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Maigret Forum Archives 2002

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Play about Simenon? 1/3/02 - Has anyone heard of a stage play about Simenon and his daughter, Marie-Jo? I think I read something about it somewhere and the idea of a mystery writer "investigating" his own daughter's death is intriguing. Didn't she commit suicide?
Thanks for any enlightenment in this regard.

Jo A.
San Francisco
In 1978, Marie-Jo Simenon, aged 25, committed suicide in her apartment on the Champs- Elysées.
"One never recovers from the loss of a daughter one has cherished," Simenon wrote in his last book. "It leaves a void that nothing can fill."

Maigret on Hallmark 1/5/02 - I noticed about two hours too late that Maigret was on the Hallmark channel again at 5:00 pm GMT today. I don't know if it has been on in recent weeks, nor how long the series will continue. However, according to the Sky Guide, there will be another episode next Saturday at the same time, but it doesn't have details of programmes due to appear more than one week later.
Also, the Sky Guide doesn't state the title of next week's story but, according to the synopsis, "a serious crime leads Chief Inspector Maigret to the coastal town of La Rochelle". Presumably this is the Michael Gambon series?

Michael Newman
UK

Finding Maigret programmes on British TV
1/8/02 - If you download DigiGuide (www.digiguide.com) you will get two weeks of TV listings for all TV channels in the UK. One very good feature of this is a word search facility. Just by typing "Maigret" it will find all programmes that feature him in the next two weeks. You can choose which channels to download each week and the whole thing costs just £5-00 a year. Using DigiGuide I was able to find the Maigret film that was shown on BBC Knowledge a few weeks ago. A synopsis is given for each programme so you will know which episodes are available.

David Cronan

Why Maigret Drinks Beer - In Turkish
1/8/02 - Here is a translation into Turkish of Simenon's "Why Maigret Drinks Beer." It was translated by my friend, Fahri Oz, as Maigret Neden Bira Icer?.

Baris Kiliç

Even more new Bruno Cremer films
1/9/02 - While surfing the internet I came upon the site of Etamp Film Productions, a Czech company that co-produces the French Bruno Cremer series (www.etamp.cz). They listed two new films as having been produced last year: "Maigret et le Ministre" and "Maigret et le marchand de vin". They also listed a film called "Maigret and the Princess" as being in production. I wrote to their secretary who kindly informed me that this is a production of "Maigret et les vieillards".

Mattias S.

Bruno Cremer
1/10/02 - The number of Bruno Cremer TV films that have been shown so far on either French or Belgian television is 39. Of those, 12 are on sale at FNAC as 3 boxes containing 2 cassettes each, each video cassette containing 2 films.

Here's the list:

Already on sale:

Box 1Cassette I  1. Maigret et la Grande Perche
    2. Maigret chez les Flamands
 Cassette II  3. Maigret et la maison du juge
    4. Maigret et le corps sans tête
Box 2Cassette I  5. Maigret et les caves du Majestic
    6. Maigret se defend
 Cassette II  7. La Patience de Maigret
    8. Maigret se trompe
Box 3Cassette I  9. Maigret et les témoins récalcitrants
  10. Cécile est morte
 Cassette II11. Maigret et la tête d'un homme
  12. Les Vacances de Maigret

Others seen on TV:

13. Maigret et l'ecluse N° 1
14. Maigret et la fenêtre ouverte
15. Maigret et le fantôme
16. Maigret et l'enfant de choeur
17. Liberty Bar
18. Maigret et l'impossible M. Owen
19. Maigret et l'Inspecteur Cadavre
20. Maigret et la nuit du carrefour
21. Madame Quatre et ses enfants
22. Meurtres dans un jardin potager
23. Maigret et les plaisirs de la nuit
24. Maigret et le port des brumes
25. Maigret tend un piège
26. Maigret en finlande
27. Maigret voit double
28. Maigret a peur
29. Maigret et l'homme du banc
30. La croqueuse de diamants
31. Mon ami Maigret
32. Maigret chez les riches
33. Un meurtre de 1ere classe
34. Maigret et l'affaire Saint-Fiacre
35. Maigret et la vente à la bougie
36. Maigret et la vieille dame
37. Maigret chez le ministre
38. Maigret et le marchand de vin
39. Maigret et le fou de St. Clothilde
The last one was first originally entitled: Le fou de St. Marguerite, but came on the screen as "Clothilde", after the novel: Le Fou de Bergerac.

Three more are expected:

40. Maigret a l'école
41. La maison de Félicie
42. L'Ami d'enfance de Maigret

and I heard recently about Maigret et les viellards, which would bring the total for Cremer up to 43.
By the way, in Maigret et le fou de St.Clothilde, he is driven in a "Citroën 11 légère".

Philippe Proost

Henri Verneuil


ROME - French film director Henri Verneuil (left) talks with actor Alain Delon in Rome during a film shoot in this undated photo.

Filmmaker Verneuil dies at age 81

1/12/02 - PARIS (AP) Henri Verneuil, 81, a prolific filmmaker who directed some of France's greatest movie stars, died [of a heart attack] Friday [Jan. 11], according to the French Fine Arts Academy.
Verneuil directed such giants of the French cinema as Jean Gabin and Jean-Paul Belmondo. Both appeared in Verneuil's 1962 film "Un Singe en Hiver" (A Monkey in Winter).
Born Achod Malakian in Rodosto, Turkey, Verneuil was a naturalized French citizen of Armenian ancestry. After starting out as a journalist and radio commentator, he began directing shorts in 1946 and turned to features in the early 1950s. In 1991, he directed "Mayrig," a movie dealing with the Armenian genocide and starring Omar Sharif and Claudia Cardinale.
Among Verneuil's most memorable films is "La Vache et le Prisonnier" (The Cow and I), a charming 1959 movie about a man's adventures with a stubborn cow.
In 1996, Verneuil was awarded an honorary Cesar for lifetime achievement in film.


His Simenon films were: Le Fruit défendu (1952), Brelan d'as (Les Témoignages d'un enfant de choeur) (1952), and Le President (1961).

Maigret's character
1/15/02 - I have decided to study Maigret's character as part of my A level course. I have as yet read Le Revolver de Maigret. From this, I think that he is a soft-hearted person who at times empathises with the criminals he has to arrest. I also admire the way he goes about his work, and how Simenon juxtaposes his personality with his job. I would thus like to find out what other fans of Maigret think of his personality and character as it would be interesting to know other peoples' opinion on this topic. I would also like to know which book you think best shows his character, so I can use that to further enhance my studies on Commissaire Maigret. Thanks in advance,

Mihir Pattni

Simenon Festival
1/16/02 - With the centenery of Simenon's birth next year (2003), I am extremely interested in developing ideas for a biographical documentary, celebrating the man and his work.
I saw that there was a Simenon Festival in 1987 - is this an anual event, if so, where and when? Could you also please inform me of any events that are planned for 2003 and the centenery of Simenon. Thank you for your help,

David Torbet
Hopscotch Films

Maigret tonight on France Channel 2
1/18/02 - MAIGRET ET LE MARCHAND DE VINS. 20h55
Réalisation: Christian De Chalonge. Distribution: Bruno Crémer (Jules Maigret), Alexandre Brasseur (Paul Lachenal), Bruno Abraham-Kremer (Lorenzi), Laurent Schilling (Lambert). Origine: France. 2001. Stéréo. Scénario: Pierre Granier-Deferre, Dominique Garnier. Musique: Laurent Petitgirard.
En sortant d'une maison de rendez-vous où il était allé en compagnie de sa secrétaire, monsieur Chabut est assassiné. Enquêtant auprès de sa famille et de son nombreux personnel, Maigret veut découvrir le fond de la personnalité de la victime. Après des débuts difficiles, Chabut est parvenu, grâce à un travail opiniâtre, à créer et diriger une entreprise commerciale considérable et florissante. Resté néanmoins timide, il avait besoin, pour croire en lui-même, de dominer, mépriser et humilier autrui. Ceci explique ses multiples liaisons passagères et le cynisme avec lequel il n'hésitait pas à écraser ses concurrents.

Six decades of Simenon movie posters

1/20/02 - I asked Dominique Bauduinet, who has a great collection of Simenon movie posters, if he had some I could display at this site, and he kindly forwarded a number of images. To supplement these I searched the web and, particularly from the excellent moviecovers.com, was able to accumulate a representative selection, which I've posted at:

Simenon on Screen

Six decades of movie posters


Citroën 11cv
1/20/02 - I have a Citroën onze normale, which has the same size body as the 15 cv shown in the lower of your two illustrations. This is a largeish car, and seats six adults, three in front three in rear, plenty of footroom. The Onze legere, the upper of your illustrations, is shorter and narrower. The driver and front seat passenger have their shoulders nearly touching, and depending on the size of the rear seat squabs, there is not much footroom in the rear. Post-war cars have (I think) much deeper seats. Bottoms must have changed size during the occupation. The Legere, being faster, was used by a few gangs in Paris during the late forties, and the Police purchased a fleet of Legeres in order to keep up. The normales were often marketed as taxis, Maigret's often-chosen form of transport.

Liza Crewe

Maigret's Citroën
1/20/02 - In response to Jan Beuving's item in the Forum about the Maigret car, the Citroën used during filming of the BBC TV series was actually a 1955 Citroën Big 6H, this vehicle being fitted with hydro-pneumatic suspension. The car was owned by a leasing company in Paris. The actor, Rupert Davies, often brought the car home to England and used it between episodes for his own personal use. This often caused a stir when he was spotted driving the vehicle during the showing of the series on TV. When the series finished, Davies bought the car from the leasing company and used it for many years until he became ill. The car is still owned by the family, but now, unfortunately, is in a very derelict condition.
In 1987 I received a phone call from Tim Davies, Rupert Davies' son, to say that his father's car had been stolen from a barn in the Shepton Mallott area, where it had been kept in storage for many years. (Tim had got my number from a Citroën restorer in London, who had previously worked on his fathers car, and also mine.) He needed photographs to show the Police, and was unable to locate any of his father's car at the time, so the restorer in London told him that I had a 1955 Citroën Big 6H, also in black. Tim asked me if I could send him any photos of my car so that he could give the Police a clue to what they where searching for. However, some weeks later, I received a phone call from a friend, in the Newcastle area, who asked me if I would like to see an old 1938-40 model Citroën which his friend had purchased, ready to restore. On seeing this vehicle, I realised that the car was actually a 1955 model Big 6H, as it was sitting very low at the rear. I realised then that this car was more than likely the stolen car that belonged to the Davies' family. A quick phone call to Tim Davies with the registration number confirmed my suspicions. And eventually the car was returned to the family. I believe the car is still unrestored and off the road.
I'm sending some photographs of the car. Two are of Rupert Davies with the car outside the TV studios in London, with its original French number plate. The other is one I took when I discovered the car in Newcastle.

Ray Andrews

Maigret's Citroën
1/21/02 - A Citroën was used in the Michael Gambon Maigret series as well, if Peter Haining's "The Complete Maigret" is accurate on this point. This photo from page 112 has the caption, "The Granada crew in production with a vintage Citroën."

Maigret Theme Ringtone
1/21/02 - Does anyone know if there is an easy way to recreate the Maigret Theme from the BBC Rupert Davies series into a ringtone for a mobile phone? Is it possible to download it from somewhere or would it be a question of getting hold of the sheet music and programming it in oneself? If the latter, could someone with no musical knowledge do it?

Michael Newman
UK

Which Maigret?
1/22/02 - The plot: a man comes to Maigret and announces that he is going to commit suicide... He does so and the rest of the book concerns the battle of wits between Maigret and the man's chilling wife. Title, please - both in English and French.

Norman Beadle

I can't think of a Maigret like that, but it reminds me somewhat of the plot of Les Scrupules de Maigret [Maigret Has Scruples]: Xavier Marton, the head of the toy department at the Grands Magasins du Louvre, a model train specialist, visits M to say that he thinks he wife wants to poison him, but leaves while M is out of the room. Later in the day the man's wife, Gisèle, also visits M, to tell her side of the story, which is that her husband is having delusions. Marton comes back the next day and he warns M that if she poisons him, he'll shoot her before he dies... Anyone recognize the suicide version?
ST

DigiGuide
1/26/02 - Thanks to David Cronan for mentioning this (above). If anyone is interested in trying it before shelling out a fiver, a 30-day free trial is included on the free CD-Rom that comes with the March, 2002 edition of "Computer Buyer". I've just installed it and discovered that the next two episodes on Hallmark are "Maigret on Home Ground" this afternoon and "Maigret Sets a Trap" next Saturday 2 February (both with Michael Gambon).

Michael Newman
UK

Maigret Theme Ringtone
1/28/02 - Can't help Michael directly with his query, but if he types "Maigret theme tune" into the Google search engine he will find lots of sources for the tune. I'm told there is a program called "Ringtone Composer", but it might need some musical skill.

Best wishes
Roddy Campbell

Maigret Theme
2/3/02 - If you go the following website, you can hear the theme tune to the real (BBC) Maigret series. www.whirligig-tv.co.uk. Whether it is possible to transfer this to a ring tone, perhaps someone with brains can help!
It appears that Hallmark are showing the ITV Maigret at 5pm on Saturdays.
Does anyone know if any of Simenon's books are available as unabridged audio/talking books? This might be an interesting way of learning French, especially if you have the book as well.
Does anyone know of any 2nd hand booksellers who have Simenon's books in French (& English)? I have located a 2nd hand bookshop in Leicester (Treasure Trove Books, Mayfield Road) who still have some Simenon books in (well, as of 31st Jan 2002). Any interest to anyone?

Thanks for producing a great site.
Peter Smith
Hinckley, Leics

Richard Harris as Maigret
2/3/02 - Thought you might like to know that I have just acquired a copy of the film "Maigret" starring Richard Harris as Maigret (at a car boot sale for the princely sum of £1.50p). Haven't looked at it yet but if anyone is interested the video is VHS R1323 released by Video Gems / Television Entertainment Limited. It is copyright by the HTV Group PLC and has a running time of 95 minutes approx.
Brian T.
Lanark, Scotland

 
Simenon autographed photo
2/4/02 - Turned up this link on a UK search engine: www.manuscripts.co.uk. Yours for £175 (about $300?)
Roddy Campbell
SIMENON, George Joseph Christian (1903-1989) French crime writer. Evocative postcard-sized signed photograph of the author, full length in overcoat, hat and gloves, smoking a pipe, and walking down a narrow corrider, 1961. Together with a Typewritten Letter Signed from Mrs Simenon to Irene Seavers, on Simenon's stationery, 1 December 1961; explaining that she handles all of his correspondence, thanking her for appreciation and sending the photograph. £175 [No: 6740]

 

Richard Harris as Maigret
2/7/02 – Further to my posting above, I've just had my first look at the film and a couple of observations occured to me. First, at one point Maigret is seen driving (my recollection is that Maigret never drove himself). Secondly (and this is purely about the film production) – why the annoying continual background noise (sorry – sound effects). I can't remember hearing such a continual traffic noise in Paris in any of the places I have stayed nor have I been so constantly aware of wind and sea noise such as in this film. Overall so far I was not impressed by the film – everything seemed a bit amateurish but there again I had a similar feeling about the Gambon productions although the Gambons were more entertaining and Gambon himself much more convincing as Maigret.

Brian T.
Lanark, Scotland

Rupert Davies
2/12/02 – I am longing to get hold of videos of Maigret featuring Rupert Davies. Can anyone tell me how I can find them? I think he was definitely the best Maigret.

R. Clayton
U.K.

Play about Simenon
2/14/02 – In response to Jo A's query on the bulletin board (1/3/02).
Last night I saw a play at the Theatre Royal, Windsor, Berks, UK called 'Murder in Paris' by Howard Ginsberg. It is set in Simenon's home and garden in Lausanne in May 1979 and in Marie-Jo's apartment in Paris a year earlier. A police inspector, Inspector Mercier, is investigating Simenon's (fictional) allegation that Marie-Jo was murdered and did not commit suicide. The play, which is not naturalistic and switches time and place quite frequently, consists primarily of conversations between Simenon, Denyse and Marie-Jo. Simenon and Denyse accuse each other of responsibility for Marie-Jo's death, Inspector Mercier, who is of course entirely fictional, bears some resemblance to Maigret but, unlike M is very judgemental. The play is well written and was well staged and acted. However, the effect was very bleak and shed no new light on the story. The play was first staged in Basingstoke and seems to have embarked on a tour of the UK prior to a possible opening in London. The programme refers to a BBC radio adaptation starring Alan Bates which I have not heard but which it claims was 'widely acclaimed'.

David McBrien

Murder in Paris

Theatre Royal, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 1PS
12 - 23 February 2002
Box Office: 01753 853888

Exbrayat on Maigret
2/15/02 – In response to Jérôme Devémy's query of 11-22-00 regarding books that mention Simenon or Maigret. I've just finished reading Tout le mond l'aimait (1969) by Exbrayat (Charles Exbrayat, 1906-1989, the P. G. Wodehouse of the roman policier, very little known or appreciated aux pays anglophones).
A police inspector is dispatched from Bordeaux to a small town to investigate the murder of a prominent and widely respected citizen, the wife of the Procureur de la République. The inspector, Commissaire Grémilly, is a typical Exbrayat character – opinionated, waggish, and eccentric. The local juge d'instruction who interviews him shortly after his arrival conceives an immediate antipathy:
— Ce policier ne me plaît pas. Il a trop lu Simenon et doit se prendre pour Maigret.
["I don't care much for this chap. He's read too many Simenons. Now he thinks he's Maigret."]

John H. Dirckx
Others noted so far:
Truman Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
Jim Lerher's "A Bus of My Own"
James Melville's "The Wages of Zen"
Graham Greene's "The Comedians"

Rupert Davies
2/15/02 – I totally agree [with R. Clayton] that Rupert Davies was the best Maigret. I had the good fortune of meeting him in 1970 when he was recording the Erinmore tobacco commercials for Radio Luxembourg. He was a wonderfully kind and sincere person and the meeting stays with me to this day.
There are no commercially available videos of this series. Indeed, as they went out live (videotape then not existing), the only surviving episodes exist as a result of the procedure at the time of filming the programme off a television monitor during transmission for overseas sales. It is incredible now to think that the 16mm filmed inserts of Rupert Davies, for example, pulling up outside and walking up to a building or strolling down a boulevard were only there to give the cast the time to get to the next set!
I have 3 episodes that were re-broadcast from these films. One is an episode that was shown as a tribute after his death and had obviously not been selected by anyone at the BBC who knew anything about the series as it was the only episode in which Maigret did not participate, apart from a brief telephone conversation, as he was on Xmas leave. The BBC was inundated with complaints and as a result broadcasted another episode in which he did appear. The third is the last episode to be transmitted.

Peter Hoskins
(London)

Simenon Festival
2/16/02 – I would like to answer to David Torbet's question (1/16/02) about Simenon festivals.
The 1987 festival in Washington was a major one; there have been several others since, all of them in continental Europe i.e. France and Belgium. I have details on those of Amiens, Sables-d'Olonne, Manosque and Liège; the last one took place in 2000. 2003 is going to be the Simenon year and his native town, Liège, is organising together with the province de Liège and l'Université de Liège a fantastic "Simenon year".
I went to the pre-opening ceremony and have learned the following: the event will carry the title and logo "2003, année Simenon au pays de Liège." Things will happen the whole year through, and today already 60-plus projects are on the desk of the organisors. One thing for sure is there will be four major events, being the basis for this Simenon year; they will be:

  1. an extensive exhibition covering his life, his work and the world around him;
  2. the French editor Gallimard has accepted to publish some of Simenon's novels in his prestigious series "la Pléiade";
  3. a new "Simenon itinerary through Liège" will be prepared
  4. the Opera Royal de Wallonie will produce in World première a musical telling the romance between Georges Simenon and Josephine Baker.
Philippe Proost

Citroën 15CV model on eBay
2/19/02 – "Solido model of Citroen 15CV. Nice Mint boxed example of the Solido model number 32 of this classic French Maigret car in the l'age d'or series in gloss black." Opening bid is £3. eBay item #1706884247.

Contradictions in Maigrets
2/19/02 – I am an American living in Belgium for over 8 years and a big Maigret fan. I have noticed many contradictions in the different stories. Also, some places in Paris appear again and again in different stories. Has anyone ever counted the number of times that rue Caulaincourt has been mentioned and in how many diffferent stories it is in? Last year I made notes on a number of stories that were set in Paris and wrote down all of the addresses, streeets, hotels, bars, etc. that were mentioned by name. I went to Paris on Thalys and spent the better part of three days walking all over Montmarte, Blvd. R. Lenoir, Place des Vosges and other places that were mentioned in the ten or eleven stories that I had written up. I made a lot of photos of these places and had an interesting time walking in Maigret's footsteps.
(When I wasn't doing that I was in all the big record shops looking for CD's of Django Reinhardt, Michel Warlop, Alix Combelle and other French jazz stars of the 1930's and 40's, my other great French passion. I got to see some parts of Paris that I didn't know about and plan to do it again this year for a few more days.)
First stop on the first day was 67 rue Caulaincourt in which a murder took place (Maigret and the Fortuneteller) and also where the estranged wife of a murder victim lived (Maigret and the Loner). I'd be very interested if anyone knows exactly where on the Blvd R. Lenoir Maigret supposedly lived. In different stories he seemed to be always in the same house but sometimes the house itself moved a bit (one time 200 meters from the Place de la Bastille, another time there was a Metro station at his front door, another time close to the Place Voltaire). Also depending on the story, he lived in two different apartments on the Place des Vosges (number 8 and number 21) and kept both the flat on Blvd. Lenoir and the one on the Pl des Vosges after his retirement.
There were also a huge number of Mlle Berthe's in his stories, that name was used over and over. Has anyone ever tabulated all of this stuff and put it somewhere? I think it's rather funny that one of the books was called Maigret's Mistake when there were so many of them in the stories. My favorite is where Maigret is working with Lucas on a case that ended on the day he retired. In the very next story in the same collection, Lucas's niece asks Maigret to help her. This takes place after Maigret retired. She identified herself to Maigret as the niece of the inspector who was killed at Maigret's side in the line of duty a couple of years before he retired!

According to my lists:

rue Caulaincourt is mentioned in 19 Maigrets: 1934-MAI, 1937-38-BER, 1939-HOM, 1939-MAJ, 1941-SIG, 1946-MAL, 1948-PRE, 1950-MEM, 1950-PIC, 1953-ECO, 1955-TEN, 1959-CON, 1961-PAR, 1962-COL, 1963-FAN, 1966-VOL, 1968-HES, 1969-VIN, 1971-SEU.

Berthe is mentioned in 9: 1930-PRO, 1937-38-MAN, 1937-38-BER, 1946-OBS, 1947-VAC, 1957-SCR, 1962-CLO, 1969-VIN, 1971-SEU.

ST


Commissaire Guillaume
2/22/02 – I recently ran across this Maigret site, and was surprised to find your article about my great-grandfather, Marcel Guillaume, although I knew he had been a model for Maigret. As far as I remember, L(eon?) Guillaume was not his father, but his cousin or another relative.

Veronique Ducrocq

Maigret's birthplace - Saint-Fiacre?
2/27/02 – Does anyone know where the birthplace of Maigret, "Saint-Fiacre" is? As far as I can find there are two St. Fiacre's in France (in the Department Seine et Marne -77- and in the Departement côte d'Armor -22-). Neither of these is suitable because:
In the novel "Maigret in Vichy" Maigret says to Dr. Pardon that he is born about 50km from Vichy near to the town of "Moulins". Moulins is to be found 54 km north of Vichy. But there is no Saint-Fiacre anywhere near Moulins. In the novel "The Saint Fiacre Affair" it is mentioned that Saint-Fiacre is about 25 km from Moulins.
I think it must be the village of "Saint-Pourcain-sur-Besbre" near "Dompierre-sur-Besbre". This village lies roughly 25 km East of Moulins and 50 km North of Vichy and it is the only village that answers to this conditions and has a "Chateau" (Castle XVIe) near to it.
Is there someone else who has looked into this?

Guido De Croock
The Netherlands
From the Bulletin Board Archive 2000:

Some answers to Sjoerd Heeringa's questions [6/16/00]
6/26/00 - In the book "Commissaire Maigret, Qui êtes-vous" by Gilles Henry, Ed. Plon 1977 (English title would be "Commissaire Maigret, who are you?"), the following indication is given about Maigret's birthplace: "In the Berry, at Saint-Fiacre près Matignon, at 25 km from Moulins..." There are 2 places named Saint-Fiacre in the departement of Allier but they are not correct in terms of locale. Simenon indicated once: "I took a place in Allier but I changed the name" (interview 1975), so it must be somewhere he lived.
Looking at Simenon's life, in 1922 he was assistant to the Marquis de Tracy. For this activity, Simenon went to Paray-Le-Frésil, near Moulins, where his boss had a large house. Simenon used to see Pierre Tardivon, the man in charge (in French the régisseur) of the Castle of the Marquis de Tracy, everyday. It seems that in the Simenon book "Un homme comme un autre," he confirmed that P. Tardivon was the model for Maigret's father. Also, on a map, Moulins and Paray-Le-Frésil are separated by 25 km.
In "Maigret s'amuse", there is the following sentence: "Tout gamin, à Paray-le-fresil, il avait pitié des lapins." This is a mistake by Simenon who used the name of the real town he used as a model for Saint-Fiacre. Therefore, it seems that Maigret's birthplace is Paray-Le-Frésil and also that the castle really exists.
At www.lpcommunication.com/tourisme/clients/352.htm you can see a picture of the castle (above) which still belongs to the Tracy family. This is now like a hotel and you can have a room there. Part of my answer could perhaps be checked in "Simenon: A Biography" by Pierre Assouline, 1997.

I hope this answer helps you,
Best Regards
Jérôme Devémy

Simenon bookmark on eBay

3/5/02 – SIMENON, GEORGES - MAIGRET - BOOKMARK Item # 1521789362 - Do many of the images look like they came from this site? I asked him, and he said yes. Why didn't I think of that!

Rupert Davies' Maigret BBC broadcasts
3/9/02 – With regards the above, I know the BBC re-broadcast three stories, "Maigret's little joke", "Death in mind", and "The seven little crosses" (which I missed copying, not having a VCR at the time – can anyone help me please?)
I have some new information to offer however, not having seen any reference elsewhere. The British Film Institute have a copy of "Maigret and the old lady". I booked a private viewing, so I know it exists, although I was unable to obtain a copy. Perhaps someone out there knows how. A further point to bear in mind is that although the BFI office staff think "M and the old lady" is the only story available, the technician who deals with archives and tapes assures me they have loads, they just need converting to video tape.

Martin Cooke

Other Authors' References to Maigret (see above)
3/12/02 – I'm reading "Tsing Boum" - a van der Valk* thriller by Nicolas Freeling - and was delighted to discover the following on page 83 (of the paperback version) on the train to work this morning. (It has just been established that van der Valk hates airports.)

Airports always made him wish he were in Cuba.
In consequence he walked about Orly with a heavy forbidding step like Commissaire Maigret, looked at all the restaurant menus with a pouched and glaucous eye, had a meal that was all he had feared, found a corner so gloomy that even Americans in plastic overshoes slunk away from it ...
Wonderful stuff. There any similarity with Maigret ends, however, because van der Valk then settles down to read Playboy. Jules, of course, would never dream of doing such a thing!
Subsequently, on page 94:
It was comic that a supposedly reasonable, logical person like a policeman - and he was a Dutch policeman, feet firmly planted on the ground - should get superstitious. But like Commissaire Maigret, repeating the same drink throughout a whole book, van der Valk sometimes felt "obligations". Hostages to fortune.
All in all, this is a good read and I'll definitely be trying some more in this series when I've finally got through all the Maigrets.

*(Remember Barry Foster with the permed blonde hair in the title role in the TV series and the catchy signature tune - Eye Level or Eye Limit [?] later adopted by Oranjeboum lager in their advertisements ?)

Michael Newman
United Kingdom

Nicolas Freeling
3/14/02 – I'd endorse Michael Newman's praise of Freeling's Van der Valk novels. There is another reference to Maigret in one of the books, but I can't quite place it. Freeling went on to write about a series about a French policeman, Henri Castang, but I never liked them as much as the Van der Valks. Interesting writer though, who owes a lot to Simenon.

Roddy Campbell

Maigret's location on Blvd Richard-Lenoir
3/16/02 – I'm wondering in what book Maigret's residence is described as only 200 meters from the Place de la Bastille (above). It's possible of course – Simenon did not always remember the details of what he had written in the past.
From several sources we know that Maigret's flat was visible from the bus, which crosses Richard-Lenoir on the Rue du Chemin Vert, and was close to the Metro station. In one book, he and Mme Maigret are going to visit Dr. and Mme Pardon, and instead of taking the cross street (Chemin Vert?) go up to the Place Voltaire and walk down the boulevard the Pardons live on. This again points to the flat being between Chemin Vert and the Place Voltaire.
I've been on that block, trying to imagine where Maigret lived, and it is not easy to be sure. The neighborhood has changed a good deal, too – Rue Chemin Vert is not the thriving shopping street it once was, apparently.

Oz Childs

Rupert Davies BBC
3/18/02 – I got the information that the BBC Maigret series with Rupert Davies is still in archive at BBC. So it could be helpful to register requests for a release on Video/DVD via the BBC information website at www.bbc.co.uk/info/contact or via the BBC Worldwide website at www.bbcworldwide.com.

Karl Wuester

Another Maigret Reference (see above)
3/21/02 – I have just read one of the "Dalziel and Pascoe" crime books by Reginald Hill. One of Superintendent Dalziel's colleagues describes the rather large detective as "the Yorkshire Maigret". They certainly both like their drink, but in Dalzeil's case it is good Yorkshire bitter. This series has been dramatized by the BBC with usually four episodes being shown each year. Regarding Barry Foster, this very good actor died just a few weeks ago at the age of seventy. I also used to enjoy the Van der Valk series which was shown on British TV in the 70's.

David Cronan
UK

"Sirupeux (-euse)"
3/24/02 – In his posting of 27/04/2001, Oz Childs mentioned Geoffrey Sainsbury's translation of a passage from "La Guinguette à Deux Sous" (The Guinguette by the Seine) which included the French word "sirupeux". I happen currently to be reading "Chez les Flamands" (The Flemish Shop). Immediately after Maigret has entered the shop in question (page 15 of the paperback "Pocket" edition) "on était enveloppé de chaleur, d'une atmosphère indéfinissable, quiète, sirupeuse, ou les odeurs dominaient".*
Somewhere – probably at my mother's house – I'm pretty sure I have a hardback entitled Maigret to the Rescue published in the UK by Routledge & Kegan Paul, which contains both The Guinguette by the Seine and The Flemish Shop. Perhaps 1932, when I understand these two stories first appeared in France, was Simenon's "syrupy" period?

Michael Newman
UK

* Sainsbury translates sirupeuse as "thick" in this passage: "[And the moment you crossed the threshold] you were enveloped in warmth and an indescribable atmosphere, thick and quiet, laden with a mixture of smells."

Van der Valk and Maigret
3/25/02 – Further to what has already been said (see above):
In Freeling's last VdV book to date - Sand Castles - the Dutch Tec takes his wife to see Simenon's statue. They are on holiday near his birth place. I don't know if such a statue actually exists.
The book was written after Freeling had already killed off his hero and gone on to the Castang novels.
The third series of Van der Valk with the much-missed Barry Foster is currently airing on Granada Plus on UK Cable/Satellite (Saturdays).

Graeme Sutherland

Maigret's location on Blvd Richard-Lenoir (see above)
3/28/02 – In "Maigret and the Killer" Maigret lived 200 meters from the Place de la Bastille. In the same story, Dr. Pardon lived on the Blvd. Voltaire, 100 meters from the rue Popincourt. In "Maigret has Scruples", Pardon lives on rue Picpus. In most of the other stories he lived on Voltaire but I think at least once he resided on the rue Popincourt. All of these are quite close together. The name "Picpus" was featured in "Maigret and the Fortuneteller".
Going back to the "Killer" for a moment, Mme Maigret did some of her shopping at a small grocer at the corner of rue du Chemin Vert and rue Popincourt. There's a small supermarket in almost that exact spot today. It's on Popincourt, just north of Chemin Vert, but not right on the corner. I remember that rue Amelot, which crosses Chemin Vert to the west of Richard-Lenoir, was also mentioned as a shopping street.
Later on I'll put a little something else on this BB about the (at least) four Maigrets that all play in the little area that includes 67 rue Caulaincourt, avenue Junot, rue Lepic, and rue Tholoze. All of these are no more than ten minutes apart on foot unless you want to walk down to the bottom of either of the last two named streets. I'll give you a hint. 65 bis (forget all of the bises, they don't really exist) rue Lepic is in reality a staircase that leads to 23 avenue Junot. On rue Lepic there's a 63, 65 is the flight of stairs, and then the next house is 67. There's no Credit Lyonnaise across the street, either. Another one? At 67 rue Caulaincourt, Simenon had TWO dressmakers living in the same house. In at least one other story there was a reference to "a dressmaker on rue Caulaincourt". In the same house also lived the fortuneteller who was also a murder victim and I seem to remember a second murder taking place in the same house (or in 67 bis) in yet another story. I could go on and on, but I don't want to spoil it for the moment. I may need to spend a few more days in Paris walking around to get some more info. It will be a while before I do this, but it will come in its own time.

Joe Richards

Maigret localities
3/31/02 – Because there seem to be a lot of questions concerning the "real" Maigret localities, it may be interesting to learn that two distinguished authorities on the works of Georges Simenon and the Maigret novels are preparing a publication on this subject. Claude Menguy and Michel Lemoine will publish their research on this topic in 2003. These authors have searched for old postcards of the localities in France and have re-photographed the present day situation. For sites in the novels that do not correspond with real localities they formulate hypotheses. This information comes from the Centre for Studies on Georges Simenon (Fonds Simenon) in Liège – Belgium.
Searching for Maigret localities outside of Paris myself, I still have a few unsolved problems. I'm looking for the "real location" of:
L'inspecteur Cadavre (Maigret's Rival)Saint-Aubin-les-Marais. This village does not exist. It is set by Simenon next to the railroad from Fontenay-le-Comte to Niort. It could be Saint-Mesmin where Simenon lived for some time during the 2nd World War. But this doesn't correspond with the setting between Fontenay and Niort.
L'Auberge aux Noyés (The Drowned Men's Inn) – Between: Nemours et Montargis. But what is the exact location?
Maigret se Fache (Maigret in Retirement)Orsenne. This village does not exist. It is set by Simenon between Corbeil-Essonnes and the Fôret de Fontainebleau. There are more Simenon novels in the neighbourhood of Morsang-sur-Seine and Seine-Port, but this place must be on the left bank of the Seine (because that's where the railroad goes).
La Péniche aux deux Pendus (Two Bodies on a Barge) La Citanguette (river lock). This river lock does not exist. It is set again in the neighbourhood of Morsang-sur-Seine. The lock where the story starts at Coudray does exist. Could La Citanguette be Saint-Fargeau !?
Does anyone have any answers to these problems?

Guido De Croock
The Netherlands

Poetic Licence
4/2/02 – I think that the answer to Guido De Croock's question is that these were works of fiction and sometimes Simenon just used the basic area or location to act as a setting for his stories. Just as a landscape painter will change around the features of the country-side to make a better picture, then Simenon changed things to fit his narrative. Or perhaps he was in such a hurry to write these books he did not bother to do some basic research and had mislaid his maps!

David Cronan
UK

Sites in Maigret Novels
4/2/02 – I was impressed with Guido De Croock's discussion (3/31/02) of difficult-to-find Maigret settings. Perhaps he, or someone, can enlighten me about Saint-André-sur-Mer in Chantes, where Maigret went to free a teacher from a murder charge in "Maigret Goes to School." I have never been able to find it on a map.
Dave Drake

"Maigret's Elder Brother" - Commissaire Guillaume
4/2/02 – Commissaire Guillaume's great-granddaughter (see above) informed me recently that he had written his memoirs, which I've been able to locate a copy of. (I hope to provide some translated excerpts from time to time.) She also passed along this interesting anecdote:
"My mother remembers that he was an impressive man. He used to have a miniature replica of a guillotine on his desk to cut his cigar tips. He played with it while interrogating suspects, which made them think about the concequences of their acts and finally drove them to be cooperative and willing to talk. After his retirement from the police, he set up a private eye agency."
ST

Sites in Maigret Novels
4/4/02 – Dave Drake's question on Saint-André-sur-Mer in "Maigret Goes to School" (4/2/02): Most likely St.-André is Nieul-sur-Mer. In the novel it is situated at 15 km from La Rochelle not far from the Pointe de l'Aiguillon. So it must be north of La Rochelle. On a detailed map Nieul exactly fits this description. Another argument for Nieul-sur-Mer is that this village was well know to Simenon because he had a house there. It was a country house that was called "La Richardière" situated between Nieul and Marsilly. Simenon first lived there from April 1932. He also lived there during the first months of the 2nd World War.
David Cronan's remark about the fictional character of the novels is with no doubt true. The importance of a correct determination of the localities is relative. On the other hand, Simenon, who had, according to himself, not a lot of imagination, obviously needed tangible characters and settings for his novels. This is a distinguishing feature in all of his work. Therefore it can be interesting to the devotee to discover the exact localities.

Guido De Croock
The Netherlands

Maigret in Luçon?
4/5/02 – In "Maigret chez le ministre" Maigret has to recover a missing dossier with drastic poltical impact. He's uncomfortable with the task because it reminds him of an earlier case with political overtones which resulted in his banishment for a year to "Luçon." Is this other case the subject of a Maigret novel? If so, which one?
David Southard

The case itself isn't explained, but there is a novel that takes place during his "banishment" in Luçon: It's "Maigret in Exile" [La Maison du juge (1942)], written in Nieul-sur-Mer, which Guido De Croock mentions above.

ST

Ming Books
4/13/02 – Ming Books has been selling Simenon used in both hardback and paperback in quantity since 1983. Why not pay us a visit? We are just revamping our Simenon entries as not all of our stock in English and French is shown.
Ming Books moved to Wigtown in South West Scotland in 1997. Wigtown is Scotland's National Booktown. In 2003 we are aware that a number of Simenon commemerative events are being held in Belgium and France. Fellow booktowns in the International Organisation of Booktowns are planning events and we hope to host such an event here. We would like to hear from fans to be able to advise them of what is happening.

Assouline's Biography


4/15/02 – UK readers may be interested to know that my wife found the English edition of Pierre Assouline's biography of Simenon in a Book Depot store in the Derbyshire Peak District last week, reduced from £20 to £3.99. I imagine other remainder bookstores may have this on offer too.
Roddy Campbell

Pierre Assouline's Simenon Biography
4/16/02 – I can confirm that one of the remainder booksellers in Chelmsford has the English edition of Pierre Assouline's biography of Simenon (see Roddy Campbell's posting of 15 April above) on sale at a similar price. I myself acquired it for, I seem to remember, £2 in a shop in Maldon, Essex about four years ago.
The whole book is fascinating, but I have found the very detailed bibliography and listings towards the end of particular interest.

Michael Newman
UK

Death of Sgt. Lucas
4/24/02 – I just finished reading a collection of short stories, one of which refered to the death of Sgt. Lucas while working on a case with Maigret shortly prior to his retiremnet. Could you tell me in which book this takes place as I must have missed it somewhere and was saddened to think of it, as Lucas was a favorite of mine.

Chet Gibbons
GreenBay, WI, U.S.A.

Don't worry about Lucas – he survives that temporary "brush with death" just fine, and lives to replace Maigret as Chief when M. retires. Just as Torrence managed to come back after his "death" in Pietr-le-letton and go on to have his own detective agency (Les dossiers de l'agence O) after leaving the Quai. As Simenon might have explained it, "Oh, did I say Lucas? Sorry, I meant Inspector Louis..."
ST

Confessions from stupid criminals
5/5/02 – Near the end of one of the Maigret books, M. reflects that it is hardest to get a confession from a stupid criminal. With an intelligent person one can show them how illogical their story is and break them down, while the truly stupid criminal simply persists in obstinate denial. Unfortunately I cannot remember in which book this occurs. Can anyone remind me (and maybe even provide a relevant quote)? Thanks!

Kevin Hamilton
Honolulu, HI, USA

Maigret and the Death of a Harbour Master
5/6/02 – I've just been reading 'Maigret and the Death of a Harbour Master' [Le port des brumes (1932)] in the Stuart Gilbert translation. The first three sentences of the novel seem to contain an error:

"When the Cherbourg train left Paris, just before three, the cool, clear sunlight of an October afternoon still bathed the busy streets. Thirty miles later, when it was nearing Nantes, the lights had been turned on in the compartments. Half an hour later, when the train reached Evreux, it was quite dark."
1. I've travelled from Paris to Nantes by TGV (express train) and it takes two hours. And it would take a lot longer than half an hour to get from Nantes to Evreux.
2. It would be a perverse route to use. Going from Paris to Evreux via Nantes makes no sense.
Is this a misprint for Mantes? And is it Simenon's error or the translator's?
Later in the novel (p. 120), Maigret speaks in Breton, explaining that he learned the language while in school at Nantes. This seems very unlikely. Nantes is not a Breton-speaking area; and at the period when Maigret was at school it would have been frowned on by schoolmasters.
Patricia Clark

Yes! You're right about that error in the first few sentences – in the French edition it's Mantes, not Nantes. [Possibly produced by an over-zealous proof-reader with a limited knowledge of French geography? The line isn't in the Philadelphia Inquirer abridgement. Can someone report if the error also appeared in the earlier "Maigret and M. L'Abbé" edition? (This is one of only six Maigret titles not published in a Penguin edition.)]
As for Nantes not being a Breton-speaking area, according to the article Is Nantes included in Brittany?, at the FAQ on soc.culture.breton, "Nantes has always been part of Brittany." There are internet links to a Breton language-learning radio show from Nantes, and the Cercle Breton de Nantes, so there does seem to be Breton background there... and of course M could have learned it from his friends outside of school, rather than in class...
ST
[5/7/02 – Richard Thomas reports that it's Nantes in his 1944 copy of Maigret and M. L'Abbé, a Thriller Book Club reissue of the 1941 first English edition, translated by Stuart Gilbert. And 5/8/02, John H. Dirckx confirms that it appears as Nantes in the 1942 Harcourt, Brace & Co. (NY) edition. Maybe it was Stuart Gilbert's geography that was weak?]

Confessions from stupid criminals
5/9/02 – I remember that Maigret's conclusion very well, although cannot recall the name of the book it comes from. If you are familiar with Lt. Colombo TV movies, you know that Colombo usually collects clues by discussing the crime details with the suspects, who always come from the "smart" category. Often, when watching this situation, I am wondering what would Colombo do if he had to deal with that "dumb" criminal from Maigret book. Every time Colombo would start "How would you explain..." that dumb criminal would say "You are the police, it is your job to figure it out..." . I guess Colombo stories prove that Maigret was right.

Vladimir Krasnogor

Maigret: France TV 2
Maigret et le fou de Sainte-Clothilde
5/10/02 – 85 min. 20h55-22h20. Réalisation: Claudio Tonetti. Distribution: Bruno Crémer (Jules Maigret), Alexandre Brasseur (Paul Lachenal), Philippe Khorsand (Duhour), Philippe Magnan (Dr Rivaud). Origine: France. 2001. Stéréo. Musique: Laurent Petitgirard.
Maigret se souviendra de son séjour en Alsace. Alors qu'il accompagnait simplement sa femme à Strasbourg, il tombe du train en pleine nuit, poussé brutalement par un inconnu dont le comportement étrange avait éveillé son attention. En plus, il se retrouve sans papiers, sans bagages et sans pipe, immobilisé par une double foulure, dans une clinique, à Sainte-Marguerite, un bourg proche de Lunéville... Et ce n'est pas tout: longtemps sans histoire, la petite cité vit depuis peu en pleine psychose. Deux meurtres, et une tentative, maintiennent ses habitants dans l'inquiétude, la peur, la suspicion. Le meurtrier serait-il l'un des leurs?

Death of a Harbor Master
5/10/02 – Patricia Clark wrote (5/6/02) about Maigret getting from Paris to Evreux by train in "Death of a Harbor Master." She said it's a two hour trip from Paris to Nantes on the TGV but seemed surprized that Maigret's voyage took longer.
This book was written 70 years ago. TGV's and the French National Railway (SNCF) didn't exist. Steam locomotives pulled most trains back then and there was some electrification on the PLM line, but that doesn't concern us here. There's a reference to "the train to Cherbourg", which may seem odd for someone going to Nantes. On the other hand, the Paris-Cherbourg line does pass through Mantes. Also remember in those days there were a number of different railway companies in France and each had its own territory. It's possible M. was routed this way to keep him on the original company's lines for as long as possible, a common practice. The many companies also explain why Paris has a number of different stations that have no rail connection to each other such as the Gares du Nord, Est, St. Lazare, Lyon, etc.
By setting your search engine to La Vie Du Rail, Jours Ferrees, or even Chemin du Fer, you can find some historical links on French railways that might shed some light on how such a voyage may have proceeded in those days. Believe me, there are people who are just as passionate about trains as we are about Maigret. There is a lot of railway info on the web and someone out there may be able to help. Remember, since there were a number of different companies, there were also a number of different timetables rather than just one national one for the whole of France. Incidently, I send in a certain amount of railway news and photos of events in Belgium and Luxembourg to a British magazine called Today's Railways, so I know of which I speak. As it turns out, the editor of the magazine lives in Douai (The Patience of Maigret), France and is a Maigret fan.

Joe Richards

Slow down Joe! Patricia Clark noticed correctly that Maigret's time to Evreux via Nantes was too fast, not too slow, and that it would have been a bizarre route. But you're not the only one going too fast - I went back to take a longer look at the French original, and it turns out that Stuart Gilbert's translation is much more "creative" than I'd realized at a quick glance:
French original (Tout Simenon 17):

Quand on avait quitté Paris, vers trois heures, la foule s'agitait encore dans un frileux soleil d'arrière-saison. Puis, vers Mantes, les lampes du compartiment s'étaient allumées. Dès Évreux, tout était noir dehors.

my fairly literal translation:

When we had left Paris, around three, the crowds had still been bustling under a chilly late-autumn sun. Then, near Mantes, the lamps of the compartment had been lit. After Évreux, all was black outside.

Stuart Gilbert's version with his added material emphasized:

When the Cherbourg train left Paris, just before three, the cool, clear sunlight of an October afternoon still bathed the busy streets. Thirty miles later, when it was nearing Nantes, the lights had been turned on in the compartments. Half an hour later, when the train reached Evreux, it was quite dark.

So it appears that Gilbert did some research into the train times and distances, and no doubt his original translation showed, correctly, Mantes. (We learn a little later in the chapter that they're in fact heading towards Cherbourg, and that it's late October.)
This map (Baedeker's 1909) should clarify the locations. (Click to enlarge) In the upper left corner is Cherbourg, lower left is Nantes. Paris, Mantes and Evreux are highlighted, from right to left, at upper right. Clearly, Nantes did not figure in the route.
ST

boules (bowls)

5/17/02 – In Maigret à Vichy, M states he "had tried playing the game of boules while in Porquerolles". The only novel I know of which takes place in Poquerolles is Mon ami Maigret, and I couldn't find any reference to Maigret's playing boules there. Does another case take Maigret to Porquerolles?
David Southard
Hamburg


Those few references in "Maigret in Vichy" (Maigret takes the waters) [Maigret à Vichy] (1967) show M's interest in the game:
Regularly, they went on from there to the bowling club, where they would watch two or three games being played, with Maigret attentively following every throw, especially those of the tall, thin, one-armed man, always to be found under the same tree, who was, in spite of his disability, the finest player of all. Another regular player was a dignified old gentleman with pink cheeks, snow-white hair, and a southern accent, always addressed by his companions as "Senator". (Ch. 1)
"No, I'm going to watch a game or two of first. It will give me something else to think about... I used to play a bit years ago, at Porquerolles. If only some of those fellows would twist my arm..." (Ch. 3, to Lecoeur)
In the only novel which takes place in Porquerolles, "My Friend Maigret" [Mon ami Maigret] (1949), M doesn't play boules, but he does watch a game:
Two old men were playing bowls, pétanque style, that is without sending the jack more than a few yards from their feet... (Ch. 7)
And he comments throughout the story on the ability of various characters:
Casmir, someone at the bar at the Arche de Noé, according to Paul, had won the Petit Provençal bowls championship the past year; Léon. Retired dentist, first class bowls player; Marcellin had been a good bowls player; Ferdinand Galli, the patriarch of the Gallis, was one of the players in the game M watched...
In the short story "The Group at the Grand-Café" [Ceux du Grand Café] (1938), we also see that M was a player:
Had they been in the Midi, M would have played boules, or in Lille, skittles...
Boules is mentioned in a couple of other stories, but nothing about M playing. In "Maigret and the Toy Village" [Félicie est là] (1942):
Arsène Vadibert, the Superintendent's secretary, was watching a game of bowls outside, in his shirtsleeves. He leaned forward a little to watch Grêlé, crouching in preparation for a spectacular throw...
And "Maigret in Court" [Maigret aux assises] (1959):
Gaston Meurant finally got a lead on where Alfred Meurant was at a little café outside of which men were playing bowls.
Two other books mention M in Porquerolles. In "Maigret and the Madwoman" [La folle de Maigret] (1970):
M reminded Marella that it had been 10 or 12 years since they'd met, "over that business at Porquerolles."
Marella does not appear in "My Friend Maigret". Later, "bowls" is mentioned in this story too:
M and Marella stopped at a little bistro, painted blue, in Sanary. Outside four men played bowls.
And finally, a catch-all which could have provided M the opportunity to play, in "Maigret's Memoirs" [Les mémoires de Maigret] (1950)
On the few occasions M had traveled on summer vacations it had been to meet Georges Simenon at his various homes, while he was still living in France: in Alsace, at Porquerolles, in the Charentes, the Vendée, etc.
ST

Maigret and Stupid Criminals
5/17/02 – Kevin Hamilton (5.5.02) asked about the passage where Maigret claims that it is more difficult to elicit confessions from stupid criminals. Try 'Maigret has Doubts' [Une Confidence de Maigret]. The opening of Chapter 4 is the place ( – not at the end of the book after all). Here is Lyn Moir's translation:

Once, talking of the notorious grillings of the French police, gentle but surprisingly effective, and the no less legendary American third degree, Maigret had said that the suspects most likely to get away with it were the simpletons. This got to the ears of a journalist, and the joke had become a stock item which the press brought out from time to time in different guises.
What he had really meant to say, what he still believed, was that a simple-minded person is naturally mistrustful, always on the defensive, answers with the minimum of words without worrying about seeming truthful, and when he is later cross-examined he doesn't get upset but firmly sticks to his story.
The intelligent man, on the other hand, needs to explain himself, to dispel any doubts his questioner may have. Trying to be convincing, he anticipates questions, gives too many details and, determined to build a watertight case, ends up by catching himself out. [US: ends up by setting his own trap.]
So, when his logic is shown up, it is rare for him not to get upset and, ashamed of himself, confess.
Patricia Clark
Cardiff

An Error in Translation?
5/18/02 – During the translation of "Maigret Takes the Waters" [Maigret à Vichy] some confusion seems to have crept in over the actual game of pétanque. Eileen Ellenbogen, the translator, seems to have confused the game of lawn bowls played in the UK (and other Commonwealth countries) and the game of pétanque. In one passage reference is made to "bowling greens" implying that the game is played on grass. As can be seen from the above picture, the French game is actually played on a surface of beaten earth or clay. Perhaps somebody who has the original French copy to hand could confirm if the mention of grass appears in the story,or the translator has made a mistake.
The actual passage reads:

And, to prove it, he took her on a grand tour of the town, starting with the children's playground, and going via the bowling greens and the beach, across the Pont de Bellerive, to walk the length of the boulevarde leading to the Yacht Club...
David Cronan
UK

There are at least four places where "bowling green" is used, along with one "bowling club". In Chapter 1, (my example above) "Regularly, they went on from there to the bowling club, where they would watch two or three games being played," (Après, ils s'arrêtaient de même à l'endroit réservé aux joueurs de boules et Maigret suivait gravement deux ou trois parties...) "the place reserved for bowls players" is translated as "the bowling club"; "They nibbled the hours away. The children's playground... the bowling greens." (Ils grignotaient les heures... Le parc des enfants... Les joueurs de boules.), "the bowls players" is rendered as "the bowling greens". In Chapter 3, "At the spring?" "At the bowling greens." (—A la source? — Au jeu de boules...) "At the bowls game" is translated as "At the bowling greens", and (David's example) "starting with the children's playground, and going via the bowling greens and the beach" (commençant par le parc des enfants, côtoyant ensuite les jeux de boules,) "the bowls games" is given as "the bowling greens". In Chapter 4, "They did not stop more than a minute or two at the bowling greens." (Ils ne s'arrêtèrent presque pas devant les joueurs de boules.), "in front of the bowls players" is translated as "at the bowling greens".
As David supposed, there is no "green" in the original French – Eileen Ellenbogen rendered it into what she apparently felt would be more familiar terms to English-speaking readers, sacrificing cultural accuracy. But what would have been a better translation?
ST

Jeu de boules
5/19/02 – I don't know if I can agree with your point of view concerning the translation of "Jeu de Boules". A name of a sport, especially when it is culturally linked to a particular country, is usually not translated. I can't translate basketball or baseball or cricket into my own language. A better solution would have been to maintain the original French name and possibly add a footnote.
Because I doubted that "Pétanque" and "Jeu de boules" are the same, I looked it up:

"Jeu de Boules" is a general term for three French ballgames. The sport goes back to ancient Greece. There it was mainly a sport demanding great physical strength. It was played with big, heavy wooden balls. The Romans turned it into a dexterity game. In the dark ages it was very popular all over Europe but the game vanished in the course of time except for a few places like the Provence, some parts of Italy and Switzerland.
The metal balls only date back to the second World War period. Before, wooden balls where used, later on these balls were studded with nails. Also balls made of stone were used.
The three games:
Jeu de grosses boules: Is played on a terrain that is bound by a small trench. The balls must be thrown as close to the trench as possible but without rolling into the ditch.

Jeu du cochonnet: Is played by two groups. The "cochonnet" (a small wooden ball) is the target. Players try to fling their metal or stone balls as close as possible to the target. It is allowed to knock away other players ball.

Pétanque: (from French: pieds tanqué, = tied feet) Is the most complex of the three games. It is played by two teams consisting two or three persons. In a team of two players each player has three balls, in a team of three players each member has two balls.
It is decided by draw which team starts the game. One of the players of the starting team chooses the place from where to pitch by drawing a circle on the ground with a diameter of 35 - 50 cm. [15-20"] All players have to play with their feet within this circle. He throws the cochonnet (small wooden ball) 6 to 10 meters [20-30'] away. The first player flings his/her first ball, underhand, as close as possible to the cochonnet (pointer). Then the first player of the second team plays his/her first ball. It is allowed to knock away (tirer) the other player's ball. The team whose member's ball is the nearest to the cochonnet is in the lead and goes on with the game. When a team is out of balls the other team finishes the round. A team gets one point for every ball that is closer to the cochonnet then the closest ball of the other team. The team winning the round starts the next round. The first team that gains 13 points wins the game.

Guido de Croock
The Netherlands

Jeu de boules on Maigret cover

5/20/02 – And here is "jeu de boules" on the cover of the Dutch edition of "My Friend Maigret", Mijn Vriend Maigret, 1984, Bruna, Utrecht. (click to enlarge.)
Guido de Croock

Confessions from Stupid Criminals
5/22/02 – A passage very similar to the one quoted by Patricia Clark (5/17/02) from Une confidence de Maigret appears near the end of Maigret et le Clochard:

Maigret savais depuis de début que ce serait long, difficile, parce Van Houttte n'était pas intelligent. Invariablement, c'était avec les imbéciles qu'il avait le plus de mal, parce qu'ils se bufent, refusent de répondre, n'hésitent pas a níer ce qu'ils ont affirmé une heure plus tôt, sans se troubler lorsqu'on met le doigt sur leurs contradictions.
Avec un suspect intelligent, il suffit souvent de découvrir la faille dans son raisonnement, dans son système, pour que tout ne tarde pas a s'écrouler.

[Maigret had known from the start that it would be a lengthy, difficult business, because Van Houtte was not intelligent. Invariably, it was stupid people that gave him the most trouble, because they stubbornly refuse to answer and have no hesitation about denying what they have asserted an hour before, without worrying when their contradictions are pointed out.
Often, with an intelligent suspect, one merely has to disclose the flaw in his line of argument, in his system, and before long everything collapses.

("Maigret and the Bum", Jean Stewart translation)]
David Southard
Hamburg

Simenon Festival in 2003
5/22/02 – As you may know, in 2003, Liège will organize a very big event for the 100-year anniversary of the birth of Simenon. I've just started to collect the information from the newsletter "2003, Année Simenon au Pays de Liège". The organisation started with Info News N° 1 (Bulletin d'information), 4 pages.

The address : 15, rue des Croisiers, B-4000 LIEGE.
Internet (March 2002) : www.ftpl.be/simenon
E-mail : simenon2003@prov-liege.be

Very big news is that Editions Gallimard in Paris will print the complete works of Simenon in its prestigious collection Bibliothèque de la Pléiade. Many French writers were in opposition to this. It's really a consecration of Simenon. The International press is invited to come to Liège for the presentation by Gallimard, on May 6, 2003.
Jacques Dieu
Liège

Yet more on stupid criminals
5/23/02 – There is yet another passage about stupid criminals [5/22/02] in 'Maigret and the Headless Corpse' (Maigret et le corps sans tête). This passage comes from Chapter 6, about 3 pages in:

One can usually make an intelligent person see sense in the end, or at least persuade him to retract self-contradictory statements. An idiot will just go on denying everything, even in the teeth of the evidence.
(tr. Eileen Ellenborgen)

[On finit d'habitude par avoir raison de quelqu'un d'intelligent, ne fût-ce qu'en lui démontrant que ses réponses ne tiennent pas debout. Un imbécile se contente de nier, en dépit de l'évidence.]

Clearly this is a leitmotif of Simenon's/Maigret's.
Patricia Clark
Cardiff

Simenon/Arizona
5/26/02 – I'm setting out to research Simenon's life in Arizona. I know only of "Maigret at the Coroner's" as a starting point. I'd like to track down his residences, bars and restaurants he frequented on both sides of the Nogales border, friendships from that era, and other activities. Any jump-start from forum readers would be well-appreciated.

Tom Miller
E-mail: tlmolinero@cs.com

I've only glanced through it, but it looks like there's lots of information in Michel Carly's "Sur les routes de l'Arizona avec quatre Simenon en poche", in Traces N° 10, 1998, 282-335.
ST

Les Compagnons de l'Apocalypse
5/27/02 – Having run out of Maigret novels (except for his WWII ones, which I can't find in paperback), I've been reading some of Simenon's other works. Most recently, "Les Trois Crimes de Mes Amis", a quasi-autobiographical memoir published in 1938. Simenon devotes several chapters to this history of the club he calls "Les Compagnons de l'Apocalypse" in the 1931 Maigret novel, "Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien" — the club, named only "le caque" in this book, ending in the death of "le petit K", called "Klein" in the Saint-Pholien novel. As in that novel, most of the members, after their season of drinking and drugging to excess, end up as respectable citizens. (The death of K is one of the three crimes Simenon writes about — the other two did not involve him quite so directly, I don't think.
I wonder if Simenon also refers to this club in any of his memoirs?

Oz Childs

5/31/02 – Yes, there are at least a couple of places in Un Homme comme un autre [1973], in the Dictées, where La Caque [the Cask] is mentioned. It's another that I've only glanced through, but here's a section about 15 pages in, with part of Joseph Klein's story:
Nous avions un ami dont personne ne connaissait les origines. Il avait vingt ans. Il était très blond, presque blanc, très maigre, avec des yeux fiévreux. Il est venu quelquefois à La Caque mais il ne participait guère à nos discussions qu'il écoutait, semble-t-il, avec un certain mépris.
Il était peintre, lui aussi. Une nuit de Noël, nous sommes allés, comme c'est la coutume à Liège, au théâtre de marionnettes, rue Roture. Cet ami y était, déjà ivre. Nous avons ensuite bu quelques verres tous ensemble et, à un moment donné, le jeune homme aux cheveux d'un blond pâle a été incapable de marcher.
Il pleuvait. Je l'ai hissé sur mon épaule. J'ai demandé à mes camarades où il habitait.
—Cela doit être par là...
Un autre l'avait vu sortir d'une maison destinée à la démolition. Nous avons sonné à quelques portes. Le garçon était inerte sur mon épaule et aussi mouillé que s'il avait passé la journée et toute la nuit sur le trottoir. Une brave femme nous a enfin désigné un couloir sombre et nous l'avons suivi. Nous avons poussé la porte de ce qu'il est impossible d'appeler une chambre. C'était un réduit qui ne comportait qu'une fenêtre étroite, un chevalet, des toiles et une paillasse à même le sol. Pas d'eau à l'étage, pas les moindres commodités. Nous laissâmes notre ami sur la paillasse et je ne sais plus comment, pour nous, le reste de la nuit se déroula.
Le matin, on retrouvait le peintre miséreux pendu à la porte de l'église Saint-Pholien.
and my translation:
We had a friend who came from no one knew where. He was twenty, with very blond, nearly white hair, very skinny, with feverish eyes. He sometimes came to La Caque but hardly participated in our discussions, which he seemed to listen to with a certain contempt.
He too was a painter. One Christmas night, as was the custom in Liège, we went to the puppet theater in the rue Roture. This friend was there, already drunk. We drank a few glasses together and then, at some point, he passed out.
It was raining. I hoisted him onto my shoulder, and asked my friends where he lived.
"Probably somewhere over there..."
Someone had seen him leaving a house marked for demolition. We knocked on some doors. The youth was motionless on my shoulder and as wet as if he had spent the day and night on the sidewalk. A kind woman finally pointed out a dark passageway, which we followed, pushing open the door of what it is impossible to call a room. It was a cubby-hole with but a narrow window, an easel, some canvasses and a straw mattress on the floor. No water, not the least of amenities. We left our friend on the mattress, and I don't know how we passed the remainder of the night.
In the morning, we found the destitute painter hanging from the door of Saint-Pholien church.
ST

Maigret's Medical Studies
6/2/02 – Do any of the novels or short stories give a reason why Maigret had to abandon his medical course after two years? Was it because of lack of money, lack of commitment, or was he like Inspector Morse (who dropped out of university) being side-tracked by a woman and neglecting his studies. I think he would have made a good doctor if he had been able to qualify.

David Cronan
UK

Maigret: France TV 2
Maigret: LA MAISON DE FÉLICIE
FRANCE 2. 03/06/2002. Showview: 4353883
105 Min. 20H55 - 22H40
Réalisation: Jacques Fansten, Laurent Heynemann. Distribution: Bruno Crémer (Jules Maigret), Jeanne Herry, Pierre Diot. Origine: France. 2001. Stéréo.
Jules Maigret est contraint de jouer au jeu du chat et de la souris avec Félicie, une gamine d'à peine vingt ans, servante de Jambe de Bois, un vieux retrouvé assassiné dans son pavillon d'une banlieue isolée. Maigret, qui mène l'enquête d'une façon qui laisse ses inspecteurs légèrement perplexes, est véritablement fasciné par la jeune fille... Il ne lui laisse aucun répis et attend qu'elle se confie mais rien à faire, elle ne dit rien. Le commissaire Maigret s'obstine, c'est à elle qu'il veut arracher son secret car, de fait, le crime n'est pas étranger aux amours de la jeune fille... De leur côté, ses hommes se demandent si Félicie ne mène pas Maigret par le bout du nez!
Notre avis: Dans cet épisode Bruno Crémer «cuisine» avec tact et patience la jeune Jeanne Herry qui se révèle très convaincante.

More Guillaumes
6/3/02 – I've just finished reading "Inquest on Bouvet" [L'enterrement de Monsieur Bouvet]. Forrest Robertson wrote a couple of weeks ago suggesting that "'Inquest on Bouvet' might be included in a list of Maigrets as an 'assist' because, although Jules himself isn't in it, the Commissioner passes the case to Lucas, mentioned as "one of Maigret's assistants". It's almost in the category of a Mme Maigret investigation." That struck a chord, and I remembered that Mike Williams of Redmarley had written to this Forum about it a couple of years ago (11/19/00), following up on the idea of "semi-Maigrets," and he'd quoted the back cover of the 1962 Penguin edition: "No doubt Maigret was on holiday when Monsieur Bouvet disconcerted everyone by falling dead as he was examining old prints at a bookseller's stall beside the Seine... At length Lucas, one of Maigret's inspectors, was deputed to find out exactly who Bouvet was, and an uncommon tale it proved to be."
But the Penguin back cover is actually the only place that Maigret is mentioned – never in the text itself – and although it's a good Simenon with something of a Maigret flavor, Lucas really only makes a couple of more-or-less cameo appearances. One thing that caught my attention though, was the name of the Police Commissioner [directeur de la Police Judiciaire]: Monsieur Guillaume!
'How many Simenon novels have contained a Guillaume?' I wondered. Well, in fact, thanks to a remarkable reference book, Michel Lemoine's Index des personnages de Georges Simenon [Index to Georges Simenon's characters] (Bruxelles, Archives du Futur, 1985, 695pp), we can find that the answer is eight! Three are Maigrets: Les Mémoires de Maigret ("Maigret's Memoirs"), Maigret et le voleur parasseux ("Maigret and the Lazy Burglar"), and La Maison du juge ("Maigret in Exile"). And two are "semi-Maigrets": Bouvet and the short story Sept petites croix dans un carnet ("Seven Crosses in a Notebook," included with the Maigret stories in "Maigret's Christmas"). In all five of these, Guillaume is connected with the police. (The other three are Quatier nègre, Le Bourgmestre de Furnes, and L'Evadé.)
Apparently, in this way Simenon paid occasional literary homage to "Maigret's elder brother," bringing him back onto the investigative stage for a few encores!

ST

Maigret's Medical Studies
6/3/02 – David Cronan's question about Maigret's medical studies (6/2/02): In "Maigret's Memoirs" Simenon lets Maigret explain that he had to give up his medical studies because of the death of his father. At that time he lived with his aunt in Nantes where he attended medical school. Because of his father's death he lacked the financial resources to continue his studies and he had to find a job to support himself. By chance he met a police inspector who roused his interest in a career with the police force.
Simenon himself was obsessed with the medical profession, in particular psychiatry.

Guido de Croock
The Netherlands

Maigret's assistant
6/5/02 – I am tormented by an exasperating inability to remember the name of Maigret's assistant. Could you please give comfort by supplying his name?

Bob Dickson
Bristol

Well, if it's just one assistant, you're probably thinking of Sergeant Lucas. The other main members of Maigret's team were Janvier, Lapointe, and Torrence.
ST

A confession before disappearing?
6/6/02 – I was rereading Francis Lacassin's preface to The House of Anxiety [La Maison de l'inquiétude], "Maigret's Thoughtfulness," and I noticed a passage I'd marked to come back to:

un poêle. Le fameux poêle près duquel se tient debout une jeune fille blonde et timide dont la pâleur est soulignée par un tailleur noir. Elle s'accuse devant Maigret impassible d'un assassinat puis disparaît pendant qu'il répond au téléphone dans la pièce voisine. Voilà une situation que nous avons l'occasion de retrouver...

Maigret's stove. The famous stove, near which stands a shy, blonde girl, whose paleness is underscored by a black suit. She confesses to a murder before the impassive Maigret, then disappears while he answers the phone in a neighboring room. Here is a situation that we will have the opportunity to see again... (emphasis added)

What did Lacassin mean by that? Is there another Maigret in which someone confesses to a crime and then disappears like that? It seems somehow familiar, but I can't put my finger on it.
ST

Disappearing Suspects
6/6/02 – In Cécile est Morte (Maigret and the Spinster) a young woman disppears from the waiting room (and turns out to be a murderess), but this is not exactly the same situation.

Patricia Clark
Cardiff

Maigret's medical studies
6/6/02 – Re: David Cronan's post (6.2.02). As well as in "Maigrets Memoirs," there is a mention of Maigret's aborted medical career in the opening paragraphs of Les Vacances de Maigret ("Maigret on Holiday"/"No Vacation for Maigret"):

No less beautifully polished were the two big cars that stood outside. They gave the same impression of cleanliness and well-being. Maigret knew them. They belonged to two of the surgeons.
'I might have been a surgeon myself,' he thought.
Yes. And have had a car like one of those! Not necessarily a surgeon, but it was a fact that he had narrowly missed being a doctor of some sort. He had actually been a medical student, and there were moments when he thought a little wistfully of the profession that had slipped through his fingers. If his father had lived another two or three years... (tr. George Sainsbury)

[En face, stationnaient deux longues voitures luisantes, qui donnaient la même impression de propreté et de confort. Maigret les connaissait, elles appartenaient toutes les deux à des chirurgiens.
« J'aurais pu être chirurgien, moi aussi », pensa-t-il.
Et posséder une voiture comme celles-là. Probablement pas chirurgien, mais c'était un fait qu'il avait failli être médecin, qu'il avait commencé ses études de médecine, qu'il en avait parfois la nostalgie. Si son père n'était pas mort trois ans trop tôt...]

Maigret and the doctor spend a fair amount of time sizing each other up and recognising each other as equals. There is a similar state of affairs in "Maigret's Mistake". Maigret/Simenon clearly saw parallels between being a doctor and a detective: the doctor in "Maigret on Holiday" is quick to recognise Maigret's diagnostic skills and, in several novels, there is a comparison between being a healer and being a 'mender of destinies'.
Patricia Clark
Cardiff

Maigret's Thoughtfulness
6/7/02 – I may be wrong but from the French text it seems to me that Lacassin is not referring to the the disappearance of the girl but to the fact that Maigret's team is regularly confronted with strange situations and people as a whole. This is shown also in your translation of that particular passage of the text of La Maison de l'inquiétude.
You're right, the scene rings a bell.... I can't place it either.

Guido de Croock
The Netherlands

Disappearing 'victim'
6/7/02 – I think I've found that other "disappearing act" Lacassin was referring to. But in this case it was a man, rather than a woman, and not exactly a confession of a crime:
At the beginning of Les Scruples de Maigret ("Maigret has scruples"), Xavier Marton, the head of the toy department at the Grands Magasins du Louvre, a model train specialist, visits M to say that he thinks his wife wants to poison him, but leaves while M is out of the room.
ST

 
The Well-Dressed (?) Inspector
6/8/02 – I've noticed that in the first series of Maigret/Gambon videos the Inspector is especially well turned-out, well-tailored I mean to say — almost a fashion plate. In the second series, however, he often appears as, well, an unmade bed — really. There is such a difference that it stands out. Any explanations? Any allusion to his clothing in the books, as I recall, was just in passing. I await the experts. Thank you.

Ed LeZotte

"Sergeant" isn't right
6/8/02 – I really don't like translations that refer to "Sergeant" Lucas (e.g. above). That is perhaps what Lucas would be in some American police departments, but a far lower rank than he would have at Scotland Yard. There, he would be at least a Chief Inspector, commanding a team of Inspectors and Sergeants. It seems unlikely a mere Detective Constable would even be eligible for a serious crimes squad.
Lucas's rank at the PJ is "Brigadier", which means as second-in-command he is the chief detective of the Brigade criminelle. Ordinarily, he would direct all of the activities of the unit, while Maigret, as Commissaire Divisionnaire, would be an administrator who rarely leaves the office. Of course, Maigret can't resist getting involved personally, but Simenon often notes this is exceptional.
I'm not even sure the PJ has sergeants. Pretty much everyone you ever hear about is an Inspector, whether attached to the "maison" or, like Lognon, serving his time in the commissariats d'arrondissement.

Oz Childs

How about "Squad Chief"?
6/8/02 – Here's how my "Le Robert & Collins Super Senior Français - Anglais" dictionary handles "brigadier":

That strange symbol before 'sergeant' - "is used when the source language headword or phrase has no equivalent in the target language and is therefore untranslatable. In such cases the nearest cultural equivalent is given."
The "SYN" symbol indicates that there are synonymous listings in the thesaurus - in this case, "caporal" and "chef d'escouade", the latter suggesting to me what might have been a better 'translation' — "squad chief" — except that, of course, it's too late. "Sergent Lucas" has apparently already taken his place in 'English' literature, and there's probably not too much that can be done to turn the tide. (Maybe I'll try to use it myself though, as I think I kind of like the ring: "Is Squad Chief Lucas around? Have him come into my office!")

But why do Claude Menguy and Pierre Deligny, in their Les vrais débuts du commissaire Maigret comment that:

Dans L'Inconnue, le commissaire Lucas ... est secondé par Torrence (qui débute comme simple brigadier...

In L'Inconnue, Superintendent Lucas ... is assisted by Torrence (who starts as a simple sergeant... (my translation)

Specifically, why do they say "comme simple brigadier" if the rank is relatively high? (In fact, a few lines later they add, "In Train de nuit, Torrence, promoted to Inspector... [promu inspecteur]")
Can anyone supply a chart of the ranks at the PJ? (I have the feeling I've seen one around here somewhere but...)
ST
Ministère de l'intérieur
6/9/02 – You can find the present-day situation of ranks at the Police Judiciaire in France on these websites: Police Nationale, Direction Centrale.
Guido de Croock

Hmmm, those didn't really clear things up much for me... Where's the brigadier?
ST
Small Town Sensibilities
6/9/02 – I have just finished reading "Maigret Afraid" (Maigret a peur) which is set in the real-life town of Fontenay-le-Compte. I wonder how the residents of this town reacted to them being portrayed in quite unfavourable terms when this story was published in 1953. Surely in such a small town, where the population is still only 15,000, the people must have been able to identify individuals and local families, unless Simenon just used the town name had invented everything else. It is one thing to set a story in a large city such as Paris, and another to set the story in such an easily identifiable locality. Perhaps Simenon had had a bad time in that town and wanted to get his revenge on it?
Another point, there is a small confusion over names in the novel. When the family of Doctor Vernoux is being described, his aunt is first called Lucile, then a few lines later on she is called Emilie and on the next page this reverts back to Lucile. Was this a translation or printing error or did this switch take place in the original French?
David Cronan
UK

Émilie?
6/10/02 – Good sleuthing David! It appears to be an error from the beginning. In my Tout Simenon edition (6 p.560), it's "Émilie, la sœur aînée de sa femme...", but Lemoine (above) apparently recognized it as a slip, and didn't include Émilie in his Index, just Lucile. In the Penguin (p.33) it's "Emilie, his wife's elder sister...", as in the original, but in the Harvest/HBJ paperback edition (p.33), it's been corrected to "Lucile, his wife's elder sister...".
ST
Ranks of the Police Judicaire
6/10/02 – On the question of the ranks in the French police force in Maigret's time. It seems to me that brigadier, inspecteur and commissaire correspond roughly with sergeant, lieutenant and captain in the U.S.A. respectively with sergeant, inspector and chief-inspector in the U.K.
More so because the comparison with military ranks shows that in the armed forces that make use of the rank of brigadier this rank is even subordinate to the rank of sergeant. It is the same as corporal (except for the unofficial address of a brigadier-general as "Brigadier" in the U.K.).
I've sent an Email to the Direction de la Police Judicaire in Paris and asked for some information on this subject. Hope we get some answers.
Guido de Croock
Brigadier
6/14/02 – In the British Army Brigadier is the highest rank of officer below general (the next rank is Major General). It used to be known as Brigadier General until around the middle of the twentieth century. Guido de Croock is thus incorrect in suggesting that it ranks below sergeant.
David McBrien
Simenon Firsts for sale
6/15/02 – I have a collection of 10 Simenon British first editions I'd like to sell. (Click on the titles below for scans of the dust-jackets. 3 have no dj.) If interested, please contact me at nickreekie@supanet.com. Thank you.
A Sense of Guilt (1955)
The Son (1958)
M. and the Old Lady (1958)
My Friend Maigret (1956)
The Sacrifice (1956)
M. and the Burglar's Wife (1955)
Violent Ends (1954)
Act of passion (1953 no dj)
Maigret's Revolver (1956 no dj)
The Judge and the Hatter (1956 no dj)

Murder
6/17/02 – From The Guardian, 15.6.2002 ("The View from Belgium" by Andrew Osborn, "The Editor", p7):

A gruesome murder committed by a descendant of one of Belgium's most famous sons — Georges Simenon, the creator of the fictional detective, Maigret — was also a favourite theme [in the Belgian press last week]. Genevieve Simenon, the writer's great-niece, was found guilty by a Brussels court of killing her lover in a frenzied attack two years ago. The fact that she was related to a man renowned for his complex psychological plots was manna from heaven for the papers but there was an added bonus — the circumstances of the crime were simply fantastic.
Mme Simenon, it transpired, had persuaded a former lover, who happened to be a doctor, to say that her current lover had died of natural causes. It was only when a Brussels undertaker who also happened to be a former policeman was fitting the corpse for a coffin that he noticed something was wrong. One of the man's ears was virtually detached from his head and his face showed signs of serious bruising. Mme Simenon later admitted she had drugged her lover and then struck him with a mallet 18 times. "The trial has lifted the veil on a case worthy of the attention of Inspector Maigret," was the predictable comment from La Libre Belgique.

Roddy Campbell

As reported in the Guardian Unlimited story of May 31, 2002 by Andrew Osborn:
Brussels dispatch
Murder she wrought

The great-niece of the creator of fictional Parisian detective Inspector Maigret this week confessed to a real-life murder and attempted cover-up worthy of her great uncle, writes Andrew Osborn...

Friday May 31, 2002
When Freddy Hulsmans, a policeman turned undertaker, looked at the corpse he was measuring up for a coffin, he knew there was something wrong. One of the estate agent's ears was practically detached from the head, while the yellowing skin of the deceased's face was badly bruised and showed serious signs of stress. The man – Georges Temperman, 55 – did not look like he had choked on a piece of meat, suffered a heart attack and hit his head on a table as he fell. Yet that was exactly what his lover was claiming.
A death certificate proclaiming that Mr Temperman had died of natural causes had already been issued and the reputation of Genevieve Simenon – the lover in question – was beyond reproach. Mme Simenon was a highly respected doctor at a Brussels hospital and the great-niece of Georges Simenon, one of Belgium's most famous sons and the creator of plodding Parisian detective Inspector Maigret.
But years in the Belgian police force had taught Freddy Hulsmans to recognise a murder victim when he saw one. After a moment's reflection he phoned his former colleagues in the Brussels police department who begun investigating.
This week (two years after the event) a teary-eyed Genevieve Simenon, now 42, went on trial for murder in a turn of events which would have fascinated her bespectacled pipe-smoking great-uncle and given his fictional creation Inspector Maigret serious pause for thought.
Georges Temperman, the father of one of her four children, had not died of natural causes, she conceded.
Instead he had insulted her, gripped her by the throat, threatened to leave her and called her father a Nazi. He had also had a string of affairs with other women and treated the three children from her first marriage with contempt, she alleged.
On June 27, 2000, Genevieve Simenon snapped – by her own admission the only thing she could see was "red."
She took a wooden mallet from a nearby tool box and smashed it into her lover's head 18 times as hard as she possibly could. Mr Temperman was a big man but his responses were dulled – earlier that day Genevieve had injected him with a heavy dose of valium which had made him sluggish.
After Mr Temperman had breathed his last Genevieve washed, went for a drive around town, came back and removed every trace of blood from the flat before cleaning up the body and going out to work.
The following day she called a doctor, Edouard Adrianssens, who by a strange quirk of fate happened to be a former lover. He claims now that he was duped but at the time he happily wrote out a death certificate declaring that Mr Temperman had died of natural causes.
This week he sought to explain himself. "When I arrived the room where the body was lying was plunged into darkness and his head was covered with a sheet.
"She told me he had choked on a piece of meat and that he had heart problems. I lifted a bandage on his forehead and saw a wound but she explained to me that he had hurt himself falling. I trusted her – I never thought the unthinkable."
Mme Simenon, who has been in prison for the past two years, claims that hers was a crime of passion committed on the spur of the moment – but there may yet be another twist in this macabre tale.
Prosecutors believe that she may have tried to kill her lover by lethal injection, but failed, so resorted to brute force. Although Genevieve says she gave Mr Temperman a dose of valium to calm his nerves earlier that day, investigators have never found the syringe or any medical packaging because her clean-up of the murder scene was so thorough.
The trial, which has gripped Belgium and neighbouring France, is expected to wind up next week. If convicted, Georges Simenon's great-niece may be spending the next thirty years behind bars.


Roddy Campbell also spotted this from La Libre Belgique, 28/05/2002:

Georges Simenon accusé de collaboration
(D'après Belga)

AU PREMIER JOUR DE SON PROCÈS devant la cour d'assises de Bruxelles-capitale, où elle est accusée du meurtre de Georges Temperman, son ami, le Dr Geneviève Simenon a évoqué le passé de collaboration de sa famille pendant la Seconde guerre. Elle a indiqué que son père avait beaucoup souffert des ennuis de son grand-père paternel, Christian Simenon, actif, selon l'accusée, dans le mouvement rexiste au même titre que son frère, le célèbre écrivain. Au président qui lui faisait remarquer que Georges Simenon était en France pendant la guerre, l'accusée a répondu que cela ne l'avait pas empêché d'être un collaborateur. 'J'ai des documents qui le prouvent', a ajouté l'accusée, qui dit avoir été rejetée par son grand oncle et avoir été régulièrement traitée de 'fille de SS ou de nazi' par Temperman. Pour le reste, Geneviève Simenon, a évoqué 'une enfance triste'. 'Je recevais des torgnoles de ma mère pour un rien.' Entre deux sanglots, elle a indiqué avoir souffert toute sa vie 'd'un excès pondéral et des moqueries des autres'. L'accusée a fourni beaucoup de détails sur la dégradation progressive de son couple et donné sa version de la scène qui a abouti à la mort de son amant.

©La Libre Belgique 2002

[rough translation:]

Georges Simenon accused of collaboration

On the first day of proceedings before the Assizes Court of Brussels, where she is accused of the murder of her lover Georges Temperman, Dr. Geneviève Simenon evoked the past of collaboration of her family during WWII. She indicated that her father had been very troubled by his paternal grandfather, Christian Simenon, active, she claimed, in the "rexist" movement, like his brother, the famous writer. To the judge, who pointed out that Georges Simenon had been in France during the war, she answered that that had not stopped him from being a collaborator. 'I have documents to prove it', added the accused, who said she had been rejected by her great-uncle and had been regularly treated like a 'Nazi or SS girl' by Temperman. For the rest, Geneviève Simenon evoked 'a sad childhood.' 'I was regularly hit by my mother for nothing.' Between tears, she indicated she had suffered all her life 'being overweight and mocked by others.' The accused provided many details on the progressive deterioration of the relationship and gave her version of the scene that led to her lover's death.


Regarding calling Lucas "Squad Chief"
6/17/02 – In English versions, books and movies, Maigret is often called simply "Chief". Calling someone else "Squad Chief" will make two "Chiefs", or one "Chief" too many. Also, in English, it is generally understandable that the title "Chief" reserved to the 'person in charge'. Calling Maigret "Commissaire Maigret" and Lucas "Squad Chief" would be confusing to readers and viewers who is the real "Chief".

Vladimir K.

Good point. And anyway, I've noticed he's just an "inspecteur" in some stories — ST

Maigret's wife, in Gambon series
6/17/02 – In the Gambon series of Maigret, there are two actresses who play Maigret's wife. Any ideas why producers made the change? Does one of these ladies looks more like Maigret's wife, considering his occupation and lifestyle?

VK

Simenon in Paris Match, 1981
6/20/02 –

Paris Match
March 27, 1981, p 56-59

Paul Giannoli's

Simenon: "J'ai choisi d'être pauvre"

and my translation into English:

Simenon: "I've chosen to be poor"


Michael Gambon series
6/20/02 – I recently bought the second set of Maigret videotapes starring Michael Gambon, at the Waterstones outlet in Bruxelles. I'd not seen any of these before and I rather enjoyed them. I think that Gambon makes a more believable Maigret than Bruno Cremer does, but don't take this as a negative commentary on Cremer's acting ability. I just think that Gambon better fits the mental image of Maigret based on the written descriptions of him in the various stories. Oddly enough, I think the woman playing Madame Maigret in the Gambon series is just the opposite of the character in the books. She's rather too young and thin to be who she is playing. Lucas is fine but Janvier is also a little too young for my tastes. Anyway, I liked the tapes enough to order the first set. Is there a third?

Joe Richards

Unusual Maigret
6/24/02 – I've just reread "Maigret and the Minister" ("Maigret and the Calame Report") [Maigret chez le ministre], and I noticed a few things that make it unusual:

1) There's no murder. Offhand I can't think of another novel that doesn't contain a murder (or at least an apparent murder), outside of "Maigret's Memoirs". (There must have been others...)
2) It contains a fairly large amount of personal information on Maigret (plus a couple of interesting details on Janvier and Lucas).
3) There are no less than three references to other cases, including two which were the subjects of novels.
4) It contains explicit reference to war-time.

M's daily habits and home life (Ch 1):
Every evening when he came home Maigret stopped at the same spot on the pavement, just after the gas-lamp, and raised his eyes to the lighted windows of his flat. It was an automatic movement. Probably if he had been asked point-blank whether there was a light there or not he would have hesitated before replying. In the same way, almost as if it were a superstition with him, he began unbuttoning his coat between the second and third floors and searching for the key in the pocket of his trousers, though invariably the door opened as soon as he stepped on the door-mat.
These were rites that had taken years to become established and on which he depended more than he would have cared to admit. It was not raining tonight, so it did not apply, but his wife, for instance, had a special way of taking his wet umbrella from his hand at the same time as she bent to kiss him on the cheek.
...
The light in their flat was warmer, more intimate than at the office. He could see the newspapers and his slippers waiting for him beside his armchair.

M's childlessness (Ch 2):
"Have you any children, Maigret?"
The Superintendent shook his head.

M's driving (Ch 7):
Maigret never took the wheel. He had tried several times, after the P.J. had been provided with a number of small black cars and he had forgotten he was driving, he was so deep in thought. Two or three times, he had remembered his brakes only at the last moment and now he had no wish to repeat the experience.

Janvier (Ch 3):
Janvier, who was married and had just had his fourth child, pulled a face.

Lucas (Ch 4):
Lucas could be seen crossing the square, slightly dragging his left leg as usual.

A reference to "Maigret in Exile" in which he reveals a little of the background which was not brought out in the novel itself (Ch 2):
... There had been a time in his own life when he had found himself in a similar situation; though less dramatic one, and that, too, had had a political background. He wasn't to blame. He had acted as it was his duty to act, had behaved, not only as an honest man, but strictly according to his obligations as an official. Nevertheless, in the eyes of almost everyone he had done wrong. He had had to go before a disciplinary council and as everything was against him, had been blamed. It was at this time that he had momentarily left the P.J. and become an exile in the Mobile Brigade of Luçon, in the Vendée, the very department that Auguste Point represented in the Chamber of Deputies. His wife and his friends had told him over and over again that his own conscience was what mattered but often he seemed to behave, without realizing it. like a guilty man. On those last days at the P.J. for instance, while his case was being discussed in high places, he didn't dare to give any orders to his subordinates, not even to Lucas or to Janvier and when he came down the main staircase, he had kept close to the wall.

and a little more (Ch 3):
Was this affair going to end like the other political affair with which Maigret had had to deal and which had disgraced him at Luçon? That other time, too, it had all come about because of a certain rivalry between the Rue des Saussaies and the Quai des Orfèvres, each of the police departments receiving different directives, each defending opposing interests whether they liked it or not because of a struggle in high places.

A reference to the visit of "Maigret Afraid" without any mention of the case (Ch 3):
Julien Chabot who had become magistrate at Fontenay-Le-Comte where he lived with his mother in the large house where he was born, had been one of his friends from his student days at Nantes and two years ago, coming back from a congress in Bordeaux, he had dropped in to see him.

Another previous case (Ch 8):
"Do you know Seineport?"
"A little higher than Corbeil, near a floodgate." Maigret was remembering an inquiry, long ago ...
"That's it, it's a small village on the bank of the Seine, a favourite place with rod fishermen."
...
[Lapointe:] "We take the car?"
[Maigret:] "Yes. We're going to Seineport, about ten miles away."
"I've been there before with you."
"That's right."

War-time (Ch 3):
I think, if there hadn't been a war, Auguste Point would have continued peacefully to practise as a solicitor in the Vendee and in Poitiers. During the years of occupation one heard very little about him; his life went on as if nothing unusual was happening. Everybody was surprised when a few weeks before they retreated, the Germans arrested him and took him to Niort, and then to somewhere in Alsace. They caught three or four other people at the same time, one of them a surgeon from Bressuires and it was then that we learnt that throughout the war, Auguste Point had hidden British agents and pilots escaped from German camps in the farm he owns near La Roche. He came back, thin and a sick man, a few days after the liberation.

And on top of all that, it's a good story!
ST


Maigret and the Minister/and the Calame Report
6/24/02 – In addition to all the other points, this is one of the few Maigret novels with an apparently homosexual character, albeit presented in a rather veiled way.

Patricia Clark
Cardiff
Why did it cross Maigret's mind, as he was studying the other man's face, that Mascoulin was a homosexual? There had never been the slightest hint of anything like that. If he was, he concealed it carefully. It occurred to the superintendent that it might explain certain traits in his character.
(Ch 6)
I've only noted three other brief references to homosexuality in the Maigrets, though there may be more:
"I only know his first name: Otto."
The skein will unwind slowly, but it will unwind to the end, like a tapeworm.
"He's queer!"
Good! The fact that a homosexual is involved restricts the field of inquiry still further.
"Didn't he often go to the Rue de Bondy?"
It was almost inevitable. There's a certain little bar there frequented by practically all homosexuals of a certain social level -- the lowest. There's another on Rue de Lappe, which has become an attraction for tourists.
Maigret's Memoirs, Ch. 7

The man known to everyone as the Vicomte did not seem to object to his nickname, although he must have been aware of the innuendo. He was, in a discreet way, a homosexual. For the past fifteen years he had "covered" the Quai des Orfèvres for a Paris newspaper, a press agency, and some twenty provincial dailies.
In appearance, he was the last of the Boulevard dandies, dressed with Edwardian elegance, wearing a monocle in a black ribbon around his neck. Indeed, it could well have been the monocle (which he hardly ever used) that had earned him his nickname.

Maigret and the Headless Corpse, Ch. 2

"...There's Pierre Louchard...."
"What does he do?"
"He's over forty, he's a queer, and he runs an antique shop in the Rue de Sèvres."

Maigret's Pickpocket, Ch. 3
(And perhaps the only sympathetic character in "Maigret and the Reluctant Witnesses", Véronique Lachaume, the family member who'd "escaped", though not homosexual herself, worked in the Amazone, a lesbian bar/club.)
ST
Gino Cervi Maigrets
7/7/02 – It seems as if the Gino Cervi Maigrets are available either in video or DVD format from the website www.elleu.it. It also seems as if some sort of registration is required in order to buy from this site, but unfortunately my knowledge of Italian is too slight for me to be sure. Perhaps someone could try ordering and then let us know?
Mattias Siwemyr

Madame Maigret's crochet
7/7/02 – There seems to be an inconsistency between 'The Sailor's Rendezvous' and 'Madame Maigret's Admirer'. About two pages into 'The Sailor's Rendezvous' (1931), Madame Maigret takes her crochet to Fecamp:

"'What shall I do all day?'
In the end she took some sewing and crochet work."
However, by the time of 'Madame Maigret's Admirer' (1947) she seems entirely ignorant of the craft. The Maigrets are talking about the dead man and the nursemaid, Rita, who sat nearby, crocheting, in the Place des Vosges:
"'And they sat motionless like that all afternoon?'
'Except that the girl was doing her crochet...'
'Always crochet? For the past fortnight?'
'Yes ...'
'You didn't notice what stitch she was using?'
'No ... If it had been knitting I would know all about it but ...'"
Later, in Chapter 3, Madame Maigret reports that
"The Gastambides' maid, who often goes to sit in the square of an afternoon, declares tha Rita didn't know how to crochet and that it would have been impossible to use the things she made except for floorcloths ..."
Still later it turns out that Rita is a spy who passes messages in Morse Code, using the crochet hook - a truly improbable and cumbersome procedure.
Patricia Clark
Cardiff

Simenon's Short Stories vs. His Novels
7/7/02 – Patricia Clark's identification of an inconsistency in Madame Maigret's sewing abilities between "MM's Admirer" and "The Sailors' Rendezvous" is just another example of the general problem of inconsistencies between Simenon's short stories and the Maigret novels. Simenon whipped off the short stories during the period after he written the first 19 cases by 1934 in which he concluded by trying to retire his master sleuth and the decision to continue the pre-retirement novels. For a writer as facile as Simenon, short stories were a breeze and he used many of the short story ideas for subsequent novels, but, alas, virtually all of the significant inconsistencies in Maigret's total case load are found in these stories. Whether Lucas lived or succeeded Jules or Madame Maigret's first name are other examples of this problem.

Dave Drake

More stereotyping
7/8/02 – Re the post of 6.24.02: there is also another homosexual character, Philippe Montemart, in 'Maigret in Montmartre', presented, as usual, in a sadly stereotypical way:

"'I've done no harm. I don't understand why I've been arrested.'
'You go with men?'
In his heart of hearts he was proud of it, like all pansies, and an involuntary smile crossed his unnaturally red lips. Maybe he even got a thrill from being pushed around by real men!'" (Ch. 6)
Patricia Clark
Cardiff

Time magazine on Simenon's death (1989)
7/24/02 –

Time, Sept. 18, 1989, p.81

Milestones

Laureate of The Stakeout

Georges Simenon: 1903-1989

By William A. Henry III


Simenon at 64 - in Paris Match, 1967
8/2/02 –

Paris Match
April 8, 1967, p 104-107

Simenon vous raconte Simenon

and my translation into English:

Simenon on Simenon

Interview: Gilbert Graziani

Photos: Philippe Le Tellier


"If I hadn't been lucky enough to become a novelist,
I would have been one of the failures in my books."

Simenon a golfer?!
8/3/02 –
Do you enjoy these vintage popular magazine articles on Simenon (like the one above from Paris Match) as much as I do? There always seems to be some interesting new piece of information or revealing photo — somehow I never imagined Georges Simenon addicted to golf!
I like searching for these articles, and translating the French ones so that the "English-only" world can enjoy them as well. If you know of something you think would be appropriately posted here, and can send me scans or photocopies, or even just the reference, contributions are welcome!
Other articles have been posted from these issues:

(click on cover to read)

1953

1958

1969

1980

1981

1989
Steve

Simenon in Paris Match
8/3/02 – I loved the article in Paris Match. Simenon, it seems to me, spoke to the reporter just the way he wrote. Terse, but profound, with the sentences well balanced and untranslatable turns of phrase that evoked the Maigret novels of the postwar years. Anyone who compares the French and English versions will understand why so much of Simenon's flavor is lost in translation — and here, we have as good a translator as Simenon ever had.
Simenon's description of his daily life, and those moments where he throws himself nonstop into a novel, shows clearly that Maigret was his alter ego in spirit. Not in fact, of course — Maigret, faithful to his wife and a good "godfather" to his men, exemplifed virtues that Simenon could not emulate and may not have wanted to. But the domestic, stable, hardworking Simenon, when he was those things, was a lot like his hero.

Oz Childs

Thanks, Oz. I agree with you completely about the loss of Simenon's flavor in translation — it's frustrating to search hard for a way to put into English what was expressed so easily in the French... and come up short!
ST

Flogging a dead horse? Michel Simon in Peter Haining's "Complete Maigret"
8/6/02 –


Michel Simon?

1

2

3

4

5

6
E. Fillon wrote to say that the picture I had posted of Michel Simon (left), who played Maigret in "Les témoinages de l'enfant de choeur" (1952) didn't look like him, and sent a picture from one of his other films (6) to illustrate.
I've found another image of him in the Maigret role (1), the poster from that film (4) and several from other films (2, 3) and a poster of his (5), and although they slightly resemble the one I'd posted, it's not so clearly a picture of Simon... but maybe.
Well, I went back to look at the source, which was, unfortunately, the error-filled Complete Maigret from Peter Haining, and found... another error. Here is the beginning of his section on Michel Simon:
The first of these stars was Michel Simon (1895-1975), a hulking, heavy-featured actor who made two Maigret pictures, Le Témoinage de l'Enfant de Choeur (Elusive Witness) in 1952 and ten years later starred in a joint French-Italian version of Le Bateau d'Emile (never translated).
Ignoring the grammar, Le Bateau d'Emile was not a Maigret — Simon only played Maigret once. There was an English translation of Le Témoinage de l'Enfant de Choeur called "Elusive Witness" published in the Summer 1951 issue of Suspense magazine (UK), but no film version with that name. Haining continues to refer to Le Bateau d'Emile as a Maigret in the paragraphs which follow. He compounds the felony by remarking that "The Maigret episode was based on a short story of the same title in which Simenon drew on his own childhood memories as a choirboy to recount the inspector's pursuit of the killer of a young chorister." If you've read the story, you know that the young chorister was the witness, not the victim. In fact, Haining says so himself in the next paragraph! (complete Simon section here)
Other Haining errors have been noted in the forum: 1/5/01, 1/18/01, 2/8/01, 6/14/01.
It's really too bad Haining's book isn't more dependable - it's attractive and well-laid-out, filled with good pictures and lots of interesting information - only sometimes it turns out to be misinformation. Careful!
ST

Maigret on France Culture radio - Saturday, August 10
8/10/02 – Jérôme Devémy wrote to say that there will be a broadcast on France Culture radio, Saturday, August 10, at 15:00:


samedi 10 août 2002, à 15:00

Jules, François, Amédée Maigret.
Biographie radiophonique du commissaire Maigret

Portrait
Présenté par : Sylvie Gasteau
Réalisateur : Monique Veilletet

«A 24 ans, l'envie m'était venue de connaître la France dans ses moindres recoins et j'avais découvert que les villes et les villages ne montrent, du coté de la grande route ou de la gare que leur visage le plus banal ou le plus renfrogné, réservant leur intimité et leur vie secrète aux rivières et canaux. C'est le vrai visage qu'on découvre, le plus ancien.»

Quand j'étais vieux, Simenon.

Arsène Lupin a toujours eu trente ans ; Sherlock Holmes, quarante, Hercule Poirot, cinquante, Maigret, lui, vieillit sous nos yeux. Jules, François, Amédée Maigret est un documentaire littéraire qui retrace les grandes lignes de ce personnage de fiction devenu au fil du temps personnage historique.
Notre enquête commence à Paray-Le-Frésil avec le biographe Gilles Henry dans le château où Simenon fit naître son commissaire. Elle se poursuit avec Evelyne Sullerot qui évoque la vie du héros auprès de Madame Maigret. A Paris, l'écrivain Hugues Pagan confronte son expérience d'ancien inspecteur avec celle du personnage de roman. Michel Carly, à Liège, joue des croisements entre Georges Simenon et Jules Maigret. Claude Gauteur et Fred Personne, à bord d'une péniche, témoignent par le biais du Charretier de la Providence (quatrième enquête du commissaire Maigret) de la vie des canaux chère à Simenon.
Des archives relient ses paroles d'aujourd'hui et des extraits de film font entendre la voix et l'univers de celui qui, de l'écrit est arrivé à la couleur en passant par le noir et blanc. Enfin des lectures, en retraçant par fragments l'itinéraire exemplaire de ce fonctionnaire, feront sentir le climat à la fois réaliste, sensuel et impressionniste de l'écriture de Simenon. Le documentaire achevé, Maigret s'estompera dans la brume ayant perdu un peu de son mystère...
You should be able to hear it via the internet... at www.radiofrance.fr/chaines/france-culture/sommaire/.

Death of another Maigret: Maurice Denham
8/10/02 –
The death was recently announced of that fine actor Maurice Denham who played Maigret in several BBC radio plays. Recordings of these plays are available to buy and not only feature Denham in the title role but Michael Gough as Simenon acting the part of narrator of the dramas.

David Cronan
UK
At the Guardian:
Radio and film star Denham dies at 92.
Maurice Denham: Character actor at his masterly best as the gentleman, crooked or straight.

Second-hand Maigrets in Paris
8/11/02 – I have recently returned from Paris. People may be interested to know that there is a weekend market of second-hand and antiquarian books in the Parc Georges Brassens every Saturday and Sunday from about 10 am until dusk. There is a stall in the lower of the two halls which seems to specialise in Simenons (in French). It had more second-hand Maigrets than I have ever seen in one place, in a variety of editions. The prices seem very reasonable, especially when compared to the bouquinistes on the banks of the Seine. The book stalls are in the rue Brancion. The address is:

Marché du livre ancien et d'occasion
(tous les samedis et dimanches)
Parc Georges Brassens
rue Brancion
Paris (XVe arrondissement)
nearest métro, either Porte de Vanves or Convention.
There are also weekend markets and a marché des puces nearby (— the latter in the rue Marc Sanglier at weekends).
Best wishes, Patricia Clark
Cardiff

Maigret en Meublé
8/14/02 – What is it about Simenon and Maigret that makes him worthy of the honors that are finally coming his way? I think for every fan it comes down to a few books where every word seems to be the mot juste, where at least one character is unique and unforgettable, yet after all just like someone you've met, and where Simenon creates an atsmosphre that changes forever your view of Paris or the other towns Simenon chooses to put Maigret in.
Of all the Maigrets (and I'm still hoping a couple from WWII will be published again as paperbacks), I think the one I come back to most is Maigret en Meublé [Maigret Rents/Takes a Room]. He wrote it in 1951, and it occurred to me that I could follow his thoughts as the story came to him in the weeks before he sat down at his typewriter. Once (or so I imagine) Simenon went to a diner in Connecticut or a coffee shop in Tucson, and was served by a plump waitress who seemed like an overgrown chubby baby, whose attitude was "This is the best possible life in the best of all possible worlds". Maybe, indeed, the woman was the owner, and her devoted employees knew she thought of all of them as "charming" and "delightful" no matter their faults. From there to making her a central figure in a tale of sudden murder (or attempted murder) was a short step. So that Maigret can talk to her often, change her into the landlady of furnished rooms and apartments. Add a callow youth, in over his head. Describe, but eliminate, all the possible suspects and it becomes obvious where the deadly shot must come from and who or what sort of person must have fired it — and why. I can see the book writing itself at that point.
What really surprises me about this book is how Simenon, who hadn't lived in Paris for over a decade, managed to get his street just right. And how even though not a Parisian by birth, he managed to find so Parisian a way to describe his neighborhood. No American could mention the Rue Mouffetard as it must have looked in 1950 (and still looked in 1966) without being overwhelmed by its medieval character. Nor could any American have been so surprised at the provincial-village look of Rue Lhomond, or failed to observe the contrast between the two streets, the one little changed from the era of Henry IV or Louis XIII, the other just open fields until the 1800's. Yet it is not the great age of Mouffetard, but the low-key and humble newness of Rue Lhomond that would be the first thing a Parisian would notice.
There are a handful of other Maigrets I like as well, but none I like better.

Oz Childs

Simenon interview in Réalités - 1962
8/16/02–
Réalités
No. 137, April 1962, p 22-29
 

the MYSTERY man

an exclusive interview with Georges Simenon, followed by his short story, Mélie's Husband, "written specially for Réalités."

[interviewer and translator not credited]


NOTE: Although the story "Mélie's Husband" is headed 'A short story written specially for Réalités', that is apparently not the case. The original French version, "Le mari de Mélie", appears in Volume 12 of the Presses de la Cité Tout Simenen, pp 124-133. The index states that it was first published in 'Tout la vie' August 14, 1941, and then in La rue aux trois poussins, Presses de la Cité, 1963. Possibly the translation (copyright 1961) was done especially for Réalités. (An Italian translation, "Un marito disastroso", appeared in 1962.)
ST

Maigret on DVD?
8/19/02 – When will the Gambon series of Maigret and any other Maigrets be issued in DVD format?

Bradley Hodge

Simenon / Maigret society in English?
8/20/02 – I'm only a recent fan of Maigret, but I believe Simenon and Maigret outrank all the other detectives and authors. The way the books are written is excellent. I also enjoyed the Granada TV series starring Michael Gambon. Does anyone know of a Simenon or Maigret society that I can write to? (It would have to be in English as I can't read French.)

MHB Chess

Simenon / Maigret society in English?
8/22/02 – In response to MHB Chess's posting of 20 August, I feel I have to ask why on earth anyone would need a "society" to write to when this board is available. What could a society have to offer which is unavailable here?
Thanks, Steve for a brilliant site.

Michael Newman
Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Thanks, Michael! — If anyone has any ideas about what such a society could offer, please let me know – maybe we can work something out!
ST

Maigret Connections in Arles/Bouches-du-Rhone
8/22/02 – We shall shortly be spending a couple of weeks on holiday at a friend's house near Arles. I know that the Cote d' Azur (Antibes, Cannes etc.) features in one or two of the Maigrets – Liberty Bar comes to mind – but does anyone know whether the more westerly parts of Provence are mentioned at all?
(I'd better not let my wife see this – she was far from impressed last year when I preferred to spend more time on a trip to Paris trying to find places with Maigret connections than visiting the usual tourist attractions, and refused point-blank to take a photo of me with the agent on duty at the Quai des Orfèvres!)

Michael Newman
Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Maigret in MD magazine - 1969, 1976
8/23/02 – Thanks to John H. Dirckx, who sent these articles from MD Medical Newsmagazine, "a 'throwaway' (a magazine distributed to all physicians without charge, subsisting on advertising) that was published from the mid-1950s to the early 1980s by MD Publications, Inc. in New York City (30 East 60th St.). The magazine was founded and edited by Dr. Felix Martí-Ibáñez, a mecurial Spanish-born American physician with a flair for writing. His editorial essays were among the main attractions of the publication. After his death the magazine fizzled."

This lead article, "Chief Inspector Maigret of Paris", contains at least 24 references to Maigret cases without specifically identifying them by title. How many can you identify? Following each of the case descriptions, I've added a link to my list of "answers".

March 1969 - pp 193-199: Great Detectives:   Chief Inspector Maigret of Paris
March 1969 - pp 223-226: Personality: Confessions of Georges Simenon
September 1976 - pp 13-15: Editorial Essay: The Bard from Belgium

Maigret connections in Arles/Bouches-du-Rhone

[click to enlarge]
8/23/02 – In response to Michael's question about Maigret in the Arles region and the Bouche-du-Rhone departement: There is no Maigret novel or short story that is situated in this region. Simenon writes elatedly about the nearby Gard departement (Aigues-Mortes, Grau-du-Roi, Camargues) in his articles about his journeys through France on his boat Ginette.
As far as I know there's only one (non-Maigret) Simenon novel that is situated in this region: La fuite de Monsieur Monde [M. Monde Vanishes] is set in Marseille. In several Maigret novels there are references to Marseille, because this port town was, for various reasons, a notorious source of criminal characters.
Here is a list of the localities of all Maigret novels and short stories that are situated in France but are not set in Paris.
Guido de Croock

'The Bard from Belgium' Article
8/23/02 – The articles from MD magazine are interesting, but the article, 'The Bard from Belgium' is surely incorrect in decribing Maigret as 'Inspector Maigret of the Paris Sûreté' when he was in the Police Judiciare.

Patricia Clark
Cardiff

Marti-Ibañez Biography of Maigret
8/23/02 – The Marti-Ibañez piece was tour de force on Maigret and the quiz was an added inspiration — I enjoyed both immensely. I couldn't find the source for question #8 either. There are so few Maigret conversations with his police superiors (most are with the Examining Magistrate) that I'm sure someone will identify it. My guess is Maigret Takes a Room in which he does have a conversation with his superior and the methodology he employs in solving Janvier's shooting is precisely the method outlined in the quotation. One additional case could be added to the answer to question #18: "Death Penalty" also brought Maigret to Belgium.
Thanks for bringing such a great short biography to us and for making it challenging and fun.

David Drake

Thanks David — And again, thanks to John H. Dirckx, for supplying this great set of articles, which would otherwise probably never have been seen by the majority of Maigret fans.
ST

Cases in France, but Outside of Paris
8/24/02 – I appreciated Guido de Croock's contribution in identifying 29 French cases that took place outside of Paris. His table is an extremely useful addition to the study of Maigret. Identifying the site of Maigret's cases is, however, a very complex exercise. For example, the original double murder of Madame Henderson and her maid in Maigret's War of Nerves [La Tête d'un homme] took place in Neuilly, westnorthwest of Paris in the Ile de France, but I would agree with Guido that War of Nerves took place in Paris where the "jail break" and most of the investigation takes place. There are a couple of other cases that did take place in or nearby Neuilly: Maigret and the Burglar's Wife and "Mr. Monday" took place there and Maigret and the Toy Village was near Poisey, which is in the general vicinity. In addition, "Sale by Auction" (in the Vendée), "Evidence of the Altar-boy" (location not identified, but I've always assumed Luçon), and "Jeumont, 51 Minute Stop" (in France just across the border from Belgium) should be added to Guido's list. My geographic distribution of Maigret's 102 cases (using the place of murder as the case's location) is: 62 in Paris, 35 in other parts of France, and 5 in other countries.

Dave Drake

Thanks!
8/24/02 – My apologies for my question (20.8.02). I would also like to assure Mr. Newman and S.T. that there is nothing wrong with this site and that it's the best Maigret site on the net. No improvements needed!

A. Hastings (MHB Chess)

Oh, no apology is necessary at all. I think it was a good question — there is an active Simenon society in French — Les Amis de Georges Simenon — which publishes "Cahiers Simenon" and has (at least) an annual meeting (in Liège I think). But certainly this site tries to fill the functions of a "Simenon/Maigret" society on-line — with an open forum, presentation of hard-to-find texts, notices of new videos and publications, discussions, criticism, etc. And... no dues, open membership, meetings anytime... Welcome aboard!
ST

Neuilly isn't really outside of Paris
8/28/02 – Thanks to Dave Drake for his remarks (8/24/02) on the Maigret Outside Paris chart. I think Dave is right about "Jeumont, 51 minutes d'arrêt", Félicie est là and "Vente à la Bougie". I sure enough missed those. The first one because, although the story is situated in Jeumont, this locality plays no role whatsoever. For the other two I have no explanation besides inattentiveness.
In the corrected chart I still place the "Neuilly novels" aside, because I think they really are "Parisian novels". Neuilly-sur-Seine is, in the strictest interpretation, in fact not a part of the municipality of Paris, but it is so close that it can be counted in the Paris area. I cannot see these as outside-Paris novels, not for geographical reasons, nor for reasons of atmosphere. Another motivation is that in all the outside-Paris novels Maigret has to travel to and stay over at the localities in order to direct his investigation. For the Neuilly-stories he stays in Paris.

Guido de Croock

"The Evidence of the Altar-Boy" was probably set in Nantes
8/28/02 – I did not originally include "Le témoinage de l'enfant de chœur" in my chart because the location is not mentioned in the story, but there are a few indications with regard to the city or town where this story is set. It is certain that it is not Paris, so Dave (8/24/02) is right, the story must be included in the chart. I regret I cannot agree with him that Luçon is a possibility.
I think it must be Nantes. Remember that in "Vente à la bougie" Maigret was stationed in Nantes, but more so because it is Nantes where he lived and went to school after his mother died. The age of the altar-boy corresponds with Maigret's first years in Nantes.
These sections from the first pages of the story could offer an indication:

1. "Ses inspecteurs, la veille, à la Brigade mobile ou il était détaché depuis quelques mois..." ("The previous day, his inspectors at the Brigade mobile, to which he had been attached for a few months...")

1. This shows that Maigret was situated outside of Paris.

2. "...du côté de la caserne ou, à cinq heures et demie, on avait entendu des sonneries de trompettes..." (...from the direction of the barracks, where, at five thirty, one could hear the clarion call...."

2. There is a caserne, an army barracks, in town. I can't find any reference to an army barracks in Luçon. In Nantes there is the "Caserne de la Visitation".

3. "...aux maisons à peu prés pareilles, à un étage, à deux étages au maximum, comme on trouve dans les faubourg de la plupart des grandes villes de province." ("...with almost similar houses of one, or two floors at most, as one finds in the outskirts of most large cities in the province.")

3. The setting seems to be a large city in the province. Luçon can hardly be called a large city, today it's a town of 10,000 inhabitants; Nantes has 560,000 inhabitants.

4. "—A quelle heure passe le premier tram?" ("What time is the first trolley?")

4. This shows that there is a tramway in the city. Luçon has no tramway (and never had one); in Nantes there was a tramway (see image, above, of trolleys in Nantes).

5. "—Quand nous arriverons au milieu de la rue Sainte-Catherine...) ("When we arrive in the middle of the rue Sainte-Catherine...")

5. There is a rue Sainte-Catherine in Nantes, not in Luçon.

These citations show that the small country town of Luçon is a very unlikely candidate. Because of his placement in Nantes, and especially because of Maigret's past in Nantes, I think this city is more probable.
Guido de Croock

Trussel Web Site Better than Any Study Society
8/29/02 – The strength of Simenon's Maigret novels and short stories is their appeal to a multitude of interests, as exemplified by the number of points of view and languages represented in comments presented on Steve Trussel's Maigret web site. The resulting synergy from these different perspectives is marvelous to behold and makes the Maigret cases vital and living some thirty years after the last novel was published.
No commentator places greater emphasis on locality than Guido De Crook; he's our society's expert on story location. He argued [4/4/02]: "Simenon, who had ... not a lot of imagination, obviously needed tangible characters and settings for his novels. This is a distinguishing feature of all his work. Therefore it can be interesting for the devotee to discover the exact localities." This argument suggests that locality is important in understanding and appreciating the specific story. De Crook's perspective is micro-oriented — each story.
My own perspective is macro. I am interested in understanding Maigret's entire sleuthing career; from my studies of other famous detectives in literature, I know of no other detective whose entire long career is so consistently and comprehensively depicted in the series as is Maigret's life. My interest in locality is, therefore, concerned with how that location fits into what we know about Maigret's overall career. That's why I guessed Lucon for the unidentified site of "The Evidence of the Altar-boy." From other stories, I knew that Maigret had been sent there during his purgatory with the Surety National. Guido has solved my dilemma, however, by his reference to the "Sale by Auction" case in which Maigret is reported to have been headquartered in Nantes (I had previously missed that reference). Therefore, I am willing to concede that Nantes is the site of the Altar-boy case.
As far as our difference over whether Neuilly is so close to Paris that it makes more sense to classify these cases in Paris than French but outside of Paris is concerned, I would agree that from the understanding and interpreting the story perspective Paris is the logical categorization. From my macro perspective, however, these cases represent still additional cases in which Maigret went outside his Judiciary Police jurisdiction to solve murder mysteries. Classification systems have no one correct answer; it all depends on why you're trying to classify the objects.

Enough said,
Dave Drake

Maigret had jurisdiction in Neuilly
8/29/02 – [in response to Dave Drake's comment "cases in which Maigret went outside his Judiciary Police jurisdiction" (above)] The PJ has always had authority over the "Departement de la Seine", which includes Neuilly. Since Maigret's time, the departements have been re-organized and the DRPJ (Direction Régionale de Police Judiciaire) has authority to investigate in Paris, and the suburban departements of Val de Marne, Seine St.-Denis, and Hauts-de-Seine (which includes Neuilly).
I am wondering, though, whether the PJ still has its offices at 36, Quai des Orfèvres. I get the impression from looking at the Paris Prefecture web site that their PJ officers are now divided among three divisions, two north of the Seine and one south.
Confusingly, the Sûreté or National Police, now seems to also be called the "Police Judicaire", but I don't think they investigate crimes local to Paris unless they relate to nationwide criminal problems.

Oz Childs

Bibliothèque des littératures policières
8/29/02 – I've just discovered this Inspector Maigret site, and am very, very impressed — it's a treasure-trove for the Simenon fan. I thought I might call attention to a location of interest for those interested in Simenon and detective fiction: la Bibliothèque des littératures policières (BILIPO), 48-50 rue du Cardinal-Lemoine, Paris Ve. It's a fantastic resource for the mystery reader (and mystery writer), containing fiction and non-fiction (biographies, monographs, genre studies, etc) in both French and English. Naturally, one finds a great deal of material there on Simenon and Maigret. I highly recommend a visit to anyone planning on a trip to Paris.

Many thanks,
Joe Goodrich

Thanks for the reminder, Joe. It's good to hear from you, and that it's still flourishing. It sounded familiar to me, and searching through the archives, I found other rave reviews from Oz Childs in May, 1999, and Jérôme Devémy in October, 1999 (with a short follow-up posting in February, 2000). Time does fly!
ST

Maigret Website Anniversary!
8/30/02 – Just now when I said "Time does fly" it occurred to me that this was around the anniversary of this site, so I went and checked. Although it's actually the 30th here in Tokyo, for most of you it's the 29th - our 6th anniversary! This site first appeared on the web on August 29, 1996, when it was basically just a Maigret Bibliography, trying to make some sense of the confusion of English titles and nail down the question of "just how many Maigrets are there?" My how we've grown! Thanks to all of your support over the years, I think it just keeps getting better!

Happy Anniversary!
8/30/02 – Congratulations Steve on the 6th anniversary of your wonderful site. I think you deserve the credit for making it a cyberhome for all us Maigret devotees. Thanks very much!

Guido de Croock

8/30/02 – Congratulations on six very productive years of service to research on Maigret. Sorry to have missed the first two,
Dave Drake

8/31/02 – I just wanted to add my congratulations to those already expressed. From my point of view this is one of the best and most interesting sites on the internet. May I add that I hope you will continue to find the time to keep it going for many years to come.
Best wishes,
Michael Newman
Chelmsford, UK

9/2/02 – The site is a goldmine. Thanks for all your efforts.
Roddy Campbell

9/8/02 – Happy Birthday for your web site and thanks a lot for all the efforts you put into it. It is a marvellous tool and exchange place for all of us who are interested in Maigret.
Best Regards,
Jérôme Devémy

9/19/02 – Belated congratulations on six wonderful years.
Warmest Regards,
John H. Dirckx

Gino Cervi Maigrets
9/6/02 – I am new to this site. I am Italian and I apologize for may English....
I have read the message of Mr. Siwemyr who would like to know how to order video of Gino Cervi Maigrets [7/7/02]. I have phoned to the publisher (i.e. Elleu), but they don't send videos abroad. I have the full collection and think it is worth to see some of these movies, because even if you don't speak Italian you could appreciate the interpretation of Gino Cervi. If you like I could buy one video for you, Mr. Siwemyr, and send it to your address. I would like, then, to know your comments...
Congratulations to the authors of the site.

Simenon short stories
9/10/02 – From the website of Crippen and Landru, American publishers www.crippenlandru.com

NEW! - "The 13 Culprits" by Georges Simenon, trans. by Peter Schulman

Before he created Inspector Maigret, Simenon wrote a series of stories, Les 13 Coupables (1932), which, despite extravagant praise from Alexander Woolcott, Ellery Queen (who chose it for Queen's Quorum), and other experts, has never previously been published in English. The detections of Monsieur Froget are set among the people of a city the young Simenon knew well. The translator, Peter Schulman, says, "It is a marginal Paris, populated by society's losers who, for one reason or another, are brought down by a petty vice, or a greedy aspiration, that invariably leads to a bitter sense of failure in their lives . and, of course, a crime they hubristically think they can get away with. It is, in short, a world captured by a great writer... read more
Sounds interesting. Anybody know anything more about these stories?
I first saw this mentioned in the Rap Sheet section of January Magazine, which is an excellent online site for crime reviews.
Roddy Campbell

Les 13 coupables
9/19/02 – In reply to Roddy Campbell's query, Les 13 coupables is a collection of thirteen short stories (12-15 pages each) featuring M. Froget, juge d'instruction of Paris. My copy, printed in the fourth quarter of 1975 in the Livre de Poche Simenon series, indicates a 1957 copyright by Librairie Arthème Fayard. The stories are told by an anonymous third-person narrator and contain an absolute minimum of setting and characterization. Each recounts M. Froget's solution of a crime, the title of the story being the name of le (ou la) coupable. Generally the proof of guilt hinges on a seemingly trivial detail overlooked by the criminal, the police, and the reader. These are very simple puzzle stories, unmistakably by Simenon but lacking the richness and appeal of the Maigret novels. Froget is virtually the antithesis of Maigret — elderly, austere, and aloof, he relies on intellectual acumen rather than on psychology or intuition to identify the guilty. Somewhat along the same lines are two other collections of non-Maigret stories dating from the same era, Les 13 Mystères and Les 13 Énigmes.

John H. Dirckx

Note on the date: In the Tout Simenon edition, Les treize mystères and Les treize énigmes are listed as having been written in Winter 1928-29, and Les treize coupables in Winter 1929-30 (along with Pietr le Letton, the first Maigret signed by Simenon).
ST

Les 13 Coupables
9/23/02 – Thanks to John H. Dirckx for his interesting reply. A 1932 Fayard edition of Les 13 Coupables is available through ABE Books for $400.00 / £257.00. Hang on to your copy, John!
The detective in the other two books, Les 13 Énigmes and Les 13 Mystères, is apparently called Joseph Leborgne.

Roddy Campbell

Simenon 2003
9/23/02 – As I mentioned a few months ago [2/16/02], a lot of things will happen in Simenon's home-town, Liège, in 2003. There is now a special site with information on the coming events. Please have a look at: www.simenon2003.be

Best regards,
Philippe Proost

Maigret on DVD
9/28/02 – I located one of the best prices for the Maigret series on DVD which will be released on 11/19/02. Amazon offers it for approx. $75 with free shipping. But the best price was on www.cduniverse.com for $65.29.

Very Best,
Bradley Hodge

2003 Centenary Events
9/30/02 – Thanks to Phillipe Proost for the information about the website for the Simenon centenary [9/23/02]. Unfortunately, I don't speak French and I wonder if someone would be kind enough to translate the event schedule into English when it becomes available. Thanks in advance.

Jo Aranda
P.S. Belated congratulations on your 6th birthday. This is a wonderful site, especially for someone like me who is a new devotée.
Jo A

Maigret in London

10/1/02 – In Maigret's Revolver, first published in 1952, Maigret catches a plane to London and hangs around the Savoy Hotel. Several references are made to the last time Maigret was in London, some 12 or 13 years before. Is this just background or is there a Maigret novel about this earlier visit?
One clue is that Inspector Pyke of Scotland Yard welcomes Maigret to England. The two have obviously met before, but to the best of my knowledge that was in My Friend Maigret aka The Methods of Maigret (1949) when Inspector Pyke accompanied Maigret to Porquerolles.
So, did Maigret visit London in 1939? And if so, what was the purpose of his visit?
Roddy Campbell

Maigret's Arrival in London

10/5/02 – I think Simenon made a slight mistake in Maigret's Revolver. He states that when Maigret flew to London he landed at Croydon Airport. This used to be the primary airport for London until 1946 when Heathrow took over as the main gateway for the capital. I presume that Maigret would have travelled with either Air France or BEA and by 1952 (when the book was written) these two national airlines would have only been using Heathrow. According to "Google" Croydon did not close down completely until 1959 but for the last few years of its life was only used as a diversionary airport. Of course the novel could have been set in Simenon's time-warp world of the 1930's.
David Cronan
UK

Maigret on TV in BC Canada
10/7/02 – Maigret series (M. Gambon) will be on TV in BC Canada, ch. 5 at 11 pm, starting October 18, 2002.

Vladimir Krasnogor

2003 Centenary Events ... in English

10/8/02 – At the Année Simenon site, clicking on the Info-News link brings up thumbnails for pdf (Adobe Acrobat) files of the current issues, #1 and #2, in four languages - French (F), Dutch (NL), German (D) and English (GB). (While #1 loaded pretty quickly for me, #2 seems to take forever...)
ST

2003 Centenary Events ... in English

Here's a text-only version of the English Info-News 2, for those who couldn't download the pdf files.
ST

Maigret in London?
10/8/02 – Did Maigret visit London in 1939 or thereabouts? [10/1/02] There's no episode with any details, but in the beginning of the short story "Storm in the Channel" [Tempête sur la manche], these lines appear:

And so, as Madame Maigret had long wanted to visit England, he had made up his mind:
"We'll go and spend a fortnight in London. I'll take the opportunity to look up some of my colleagues at Scotland Yard with whom I worked during the war."
But... there's something problematic about this. The story was published in Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret by Gallimard in 1944, before the war was over. And the Tout Simenon edition reports that it was first published in the May 20, 1938 issue of Police-Film, having been written at Neuilly-sur-Seine in the winter of 1937-38... before the war had begun. So how could M have made such a remark as "my colleagues... with whom I worked during the war"?!
On the other hand, he and Mme Maigret may have indeed made their planned Channel crossing and visited London after the end of the story, which would have placed them there in November, presumably 1937.
ST

Maigret in London - WWI?
10/8/02 – Maigret undoubtedly worked with Scotland Yard in the First World War, 1914-1918. His first "case" was in 1913 and resulted in his being named to the "grande maison" or Quai des Orfèvres. He probably became chief of the criminelle or commissaire divisionnaire in the late 1920's, as the first stories about him began. He retired in 1933, at the age of 45 or so, during the Charenton investigation (L'Ecluse No. 1), but briefly returned from his house near the Loire in 1934 to help his nephew (Maigret). He then was mysteriously reinstated to his position, who knows how? In any event, Maigret stories appear after a lapse of 10 years. By 1948 or at the latest 1953 Maigret has reached the age of mandatory retirement, but novels about him continue to appear as if he hadn't retired at all. These novels are set in an indeterminate post-Second World War time period. The major difference, it seems to me, is that the tramcar lines have pretty much disappeared.
I'm a little handicapped because I've never been able to find the World War II novels in paperback (La Maison du Juge, Les Caves du Majestic), and I haven't read a lot of the short stories that came out during those years. Is there a fuller explanation?

Oz Childs

Jean Richard and Maigret
10/12/02 – Malgré que je comprenne assez bien la langue de Shakespeare et Wilde, je ne peux pas aborder un sujet qui m'irrite en anglais.
Je tiens à vous que Jean Richard est un Maigret fort honorable et malgré certaines affirmations à votre site, il correspond assez bien au vrai Maigret surtout dans les premiers films de la série...
Suite à un accident de la route, Jean Richard fut diminué physiquement et il ne fut plus tellement à la hauteur pour des raisons de santé...
Si vous l'avez déjà vu dans "Félicie est là" ou dans "Maigret et la grande perche", il campe un Maigret authentique, solide qui sans prétention avance sans de détourner de son but...
Jean Richard n'aurait pas la correction de Maigret, il garde son chapeau, fume sa pipe sans arrêt, ne dit pas bonjour. Eh bien relisez certains Maigret comme "l'inspecteur Cadavre" ( Maigret se traite lui même de brute ) et vous voyez que Jean Richard n'est pas si loin de la réalité du personnage....

Jean-Paul Corlin
[translation by ST:]
Although I understand the language of Shakespeare and Wilde well enough, I cannot tackle a topic that irritates me like this in English.
I maintain that Jean Richard was an extremely worthy Maigret and that, despite certain affirmations on your site, he corresponds quite well to the true Maigret, especially in the early films of the series. Following his traffic accident, Richard was physically weakened, and he was no longer able to attain those heights for health reasons.
If you have seen him in Félicie est là or Maigret et la grande perche, he portrays an authentic, strong Maigret who advances without pretension toward his goal.
As for his not having the politeness of Maigret — keeping his hat on, smoking his pipe non-stop, not saying hello — well, reread some Maigrets like l'Inspecteur Cadavre (where Maigret calls himself crude) and you'll see that Jean Richard was not so far off character.
Jean-Paul Corlin

Jean-Paul is responding to Simenon's criticism of Richard, which appears on the film page at this site, from page 85 of Peter Haining's The Complete Maigret, quoted from "an interview given a few years before [Simenon's] death":
"Jean Richard may be Maigret for a lot of French people because of all those television films, but for me he is quite honestly the worst. He is very bad. He acts as if he has seen too many American films with gangsters and gigolos. He will arrive at an old lady's or wherever wearing his hat and not take it off. He doesn't say 'Good-morning' but just 'Commissaire Maigret'. He goes on smoking and keeps his hat on all the time he's there - and he leaves in the same way. That shocked me. A Divisional Commissaire does have a certain amount of education. He knows that you don't visit people with your hat on and smoking a pipe."

1/09/03 - The source for this quote has been identified. It appears in Chapter 18 of Fenton Bresler's The Mystery of Georges Simenon, Beaufort, 1983, pp 217-218. [In French: L'énigme Georges Simenon, Balland, 1983, pp 122-123.] It also appears in Claude Gauteur's article in La Revue du Cinéma, n° 454, November, 1989, reprinted here en français, in English.
ST

Maigret Chronology
10/19/02 – David Drake, who's been working on a Maigret Biography over the years, has forwarded two of the appendices to his work, The Chronology of Maigret's Life and Career, in which he provides an ordered list of Maigret's cases throughout his life; and A Comparison of Simenon's and Drake's Chronologies of Maigret's Life, in which he maintains that the ages Simenon gives or implies in many of the case write-ups aren't accurate.
Partially in response to Oz Childs' comments about Maigret in London, above, he's offered to have both of them appear here, where I've added them to the Maigret Statistics page... Thanks Dave!

ST

Rupert Davies sings!

10/25/02 – I have just purchased a Parlophone record (R5067) in which Rupert Davies sings/talks two songs — Smoking My Pipe and October Dreams. As I do not have immediate access to a record player... has anyone heard the record and has a critical view of it?
Steve Beamon

(painting of Rupert Davies as Maigret
by Inga Schnekenburger,
at Der Computergarten am 13. Februar)

On-line translation
10/26/02 – In response to MHB Chess [8/20/02] who wanted to know if there was a Maigret society in English, there is a solution to the problem. There are several websites that do translations. You cut and paste the part you want translated into the box on the website and you will immediately get a translation into any language you want. And if you want to repond, you can put your response into the box and have it translated into French, which you can then send to the Society. Google has a translation service at www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en. There are others available with a web search. The translations are not perfect, but they are good enough for anyone to figure out the gist of what was written.

Lois

Maigret Chronology
10/27/02 – Putting together a year-by-year chronology of Maigret's career [10/19/02] is like putting together the rules of Mornington Crescent — almost impossible, and a certain amount of fiction is inevitable.
However, I do think that a coherent explanation would cover the following points:

1. Where and when did Maigret live elsewhere than Blvd. Richard-Lenoir (both in Paris and when assigned to the Vendée, etc.)
2. When and how did Maigret retire, then return from retirement?
For the reason I'll state soon, it is not fair to retire him only once. Clearly, he retired some years before he reached retirement age, in L'Ecluse No. 1, and shortly thereafter, returned to help his nephew in Maigret. I suppose he sold the house he bought for this premature retirement, and was able to move back to his old apartment, which remained vacant during the hard times of the early 1930's.
And it seems to me there is one rule that must not be broken: No story should be attributed to a time after Simenon wrote about it. But it can be attributed to a year, or even several years, before the relevant novel or story was published. Thus in Maigret se trompe, written in 1953, Maigret says he has been in the police for almost 35 years. It would be fair to date the story in 1948, 33 years after Maigret was promoted to the "Maison" from his post as secretary to a commissaire d'arrondissemennt. It would be impossible to date it in 1955, even if that fit the timetable in other ways.
I do think that the years 1940-45 can be ignored, and even subtracted from Maigret's age. Did Simenon ever write about the Occupation? My impression is, he preferred to ignore the Germans, though he must have seen enough of them, living as he did near the Atlantic shore.
Oz Childs
Mornington Crescent is a strategy game played on the London Underground map, the aim being to move to Mornington Crescent. So far, so much like any other game. But then, not every game has a 125-volumne rulebook; few games have (literally) warring standards bodies; and no other game has an oral tradition stretching back to pre-Pharaonic Egypt...

The German Occupation
11/2/02 – In answer to Oz (above), I have just come across one mention of the German occupation, in the book Maigret Has Scruples. It is a reference to a Dr. Steiner and goes as follows: "During the war, he refused to wear the yellow star, claiming that he hadn't a drop of Jewish blood in him. The Germans finally proved him wrong and sent him off to a concentration camp. He came back thoroughly embittered..."

David Cronan

Back in June I noticed this one, in Maigret and the Minister (Maigret and the Calame Report) (Ch 3):
I think, if there hadn't been a war, Auguste Point would have continued peacefully to practise as a solicitor in the Vendee and in Poitiers. During the years of occupation one heard very little about him; his life went on as if nothing unusual was happening. Everybody was surprised when a few weeks before they retreated, the Germans arrested him and took him to Niort, and then to somewhere in Alsace. They caught three or four other people at the same time, one of them a surgeon from Bressuires and it was then that we learnt that throughout the war, Auguste Point had hidden British agents and pilots escaped from German camps in the farm he owns near La Roche. He came back, thin and a sick man, a few days after the liberation.
ST

References to WWII in Maigret cases


11/4/02 – There is the diamond cutter from Antwerp or Amsterdam in Maigret Bides His Time, who is pivotal to the success of the jewelry store burglary ring. There are a sufficient number of references to the war in the history of Maigret characters, but, as far as I know, the only wartime reference involving Maigret is "Storm in the Channel."
Dave Drake

Judging Fictional Chronologies
11/4/02 – Why do a chronology and, if it's done reasonably, what are the potential benefits to readers? The purpose of doing a chronology of Maigret's cases is to provide a logical framework within which it would be possible to understand Inspector Maigret's entire life and career, and thus, to enhance the reader's understanding of individual cases. The benefit of knowing the temporal relationship among Maigret's cases is the same argument as Guido de Croock's that knowing the exact locale of a case increases the reader's appreciation of that case.
Oz Childs' suggestion (10/27/02) that the construction of any Maigret chronology requires some fiction is correct (Steve footnoted my substantial fictional additions). Alas, Maigret was a fictional character. The source of all information about his career comes from one source — Georges Simenon — and, since Simenon is dead, more specifically from the published works of Simenon on Maigret. We also have Simenon's advice about how to interpret that evidence. In Maigret's Memoirs [page 129], in Maigret's own words: "One of his [Simenon's] habits that irritated me most was that of mixing up dates, of setting at the beginning of my career investigations that took place much later on, and vice versa, so that sometimes my inspectors are described as being quite young, whereas they were really staid fathers of families at the period in question, or the other way around." This quotation would seem to effectively respond to Oz Childs' suggestion that the dating of all cases must occur before the publication date. In fiction, the writing can succeed or precede the events being described — just consider George Orwell's 1984.
The basis for judging the reasonableness of any Maigret chronology is its general consistency with the totality of the body of cases and the memoir that Simenon has written. Some relatively minor inconsistencies will occur because our historian was, by his own admission, somewhat sloppy about dates. Nevertheless, this body of evidence covering virtually of Maigret's life is sufficient to derive a fairly objective study. Objectivity is this case being able to agree on the principal facts of Maigret's life even though readers may disagree on the meaning and interpretation of these facts, just as observers disagree about the biographies of real living persons. In evaluating the case evidence, I have always given Simenon's full novels greater credence than his short stories, many of which were dashed off before Simenon was fully committed to continuing to describe Maigret's complete career. I have also assumed that Maigret lived a simple straight-forward life — being born, educated, finding a work career and working, getting married, retiring, and finally dying — because there is nothing in the case materials to suggest anything more complex.
Following these assumptions, I am looking forward to the identification of case evidence by participants in this Bulletin Board that is inconsistent with the chronology that I have suggested. Challenges to the methodology are also welcomed.

Dave Drake

Fingerprints
11/5/02 – At fr.news.yahoo.com there's an article on "100 years of the discovery / usage of fingerprints."
Do you know of any Maigret novel that uses fingerprints? Maigret always looks at the people — the way they behave, their attitudes... but never a scientific clue like fingerprints.

Regards,
Jerome

Here's a surprise! My first reaction was like Jerome's — that there probably weren't any references to fingerprints in the Maigrets — but when I checked my notes I found them mentioned in 17 cases! I don't believe there were any where fingerprints were critical to the solution, though. [There were — see below!] Can you find others?

On the top floor of the Palais de Justice, two men in gray overalls were painstakingly checking fingerprints. [L'amoureux de Madame Maigret (ss) (1939); Madame Maigret's Admirer (1976)]

M was following the Grands Boulevards, which he had seldom seen so empty. Near Porte Saint-Denis he went into a bar, ordered a beer, and wrote a note to Janvier. M could imagine Moers expression in the laboratory, if he checked the fingerprints. [Maigret s'amuse (1957); Maigret's Little Joke (1957); None of Maigret's Business]

M told Janvier to get a hold of Moers or someone from the Forensics Lab to fingerprint Thouret's room at Mariette Gibon's. [Maigret et l'homme du banc (1953); Maigret and the Man on the Boulevard (1975); Maigret and the Man on the Bench]

M called Moers in Forensics to send a man over to René Josselin's to check the maid's room for fingerprints. [Maigret et les braves gens (1962); Maigret and the Black Sheep (1976)]

Castaing had been upstairs with Cornu, from the Criminal Records Department, taking photographs and fingerprints. [Maigret et la vieille dame (1950); Maigret and the Old Lady (1958)]

M told Lucas to show Ferdinand Fumal's letters to Moers, on the off chance. Moers knew very type of paper, ink... probably every make of pencil too. And there might be fingerprints. [Un échec de Maigret (1956); Maigret's Failure (1962)]

M told the reporters the men from Criminal Records hadn't finished fingerprinting. [La folle de Maigret (1970); Maigret and the Madwoman (1972)]

Leduc said Bertillon claimed that the chance of two men's fingerprints being the same was one in 200,000. [Le fou de Bergerac (1932); The Madman of Bergerac (1940)]

Two men from the Forensic Laboratory had come for the body, two specialists from Criminal Records Office had worked on locker 89 looking for fingerprints. [Les caves du Majestic (1942); Maigret and the Hotel Majestic (1977)]

M told Dambois to have the revolver checked for fingerprints, then sent to the expert Gastinne-Renette. [Maigret et l'inspecteur malgracieux (ss) (1947); Maigret and the Surly Inspector (1976)]

Carl Lipschitz's fingerprints were found on file. He was born in Bohemia, came into France illegally five years earlier.
Moers came to Au Petit Albert to check for fingerprints.
M went up to the Records Office, where they had no fingerprints on file for the man [Albert Rochain].
Moers had passed on the clearest prints to the Anthropometric Department, but they hadn't found a match. [Maigret et son mort (1948); Maigret's Dead Man (1964); Maigret's Special Murder]

The photographers from the Technical Branch, who worked in the basement of the Palais de Justice, said no interesting fingerprints had been found. [L'Ombre chinoise (1932); The Shadow in the Courtyard (1934); Maigret Mystified (1964)]

The man's fingerprints, sent to Paris by tele-photo [bélino], did not appear in the files at the Palais de Justice. [L'improbable Monsieur Owen (ss) (1938); The Unlikely Monsieur Owen]

Julien Chabot told M that even for taking fingerprints he was obliged to send for someone from Poitiers. [Maigret a peur (1953), Maigret Afraid (1961)]

M took his bicycle to the police station at Vitry-le-François, sent a motorcyclist to Épernay with Jean Liberge's prints to be sent to Paris by Belin telephotograph.
M called the Police Records Office in Paris, spoke to Benoît. He was up in the attics at the Palais de Justice, and had found the files for Jean Liberge's fingerprints. [Le charretier de la Providence (1931); The Crime at Lock 14 (1934); Maigret Meets a Milord (1963)]

Inspector Lebel had taken Marcel Vivien's fingerprints at the crime scene.
The first of the two reports attached concerning Nina Lassave's murder was his stating that no fingerprints were found. [Maigret et l'homme tout seul (1971); Maigret and the Loner (1975)]

M told Moers to send the fingerprints to the Index Office. [Maigret se trompe (1953); Maigret's Mistake (1954)]

ST

Fingerprints
11/6/02 – Moers' fingerprints of the murder victim inside drawers in Maigret and the Headless Corpse [pp. 118-20] was a crucial piece of evidence in identifying the victim and proving the case against Madame Calas.
Dave Drake

A fingerprint is used as the background image on the cover of this 1932 first edition of Simenon's "Les 13 Énigmes" (a non-Maigret volume of 13 short stories).
"Any fingerprints?"
"They bear out our theory. Calas's prints are all over the drawers and cupboard, only on the inside, though."
"Are you sure?"
"Well, at any rate, they are the same as those of the body in the canal."
Here, at last, was proof that the dismembered corpse was that of the proprietor of the bistro in the Quai de Valmy.
...

"What was it you were saying about the prints?"
"So far, in the kitchen, we have found prints belonging to three people, excluding yourself and Lapointe, whose prints I know by heart. The prints most in evidence are a woman's. I presume they're Madame Calas's."
"That can be easily checked."
"Then there are the prints of a man, a young man I should guess. There aren't many of them, and they are the most recent."
Antoine, presumably, for whom Madame Calas must have got a meal in the kitchen when he turned up in the middle of the night.
"Finally, there are two prints, half obliterated. Another man's."
"Any more of Calas's prints inside the drawers?"
"Yes."


So, on reconsideration, there are actually at least two cases in which fingerprints formed a critical part of the evidence — Maigret and the Headless Corpse, as Dave has pointed out above, and Maigret Meets a Milord, where fingerprints led Maigret to Jean's true identity, and the explanation of the crime.
ST

Maigret Puzzle
11/9/02 – Willie Innocenzi's Italian Simenon website is always a visual treat, but if you don't read Italian you probably won't spend too much time there, or maybe won't even stop in for a visit...
Well, a visit may be worth your while — I've just noticed that's he's added a Maigret puzzle — put Maigret (Gino Cervi) back together again with your mouse — to his Maigret section, so you can enjoy some of his Italian entertainment without the language barrier!
ST

Chronology Confusion
11/11/02 – I have just finished reading Maigret And The Loner (M. et l'Homme Tout Seul) and this book throws into doubt the above carefully constructed chronology. This is one of the few stories where an actual year is mentioned (1965) and in it we are told that Maigret is approaching the age of fifty-five. This makes his birth year 1910. Also we are told that Maigret was "banished" to the Vendée in 1946 even though the original book detailing this event in Maigret's life (Maigret in Exile) was written in about 1940 so placing this episode at least six years before the year mentioned in the later book.
Here are the relevent passages:

"This was 1965, and the fruit and vegetable market of Les Halles had not yet transferred from Paris to Rungis"

"He was dependent on his pipe as ever. But surely a man wasn't to deprived of all his pleasures, just because he was coming up to fifty-five?"

"He himself had been out of Paris in 1946. Shortly before, he had fallen out with the then Chief of Police... He had been posted to Lucon, where there had been practically nothing to do... He had to stay there, eating his heart out, for the best part of a year. Madame Maigret, too, had not taken to life in the Vendée."

David Cronan
UK

Preponderance of Evidence Criterion
11/12/02 – As I said in my earlier defense of the chronology (11/4/02), Simenon was not very accurate about dates and ages. In only four of the 102 cases did Simenon give enough information to determine the year of the investigation. The four are: the date of M. Gallet's death (June 27, 1930) in M Stonewalled (pub. 1931); 1922 can be deduced as the date of "M's Pipe" (written in 1947); 1913 as the date of M's First Case (pub. 1949); and the murder of the elegant bum in August 1965 in M and the Loner (pub. 1971 as Maigret's penultimate novel). Two of the four dates work quite well with the 1887 birth year for Maigret that can be deduced from M's First Case — he's 26 in 1913. However, the 1922 date for the Pipe story doesn't work well with M's status in the case — he's chief inspector and superintendent of CID. And the most outlandish date is the 1965 date for Loner, which would make M 78 at the time of the case (or alternatively 3 at the time of his first case and 20 at the time he was stonewalled). In Simenon's senior years, I think he just took 1965 for the Loner case because he knew when the Les Halles (Paris' open market) was being moved and it is in the demolished buildings of the old market where the bum's body is found. He then accepted his own fallacy in dating the Vendee exile as post-WWII. The strongest evidence that these cases were set in an earlier period is the cases themselves — they were not post WWII cases. No chronology will be consistent with all of the cases because Simenon was not consistent. I believe one has to employ the "preponderance of evidence criterion" to evaluate any proposed chronology, and even then, ask the additional question does it make sense?

Dave Drake

BBC Radio Play About Simenon
11/13/02 – BBC Radio 4 is to broadcast the following play on Tuesday 26 November at 14:15:

The Man Who Had 10,000 Women by Mark Lawson
"On the day of the death of George Simenon, a Parisian detective is asked to investigate the mysteries of the late author's life."
For those living outside the UK you might be able to hear this broadcast via the BBC web site.
David Cronan
UK

Maigret DVDs

11/13/02 – For those who are not aware of this, Amazon.com has a Maigret Collection DVD package that will go on sale in about a week. It retails for about $75 US.
Noyan UNAL

The 49th Maigret?
11/17/02 – I was just glancing at the Paris Review Simenon interview of 1955, and thinking about the footnote I'd added to this opening paragraph of "The Scene":

Mr. Simenon's study in his rambling white house on the edge of Lakeville, Connecticut, after lunch on a January day of bright sun. The room reflects its owner: cheerful, efficient, hospitable, controlled. On its walls are the books of law and medicine, about which he is an expert; the telephone directories from many parts of the world to which he turns in naming his characters; the map of a town where he has just set his forty-ninth Maigret novel*...

*Note: Maigret et le corps sans tête is dated "Shadow Rock Farm, Lakeville, Janvier 1955" — the only Maigret in Lakeville in 1955. <ST>

Only this time I paid more attention to the comment about "the map of a town" where the novel was supposed to have been set. Map of a town?! This book should be Maigret and the Headless Corpse — which is set in Paris! Had I been wrong? Perhaps the map was of Boissancourt-par-Saint-André, the hamlet between Montargis and Gien where Aline and Omer Calas came from. M calls there in chapter 7 to see if he can locate Omer's brother (which might explain the reference to Simenon's phone books too, since he had the operator read him a list).
I decided to consult my Chronological Checklist to see if any other Maigrets had been set in a small town around then, and I found that in fact Maigret et le corps sans tête wasn't the 49th Maigret at all. Even if I added in Maigret's Christmas it was still only #48. Curiouser and curiouser. If the interviewer had gotten the number 49 from Simenon... could it be that he was including The House of Anxiety (La Maison de l'inquiétude) in his count?? Or did he just make a mistake? Any takers?
ST

11/17/02 — With my feelings about Simenon's sequencing capabilities, I'd bet on his mistake. However, your checklist revealed a mistake in my last note [11/12/02] on the Maigret chronology: The Loner was not the penultimate M novel, but the antepenultimate novel.
Dave Drake

BBC Radio Play About Simenon
11/17/02 – Thanks to David for posting notice [11/13/02] on the BBC Radio Play about Simenon.
Connecting to Radio 4 on line is not a problem. Click on the BBC Radio 4 link, on "Go 4 It" and than on "Play again".
The timing may be, however. If the given time (Tuesday 26 November at 14:15) is London time which is (in November) 8 hours ahead of Pacific Time, than in Vancouver the play will start at 06:15 (6:15 AM) on November 26. A little bit too early. I am wondering if Radio 4 re-broadcasts its programs for the benefit of overseas listeners?
A note about the play. It says that investigator started work on the day of Simenon's death. This looks confusing because I read in Simenon's biography (The Man Who Wasn't Maigret) that the announcement of Simenon's death was not made until several days after the actual death.

Regards,
Vladimir Krasnogor

Simenon in Penguin Modern Classics
11/18/02 – from The Guardian 16 November 2002:
Georges Simenon, creator of Inspector Maigret, visited prostitutes regularly and produced novels almost as often. Of the two habits, his prolificacy as an author has probably done his reputation more harm. All his novels are out of print in the UK, where publishers cannot maintain the entire corpus but also have trouble persuading readers that individual titles are especially worth noting.
Nevertheless, next year Penguin is to bring some of the novels back in its Modern Classics list. You will have to catch them while stocks last: the list will be refreshed regularly, with only a limited number of novels available at any time. Rights in Simenon's work are owned by a company called Chorion, which enjoyed more good news this week when ITV revealed that it was to dramatise novels by another Chorion author, Agatha Christie. But the company has put up for sale its rights in the estate of Enid Blyton, setting a price tag for Noddy, the Famous Five and others of £30m.

Best wishes,
Roddy Campbell

Listening To A BBC Radio Play
11/18/02 – In answer to Vladimir's question [11/17/02], you will be able to listen to the play anytime for seven days after the original broadcast time via the web site. This link explains how.

David Cronan
UK

The 49th Maigret
11/19/02 – I agree with Dave [11/17/02] that the inaccuracy is probably to be found on Simenon’s side.
If Carvel Collins' description is correct, it could have been no other work than Maigret et le corps sans tête. That’s the only Maigret that was written in Lakeville in 1955. The only other Maigret in that year was Maigret tend un piège, and this novel was written in Mougins in July.
As usual, I looked into the locality issue. Boissancourt, the name of the hamlet where the Calases came from, doesn’t exist in France. There is even no Saint-André in the whole of the Loiret department. There is a small village between Montargis and Gien that is called Boismorand. Is the resemblance accidental? Yet I doubt if there exists a map of this very small hamlet of 610 inhabitants. Perhaps he studied a map of the region.

Guido de Croock

Maigret Radio Play
11/24/02 – I have a recording of a BBC radio play 'Maigret's Special Murder' starring the excellent Bernard Hepton. Is this taken directly from a story of the same name or has it been adapted from a story of a different name?

Geoffrey Lambertsen

Mark Lawson on Simenon in The Guardian
11/24/02 – "...with Georges Simenon, the dividing line between sleazeball and creative artist is often hard to draw." The author of the upcoming BBC radio play talks about Simenon in The Guardian, Nov. 23.

The Man Who Had 10,000 Women by Mark Lawson, starring Derek Jacobi and Joss Ackland, will be broadcast on Radio 4 at 2.15pm on Tuesday. A series of Maigret adaptations starts on Radio 4 on December 3. Six of Georges Simenon's Inspector Maigret novels will be reissued as Penguin Modern Classics next year, along with a new paperback edition of The Man Who Wasn't Maigret, by Patrick Marnham.
Roddy Campbell
Mark Lawson is a journalist, broadcaster and author. He presents BBC Radio 4's arts magazine Front Row. He was born on 11 April 1962 and went to school at St Columba's College in St Albans and went on to University College, London where he took a degree in English. He has been a freelance contributor to numerous publications since 1984 and a Guardian columnist since 1995. In the mid-90s he presented The Late Show on BBC2 and has presented The Late Review since 1994. He has twice been voted TV critic of the Year and has won numerous awards for arts journalism.

Taipei Times - November 20
11/24/02 – Interesting facts about Belgium : Georges Simenon, creator of inspector Maigret, world-famous author of mystery novels. At the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his books, nine of his famous inspector Maigret spy novels will be translated by a Taiwanese publishing house into Chinese in 2003...

Roddy Campbell
Spy novels? Those might be interesting translations! <ST>

Three non-Maigret stories
11/26/02 – I know these pages deal only with Maigret, but perhaps you can answer my question anyhow (or can lead me to a useful source): what are the original French titles of the following three Simenon stories: "Blessed are the meek," "The man from out there," "The slipper fiend" (= "Death in a department store") (all appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine; but no original titles given on their web sites).

Sincerely,
Bernd Fischer

BBC Maigret Plays
11/26/02 – The titles of the first two Maigret plays to be broadcast on Radio 4 are: "A Man's Head" on Tuesday 3rd. December and "A Bar on the Seine" on Tuesday 10th. December, both at 14:15 GMT. As with the Simenon play they can be heard via the internet for up to seven days after the transmission. Two more plays will follow on the next two Tuesdays.

David Cronan
UK

Haining's Complete Maigret: Undependable
11/27/02 – About three months ago [8/6/02], I raised the question of whether the photo in Haining's The Complete Maigret (Boxtree Ltd., 1994), supposedly of the actor Michel Simon, actually was. Since then, searching for the actors portrayed on the set of Nicaraguan stamps honoring fictional detectives, I posted Haining's version of the photo on that site, and this time received a more explicit but no less resounding response of "That's not Michel Simon — It's Harry Baur!"
I've managed to locate another copy of that photo, in Tage la Cour & Harald Mogensen's very dependable The Murder Book (Herder & Hearder, 1971), and this one is, in fact, labeled "Harry Baur." So, one more non-trivial error in The Complete Maigret.
That being said, it's perhaps useful to summarize the known errors in the book.

  1. The photo on page 30, purporting to be Abel Tarride in Le Chien Jaune, is actually Lawrence Grant in Bulldog Drummond!
  2. An error of omission in the Rupert Davies list, reported [2/8/01].
  3. The listings for the filmography of Heinz Ruhmann includes a film and tv series which do not exist, as reported [1/5/01], and confirmed on [1/18/01].
  4. The photo on page 42, captioned "Michel Simon... Elusive Witness," is actually Harry Baur in La tête d'un homme.
  5. In the accompanying description of the Simon Maigret, Le Bateau d'Emile is mis-identified as a Maigret, supposedly the second Simon Maigret. (He only appeared in one.)
  6. In that same Simon description, the plot of "Elusive Witness" — "The Evidence of the Altar-Boy" — is incorrectly described as involving the murder of a choirboy.
Are there more? My guess is that there are many. It's clear that the book was hastily assembled and poorly edited. It can only be used as a starting point — everything you find in it has to be verified elsewhere.

Another: 9/15/04 - Wallach was NOT Maigret... Romney Brent was!

ST

Maigret's Special Murder

11/27/02 – In answer to Geoffrey's question [11/24/02], yes this is the original title of a Maigret novel . It was published in 1948 under the French title of Maigret et son Mort and also has an alternative English title of Maigret's Dead Man. Incidentally this is one of my favourite Maigret stories evoking as it does the atmosphere of a typical riverside bistrot and the characters to frequent it.
David Cronan
UK

The Man Who Had 10,000 Women
11/28/02 – Here's a click-and-play link to Mark Lawson's BBC 4 Play on Simenon this week.

I've got a few questions about what's actually being said in a few spots. Anyone's ears better attuned than mine? The bracketed areas are my questions and the times. (I'll cross them off as they get answered.):

  1. Is [collabo] a familiar word for 'collaborator'? [9:05]
  2. "France felt like a country which had recently been in a fight; Switzerland, as if it had just [got out of the barn]." [10:20] Just got out of the barn? bar? What's this supposed to mean?
  3. "you should be finished here before the top of the hour. [All right to me, of course.] Unless you really love cuckoos." [10:50] What's that the janitor said?
  4. "Maybe you really are a [sovre]." [11:15] Again the janitor's word.
  5. [He was in the diary when Jung died.] [21:40] What's that mean, that he had a date with Jung coming up?
  6. [...giving Maigret a cat called McCaverty.] [24:50] Anybody understand this reference?
  7. "Even the most paranoid of our [Percivals] never bug chapels." [26:10] Percivals?
  8. "If only I'd invented addresses. [I can never forget her the ...]" [37:45] I can't make out what Simenon's saying here.
  9. "distinguish the different [stalks] of farmyard..." [40:00] What's that word?
And also with regard to number 8, where Simenon says about Marie-Jo, "She got the address of the gunsmith from one of the Maigrets. If only I'd invented addresses." — Although Simenon often mentioned the gunsmith Gastinne-Renette in the Maigrets, "the gunsmith who usually gave ballistic advice to the Police Judiciaire" in Monsieur Charles, for example, I'm fairly sure he never gave an address. Anyway, wouldn't any telephone book have been sufficient?
ST

Maigret Diary
11/29/02 – After I learned at a Japanese Maigret fan site that a diary entitled "agenda MAIGRET 2003" was on sale, I ordered one, and it has just arrived. Here's a picture of the cover.
When you open the diary, you see two pages for one week and on the bottom of the pages there is an excerpt from a Maigret story on one page and a related photograph on the opposite page, such as Simenon himself, a cover of a Maigret book, or an actor who appeared as Maigret in films (including the Japanese actor, Kin-ya Aikawa of the "Tokyo Maigret" TV series).
From Editions OMNIBUS, the list price is 15 euros, but €14,25 from fnac.com, €12,35 from Amazon.fr.

Thank you for your precious and interesting site,
Best regards,
Katsunori Matsuura

Maigret in Belgium
11/29/02 – I just came back from Brussels two days ago and whilst there an article appeared in the Brussels newspaper 'Le Soir'. As far as I can make out a Belgian television company is making a new series of Maigret films that will be released in April 2003 for Belgian and French television. The man who will be playing Maigret is Bruno Cremer.
I have not translated all of the article, however with your skills you may be able to track it down and perhaps provide a link?

Regards,
Steve Beamon

L'homme de la Tour Eiffel

11/29/02 – While browsing in a used bookstore the other day, I discovered a 1957 collection of Simenon novels (in French) that includes L'homme de la Tour Eiffel, La maison du canal, and La relais d'Alsace. It was published by Librarie Arthème Fayard.
Anyway, I just read L'homme de la Tour Eiffel and, in terms of the plot, I think it is one of the better Maigrets. But I am puzzled by the title. Unless I missed something, there is no mention whatsoever of the Eiffel Tower! I know this novel appeared later under very different (and more appropriate) names, but I'm wondering if anyone knows the story behind the original French title.
Thanks for a great Web site!
—Joe Todaro


Good question Joe! And I agree, that is one of the great Maigret stories.
The original French title was La tête d'un homme, as published by Fayard in 1931. In English, it appeared as A Battle of Nerves in 1939, A Man's Head in the Philadelphia Inquirer version, and later as Maigret's War of Nerves in the Harcourt edition (1986).
It seems like the Eiffel Tower scenes were added for Burgess Meredith's (1949) movie version with Charles Laughton as Maigret. My guess is that the book was reissued with that title to take advantage of the movie publicity. Anyone know any more?
ST

Macavity
11/29/02 – Re the queries about Mark Lawson's radio play: 'The Man who had 10,000 Women.' [11/28/02]
The first query was about 'collabo', which was a relatively common colloquialism for collaborator, and I've seen it in a few texts and films.
Re query (6): I think that Mark Lawson is referring to a poem by T.S. Eliot, in his collection 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats', One poem is called 'Macavity: the Mystery Cat'. This animal appears to have some similarities to Moriarty in Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. (The collection subsequently inspired the musical 'Cats'.)

Macavity: The Mystery Cat

Macavity's a Mystery Cat: he's called the hidden paw -
For he's the master criminal who can defy the law.
He's the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad's despair:
For when they reach the scene of crime - Macavity's not there!

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
He's broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity,
His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare,
And when you reach the scene of crime - Macavity's not there!
You may seek him in the basement, you may look up in the air -
But I tell you once and once again, Macavity's not there!

Macavity's a ginger cat, he's very tall and thin,
You would know him if you saw him for his eyes are sunken in.
His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly domed;
His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.
He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake;
And when you think he's half asleep, he's always wide awake.

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
For he's a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.
You may meet him in a by-street, you may pass him in the square -
But when a crime's discovered, then Macavity's not there!

He's outwardly respectable. (They say he cheats at cards.)
And his footprints are not found in any file of Scotland Yard's.
And when the larder's looted, or the jewel-case is rifled,
Or when the milk is missing, or another Peke's been stifled,
Or the greenhouse glass is broken, and the trellis past repair -
Ay, there's the wonder of the thing! Macavity's not there!

And when the Foreign Office find a Treaty's gone astray,
Or the Admiralty lose some plans and drawings by the way,
There may be a scrap of paper in the hall or on the stair -
But it's useless to investigate - Macavity's not there!
And when the loss has been disclosed the Secret Service say:
'It must have been Macavity!' - but he's a mile away.
You'll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumbs,
Or engaged in doing complicated long division sums.

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
There never was a cat of such deceitfulness or suavity.
He always has an alibi, and one or two to spare:
At whatever time the deed took place - MACAVITY WASN'T THERE!
And they say that all the cats whose wicked deeds are widely known
(I might mention Mungojerrie, I might mention Griddlebone)
Are nothing more than agents for the cat who all the time
Just controls their operations: the Napoleon of Crime!

T.S. Eliot: 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats'
Patricia Clark
Cardiff

Some Answers
11/29/02 – Hopfully I should be able to answer some of the above questions. [11/28/02]

(1) Collabo does indeed mean collaborator
(2) "Just got out of a bath" because Switzerland is so clean
(3) Simenon's house was full of cuckoo clocks, all about to go off on the hour
(6) Simenon had either met or had been mentioned by T.S. Eliot
(7) I did not catch this word but I think it refers to the French secret services.
I hope that your outstanding questions can be answered by other contributors.
David Cronan
UK


Thanks Patricia and David! (I'd still like to know the janitor's actual words in (3), where I heard something like "[All right to me, of course.]")
ST

Maigret's Citroën
12/1/02 – I don't ever recall reading in any of the Maigrets that his police car was a Citroën of any model. There were many references to "the little black cars of the PJ" and sometimes to 4 horsepower Renaults. For those not familiar with French motor vehicle taxation, the "horsepower" here is the fiscal or taxable horsepower rather than the actual power the engine produces. Fiscal horsepower (expressed as CV, thus 4CV) has to do with the size of the engine in cubic centimeters. A number of French cars have taken their names from this rating such as the Citroën 2CV, 11, 15. I think the actual car in question was the Renault 4CV, made from just after the end of WW2 until the early 60's when the Renault 4 replaced it. For car buffs, this was rear engine, rear drive and the gearbox was in front of the engine. The same layout was used on the Renault Dauphine, Floride, 8 and 10 models of the 60's-70's. Later the same machinery was placed in the front of a new range of cars called the Renault 4, 5, 6, and 7. The main difference is the powertrain was now in the front of the cars and drove the front wheels. The gearbox was still in front of the engine. Engine sizes varied from about 600 cc's to 1400 cc's in the later models. Getting back to the taxation issue for a moment, a French person paid a flat rate each year for each CV. This rate varied from one department (state) to the next. The larger the engine, the more CV's you had to pay for. I think it was one CV for every 200 cc's. The system still exists today in modified form in France.

Joe Richards

re: 'The Man who had 10,000 Women'
12/1/02 – I listened to the play again, and think I've sorted out Steve's 7th, 8th and 9th queries [11/28/02]:

7. This is 'even the most paranoid of our presidents never bugged chapels'.
8. 'If only I'd invented addresses: I can never make anything up.'
9. 'distinguish the different stinks of farmyard, garden and sea.'
Patricia Clark
Cardiff

Thanks Patricia! They sound right to me.
ST

Maigret website in Turkish
12/1/02 – Baris Kiliç, who has contribued to these pages in the past, has just written to say he's posted a new Maigret website in Turkish, which can be found here: Maigret in Turkish.

The Films of Simenon
12/2/02 – I've just found this fine survey article in Le Cinéma français. 1930-1960, which seems to me to be a great introductory summary to the cinematic Simenon. Here's the original French and my translation:

Simenon au cinéma
Simenon on Screen

Le Cinéma français. 1930-1960
under the direction of Philippe de Comes and Michel Marmin
with the assistance of Michèle Caillot and Raymond Chirat
Paris: Editions Atlas, 1984
pp 118-120

ST

Some online articles of (possible) interest
12/2/02 –
Tippling in the favorite bistros and brasseries of famous writers, from HeraldTribune.com – including a brief mention of Maigret...

Julian Barnes: I may not like it much. But I still live here, from Independent News – an interview with the actor in the BBC 4 Radio Maigret series starting Tuesday...


answers [11/28/02]
Q3 "Or buy some ear-plugs."
Q4 Sounds like "sovre" to me too.
Q5 The context, which is of Jung wanting to meet Simenon, supports your reading.

Incidentally, I thought that it was Alfred Hitchcock, and not Noel Coward, who said "I'll hold" when told that Simenon was writing a novel.

Roddy Campbell

Thanks, Roddy. Yes, in Pierre Assouline's biography, p 356, the same anecdote, but Alfred Hitchock. <ST>

Canadian Simenon fan joins the Forum
12/2/02 – I have long been a fan of Simenon. Therefore I can't tell you how pleased I am to have stumbled upon this wonderful site. Although I must admit I am more familiar with the non-Maigrets, I look forward to reading more of the great detective's exploits now that I have gained some insight through this forum.
I seem to have discovered this site at a very opportune time, as the BBC plays that I gained access to through your links are just about to be broadcast. On the recent anniversary of Simenon's death Canadian TV station Bravo! aired a special on his years in North America. It was very enlightening and included interviews with several people including his son Pierre. As a Montrealer it was interesting to learn more about the short time he spent here.
I look forward to visiting this site often.

DC
Montreal, Canada

Correspondence with the BBC
12/3/02 –

TO BBC:
Do you have any intention to reissue any of the 1960's B&W television episodes of the 'Maigret' series, starring Rupert Davies, that were fortunate enough to be recorded?
February 2003 is the 100th anniversary of Maigret's creator, George Simenon and it would be a fitting tribute to such a prolific author. When he saw Rupert Davies playing the role he exclaimed 'Now I have my perfect Maigret'.

FROM BBC:
That's interesting to know about Simenon — thanks for the info. It's unlikely to be a release from my department but I will pass your suggestion onto my colleagues who work in more general home video. It was a terrifically popular show at the time, and in my personal view, superior to the recent series fronted by Michael Gambon.

All is not lost as there appears to be a Maigret afficianado at the BBC!
Steve Beamon

Simenon at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
12/3/02 – If you go to the IMDb and search for Simenon, you'll find info on all these: Georges Simenon (actor, writer), Diane Simenon (actress), Marie-Jo Simenon (actress), Marc Simenon (director, writer, second unit director or assistant director), John Simenon (producer), Lin Simenon (other crew member)... lots of worthwhile information!

Roddy Campbell

The Man on the Eiffel Tower
12/3/02 – A reply to Joe Todaro’s query [11/29/02].
The Man on the Eiffel Tower, the film version of La tête d’un homme, was shot on location in postwar Paris and released by RKO in 1949. The screenplay by Harry Brown, who also collaborated on the U.S. film adaptation (1948) of Erich Maria Remarque’s novel Arch of Triumph, follows the novel closely, but includes two added episodes filmed on the Eiffel Tower to enhance the visual appeal and excitement of the film. The second of these, featuring a gut-grabbing chase sequence along the naked girders high above the Seine, occurs at the climax of the film.
This film was Burgess Meredith’s only venture into directing. Although most of the acting, including Meredith’s portrayal of the hapless Huertin, can only be described as perfunctory and wooden, Franchot Tone, who co-produced the film, steals the show as the psychotic killer Radek. Charles Laughton’s Maigret, now bovine and now mercurial, has a certain eccentric charm, but strikes no responsive chords for the reader of Simenon.
Although at least one Fayard reissue of the original work in the 1950s bore the alternative title, L'homme de la tour Eiffel, apparently no English translation of the novel was ever published as The Man on the Eiffel Tower. The edition of the novel that was issued in 1970 as part of the Livre de Poche Simenon series bears the original title, as will a Livre de Poche reissue scheduled for release in February 2003.

John H. Dirckx

Ranks of the Police
12/5/02 – I've given up on ever finding "La maison du juge" and "Les caves du Majestic" in French, so I've checked them out of the library in English. These books were published during the war years. Simenon bought back the translation rights for all his books from Gallimard, which is I suppose why they were published in English. They seem to have been very rarely reprinted in French — maybe there were problems with copyright ownership during the Occupation? At any rate, these novels, so far, have no explanation at all of how Maigret returned from retirement, but I expected that.
What gets me is the wildly inconsistent English names given to ranks in the French police. In "Majestic", the translator makes Maigret a "Superintendent", but makes Lucas, his second-in-command, a lowly Sergeant. In "Maison du juge", Maigret is a Chief Superintendent, even though he has obviously been demoted to the rank of a small-town chief of detectives, way out in the Vendee. Lucas, in Maigret's absence, has become a "Chief Inspector" — can someone with the French edition say whether he in fact took over Maigret's old job?
It's time for the new owners of Simenon's rights to insist on some order and method, as new translations or printings of the Maigrets appear. My suggestion is, they follow the English ranking system, as it was in the classic detective stories of the 20th century: Here are the ranks and the logical translations to the PJ and the Paris police:

  • Assistant Commissioner = head of Scotland Yard = Directeur du P.J. (Maigret's boss)
  • Chief Superintendent = chief of a central bureau at Scotland Yard = commissaire divisionnaire (i.e., Maigret, and his colleagues who report directly to the Directeur).
  • Superintendent = lower ranking bureau chief = commissaire d'arrondissement, the chief of detectives for a division, in Paris, or of a rural region in the rest of France. Maigret was secretary to a commissaire as a young man. This rank is not used at the Quai des Orfevres, and is essentially the top rank available to anyone in the P.J. who is not at the Quay. Generally, at Scotland Yard, the chief of detectives for a regional division of London was a Chief Inspector.
  • Chief Inspector = brigadier = squad leader, second in command to a Chief Superintendent, responsible for organizing the troops, and running the squad in the Chief's absence.
  • Inspector = inspecteur, the rank of all of Maigret's subordinates at the Quay, other than Lucas. This rank is currently divided into grades, depending on seniority and responsibility, and probably was in Maigret's era.
  • Sergeant. There are no sergeants per se at the Quai, since everyone in the P.J. is at least an inspector, but functionally, the lowest grade of inspector is the equivalent of a sergeant at Scotland Yard. We know from one or two of the Maigret books that the younger inspectors must pass an exam to be promoted to a higher grade. Maigret's job as secretary was an equivalent to being a sergeant.
  • Constable. The lowest rank in the police, "patrol officer" in the States. There are no constables at the P.J., but in Maigret's day, everyone started out as a constable, at least for a year or so, wearing a uniform. Oddly enough, a constable in Paris is called a "sergent de ville".
Oz Childs

Simenon in Le Monde
12/5/02 – In Le Monde today, there are two articles about Simenon and Maigret in the literary supplement, for the Simenon centenary.

Jérôme Devémy

More Maigret Plays
12/7/02 – The two remaining Maigret Tuesday afternoon plays on BBC Radio 4 are "My Friend Maigret" on December 17th. and "Madame Maigret's Own Case" on December 24th, both at 2.15 p.m. GMT.
On December 15th the BBC is launching a new digital radio station called Radio 7. Most of the output from the station will be derived from the corporation's vast sound archive including drama and story readings. With any luck this should include past Maigret productions starring actors such as Maurice Denham, Bernard Hepton and Barry Foster. I shall keep an eye out for these programmes and keep you informed. As with all the other BBC radio channels this station can be heard via the internet.

David Cronan
UK

Click and Play Link to "A Man's Head", this week's BBC 4 Maigret Radio play. (La Tête d'un homme)

Radio Play: The Bar on the Seine
12/9/02 – In case anyone missed reading David Cronan's first posting about the Maigret plays on BBC Radio 4, another one will be broadcast tomorrow, Tuesday 10 December.

Maigret: The Bar on the Seine
by Georges Simenon, dramatised by Alison Joseph

When a condemned man reveals the whereabouts of an unpunished murderer, Chief Inspector Maigret puts his holiday on hold. His investigation takes him to a bar on the Seine, the Guinguette à deux sous, and the old crime is promptly upstaged by a killing. While Mme Maigret awaits him in Alsace, Maigret finds a new drinking companion in this engrossing version of a classic Simenon story. With Nicholas Le Prevost, Julian Barnes, Ron Cook, Timothy Watson, Sylvester Morand, Jonathan Tafler, Mathilde Tracy Wiles, Rebecca Egan, Martin Hyder, Richard Firth, Scott Brooksbank, Emma Woolliams, and Laura Doddington. Music by Lucinda Mason Brown. Directed by Ned Chaillet.

Roddy Campbell

"La maison du juge" and "Les caves du Majestic"
12/9/02 – In his posting of 5 December, Oz Childs mentions that he has given up on ever finding these titles in French.
According to the bibliography in Pierre Assouline's Simenon biography, they both appear, along with "Cécile est morte", in "Maigret revient" (which I have just ordered from www.fnac.com, together with "Les Nouvelles Enquêtes de Maigret" and a couple of other Maigrets). www.amazon.fr also have "Maigret revient" listed but, according to their website, have only three copies in stock.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether I actually receive all the titles I have ordered from fnac.
Hope this may help.

Best wishes and Happy Christmas to all.
Michael Newman
Chelmsford, UK

New edition by Bruna
12/10/02 – In Saturday’s newspaper here in Holland, was announced that the Dutch Publisher Bruna will start next year with a re-edition of the almost complete works of Simenon. Over a period of 4 years they will publish 83 Maigret titles and 117 other works.
The re-edition in The Netherlands is coordinated with re-editions in other countries by John Simenon who manages the rights on his fathers works.
Of course the motive for this re-edition is the commemoration of the 100th birthday of Georges Simenon. The books will be published in a modernized translation and will cost 10 EURO ($10). They will appear as pocketbook editions with a hard cover.

Guido de Croock

Planning to visit Liège page
12/10/02 – Wouldn’t it be a good idea to open a page on this website where visitors to the site, who are planning to attend the commemoration activities in Liège next year, can mention when and where, possibly with email address. That way people can arrange to meet in Liège and make acquaintance with each other.

Guido de Croock

Yes, that's a fine idea. If you're planning to visit Liège for the centennary year celebrations, and would like to make contact with others similarly inclined, send mail to this Forum bulletin board, and I'll set up a separate page to gather the notices together...
ST

The Case of Missing Report
12/10/02 – Last week I watched the Maigret episode (with M. Gambon) where an orphanage building collapsed, some government cover-up was suspected and an important report was missing. What is the title of the book and is it available in English translation? I must admit I'm somewhat confused about the storyline of this episode. Any comments?

Thanks,
Vladimir

That's "Maigret and the Minister" ("Maigret and the Calame Report") [Maigret chez le ministre], which I mentioned here last June [6/24/02]. Here's a plot summary, but be warned that it's a spoiler, so if you don't want to know how the story ends, don't read it. (I have a complete set of these summaries I made for all the Maigrets, but I've vacillated about posting them. Any opinions on whether they should be available online?)
ST

Click and Play Link to "The Bar on the Seine", this week's BBC 4 Maigret Radio play. (La Guinguette à deux sous)

BBC "A Man's Head" cast?
12/11/02 – Could anyone with the BBC or Radio Times description and cast information for the 3 December 2002 Radio 4 broadcast of "A Man's Head" please post it to the bulletin board, as has already been done for "A Bar on the Seine."

Mike Ratcliffe


12/11/02 –
Maigret: A Man's Head
by Georges Simenon, dramatised by David Cregan

One of the great detective fiction heroes returns to radio in the first of four new dramas. Inspector Maigret takes on one of his most famous cases. With Nicholas Le Prevost, Julian Barnes, Ron Cook, Paul Birchard, Beth Chalmers, Philip Fox, Ifan Meredith, Tom George, Jane Whittenshaw, and Ben Crowe. Music by Lucinda Mason Brown. Directed by Ned Chaillet.

Roddy Campbell

Radio Plays for Sale
12/11/02 – According to the Radio Times, the four Maigret plays currently being broadcast by the BBC will be available on audio cassette in January under the title A Man's Head.

David Cronan
Braintree, UK

Guardian Unlimited Observer Screen Film of the week
12/11/02 – This detailed and knowledgeable review of Laissez-Passer, the new film from Bertrand Tavernier, sheds some interesting light on the atmosphere surrounding French film-makers and writers under the Nazi occupation. Simenon is not mentioned directly, but his role in this area has been the subject of discussion. The Watchmaker of Everton, Tavernier's first film, which is mentioned at the end of the article, is based on a Simenon novel.

Roddy Campbell

The Case of the Missing Report
12/12/02 – Thanks for posting some information [12/10/02] about the plot of this episode. Your report seems very carefully constructed too, just like movie previews, to tell enough to arouse interest but not too much so not to spoil the movie.
In this case, you said "what happened" but did not explain at all "how it happened" which is so important in detective stories.
While using such approach is good for the new movies, it does not apply in a case of someone's favorite TV show, which people enjoy watching over and over again. So, please feel free to post all Maigret reports you have, and make them a bit detailed.

About Maigret TV series
12/14/02 – As I mentioned before, I found in some of the Maigret episodes (with M. Gambon) hard to follow the plot (example was Maigret and the Minister). Yesterday, however, I was pleased to watch an episode where at the end there was given a short but sufficient explanation how the "pieces of the puzzle" were put together. It made watching this episode so much more interesting.
(The episode was about the hotel waiter who used to have a girlfriend who was now married to rich American and they had a son who was in fact the waiter's son, and as a result the now-rich woman was blackmailed by a hotel clerk who also killed her when she stayed in that hotel.) [plot summary: Maigret and the Hotel Majestic]

Regards,
Vladimir

Plot of Maigret and the Hotel Majestic
12/15/02 – Good plot description. I would need to add that the case was solved only by chance because the bank manager read in newspaper about Prosper's arrest. The outcome would be quite different if this arrest was not reported or if the bank manager missed the paper that day.

Vladimir

Thanks, Vladimir – I've added that to the summary. <ST>

Simenon Films
12/16/02 – Just to clarify an earlier posting [12/11/02], Bertrand Tavernier's first feature film is known in English as "The Watchmaker of St Paul", and it was based on the Simenon novel known as "The Watchmaker of Everton".
Simenon seems quite interested in watchmakers. Has anyone found any other references?

Roddy Campbell

Not watchmakers... but certainly clocks!
12/16/02 – For those who missed it, Mark Lawson's recent BBC 4 Radio Play about Simenon, The Man Who Had 10,000 Women, makes something of a big deal about Simenon's fixation with clocks. Here is my transcription of the pertinent sections:

Maygret:I don't think I've ever seen a house with so many clocks. Do you know if he'd missed a train at an impressionable age?
Janitor:I just know he had a thing about them. Listen, it's twenty to four — you should be finished here before the top of the hour. Or buy some earplugs. Unless you really love cuckoos.
    ...  
Librarian:Which brings me to my second story. Simenon had a thing about clocks.
Maygret:I know, I was in the house in Switzerland this morning. It ticks like the suitcase in a thriller movie. That's connected with the dad's death?
Librarian:Yes. His father had a little ritual. When he arrived at his office, or walked back into his house, the first thing he'd do was wind the clock. He had a horror of them stopping. When Desiré's own father died, he asked for the family clock as a memento. But they gave him a pepper pot instead.
Maygret:Hm, they teach us at detective school to establish the chronology, but never quite as literally as this.
Librarian:And they don't stop yet. Just before Desiré died, perhaps knowing that he might, he gave Georges his favorite pocket watch. But Simenon used it as payment in a brothel. He pretended it had been stolen but felt guilty all his life. The novels are full of clocks and watches.
Maygret:And the house. As if he were somehow keeping his father's ticker going. Fantastic.


Black marble mantle clocks appear in a number of Maigrets...

  • In front of M in his office was the black Louis-Philippe mantlepiece, with the clock whose hands had been permanently stuck at noon for the last 20 years. [MAJ]
  • A table with green cloth, green velvet armchairs, a Louis-Philippe clock on the mantlepiece – the same as in M's office – and in no better working order. [MAJ]
  • The black marble clock on the mantlepiece pointed to 11:00 in the morning. Thurs, Nov. 19. [LOG]
  • On the mantlepiece was the same black marble clock as in M's office at the QDO. [PEU]
  • It was a few minutes past three by the marble clock in the office, and most of the offices at the Quai des Orfèvres were deep in darkness.[JEU]
  • According to the black clock on Priollet's mantle, identical to the one in M's office and every chief-inspector's office, it was a few minutes before noon. [JEU]
  • In M's office, as in every office in Police Headquarters, and all other Government departments, there was a black marble clock. The hands stood at 20 past 5... There was an identical black marble clock on the mantlepiece. M wondered if it were as unreliable as his own. [ENF]
  • The block marble clock on the office mantlepiece stood at 11:40... [REV]
  • M looked at the black marble clock which was always ten minutes fast. It said 5:40. [SCR]
  • The black marble clock with bronze hands. 5:42, but really, after 6. F. Ledent, the clockmaker, had been dead half a century, maybe a whole century, judging by the style of his clocks. [CLI]
And other clock references in the Maigrets aren't difficult to find...
  • One of M's uncles, his mother's brother, had a mania. Whenever he went into a room with a clock in it, he had to wind it. He worked for the Bureau of Registry. [CHE]
  • Precisely as the electric clock at the Carrefour Montmartre showed ten o'clock, he saw the girl [Berthe]'s small red hat. [BER]
  • Two Louis XVI long-cased clocks were in Juliette Boynet's rooms. [CEC]
  • M circled the Palais de Justice, passed under the big clock, and crossed the Pont-au-Change. [CLI]
  • The pink buildings ... looked more like a laboratory ... than the old mortuary under the big clock of the Palais de Justice.... [COL]
  • They drove down the high street of Moulins, with the hands of the clock of Saint-Pierre standing at 2:30. [FIA]
  • Friday, Nov. 7, 11:05 pm. Concarneau was empty. The lighted clock in the Old Town glowed. [JAU]
  • When he raised his eyes he could see the copper pendulum of the clock swinging to and from it its dark oak case. [MOR]
  • There was a tinny note from the direction of the cliff, the clock of the Bendictine abbey striking one. [REN]
  • Somewhere in Santé prison a clock struck two. [TET]
ST

Plot of Maigret and the Bum
12/16/02 – Hi my name is [*****], i am a student at bowmnville high school in bowmanville. I was just wondering if you had made answers to your questions in your book maigret et le clochard? If you have please tell how i can get them. I need to correct my questions but have no way. Thank you so much for your time, merci beaucoups,

Votre sincierement,
[*****]

I don't know what the questions are, but here's a plot summary.

A Maigret mini-film
12/19/02 – Here's a little mini-film – Maigret rentre dîner chez soi – [Maigret returns home for a meal] by Willi Flückiger. About a minute and a quarter of a stroll from the Quai des Orfèvres to the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir, with Flückiger's background piano music. Plays in Windows Media Player. (I found this at Oliver Hahn's German-language Quai des Orfèvres site. Flückiger's top page is here.)

ST

Guardian on Simenon Centenary
12/21/02 – The UK Guardian newspaper has an article on the Simenon Centenary in today's 'The Editor' Supplement:

The View from Belgium
Andrew Osborn in Brussels

Famous Belgians are often said to be pitifuly few and far between, but the impending centenary of one — legendary crime writer Georges Simenon — had the Belgian press all aflutter this week. Next February will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Simenon, the creator of the pipe-smoking Parisian detective Inspector Maigret, and the Belgians are keen to remind the world that, contrary to popular belief, they have produced some famous names.
In this case their quest has even more verve than usual because it is often incorrectly claimed by Belgophobes that Simenon is French and that really sticks in the Belgians' craw. Many newspapers carried black and white photographs of the late Simenon — a huge pipe enthusiast himself — puffing away as he tapped away at his typewriter, or pounding the streets of his native Liege.
Liege, a town in French-speaking Wallonia, is particularly keen to cash in on its most famous son and is spending more than a million euros next year on a programme of special Simenon events. The town's dustbins are due for a surreal overhaul, in tribute to the prolific scribe — out with wheelie bins and in with specially produced pipe-shaped receptacles.
Le Soir carried an interview with the author's son, John, who is taking a leading role in organising the celebrations. John told the daily broadsheet his childhood had been a happy one, mainly because his father had been such a fast worker. "His writing periods were very short. He used to write six novels a year, taking two weeks for each one. So we saw him all the time."
La Derniere Heure took a characteristically superlative-laden approach. "All the events will remind us to what extent Simenon — the most famous, most translated and most-read author, whose works have been adapted to the big screen more than any other in the 20th century — was above all a native of Liege," the tabloid trumpeted. In fact the slack-jawed Simenon spent only his first 19 years in Liege and lived out much of his later life in France and Switzerland, but the Belgians prefer to gloss over that fact.

The Guardian, Editor Supplement, p.8, Saturday 21st December 2002.
Can we really believe the claims about the pipe-shaped dustbins?
Patricia Clark
Cardiff

Some Belgians (the Walloons) Often Confused with French
12/21/02 – I enjoyed the reaction of Belgians to the claim that Simenon was French. Georges seemed to live with the slander much better than Hercule Poirot, who was always confused by his English hosts as being French, but I can't believe that such a high quality English newspaper would ignore Georges Simenon's stay in the United States.

Dave Drake

New Italian Simenon site

12/23/02 – I am developing a small web site, Brasserie Dauphine (in Italian), about Simenon's bibliography (French and Italian). My goal is to put on line all the first edition covers. It's hard work, especially for the 1920s and 1930s, but I'm working on it. Now I'm updating the site as often as I find new covers. The cover images are thumbnails, but I hope to make a web page for every title, with a large image and all the information about each edition.
Marco Sabatti

Updated French Maigret site
12/29/02 – Tout d'abord, le site a changé d'adresse. Voici la nouvelle : jy.depoix.free.fr/commissa.htm.
De plus, je l'ai fait évolué ces derniers temps en modifiant certaines pages : la liste des épisodes, par exemple, ne se trouve plus sur la page de garde mais sur une page à part. J'ai également ajouté un ou deux liens intéressants ainsi qu'un compteur (mais ça, c'est pour mon plaisir personnel !). Enfin et surtout, j'ai créé un forum sur lequel vous pouvez vous exprimer librement sur la série, sur vos lectures ou sur le site lui-même. Vous pourrez également y poser vos questions éventuelles ou donner des infos top-confidentielles, pourquoi pas ? Le tout évidemment en rapport avec la série, le personnage de Maigret ou Georges Simenon.
N'hésitez donc pas ! Le site doit vivre aussi grâce à vos contributions.

Jacques-Yves Depoix

The above mail was not actually directed to this Forum, but rather to visitors to Jacques-Yves' site focusing on France Channel 2's Bruno Cremer Maigret series. I've posted his message here as it seems like it would be of interest to many of you. Here's my translation:

First of all, the site has changed its address. Here's the new one: jy.depoix.free.fr/commissa.htm.
Further, I've been modifying some pages recently: the list of episodes, for example, is no longer found on the flyleaf, but on a separate page. I've also added one or two interesting links as well as a counter (But that for my personal pleasure!).
Finally and especially, I've created a forum in which you can express yourselves freely on the series, on your readings or on the site itself. You can post questions or reveal top-secret information, whatever! Anything at all connected with the series, Maigret or Georges Simenon.
So don't hesitate! The site depends on your contributions.

ST

The Head of a Man
12/30/02 – Did anyone record the first of the Nicholas le Prevost BBC-4 plays – The Head of a Man – I failed but would welcome an opportunity to hear the play. Is there anyone out there with a copy?

David Lax

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