BEF 1000 or FF 175 (appx. US $28). Information: Michel Shepens, Secretary,
291 Beigemsesteenweg, B-1852 Grimbergen (Beigem), Belgique.
Tel. & Fax: (32.2) 269.47.87.
I discovered a list of Maigret pastiches at the end of this book. One of them is "Maigret au Fouquet's" by Robert J. Courtine. Do you know of it?
Le temple du polar

La Bibliothèque des littératures policières est unique au monde. On peut y consulter près de 60 000 livres de fiction et 5 000 ouvrages relatifs aux faits divers, au cinéma policier, aux armes, aux poisons... "De nombreux étudiants, auteurs et réalisateurs de films français comme Jean-Pierre Mocky ou Henry Verneuil viennent se documenter ici", explique Michèle, la bibliothécaire. Les deux premières salles de la "Bilipo" servent à des expositions. "La dernière rend hommage à San Antonio" explique Catherine Chauchard, la conservatrice. La prochaine, en octobre, sera consacrée aux cinquante ans des éditions de Fleuve Noir. 48-50, rue du Cardinal-Lemoine. M° Cardinal-Lemoine. Tél.: 01 42 34 93 00. Ouvert du mardi au vendredi de 14h à 18h et le samedi de 10h à 17h. Consultation sur place uniquement.

The Temple of Police Literature

The Bibliothèque des littératures policières (Library of Police Literature) is unique in the world. Here, one can consult close to 60,000 books of fiction and 5,000 related works on various topics, from police movies, to weapons, to poisons... "Many students, authors and producers of French movies like Jean-Pierre Mocky and Henry Verneuil come here for documentation," explains Michèle, the librarian. The first two rooms of the "Bilipo" serve for exhibitions. "The last exhibit paid homage to San Antonio" explains Catherine Chauchard, the conservatrice. The next, in October, will be dedicated to the fifty years of Fleuve Noir editions. 48-50, rue du Cardinal-Lemoine. Métro Cardinal-Lemoine. Tél.: 01 42 34 93 00. Open Tuesday through Friday from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Material can only be used within the library.


Jérôme
[For additional information, see Brad Spurgeon's article, "The BILIPO", mentioned by Oz Childs in the Forum 5/6/99]

A response to Carlo (May 1999)
10/10/99 - Sono un fan di Maigret, e lo incontrai a Roma, in 1951, nella biblioteca del Collegio Americano del Nord (un seminario). Trovai un Penguin Inglese di "Liberty Bar." Mi piacerebbe molto scambiare email con te. Leggo italiano bene, ma parlo e scrivo con molti sbagli (1951 e molti anni fa!).

[translation] I'm a Maigret fan — since I met him in Rome, in 1951, in the library of the Collegio Americano del Nord (a seminary), where I found an English Penguin edition of "Liberty Bar". I'd like to exchange e-mail with you. I can read Italian well, but I speak and write it with many mistakes (1951 was many years ago!).

Maigret and the (Canadian) Law
"Section 10(a) of the Charter provides that: 'Everyone has the right on arrest or detention to be informed promptly of the reasons thereof. What is the meaning of detention? What is the meaning of arrest? What is meant by 'to be informed'?" The argument is presented by using a number of fictional arrests or detentions drawn from the novels of Georges Simenon...

§10(a) of the Charter and the novels of Georges Simenon,
By Gilles Renaud, Ontario Court of Justice (Provincial Division)

An article on Canadian Law from Skurka & Pringle's Defence Brief site.

Maigret mug at the eBay Auction site:


Anyone who collects Maigret "memorabilia" (or whatever this is), might be interested in this Maigret TV Coffee Mug from Tacoma, Washington Public TV, KCTS, at the eBay Auction site. Starting bid is $5... auction ends 10/19/99, 15:42:34 PDT. [This is not an offer by me - I just saw it there and know nothing else about it.]

La Nuit du Carrefour
10/22/99 - Hello! I am desperately looking for a copy of Jean Renoir's film La Nuit du Carrefour. Do you know where I can find one?

Thanx, Kevin

10/22/99 - At www.fnac.fr, if you perform a search for Jean Renoir, you will find a video of "La nuit du carrefour". It was edited in 1998 by RC (reference 3712). It is on a VHS tape with SECAM format for the video signal and costs 143 French Francs. You can order it on the web site.

Jérôme Devémy

Maigret in the comics
10/22/99 - La bande dessinée policière is a French site about detectives in the comics. They talk about Maigret comics drawn by Jacques Blondeau in the years 1950 to 1953, which appeared in many newspapers, and show some small scans [including one from L'Agence O, featuring Inspector Torrence, after he's left the Quai des Orfèvres to set up his own private detective agency]. On this page they discuss the Odile Reynaud Maigrets, like the one in the Gallery.

Jérôme Devémy

 

The House of Anxiety
If you haven't checked the Texts page recently, you probably haven't seen the new translation I've posted, of Simenon's pseudonymous Maigret novel, La Maison de l'inquiétude, never before in English.

"Only some rhetorical details, minor concessions to the popular novel, separate this fourth test-prototype from the Maigret series officially inaugurated in 1931. La Maison de l'inquiétude could have been signed Simenon instead of Georges Sim."
Francis Lacassin
(on the back cover of the 1991 Julliard edition)

 
Georges Simenon Bookplate Motto
10/25/99 - The French-language edition of Georges Simenon's collected works in our public library has on the cover of each volume a reproduction of what appears to be the author's personal bookplate ("Ex Libris") label, which reads: "Comprendre et ne pas juger" [To understand, and judge not]. Those 5 words may reflect Georges Simenon's basic philosophy, and constitute excellent advice for resolving differences of opinion and disagreements with other people. It surprises me that I have seen no reference to this motto in any of the bibliographic material on Georges Simenon accessible to me. Do you have any information on this?

regards, Dieter Riedel



Eye-catching title design, n'est-ce pas?

Simenon / Maigret at a bookseller's site


Maigret and Drinking
11/1/99 - New - Maigret's Paris, Conserved and Distilled, on the Texts page: An anthropologist looks at Maigret and Drinking. Dr. Lisa Anne Gurr's chapter from Constructive Drinking: Perspectives on Drink from Anthropology.

The Methods of Maigret
11/2/99 - New - The method of investigation according to Maigret: A methodical absence of method?, on the Texts page: a translation of Michel Lemoine's paper from the Les écritures de Maigret conference held in Florence, Nov. 15-16, 1996 (and his original French version, La méthode d'enquête selon Maigret: une absence de m賨ode méthodique?).

Commissaire Guillaume?
11/6/99 - Below is the beginning of the "introducing the author" article which accompanied "A Spot by the Seine" — the Philadelphia Inquirer insert "Gold Seal Novel" of June 7, 1942 — more familiar today as "Maigret and the Tavern by the Seine." The article mentions "Inspector Guillaime [sic], greatest French detective of his day."
There is also a reference to him in Francis Lacassin's pamphlet, Simenon 1931, La naissance de Maigret [The Birth of Maigret] accompanying the Tout Simenon set by Presses de la Cité, which includes a photograph (adapted as the background for the opening page of this site) captioned "Deux modèles de Maigret: les commissaires Massu et Guillaume." [Two models for Maigret: Commissioners Massu and Guillaume]


 The most widely-known profile of any character in fiction is that of Sherlock Holmes. In offering the eighth adventure of his most famous French colleague to be translated, and printed in The Inquirer, it is felt the Maigret profile (shown at left) may intrigue.
This character already had attracted considerable attention in France before its author, Georges Simenon, set foot in the "Police Judiciaire." When he did, it was to see his friend Xavier Guichard, director of that Department.
As Simenon listened in astonishment, Guichard called into his telephone: "Ask Maigret to come in."
The man who forthwith appeared was Inspector Guillaime, greatest French detective of his day. This meeting launched a long friendship and the Maigret of fiction henceforth was modeled closely on the real one, although the resemblance already was so striking that Simenon had little to change...

Philadelphia Inquirer, June 7, 1942
In Patrick Marnham's (1992) The Man Who Wasn't Maigret; A Portrait of Georges Simenon, he writes (pp 142-143), "The question of whether or not there was an original model for Commissaire Maigret has received several answers...   ...in particular there was Commissaire Guillaume, head of the brigade spéciale of the Parisian police judiciaire. Although the character of Maigret came from Simenon's imagination, and from his past, many of Maigret's methods seem to have been based on the techniques of Commissaire Guillaume."

Anyone know anything else about Guillaume?

Special Collections at Drew University Library

Georges Simenon Collection: Published works in French and English, typescripts, and memorabilia of the Belgian writer of detective novels Georges Simenon

Georges Simenon (1903-1989), a Belgian writer, is best known for his detective novels featuring police commissioner Maigret. This is a complete collection of his published works in French, as well as all of the English translations to date. Also included are critical and biographical works, photographs, audio tapes, and memorabilia of various sorts.
Drew's collection of Simenon was established in 1984 by former French professor and Simenon biographer, Lucille Becker, and former library director, Arthur E. Jones, for the purpose of serving both Drew's French language students and the scholarly community. Comprehensive in scope, it includes first editions in French and English of the complete works, as well as many subsequent editions (totaling more than 450 volumes in the two languages); the 27-volume Tout Simenon series published 1988-1993 by Presses de la Cité; 52 spiral-bound notebooks of photo-reproduced typescripts, donated by Helen Wolff (publisher of many of Simenon's works under her book division, Helen and Kurt Wolff Books, at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich); and about 25 biographical and critical works. In addition, there are several audio tapes, 2 framed photographs, and such ephemera as journal extracts, newspaper clippings, posters, transcripts from radio and television interviews, programs from colloquia, leaflets, a 1990 calendar illustrated with dust-jackets from Simenon's works, and 5 issues of the Sunday books section of the Philadelphia Inquirer from the early 1940's, each containing an unabridged novel by Simenon.
The impetus for establishing this collection came from Helen Wolff's gift to the library of the 52 notebooks. Professor Becker also has contributed a number of volumes and related items. The library maintains a standing order to purchase additional volumes as they appear.
The core collection does not circulate, although duplicate copies of the monographs are placed in Drew's circulating collection. All of the monographs have been catalogued, and may be accessed through Drew's online catalogue. There is no list or finding aid for the ephemera.

Maigret's Paris
11/10/99 - New - Streets, alleys, dead ends and boulevards: Maigret and the Parisian space, on the Texts page: a translation of Marco Modenesi's paper from the Les écritures de Maigret conference held in Florence, Nov. 15-16, 1996 (and his original French version, Rues, ruelles, impasses et boulevards: Maigret et l'espace parisien).

Simenon and Josephine Baker
11/11/99 - I have read that Simenon was autobiographical to extents in his fiction. Did he ever deal with his inter-racial relationship with Josephine Baker in any of his Maigret books - if not, any other books of his?

Vip3dan
Not in the Maigrets...

Genoa
Homage to Simenon

At the "Civic Center of Genoa - Sampierdarena"
Via Nicolò Daste n° 8a
under the direction of Dr. Franco Musso
an exhibition on

Georges Simenon

tenth anniversary of his death (1989)

Opening November 23, 6:00 pm

The exhibition will remain open, including holidays,
through December 31, 1999
Hours: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm, 3.00 pm - 5:30 pm

Persons interested in attending the opening (limited availability),
contact:
Civic Center of Genoa-Sampierdarena - Telephone 010 / 411407
or
Guglielmo Innocenzi (Georges Simenon Italiano site)

*   *   *
Omaggio a Georges Simenon
Nei locali del "Centro Civico di Genova - Sampierdarena" Via Nicolò Daste
n°8a, a cura del suo direttore dott. Franco Musso, verrà allestita una mostra su
Georges Simenon, nel decennale della sua scomparsa
1989 - 1999
INAUGURAZIONE ORE 18.00 DEL 23 NOVEMBRE
La mostra rimarrà aperta tutti i giorni, festivi compresi, sino al 31 dicembre 1999
Orario: 9.00 / 12.00 - 15.00 / 18.30
Le persone interessate all'invito per l'inaugurazione, nel limite delle disponibilit�
possono richiederlo a:
Centro Civico di Ge-Sampierdarena - Telefono 010 / 411407
o al curatore di questo sito: simenon@iol.it

*   *   *
Alcuni incontri nell'ambito della mostra:

CENTRO CULTURALE FRANCO - ITALIANO GALLIERA
Via Garibaldi 20
25/11/99 17.30
"Elementare Maigret. Un commissario indaga a Parigi e dintorni"
Ena Marchi e Giorgio Pinotti - Adelphi Edizioni
16/12/99 17.30
"Simenon al cinema"
Chiara Elefante - Universit�i Bologna

CIRCOLO AMICI DEL CINEMA " DON BOSCO"
25/11/99 21.15
Proiezione di "L'orologiaio di Saint Paul" (Bertrand-Tavervier,1973)

CANTINE EMBRIACI
Salita Torre Embriaci 2
04/12/99 18.00
Dall'aperitivo a notte fonda con Maigret

CENTRO CIVICO "G.BURANELLO"
Via Daste 8a/Via Buranello 1
17/12/99 21.00
Serata di letture e degustazione

11/13/99 - New Maigret Audio Release Announced

Audio Editions Mystery Masters
has announced a mid-December release of

MAIGRET AND THE MADWOMAN

Complete & Unabridged
A Chief Inspector Jules Maigret Mystery
performed by Andrew Sachs

Maigret's names
Maigret's full name appears only twice in the Chronicles — differently each time! In "Maigret's First Case" [La première enquête de Maigret, 1913 (1949)], he worries about the report that will be written about him: Jules Amédée Fran殩s Maigret. But in "Maigret's Revolver" [Le revolver de Maigret (1952)], he recalls that his American colleagues knew of his first two names, but not the third: Jules-Joseph Anthelme Maigret.

ST

Maigret and Women
11/20/99 - New - How Maigret Regards Women, on the Texts page: a translation of Robert Jouanny's paper from the Les écritures de Maigret conference held in Florence, Nov. 15-16, 1996 (and his original French version, Le regard de Maigret sur les femmes).

Does anyone find these Maigret conference papers interesting? I'd like to know if you're reading them, in French or English. I'm planning to do some of the Maigret articles from the Simenon journals, 'Traces' and 'Cahiers Simenon'... Please let me know your opinion...

ST

Searching for Simenon in Dutch
11/21/99 - My father is a big Simenon fan. He has a collection of all his books in Dutch. He's only missing two: "Het geval de muis" and "Het gele huis". Can you help me find these two books? I'd love to give them to him for Christmas.

Sabine Jochems
The Netherlands

The true origins of Maigret
11/25/99 - New - The true beginnings of Commissioner Maigret, on the Simenon page: a translation of Claude Menguy and Pierre Deligny's paper from the 1st International Symposium held in Liège, April 21-23, 1988 (and the original French version, Les vrais débuts du commissaire Maigret). Originally published in Traces N° 1, 1989.

In this article, Menguy and Deligny put forward the argument and evidence to show that Simenon's popular "myth" of the birth of Maigret — the writing of Pietr-le-Letton on a stranded barge in Delfzijl harbor — was a calculated denial of La Maison de l'inquietude, which deserves credit as the first "full-fledged Maigret" and of Train du Nuit, the first novel Simenon wrote in which Maigret appeared. The rational for the publicizing of Pietr-le-Letton was two-fold: it was the first "Maigret" published under the author's own name, rather than a pseudonym, and it was published by Fayard — who would publish the first 19 "Maigrets", and make Simenon and Maigret famous. La Maison de l'inquitude, which was Maigret's true debut on the world's stage, was published serially in L'Œuvre. (See also Francis Lacassin's Preface to the Julliard edition of La Maison de l'inquietude [The House of Anxiety]).

Madame Maigret Speaks Up!
11/30/99 - New - The Confessions of Madame Maigret, on the Simenon page: a translation of Marie-Claire Desmette's article from Traces N° 4, 1992 (and the original French version, Les aveux de Madame Maigret). "excerpts from a novel in progress"

Kudos
11/29/99 - As a reader of Maigret for nearly forty years I am very pleased to discover your sites and links tonight.
There are no Maigrets (or even Simenons) currently in print in UK and even finding second-hand copies is very difficult.
Many thanks for your site.

Barrie
Thanks, Barrie!

11/29/99 - THANK YOU for the eminently readable translation of "La maison de l'inquietude." After devouring the three short stories you translated, I thought the "pre-Simenon" novels would be asking too much. Of course, you know that I'm going to ask if and when you plan to tackle the other three. I realize they'd represent an enormous amount of work, but think of all the Maigret fanatics you'd please. Whatever your plans, thanks for all the enjoyment you've already provided.

Rudy Kilianski
Scottsdale, AZ
Thanks Rudy! The other three "pre-Simenon" Maigrets are really novels in which Maigret appears, rather than actual Maigret novels like La maison de l'inquietude, in which it's his investigation from beginning to end. I remember feeling a kind of frustration when I first read "At the Gai-Moulin," waiting through the first half of the novel for Maigret to show up. Then finally he did, and he took charge. But these are different, true "precursors," more interesting from a developmental point of view than as "Maigret novels." (Much like seeing a favorite actor in a minor role in a movie before he became a star.) Which is to say, I'm not in a hurry to work on those translations... though it's not out of the question.
ST

 

Maigret statue replica
11/29/99 - I have a statue, but not the books. Haven't thought of selling, but I've got to ask... how much is it worth?

Kevin Forrester
(This is from a photo of the actual statue, not the replica)

 
Another Maigret Limerick
12/3/99 - Here's another Maigret limerick, this one from the June, 1968 issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, at the end of the Maigret story, Inspector Maigret Investigates (Rue Pigalle):

Master of Paris
by D.R. Bensen

Grim Paris, where money is hoarded
Like virtue (but stricter), afforded
Inspector Maigret
The amplest of play
For his connoisseur's sense of the sordid.

 
Simenon in Arizona
12/3/99 - I am interested in anything about Simenon and Arizona - his years here, contacts with those who met him back then, specifics of his residences and places he passed time, etc.; also, books set here (other than Maigret at the Coroner's, and The Brothers Rico). Can you point me to writen accounts or living individuals?
Many thanks.

Tom Miller
Tucson, AZ
Much of the action of Simenon's La Jument perdue (1948) [The Lost Mare] apparently takes place in Arizona, as well as some in Le Fond de la bouteille (1949) [The Bottom of the Bottle] and Crime impuni (1954) [Account Unsettled (UK)/ The Fujitive (US)].
The Simenon journal Traces N° 10 (1998) includes a long article (pp. 283-335) (in French) by Michel Carly including a few dozen photos: Sur les routes de l'Arizona avec quatre Simenon en poche [On the road in Arizona with four Simenons in my pocket]. That issue can be bought for 1200 BEF (Beligian francs) including postage from: Fonds Simenon, Château de Colonster, Allée des Érables, B-4000 LIÈGE (Belgique).
There's a related note in the Bulletin Board Archives (12/29/98) from Ruth Jenkins of Tucson.

 
New Yorker, Oct. 24, 1931
12/3/99 - Janet Flanner's Oct. 24, 1931 Paris Letter column in the New Yorker magazine, (signed "Genêt") which introduced American readers to Maigret and Simenon:

PARIS LETTER
Paris, Oct. 14
....
The N.R.F., which ordinarily expends its strength publishing rhymes by Paul Valéry, has taken an option on crime. The popular detective story, originally nurtured here by Gaboriau, Gaston Leroux, and Maurice Leblanc, has suddenly developed a new local vogue and a new writer; Monsieur Georges Sim, who at the age of twenty-eight has already written two hundred and eighty yarns. He is of Breton Dutch stock, is handsome, can write an excellent book in four days (one was started in a glass cage, for publicity's sake), lives on a yacht in canals, and has used sixteen pseudonyms, of which Simenon (the signature of the latest dozen of his books) will probably become permanent. To turn out mystery stories as novel as "Monsieur Gallet Décédé," "Le Chien Jaune," and "Le Charretier de la Providence" once a year is rare; to turn them out at the rate of four a month is rarer.
Simenon's detective is fat and named Maigret; the crimes he solves are published monthly, are the talk of the town, and sell for six francs. The stories are distinguished by a talent for suspense, begin better than they end, and contain in each case a crime curiously suitable to the geographic setting: Antwerp for "Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien," and the Brittany town and inhabitants of Concarneau for "Le Chien Jaune," so realistically undisguised that Simenon will probably be sued. And after his "Crime en Hollande," it is unlikely that he can ever steam back to the Netherlands again.
However, according to his admirers, he never goes anyplace twice anyway. He always travels (always on his boat, and always on canals), hates heat and wants to go to Tahiti, and spends half a million francs of his royalties a year doing what his year's characters do; hiring a liveried chauffeur because his villain does, losing two hundred thousand francs at Monte Carlo because his hero must. For he says: "I have no imagination; I take everything from life" (and from the exploits of certain of his acquaintances, who apparently include some of the liveliest crooks in France). "I get up at half-past five; go on deck; start typing at six, with either a bottle of brandy or white wine at my side; and write a chapter an hour until noon, when I go to land and lie down in the grass, exhausted. My ambition is to arrive little by little in the class of a Jack London, or — who knows? — even of a Conrad." Monsieur Simenon is mistaken; he is already in a class by himself.
—GENÊT


Saburo Saito: Café Fouquet's
Maigret at Fouquet's
12/4/99 - New - Maigret at Fouquet's, on the Simenon page: a translation of a pastiche by Robert J. Courtine [Madame Maigret's Recipes] from Cahiers Simenon N° 8, Boire et Manger (1995), (as mentioned by Jérôme Devémy in the Bulletin Board 10/9/99), (and the original French version, Maigret au Fouquet's).
(And here's a more recent look, what was happening to Fouquet's in 1998.)

 
What I love about Maigret
12/5/99 - My unequivocal favourite Maigret stories are the Paris ones. Especially those set in a single house or apartment building. I always keep a good map of Paris by my side when I read one of his books, or my bound Michelin atlas of France.
It is not just versimilitude or even atmostphere, though that is no detraction from the appeal. It is the way Maigret insinutates himself into the life of a café or a group of people. That he not only becomes almost one of them, but that eventually, he almost becomes the focal point of the assembly.
I think of Maigret as a kind of sponge, who passively absorbs information, personalities and attitudes from the surroundings of the victum, until he understands the situation so well that his identification of the culprit is merely a by-product of his gestalt, if I can call it so.
So a Maigret story is far more than a mere police procedural, as seems to be so common lately. The investigation is secondary and it is the feeling for people and places that becomes paramount.
As much as I prize rationality, there is something massively comforting about Maigret's approach.

Mark Fagan

 
Why Maigret drinks beer
12/5/99 - A small article by Simenon which appeared in Cahiers Simenon N° 8, and which I've translated here:

Why Maigret drinks beer

One of the questions that is most often put to me, and to which, in the beginning, I hardly found a satisfactory answer, is, "Why does Maigret drink beer?" Since Maigret was born in a place in the countryside of France which produces a pleasant little white wine, and lived customarily in Paris, where aperitifs are favored.
Most often I answered, "Would you rather see him drink crème de menthe or anisette?"
It's a mistake to believe that an author deliberately decides that his character will be built in such-and-such a way, will have such-and-such taste. The creation of a character is a rather mysterious thing, that happens for the most part subconsciously.
To be quite straightforward, I could have said, "He drinks beer because he can't do otherwise than to drink beer. Why do you have a long nose? And why do you eat French fries with most meals?
However, recently I went to Liège, for too brief a stay, unfortunately. But this briefness was only apparent. Indeed, during the weeks, months that followed, a thousand details buried in the deepest part of my memory came up again to the surface.
For example, I saw once more the Rue de l'Official, where the good old Gazette de Liège had had its offices at the time when I was a young reporter. I saw the Violet, where I had gone nearly daily, and the central police station.
Because of that, since then, back here, I've come to retrace paths that the young man in the beige raincoat made long ago.
Yes! Around noon, I'd stop at that place... And at five in the afternoon, nearly each day, I'd meet a friend at another. Three places in all, that I'd nearly forgotten, but that I see again today with a photographic precision, and of which I can even recover the odor. Three places where, as if by chance, I'd gone to drink beer...
One was a café at the bottom of the Haute-Sauvenière, a clean and quiet café only frequented by habitués, (I was going to say insiders), and, for the most, they each had, in a glazed cupboard, their personal glass, marked with their number, beautiful footed glasses that held one liter, in which they tasted with respect their clear beer.
My five o'clock appointment was in another café, not far from there, just on the other side of the Royal Theater, the Café de la Bourse, where customers, still the same, at the same marble tables, played cards or jaquet, and where the patron, in the morning, in shirt-sleeves, spent more than an hour lovingly cleaning the tubing of his beer pump. It was he who one day explained to me the importance of this operation, which he wouldn't entrust to any of his waiters.
The third... Why, it was in the shadow of the city hall, a dark, downstairs room, that a passer-by would have had little luck to notice and where there were never more than two or three customers at a time. Beer was served there by a strong blonde woman out of a picture by Rubens, who sat down at your table and drank with you while laughing with good indulgent laughter at your jokes. It didn't go any further. And she was the ideal companion to help you to savor a draft demi.
Why does Maigret drink beer?
I believe that these three pictures provide the answer to that question, and I would probably never have thought of it without my recent journey, and without the unforgettable supper that I had there, with my colleagues, in a sort of beer sanctuary, the Brasserie Piedbœuf, in Jupille, where I found once more, not only my old friends of yesteryear, but young people who came then, at the same time as that good odor of fresh beer that remains for me the very fragrance of Belgium.
Georges Simenon
Lakeville, Connecticut
January 3, 1953
(photo of Simenon by Hubert Le Campion, Life, May 9, 1969)
Le jaquet?
Does anyone know what le jaquet is, that Simenon says they played in the Café de la Bourse, in the above article?


contents
Simenon and Maigret
12/6/99 - New - Simenon and Maigret, on the Texts page: George Grella's essay on the place of Maigret in Simenon's work, in Miron Grindea's ADAM, International Review, the 1969 issue devoted to Simenon.

 
The cover shows Simenon's schedule/calendar for the week of writing Il y a encore des noisetiers, the 200th "simenon," and the 4 days for revision, Oct-Nov '68.

 
Michael Gambon videos?
12/6/99 - Hello! I was wondering, do you know if its possible to purchase Maigret with Michael Gambon on video? If so, how?

Thanks, Erica
A popular request! see: 10/6/99 etc.

 
Mark Fagen Post
12/6/99 - Mr. Fagen really hits the nail on the head — for me, in any case. I wish I could have put it so well — insulates himself — so many cafes and bistros — hotel kitchens, apartment houses — why, in fact, I continue to read them over and over.

CowOnWall


Simenon at the Quai des Orfèvres, 1969
With Simenon in Maigret's Paris
12/7/99 - New - In Maigret's Paris with the man who invented it, on the Texts page: Michael Mok's article on Simenon, in Life, May 9, 1969, coinciding with the publication of Il y a encore des noisetiers, the 200th "simenon".

 
A Maigret Parody
12/8/99 - A petite parodie of Maigret, by Renée Gaudin in La mort se lève à 22 heures [Death gets up at 10 o'clock], published in Paris by Jean-Renard in 1943 — (from the introduction to Anthony Boucher's translation of Stan the Killer, in the September, 1949 issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, the first US appearance of a Maigret short story):

"Sosthène Serpolet, unpublished mystery novelest and amateur detective, is brooding: 'What would Inspector Maigret have done in my place?'
He would have walked up and down for three hours in front of the cheap hotel where the crime took place, his pipe functioning at full steam. He would have come back the next day and the day after that. He would have had a beer at the bar on the corner, then gone down, through a thick fog, to the banks of the Seine. There he would have questioned the bargemen.
Whereupon the criminal, seeing the vise screwed tighter and tighter, would have rushed to Headquarters to confess, unless he preferred (still in a thick fog) to hang himself on the tree across from the hotel."

 
Homage to Commissaire Guillaume
12/9/99 - About a month ago I mentioned Commissaire Guillaume, and wondered if anyone had any additional information about him. I've found that Willy Innocenzi has posted on his Simenon website, a pertinent article in Italian, which I've translated here. (And thanks, Willy, for a copy of the original French version.)

In 1963, a little after the death of the famous Commissioner Guillaume, Simenon sent to Michel Droit, chief literary editor of the Figaro, this homage, which appeared in the February 23, 1963 issue:
Maigret's Elder Brother

Commissioner Guillaume's death touches me personally. It is said that he served as the model for the character of Maigret, and that is partly true. When, after the publication of the first three or four novels of the series, Xavier Guichard, Director of the Judicial Police, wanted to put me in touch with some flesh-and-blood police officers, and at the same time expose me to the actual operation of the service, it was Commissioner Guillaume who was entrusted with the task.
He spoke to me about the techniques of interrogation, and at the same time introduced me to one of his senior colleagues, a great expert on the subject, Commissioner Massu, whom he succeeded some years later.
These two men, of equal conscientiousness and professional ability, were very precious to me. Which of the two had more influence on an already existing, but still sketchy Maigret? It would be very difficult to say, all the more so as I have known other officials of the Judicial Police, who must have influenced me, more or less unconsciously, as well.
Guillaume, Massu and I became good friends. We often met again, and I was present at the Quai des Orfèvres on the day Commissioner Guillaume's colleagues, with glasses of champagne in hand, surrounded their chief for a last time before his retirement. "They are crazy," Guillaume told me, touched and a little embittered. "At fifty-five, when we have learned our work well, we are thrown out..."
He still had a long and active life as a private detective, before his death at the age of ninety-two.
For me he was not only a friend, but Maigret's elder brother.

(The Commissaire Guillaume material is now combined into a separate article.)

 
Index to Texts and Articles
12/10/99 - As the texts and articles scattered throughout this site have now passed the three dozen mark, I've added a general index to make it easier, I hope, to find what you're looking for, or discover what you've missed. Additional links to the index are on the Home page and the at the top of the Texts page.

 
Le Jacquet
12/16/99 - Thanks to Jérôme Devémy, the mystery of what game they were playing in the Café de la Bourse in Liège, is solved. Le jacquet is... backgammon!

 

 

Thanks again to Guglielmo Innocenzi for the Genoa material

Omaggio a Georges Simenon
12/16/99 - Cover by Italian artist Ferenc Pintèr, "Maigret at the Crossroads," [Maigret e la casa delle tre vidove, La nuit du carrefour] — the booklet of Genoa's ongoing Homage to Georges Simenon exposition, continuing until the end of this month.

 

 

  Included are other striking Maigret illustrations by Pintèr, such as this for "Maigret and the Loner" [Maigret e l'uomo solo, Maigret et l'homme tout seul].

 
Simenon's Bookplate Motto
12/16/99 - Back in October, Dieter Riedel was wondering about Simenon's Ex-Libris motto. Since I started looking, I've found numerous references to it:

  • In Mattieu Rutten's Simenon, ses origines - sa vie - son œuvre, he shows a copy and identifies the artist as the Russian engraver, Victor Chapil.
  • The Simenon exposition in Paris, 1982, had a copy in the exhibit catalog, with the comment (p. 43), "La devise de l'ex-libris de G.S., Comprendre et ne pas juger, peut s'appliquer aussi bien au commissaire qu'au romancier." [The motto of Simenon's ex-libris, To understand and not judge, can be applied as well to Maigret as to the novelist.]
  • In Brilliant Together in Paris, John Leonard's review of Pierre Assouline's biography of Simenon, he writes, "...when, in 1928, he first imagined Maigret, the cop who seeks 'to understand and not to judge.'"
  • Leslie Garis, in Simenon's Last Case, writes: "Maigret's motto is 'to understand and not to judge,' and indeed what elevates him in the genre is his passion to know the human heart..."
  • John Boe, in Simenon, Apollo and Dionysus: "Like a detached analyst, Inspector Maigret doesn't judge, he only unveils...."
  • Michel Lemoine, in La Méthode d'enquête selon Maigret, "on ne peut manquer de rapprocher cette morale de la compréhension de celle de Simenon lui-même, pour qui comprendre importe davantage que juger." And in my translation, The Method of investigation according to Maigret, "one cannot fail to come closer to the understanding of Simenon himself, for whom to understand is more important than to judge."
  • Waclaw Rapak, Une lecture existentielle...: "Adrien Josset, l'inculpé, celui que le commissaire Maigret veut comprendre et non pas juger..." [Adrien Josset, the accused, whom Commissioner Maigret wants to understand and not judge...].
  • Ana Gonzalez-Salvador, Le Délit et ses corps: Maigret contre l'arrêt: "...ne pas juger mais découvrir la vérité, «comprendre les gens»..."; ["not to judge, but to discover the truth, 'to understand people'"].
  • It is reproduced large on the back cover of Maurice Piron's L'Univers de Simenon, and smaller on the front cover. The back cover says "Comprendre et non pas juger... establishes the sense of the works of a novelist like no other..."

 
Help! Maigret in Cape Town?
12/17/99 - I am desperately looking to find the video version of Maigret when they did their international filming. I am South African and appeared in the Cape Town series. I would really like to purchase a copy and have hunted high and low, but not been able to find anything. Do you have any idea where I could get hold of a copy?

Zita
Maigret: Films and Videos on the Bulletin Board
12/18/99 - Maigret films and videos have been such a recurring topic on this Bulletin Board that I've gathered them into a single file to make it easy to see what's been said: Maigret: Films and Videos on the Bulletin Board.
The bad news is, in summary, that most of the messages are "searching for videos", and that none of the TV versions seem to be commercially available.

 

Maigret mini-mystery #1

Dis donc, Emma...
12/18/99 - This Jacques Blondeau frame from the '50s shows Maigret saying "Tell me, Emma..."
Can you identify Emma, the book and the scene?

  • It couldn't have been Emma Chatereau of Lazicourt, old Gassin's sister he was writing to from the café in Samois... After all, Maigret had never met her... had he?
  • Well, it certainly wasn't Emma Aerts — she was found hanging next to her husband Arthur aboard their barge, L'Astrolabe at Le Coudray.
  • But how about Emma the daughter of the proprieter at the Café de la Marine, who cried when Willy Marco's body was found. She of the plain face, thick ankles, plump red arms... Did Maigret talk to her?
  • Could it have been that plump, 18-year-old Emma, with the large bosom, red cheeks, and bulging eyes, who worked in a dairy on the Rue Caulaincourt...
  • How about that maid Emma that the manager of the Hôtel Beauséjour had called out to...
  • And Emma the cleaning woman at the boarding house Eugène Benoît had moved to on Rue Saint-Denis...
  • Or Emma, the 24-year-old waitress, whose father and brothers had been lost at sea in the ketch Three Kings?
  • Not Lucas' Aunt Emma, whom he'd asked his cousin Oscar Coutant about. He'd said they hadn't seen her for three months...
  • Nor Emma, the waitress at Au Petit Chaudron on the Rue de Miromesnil, who didn't like new customers?
Mais non! These last two hadn't even been written yet when Blondeau's Emma appeared...

At last!
12/20/99 - I was thinking of starting up a Maigret newsgroup — thank God someone saved me from that, considering I know nothing about that! I've been reading Maigrets since the age of 10, ever since I was fascinated by a description of le Commissaire in Otto Pennzler's Detectionary. I think I've read all of my Maigrets at least three times, with my favorites being La Nuit du Carrefour, Maigret Tend un Piège, and Maigret et la Grande Perche. There've been periods when Simenon is the only thing I'll read, let alone author! I am frankly fascinated by both his ability to thoroughly immerse his reader into the French culture and atmosphere, and by his ability to do so in novels of less than 200 pages.
My only question: why are there no translations available in the USA of any of Simenon's other works? As an intellectual property attorney, I would guess that there are copyright or licensing issues, especially as "Maigret" only so recently became a registered trademark of the Estate of Georges Simenon. However, if anyone knows the true answer, please let me know!

Au revoir, mes amis!
Patrick P. Zaretski, Esq.

A non-Maigret 'Maigret'
12/21/99 - New - The Man Who Read Georges Simenon, on the Texts page: a short story from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine of January, 1975. Not a pastiche, not a Maigret, but more of an homage to Maigret — a mystery solved by a Maigret fan... thinking as he imagines Maigret would, by William Brittain.

Merry Christmas!     Joyeux Noël!

Autographed Simenon on eBay
12/27/99 - I have just placed on ebay two autographed French softcover titles by Simenon. ["Les Sept minutes" (1938) and "La Marie du port" (1938), both published by Gallimard.] They are inscribed to Franco-American writer-director Robert Florey, a Simenon devotee who was also best known for his crime films (Murders in the Rue Morgue, A Study in Scarlet, The Florentine Dagger, The Face Behind the Mask), providing an interesting association. There is another book autographed to Florey by Simenon in the collection (Les Anneaux de Bicetre, 1963), and a dozen or so hardcover volumes and anthologies of Simenon's work with dj's (these are all in French). These books are being sold directly, on behalf of the Florey estate, not through a dealer; for further information, contact btav@msn.com.

Brian Taves

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