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Maigret Forum Archives 2005

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New Years Greetings
1/3/05 – Thank you for the compliments.
To all involved in the Maigret Forum website, a Happy and Successful 2005.

Peter Foord

Maigret Feedback
1/3/05 – You have one of the great web sites devoted to any author. One question (which you must have been asked many times), and one suggestion.
Haven't you considered a vast parallel site on all of the rest of Simenon?
And here's the suggestion. The Forum is not intuitively laid out. It is nonsense to have to "jump to the newest entries". The Forum should be laid out like a weblog, with the newest entries at the top of the column.
I especially like your focus on specific Maigret titles and look forward to discussion of the less-known ones, such as the First Case or the Calame Report.
For what it is worth, here are my own 3 files listing what I regard as the 244 "core" Simenon titles. If you are in any doubt how I get to 244, do ask! I allow 4 pseudonymous works (the 4 Maigrets) into this list. There are many Simenon bibliographies. Half of them are inaccurate, and I don't think any of them are as lucidly set out as mine. The only way I think it could be improved as a core list would be by checking the order of appearance of each title within each year -- by month. I haven't done that yet, but could do it. Please tell me if you think I've got anything wrong.
I give the Fayard titles numbers because they are a kind of sacred oeuvre within the oeuvre. For most authors, those 20-odd titles would be a life's work.
I am compiling a file of Simenon plaudits by the great and good, from Gide to Stravinsky to Dirk Bogarde. May send it to you in due course.
Maigret.pdf
Non-Maigret.pdf
Main Autobiographical.pdf

Best regards,
David Derrick

Maigret et la Seconde Guerre mondiale [Maigret and World War II]
1/3/05 –
On trouve une allusion à la collaboration économique dans Maigret et le Clochard (1962) -- « Il a fatalement travaillé avec les Allemands et a amassé une fortune considérable... » --, ainsi qu'à la filière espagnole pour fuir en Argentine avec femme et fortune (Chapitre 4, p. 86-87 de l'édition P. C. 38 NS).
Une précision pour les personnes peu familières avec l'Histoire de France : l'Alsace dont il est question pour ce Lemke ferrailleur à l'origine de la fortune de Mme Keller n'était pas occupée par l'Allemagne, mais annexée au IIIe Reich. Tout Alsacien, par définition, a travaillé pendant plus de quatre ans pour l'Allemagne...
There is an allusion to economic collaboration in Maigret and the Bum (1962) – "Inevitably he had to deal with the Germans, and he amassed a considerable fortune ... he and his wife managed to reach Spain, and from there they sailed to Argentina..." (Chapter 4, p. 88-89, Popular Books, Jean Stewart translation.)
A point of clarification for those less familiar with French history: the Alsace of the scrap metal dealer Lemke and the origin of Mrs. Keller's fortune, was not occupied by Germany, but annexed to the Third Reich. All Alsatians, by definition, worked during more than four years for Germany...
<ST>

Richard Budelberger

Maigret in Romanian
1/6/05 – The books of Georges Simenon are also translated into Romanian. I am not sure how many titles have been printed in the past (before 1989 - the Communist period) but in 2004 the Polirom publishing house started reprinting the series of Commisar Maigret. Until now there have been 10 books printed. The titles are the folowing:

  1. Asta-i Felicie
  2. Dansatoarea de la Gai-Moulin (La danseuse du Gai-Moulin)
  3. Nebunul din Bergerac (Le fou de Bergerac)
  4. Maigret si Mortul (Maigret et son mort)
  5. Maigret se teme (Maigret a peur)
  6. Maigret si scoala crimei (Maigret à l'école
  7. Inspectorul Cadavre (L'Inspecteur Cadavre)
  8. Prima ancheta a lui Maigret (La première enquête de Maigret)
  9. Cazul Louise Laboine (Maigret et la jeune morte)
  10. Maigret la New-York (Maigret à New York)
Best regards,
Alexandru Jianu

Maigret of the Month --2005

monthtitle
JanuaryL'affaire Saint-Fiacre - Maigret Goes Home (1932)
FebruaryChez les Flamands - The Flemish Shop (1932)
MarchLe port des brumes - Death of a Harbormaster (1932)
AprilLe fou de Bergerac - The Madman of Bergerac (1932)
MayLiberty Bar - Liberty Bar, Maigret on the Riviera (1932)
JuneL'écluse no. 1 - The Lock at Charenton (1933)

Maigret of the Month: L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre (Maigret goes home) - 1

1/08/05 –

With this novel, Simenon introduces the reader to the village where Maigret's mother and father lived and where he was born and raised. Although the novel is a work of fiction, Simenon based the location on an area of France he knew well.
When Simenon left his home city of Liège, in Belgium, in December 1922, he went to Paris where he was to start a new employment, made possible through a family connection, as a secretary to the journalist and writer Gustave Binet-Valmer. The latter was far more interested in a veterans' organisation with right-wing political associations, but one of the adherents was the Marquis Raymond d'Estutt de Tracy who in seeking a secretary took on the young Simenon in May 1923. The Marquis had inherited a fortune and property, among other bequests, from his father. The property included one of several châteaux, one being in the département of Allier at the village of Paray-le-Frésil twenty-five kilometres from the town of Moulins. Simenon was required to accompany the Marquis to his various properties and according to Tigy, Simenon's first wife, the Marquis '...prefers his Paray-le-Frésil château, near Moulins' (Tigy Simenon, "Souvenirs," Gallimard, 2004, page 22).
It was in and around the village of Paray-le-Frésil, renamed Saint-Fiacre by Simenon, that he chose to set his Maigret novel L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre and there to give Maigret his roots.
This particular location and period in Simenon's life is well documented, not only in the biographies by Fenton Bresler, Stanley G. Eskin, Patrick Marnham and Pierre Assouline, but also by the following:
  1. Gilles Henry: Commissaire Maigret, Qui Êtes-Vous? Librairie Plon, 1977, 284 pages. (Reprinted as La Veritable Histoire du Commissaire Maigret, Editions Charles Orlet, 1989, 269 pages). With reference to Simenon's autobiographies and fictional work, Gilles Henry has extracted details relevant to several aspects of Maigret's creation, life and career. Also by obtaining information from various archives and people in certain locations, he has pieced together how Simenon has used fact to create his fiction. There are two black and white aerial photographs of the village and the château of Paray-le-Frésil (the latter similar to the photograph in the Forum entry for 6/26/00 from Jérôme Devémy), two photographs of Pierre-Augustin Tardivon, the steward to the château, on whom Simenon based Maigret's father, and various stills and photographs of actors who have played Maigret. At the end of the text there is a list of the Maigret novels and short stories, plus a list of characters appearing in the Maigret works.
    The reprint of 1989 has the same texts but omits the photographs. Neither book has been translated into English.
  2. Claude Menguy. In the article Simenon: "sites classés". Traces N° 10, Université de Liège, Centre d'Études Georges Simenon, 1998, pages 186 to 193.
    Claude Menguy visited Paray-le-Frésil in May 1998 and his text reveals details of Simenon's connection with this village and the château gleaned from some of the inhabitants and his extensive knowledge of the author's work. The text is enhanced by Claude Menguy's own photographs of this location. He reveals that the inn in the novel where Maigret stayed and run by Marie Tatin was in fact, in 1923, owned by another Marie, Marie Picard, who was the youngest of six sisters.
    The Marquis, Simenon was soon to discover, had certain rigid ideas. Although Simenon had only been married for two months, the Marquis forbade his secretary's wife Tigy to live in the château or in any of his other properties he visited. Tigy decided to follow her husband and his employer, staying nearby in various rented accommodation. In Paray-le-Frésil, she stayed for a time in Marie Picard's (or the fictional Marie Tatin's) inn. In her Memoirs ("Souvenirs", Gallimard, 2004, page 22) Tigy Simenon writes:
    'At Marie Picard's, the real country inn, with the feather bed and the red eiderdown, perched on top. But the grub is fantastic and the board and lodging ridiculous: ten francs a day.' (In her Memoirs there is a small photograph of Tigy standing in front of the inn).
    As the Marquis seemed to be wanting to stay at this château for some time, Georges and Tigy Simenon decided to rent two rooms in a small house about a hundred metres from Marie Picard's inn in the Rue Haute (Claude Menguy: pages 191 to 193). Simenon remained in the employment of the Marquis until the spring of 1924 when he and his wife returned to Paris.
    Neither Claude Menguy's article nor Tigy Simenon's Souvenirs are available in English translation.
  3. Guido De Croock. L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre - 1 and 2. From his website: www.maigret-in-france.net. In September 2003 Guido De Croock visited Paray-le-Frésil, posting his findings on to his website with photographs and maps.
In the December bulletin from "Les Amis de Georges Simenon" there is this item from the press (unidentified source):
'Pierre-Augustin Tardivon. He was my father. At the close of the Great War, he became steward to the Marquis de Tracy, at Paray-le-Frésil, in the Allier. There he made the acquaintance of Georges Simenon, at that time secretary to the Marquis, with whom he got on well. In a letter addressed to my sister on the 22nd of November 1977, Simenon wrote, "I am happy to tell you what admiration I had for your father. It is on him that I based Maigret's father." So by the magic of the pen, without knowing it, my father took on the paternity of the renowned Commissaire Maigret'   Pierre-Henri Tardivon.

So less than eight years after his stay at Paray-le-Frésil, in January 1932, whilst living at the villa "Les Roches Grises" at Cap-d'Antibes (Alpes-Maritimes) on the French Riviera, Simenon turned certain aspects of real life into the novel L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre.


A map showing the route east from the town of Moulins, along the N79 to Chevagnes and then north east along the D238 to Paray-le-Frésil, all in the département of Allier (from France: Map 238. Centre: Berry-Nivernais, Michelin 1989). click to enlarge

A note is sent to the police at Moulins, and then on to the police in Paris at the Quai des Orfèvres, stating that a crime is going to be committed at first Mass in a certain church in a certain village on a particular day. The police regard it as a probable hoax, but Maigret recognises the location, takes it seriously, and travels to the village of Saint-Fiacre. There he finds accommodation at the inn of Marie Tatin, who he remembers from his childhood, and the following morning attends the first Mass at the village church. At the end of the Mass his apprehension is realised with the death of the Comtesse de Saint-Fiacre.
Making himself known, Maigret soon learns how conditions have changed, especially at the château, since he left the village as a young man to live in Paris. What he discovers saddens, disgusts and angers him. The standards that were maintained by the late Comte de Saint-Fiacre in the running of the château and the estate have been eroded leading to dire financial problems, exacerbated by the personal activities of the Comtesse and her son, the current Comte de Saint-Fiacre.
Maigret wanders about the village, looking in at the church and the château, talking to people, as well as visiting the town of Moulins, gleaning as much information as he can in trying to unravel the circumstances leading to the death of the Comtesse. With his now familiar writing skill, Simenon presents the atmosphere of village life both through Maigret's boyhood memories and the changes that have been, and are, taking place.
But it is when the Comte de Saint-Fiacre invites a group of people to dinner, including Maigret, who have connections with his family and the château, that events reach a climax. Simenon entitles the chapter in which this dramatic event takes place as "Sous le signe de Walter Scott" (translated as "In the style of Sir Walter Scott" and "A Scene from Scott"). From his childhood onwards, Simenon was a prolific reader of the works of many authors, including the Scottish novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), and he is recreating a remembered atmosphere for the dénouement of this novel. A dénouement that brings out the motive of greed with the manipulation of circumstances and certain people. But it is Maigret who puts into place the final piece of the mystery.

There are two English translations of this novel. The first is by Margaret Ludwig originally published under the title of "The Saint-Fiacre Affair" in the two novel volume with the overall title of "Maigret Keeps a Rendez-Vous" (in the UK by Routledge, 1940, and in the USA by Harcourt, 1941). The second is by Robert Baldick originally published by Penguin Books, UK, 1967 as a paperback under the title "Maigret Goes Home". Both English translations are close to Simenon's French original.

Peter Foord, UK

Maigret of the Month: L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre (Maigret goes home) - 2

1/10/05 –
I just reread Maigret et l'affaire Saint-Fiacre. It is even better than I remembered.
This is a strange book, as Maigret seems to be a witness and is not conducting the inquiry. He is more following The Comte.
The main meal at the end of the book is like some of those "huis-clos" and for me the whole book looks like a "huis-clos" in the village between Maigret and the others. Maigret seems to be more concerned by his memories of youth. In chapter three Simenon writes, "Mais il était furieux qu'on vïnt salir ses souvenirs d'enfance!"
At the end the official justice is not called and even if the crime is vile, the criminal can leave freely. It could be more related to the non-Maigret books by the vile crime and the abject criminal and motive.
You may have noticed that the name of The comte's girlfirend is Marie Vassilief, a clin d'oeil from Simenon as Marie Vassilief is the name of the painter that painted the wall of the restaurant 'La Coupole' in 1927 where Maigret and Joséphine Baker used to meet. (See 5/2/04 Forum).
I now need to reread the story "Maigret and the altar boy" to see if there is any point related to the altar boy in this story...

Regards,
Jerome

Maigret of the Month: L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre (Maigret goes home) - 3

1/11/05 –

[Édition de référence : Presses Pocket n° 1333 (1989) ; pagination : 7 ; 25 ; 41 ; 61 ; 78 ; 94 ; 113 ; 130 ; 146 ; 166 ; 179-185.]

Si Paray-le-Frésil est Saint-Fiacre, et Moulins Moulins..., alors Chevagnes, c'est Matignon ? Car c'est ainsi (Ch. 1, p. 9) que Maigret identifie son village : « — Saint-Fiacre, par Matignon ? ». Simenon respecte la géographie locale, en plaçant Saint-Fiacre et Moulins (Ch. 8, p. 138) : « Toujours est-il qu'il franchit les vingt-cinq kilomètres séparant Moulins du château en moins d'un quart d'heure... ». La carte Michelin 238 « Centre : Berry-Nivernais » proposée supra par l'érudit britannique Peter Foord nous indique 18 km de Moulins à Chevagnes (N79), puis 7 km de Chevagnes à Paray-le-Frésil par la D238. (Voilà bien un paragraphe inutile, puisqu'il est possible que Matignon ne figure plus nulle part ailleurs dans l'œuvre de Simenon !...)
Oui, mais... Simenon et la France... Pour Simenon, Saint-Fiacre, c'est dans le Berry (Ch. 5, p. 86) : « On devait parler dans tout le Berry de la vieille folle qui gâchait la fin de sa vie avec ses soi-disant secrétaires ! ». Alors que tout le monde et son chien sait que Paray-le-Frésil confine au Nivernais et au Bourbonnais. Peut-être est-ce la raison du revirement de Simenon quinze ans plus tard, en 1947, quand il rédige les Vacances de Maigret (1), où Saint-Fiacre se voit transporté (Ch. 3, p. 48) :
[Dr Bellamy]
— De quelle province êtes-vous ?
D'autres auraient dit département, et Maigret saluait au passage ce mot province qu'il aimait.
— Du Bourbonnais.
(Les Français se divisent entre les tenants des provinces historiques (le Bourbonnais) et les partisans des technocratiques départements (l'Allier) et régions. Toutefois, le négligent Simenon n'est pas à une contradiction près (Ch. 1, p. 6) : « [le] jeune Maigret qui, jadis, dans son village de l'Allier... » !)

1. Édition de référence : Presses de la Cité m 13 (1989) ; pagination : 5 ; 27 ; 47 ; 67 ; 89 ; 109 ; 129 ; 151 ; 171-190. Afin de se repérer dans les multiples éditions des Maigret, et dans l'attente d'un système définitif, j'indique un volume de référence, et la pagination des chapitres, en terminant par le numéro de la dernière page. Ici : ch. 1 p.5 ; ch. 2 p. 27 ; [...] ; ch. 9 p.171 - dernière page : p. 190. Ainsi, une règle de trois devrait permettre de s'y retrouver dans une autre édition ou une traduction...


[Edition of reference: Presses Pocket n° 1333 (1989); pagination: 7; 25; 41; 61; 78; 94; 113; 130; 146; 166; 179-185.]

If Paray-le-Frésil is Saint-Fiacre, and Moulins Moulins, then is Chevagnes Matignon? Because that is how Maigret identifies his village: "— Saint-Fiacre, by Matignon." (Ch. 1, p. 9). Simenon respects local geography in placing Saint-Fiacre and Moulins: "Still, the fact is he covered the twenty-five km separating Moulins from the château in less than a quarter of an hour..." (Ch. 8, p. 138). Michelin map 238 "Centre: Berry-Nivernais" set out (above) by the British scholar Peter Foord, indicates that it is 18 km from Moulins to Chevagnes (N79), then another 7 km from Chevagnes to Paray-Le-Frésil by D238. (This may be really a rather valueless paragraph, since it is possible that Matignon doesn't appear anywhere else in the entire Simenon œuvre!)*
Yes, but... Simenon and France... For Simenon, Saint-Fiacre is in Berry (Ch. 5, p. 86): "They would tell all over Berry of the old madwoman who wasted the end of her life with her so-called secretaries!" Whereas everybody and his uncle knows that Paray-Le-Frésil is confined to Nivernais and Bourbonnais. Could this be the reason for Simenon's reversal 15 years later, in 1947, when in Maigret on Holiday (1), Saint-Fiacre finds itself transported (Ch. 3, p. 48) :
[Dr. Bellamy]
— From what province are you?
Others would have said department, and Maigret gave nod to this word province that he liked.
— From Bourbonnais.
(The French are divided among those holding to the historical provinces (Bourbonnais) and partisans of the technocratic départements (Allier), and régions. However, a negligent Simenon is not above a contradiction: "the young Maigret who, previously, in his village in the Allier..."!) (Ch. 1, p. 6)

1. Edition of reference: Presses de la Cité m 13 (1989); pagination: 5; 27; 47; 67; 89; 109; 129; 151; 171-190. In order to align the multiple editions of the Maigrets, and in the absence of a definitive system, I indicate a volume of reference, and the pagination of chapters, while finishing by the number of the last page. Here: Ch. 1 p.5; Ch. 2 p. 27; [... ]; Ch. 9 p.171-last page: p. 190. Thus, a rule of three should permit its recovery in another edition or translation...

(*Matignon is not mentioned elsewhere in the Maigrets.)

<ST>

Richard Budelberger

Maigret of the Month: L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre (Maigret goes home) - 4

1/11/05 –

I just read "Maigret and the altar boy" again, and on the last page, when Maigret is ill and resting after having solved the case, Simenon wrote: "Il s'endormi enfin, le cou entouré d'une large compresse, en rêvant des messes de son village, de l'auberge de Marie Titin, devant laquelle il passait en courant parcequ'il avait peur" [He fell asleep at last, with a huge compress round his neck, dreaming of Mass in his own village and Marie Titin's inn, past which he used to run because he was afraid. (Jean Stewart translation)]
This is another small memory of Maigret's youth. Simenon makes a small mistake as Marie's familly name is Tatin in L'affaire Saint-Fiacre. In "Maigret and l'altar boy" he uses the fact that as a boy Maigret wanted to get many things like the big missal with big red letters for the young altar boy at Saint-Fiacre. "Maigret and the altar boy" was writen in April 1946 when Simenon was in Canada. That is 14 years after l'Affaire Saint-Fiacre.

Reagrds,
Jerome

References to Maigret and Simenon in literature
1/11/05 –
Paul Léautaud (1872-1956), dans son Journal littéraire (1893-1956) — 6 600 pages 11,5 × 17 cm ! -, ne cite qu'une seule fois (et encore...) Simenon (Tome III, p. 1727, année 1948) :
Dimanche 12 Septembre. — Combat a entrepris auprès de ses lecteurs un référendum sur cette question : Quels sont les meilleurs écrivains français actuels ? Je découpe le passage des réponses :
LES DIX PREMIERS
Ont obtenu :
Gide, 423 voix ; Camus, 342 ; Sartre, 324 ; Malraux, 298 ; Montherlant, 290 ; Claudel, 256 ; Mauriac, 243 ; Romains, 191 ; Martin du Gard, 180 ; Colette, 172.
Viennent ensuite :
Duhamel, 169 ; Anouilh, 141 ; Aymé, 128 ; Éluard, 107 ; Breton, 99 ; Giono, 97 ; Cocteau, 93 ; Prévert, 90 ; Aragon, 87 ; Maurois, 82 ; Michaux, 77 ; Alain, 71 ; Queneau, 58 ; Supervielle, 47 ; Céline, 46 ; Valery Larbaud, 29 ; Green, 28 ;Salacrou, 26 ; Léautaud, 25 ; Dorgelès, 25 ; Carco, 24 ; Gracq, 23 ; Maurras, 22 ; Lacretelle, 22 ; Daniel-Rops, 21 ; Herriot, 21 ; Maritain, 21 ; Simenon, 20 ; Peyrefitte, 20.

Gide en premier avec 423 voix. Duhamel en onzième rang avec 169 voix. S'il voit cela, il en jaunira en cachette.
Ailleurs (Tome III, p. 86, samedi 15 juin 1940), quoique un peu éloigné de notre sujet... :

La première chose que les Allemands ont demandé en arrivant à Paris : le Quai d'Orsay. On les y a conduits. Ils sont venus aussi à la Police judiciaire, ils avaient un plan détaillé du bâtiment : escalier A, escalier B, escalier C... L'inspecteur de police dit qu'ils ont dû bien nous juger en voyant la saleté qui règne dans tous les bureaux.
Paul Léautaud (1872-1956), in his Journal littéraire (1893-1956) - 6,600 pages 11.5 × 17 cm ! only mentions once (and again...) Simenon (Volume III, p. 1727, year 1948):
Sunday, 12 September. — Combat has undertaken a poll of its readers on the question, "Who are the best current French writers?" I've extracted the passage of responses:
THE TOP TEN
Gide, 423 votes; Camus, 342; Sartre, 324; Malraux, 298; Montherlant, 290; Claudel, 256; Mauriac, 243; Romains, 191; Martin du Gard, 180; Colette, 172.
Followed by:
Duhamel, 169; Anouilh, 141; Aymé, 128; Éluard, 107; Breton, 99; Giono, 97; Cocteau, 93; Prévert, 90; Aragon, 87; Maurois, 82; Michaux, 77; Alain, 71; Queneau, 58; Supervielle, 47; Céline, 46; Valery Larbaud, 29; Green, 28;Salacrou, 26; Léautaud, 25; Dorgelès, 25; Carco, 24; Gracq, 23; Maurras, 22; Lacretelle, 22; Daniel-Rops, 21; Herriot, 21; Maritain, 21; Simenon, 20; Peyrefitte, 20.

Gide in first with 423 votes. Duhamel in eleventh with 169 votes. If he sees this, he will secretly turn green.
Elsewhere (Volume III, p. 86, Saturday 15 June 1940), although slightly removed from the subject...:

The first thing the Germans asked for when arriving in Paris: the Quai d'Orsay. They were driven there. They also went to the Police judiciaire, where they had a detailed plan of the building: staircase A, staircase B, staircase C... A police inspector said that they should have been able to judge us well, seeing how dirty all the offices were.
<ST>

Richard Budelberger

Obtaining a copy of a '60s BBC Maigret episode?
1/12/05 – I have been browsing your excellent site. Do you happen to know if there is any way to acquire a copy of a particular episode of the Maiget series produced by the BBC in the 60's? The episode of my interest is:

21. Raise Your Right Hand (Maigret aux assises).
BBC TV (English).
1961 (12/11/61).
I have recently learned that my late uncle, Frank Ellement, played the role of Pierre Millard in that episode.
Regards,
John Mott

The value of francs in Maigret stories
1/11/05 –
L'INSEE met en garde le public contre l'utilisation de son propre tableau d'équivalence du franc (Fichier PDF) : « L'INSEE tient à préciser aux utilisateurs de ces données qu'elles sont d'autant plus fragiles que les périodes utilisées sont éloignées, et qu'elles ne peuvent être l'objet d'une référence juridique. » Les Français le savent bien ; que depuis qu'il existe des indices de prix existe aussi une politique de l'indice mise en œuvre par les gouvernements successifs, les ministres des Finances, ayant pour seul but de trafiquer les chiffres, en modérant les prix dont l'INSEE tient compte, et en laissant les autres s'envoler. (Je suppose que ce phénomène est universel, et non propre à la France !) Les Français, bêtes au point de voter Maastricht et l'euro, ne sont pas dupes des chiffres en epsilon égrenés chaque mois par les commentateurs.
Les deux dernières années (1971-1972) de production des Maigret, le prix de vente de l'édition courante (poche Presses de la Cité, du type « PC n NS ») était de 4,90 F. Aujourd'hui, leur réédition dans le « Livre de poche » est à 5 euros. Se basant sur cette seule donnée, on peut poser 1 F-1971 = 1,02 €-2004. En réalité, cette valeur (1,02) serait encore à majorer, puisqu'il s'agit de rééditions ayant déjà largement rapporté à l'auteur et à l'éditeur depuis trente ans ! Le tableau de l'INSEE indique : 1 F-1971 = 0,85199 €-2003, soit un écart (minimal) de 20 %.
Le milliardaire suisse Simenon paraît peu au fait de la réalité française, au moins dans ses incohérents derniers romans - Maigret à Vichy, L'Ami d'enfance de Maigret... -, où les sommes mises en jeu défient toute vraisemblance (tant économique que fiscale, mais j'y reviendrai dans mes Carnets, si Steve m'en donne l'occasion).

Les extraits mentionnés dans « francs in Maigret stories » pèchent par omission, au moins en ce qui concerne Maigret se fâche (1945) (1), où figure une indication intéressante (si elle est vérifiée). Extrait cité :

Bernadette Amorelle came to M to have him take up her case. She offered him 50,000 francs if successful, 10,000 in any event.

Soit, en bonne langue française : « Cinquante mille si vous réussissez. Et, si vous ne trouvez rien, mettons dix mille, plus vos frais... » (Ch. 1, p. 14)

Plus loin (Ch. 3, p. 53-54) :

[Ernest Malik]
— [...] L'administration n'est pas très généreuse. Je ne sais pas combien elle te verse comme retraite.
Et Maigret, toujours doux et humble :
— Trois mille deux.
.
.
[Ernest Malik]
— [...] Voilà pourquoi je te dis...
— Combien ?
— Cent mille.
Il ne broncha pas, hochant la tête avec hésitation :
— Cent cinquante. J'irai jusqu'à deux cent mille.

Ernest Malik - le Percepteur... - offre cinq années (62,5 mois) de revenus à Maigret - à la retraite depuis bientôt deux ans (Ch. 1, p. 14) - pour s'en débarrasser ! Sa mère, Bernadette Amorelle, proposait déjà 16 mois de pension (cf. supra). Un mot, probablement rédigé par son fils, veut solder l'affaire pour 6 mois (Ch. 5, p. 81-82) : « Lors de ma visite inconsidérée à Meung-sur-Loire, j'avais laissé sur votre table une liasse de dix mille francs, destinés à couvrir vos premiers frais. Veuillez trouver ci-joint un chèque de la même somme et considérer cette affaire comme terminée. »

L'INSEE donne à 3 200 F-1945 comme équivalent 339,2 €-2003 ! Une retraite de commissaire de la Police judiciare (pressenti pour en être le directeur) ! La proposition de Malik - 200 000 F-1945 -, n'est pas plus réaliste (en plus d'être illégale) : 21 200 €-2003... Pourtant, Simenon était en France lors de la rédaction de Maigret se fâche. Alors ? De sa part, aucune notion de la valeur de l'argent (pour ce rapport 62,5) ? Délire de l'INSEE quant à l'équivalence ? Le manuscrit ayant été détruit par l'auteur... (Pourquoi, au fait, Simenon a-t-il détruit certains manuscrits, tout en vendant d'autres au profit des prisonniers de guerre ?)

1. Édition de référence : Presses de la Cité m 2 (1989) ; pagination : 7 ; 24 ; 41 ; 57 ; 73 ; 91 ; 109 ; 125-141.

Richard Budelberger

Maigret Monday 17th on France 2
1/17/05 –
Origine : Fra. (2004) Stéréo.
Scénario : Steve Hawes.
Musique : Laurent Petitgirard.
Réalisation : Franck Apprederis.
Distribution : Bruno Cremer (le commissaire Maigret), Vanessa Larré (Cécile Ledru), Vincent Winterhalter (Philippe Deligeard), Thierry Fortineau (le juge Monthiel).
Date : 17/01/2005
Horaire : 20H55 - 22H50
Durée : 115 mn
À Caen, où il est chargé de réorganiser la brigade mobile, Maigret reçoit la visite de Cécile Ledru, une jeune femme de 28 ans qui vient de perdre celle qui l'avait accueillie après la mort de ses parents et à qui elle doit tout. Âgée de 78 ans, cette bienfaitrice nommée Joséphine Croizier, de Bayeux, est décédée d'une crise cardiaque lors de son séjour chez son neveu Philippe Deligeard. Cécile est convaincue que madame Croizier a été assassinée par Deligeard qui, désargenté, ne pensait qu'à l'héritage de sa tante. Le commissaire Maigret entame son enquête sur cette affaire et commence à découvrir les petits et grands secrets des proches de la défunte.
Notes : Une excellente enquête qui nous tient en haleine jusqu'au bout. Bruno Cremer est exemplaire, comme à son habitude.

Jerome

Help with Pietre Le Letton?
1/17/05 – Hello. I was wondering whether somebody would be able to help me. I am currently a 4th year university student and I am studying Pietre Le Letton for my French detective fiction module. I have read the book but would like to clarify a couple of points. Why does Anna Gorskine murder Mortimer Levingston? Who is 'Openheim? is he another name Pietr uses? and who murdered Torrence? I would be really grateful for any suggestions on these.

Thank you very much,
Pippa Todd

Maigret in Slovak
1/20/05 –

Steve et moi établissons les bibliographies tchèque et slovaque des Maigret. Pas facile quand on ne connaît ni le tchèque ni le slovaque. Nous en sommes à 57 textes pour le tchèque, et 18 pour le slovaque.
Première demande (le slovaque) : quelqu'un peut-il confirmer les titres originaux des traductions citées ? et compléter le reste ?
Merci.
Steve and I are working on the title lists for Maigret in Czech and Slovak -- Not so easy when you know neither Czech nor Slovak! We have some 57 titles for Czech, and 18 for Slovak.
To begin with Slovak... Can anyone confirm the original titles for the given translations? ...and complete the rest?
Thank you.
Liberty bar : « Liberty Bar »
Maigret a neochotní svedkovia : Maigret et les Témoins récalcitrants
Maigret a prípad Nahour : Maigret et l'Affaire Nahour
Maigret a samotár : Maigret et l'Homme tout seul
Maigret a telo bez hlavy : Maigret et le Corps sans tête
Maigret a tulák : Maigret et le Clochard
Maigret sa hnevá : Maigret se fâche
Maigretov zlodej : Le Voleur de Maigret
Maigretove pamäti : Les Mémoires de Maigret
Môj priateľ Maigret : Mon ami Maigret
Nocna križovatke : La Nuit du carrefour
Prístav hmiel : Le Port des brumes
Stavidlo č. 1 : L'Écluse n° 1
Žltý pes : Le Chien jaune

Prípad z baru :
Maigret váha :
Maigretove starosti :
Maigretovo rozprávanie :

Note : On remarquera avec le plus grand intérêt que les titres français respectent l'orthotypographie française, à propos de laquelle nous nous exprimerons ultérieurement. Note: You may find it of particular interest that the French titles respect French orthotypography, with regard to which we will return later.
Richard Budelberger


Richard started this project with the Polish pages — thanks to his help, I can post the accurate lists in Polish orthography.
ST

Can you read these characters?
1/23/05 – If the accented characters for the Slovak and French in Richard Budelberger's message above, look similar to those shown in the image below:

then Unicode characters are displaying successfully on your screen. With Richard's help, I've been updating the character displays for the Eastern European languages in the multi-lingual Bibliography section.
If you find a listing for which the characters are incorrect or missing (including non-Roman alphabets), please send me a file with the correct orthography, and I'll try to correct the on-line lists.
(If the characters don't display correctly on your system, please let me know the details...)

Thanks!
ST

Maigret on French TV : Friday 4th February: Maigret et le Marchand de vin
1/30/05 –
Origine : Fra. (2004) Stéréo.
Scénario : Pierre Granier-Deferre et Dominique Garnier.
Musique : Laurent Petitgirard.
Réalisation : Christian de Chalonge.
Distribution : Bruno Cremer (Jules Maigret), Alexandre Brasseur (Paul Lachenal), Bruno Abraham-Kremer (Lorenzi), Laurent Schilling (Lambert).
Date : 04/02/2005
Horaire : 20H55 - 22H40
Durée : 105 mn
En sortant d'une maison de rendez-vous, René Chabut est assassiné. Autodidacte plutôt timide mais obstiné, Chabut était à la tête d'une grosse entreprise solide et florissante, qu'il dirigeait d'une main de fer. Néanmoins, incapable de surmonter son complexe d'infériorité, cet homme mystérieux et sensible éprouvait le besoin de dominer, voire d'humilier autrui pour croire en lui. D'où ses multiples liaisons passagères et son cynisme à toute épreuve, notamment dans le domaine des affaires. Chargé du dossier, le commissaire Maigret décide assez logiquement de suivre ces deux pistes, la vengeance d'une ancienne conquête ou d'un client. Il abandonne assez rapidement la première.

Jerome

Maigret y la Segunda Guerra Mundial
1/31/05 – When I sent my question (11/12/04) why there was no mention of WWII in Simenon's Maigrets, I had only read the Maigrets written through 1947. I have now read through 1959 (I am currently reading "Maigret in Society") and have seen numerous references to WWII in the Maigrets written between 1948 and 1959.
My 11/12/04 message also questioned whether there might have been anything improper in Simenon allowing his Maigret books to be filmed during the Vichy government. Richard Budelberger's 1/3/05 message (Maigret et la Seconde Guerre mondiale [Maigret and World War II]) cites an allusion of economic collaboration with the Germans in "Maigret and the Bum". I don't know the context of that economic collaboration as have not yet read MATB.
I have come to realize, though, that it was unfair of me to question Simenon's motives in wanting to make his books into film. I left my native Cuba in 1961when I was 17 years old. The 1959-1961 Cuban exodus was significant but still it was only about one or two percent of the Cuban population at the time; most Cubans stayed in Cuba and had to deal with Fidel Castro's communist government whether they liked it or not!
Of the 1948-1949 Maigrets, I think "Maigret Has Scruples", "Maigret and the Reluctant Witnesses", and "Maigret Has Doubts" are three of his best.

Saludos,
Juan

Maigret of the Month: Chez les Flamands (The Flemish Shop)

2/01/05 –
At the request from one of the daughters of a Flemish family who visits him in his office at the Quai des Orfèvres, Maigret travels outside his jurisdiction in order to find out about the enquiry for himself. This request takes him to the town of Givet on the Franco-Belgium border in the département of Ardennes. (maps below)
Simenon wrote this novel in January 1932, whilst living at the villa "Les Roches Grises" at Cap-d'Antibes (Alpes-Maritimes) on the French Riviera.
In the spring of 1929, he had his newly acquired boat the "Ostrogoth" baptised by the curé of Notre-Dame when it was moored next to the Square du Vert-Galant on the Île de la Cité in Paris. Soon he was heading north along the rivers and canals reaching Givet on the river Meuse a few days later.

There are three main researches tracing Georges Simenon's association with the towns of Givet and Namur in connection with his novel Chez les Flamands:
1) Articles in the booklet "La Grive", N° 157 Printemps (Spring edition) 2000, L'Association des Amis de la Grive, Charleville-Mézières (Ardennes), France.
This publication contains a few small black and white period photographs related to Simenon's novel, plus the articles that contain some of the information now published in the next item.
2) Michel Lemoine and Michel Carly: Les Chemins belges de Simenon, Liège, Éditions du Céfal. 2003.
In the article entitled Chez les Flamands, de Givet à Namur, pages 61 to 72, the two researchers describe Simenon's visit and the probable locations he uses in the novel, with black and white period photographs.
3) Guido De Croock. Chez les Flamands - 1 and 2. In 2003, Guido De Croock visited Givet, posting his findings onto his website — www.Maigret-in-france.net — with photographs and maps.


A general map showing the position of the town of Givet (Ardennes) in France, in relation to the Belgian border, which is indicated by the meandering line of small black crosses. The "Flemish Shop" in Simenon's novel is most likely located next to the northern end of Route N51 between the two Customs posts indicated by the blue flag symbol (French) and the yellow one (Belgian). (From France: Motoring Atlas, London, Michelin / Hamlyn Publishing, 1990).

In writing this novel, Simenon used two events from his personal experience and around these he created the theme of his novel.


The centre of the town of Givet (Ardennes) in France showing certain locations — Gare (railway station), the place Méhul (from which the N51 runs north), the Place Carnot with the Hötel de Ville (town hall) indicated by the capital letter H, and the main road bridge across the river Meuse. (From France, Paris, Michelin, 1962). (click to enlarge)

Firstly there are the locations, these being the towns of Givet (Ardennes) in France and Namur (province of Namur) in Belgium. As in much of his fiction, within the main locations, Simenon uses real establishments but usually with different names so as not to cause possible legal problems for himself. This is the case of those establishments in Givet whose real identity have been verified by the researchers, as well as what the town was like when Simenon reached it in the "Ostrogoth" in the spring of 1929. There was only a provisional footbridge across the river Meuse constructed of iron girders resting on wooden piles as the stone bridge had been destroyed during the First World War, and that the weather was fine and calm, but the transformations that the author made were to create the atmosphere that he wanted.
Secondly, there is the structure of the family. When Maigret arrives by train at Givet he is met by Anna Peeters, who came to see him in Paris. She takes him to her family home, the Flemish family home, by the river Meuse close to the Belgian border. This is also a shop that gives the novel its title, supplying provisions of all kinds to the river trade. On this occasion Maigret meets some of the Peeters' family, which consists of five members. Apart from the 26 year old Anna, there is the older sister Maria, 28, who is an instructress / teacher at an Ursuline convent in Namur and their younger brother Joseph, 25, who is a law student in the town of Nancy and who is engaged to Marguerite Van de Weert, the daughter of a local doctor. Then there are their parents, Madame Peeters, aged about sixty, who runs the shop and her much older husband who is suffering from senility.
Simenon based this family on that of one of his aunts. His mother Henriette was the youngest of thirteen children born to Wilhelm and Maria Brüll, but sadly, five died young. This made Marie Lambertine Joséphine Brüll (1865-1955) the eldest sister. In 1886 she married Gilles Croissant (1841-1918) and they had three children, Joséphine Croissant (1887-1946), Maria Croissant (1888-1975) and Joseph Croissant (1891-1973). This Croissant family and that of the Flemish family in the author's novel have definite similarities.
When Georges Simenon's aunt Marie Brüll married the much older Gilles Croissant, his home was at 78 Quai de Coronmeuse, Liège, then next to the Liège-Maastricht canal (in recent years part of this canal has been filled in for road widening purposes) where he carried out his craft as a basket-maker. Soon after, they turned part of their home into a shop catering for the canal trade.


A recent map of Liège showing part of the town centre, the Quai Saint-Léonard and the Quai de Coronmeuse along the left bank of the river Meuse, in relation to part of the district of Outremeuse (where the Simenon family lived) on the right bank. (From Liège, super plan N° 76, Sint-Niklaas, Belgium, Geocart-Claus, 2003). (click to enlarge)

In various works, Simenon refers to his aunt's shop: From Destinées (autobiography), Paris, Presses de la Cité, 1981, pages 149 and 150 (written in 1979).
'If the kitchen in the Rue Puits-en-Sock (his paternal grandparent's home and shop in Liège) was in a way the centre for the Simenons, my aunt's shop on the Quai de Coronmeuse, above the lock where the barges were lined up side by side, was more or less that of the Brülls.
... She had two grown up daughters and the lounge was only in use when one or other of them was practicing the piano... I had noticed, on my left, a dark and badly lit room where a man with a white beard, who made me think of Abraham, was working with willow making baskets.'

From Je me souviens... (autobiography), Paris, Les Presses de la Cité, 1945, page 178 (written 1940-41). Here Simenon describes on a certain Sunday, with his parents and his younger brother Christian, of going to visit his aunt Marie:
'We pass our former house in the Rue Pasteur (now the Rue Georges Simenon). Then the Place du Congrès, the Rue de la Providence, the Maghin bridge (the Saint-Léonard bridge) which stretches across the Meuse.
For me, the Quai Saint-Léonard, whose end you could not see, already is unfamiliar and I look at the people and things with a little anxious pleasure.'

From Pedigree, Paris, Presses de la Cité, 1948, page 100 (a novel written between 1941 and 1943 based on and which describes the first fifteen years of Georges Simenon's life)
'The other quai began, the Quai de Coronmeuse, and with it the canal... an invigorating smell of tar and resin.
Here was the shop window, an old fashioned window cluttered up with starch, candles, packets of chicory and bottles of vinegar. Here was the glazed door and its transparent advertisements: the white lion of Remy starch, the zebra of a grate polish, the other lion, the black one, of a brand of wax.
And the doorbell, which you would recognize among a thousand others.
Finally, the unique and wonderful smell of the house where there was nothing commonplace... was it the smell of gin that predominated? Or was it the more insipid smell of the groceries? For the shop sold everything, barrels oozing American lamp oil, rope, stable lanterns, whips, and tar for boats. There were jars containing sweets of a doubtful pink and glazed drawers stuffed with sticks of cinnamon and cloves.
The end of the counter was covered with zinc, three round holes had been made in it, and out of these holes there protruded bottles crowned with curved tin spouts.'

(Note: neither Je me Souviens... nor Destinées have been translated into English, but Pedigree has been published in the translation by Robert Baldick under the same title — London, Hamish Hamilton, 1962 / New York, London House, 1963 and by Penguin Books, UK, in a paperback, N° 2252, 1965).
There are other similarities between the real Croissant family and the fictitious Peeters. Simenon uses the same first names for one of the sisters, Maria, and also for her brother Joseph. Like her fictitious counterpart, Maria Croissant was a teacher, but at the Filles de la Croix, Sainte-Véronique, in Liège. Both Josephs, Croissant and Peeters, fathered a child by a local girl.
(I doubt that the personalities of the Peeters family bear any similarity to that of the author's relations. Simenon took the opportunity of creating his own characters' personalities for this novel on the structure of a family unit he knew well).
It is Maigret who learns at the outset that it is Joseph's liaison with a local girl, Germaine Piedboeuf, which is the crux of the investigation. Germaine has disappeared without trace, and the Peeters' family are suspected of being involved, of abducting her, even of killing her.
Maigret has no jurisdiction over the enquiry, but proceeds to wander about the town, visiting various establishments and meeting up with certain people who are involved in some way or other, including Inspector Machère from the town of Nancy who is in charge of the investigation. But practically everywhere he goes, Maigret is soon aware of the tension, an atmosphere of hostility, with the weather adding to it, the river Meuse is in flood and the rain and strong winds add to the discomfort of everyone.
Maigret reflects that... 'The (Flemish) house reminded him of an investigation that he had made in Holland, yet with differences that he was unable to define. It was the same calm, the same heaviness of the air, the same sensation that the atmosphere was not fluid, but was made up of a solid substance that was broken in moving.' (This being a reference to the novel Une Crime en Hollande / Maigret in Holland).
But then only a short while later... 'He was sullen. It was rare that at this point he had the sensation of the uselessness of his efforts.'
With no official authority and with little progress, Maigret begins to wonder what he is doing in this town.
The hostility and tension stems partly from a form of class structure and an undercurrent of the language divide. There is hostility towards the Flemish family partly because of them being accused, rightly or wrongly, of the disappearance of Germaine Piedboeuf, of being well off and for their Flemish background in a mainly French community. Maigret comes in for some hostility as he is seen by some as helping a wealthy family to evade a crime. Even when he visits the Piedboeuf house, and later meets up with Germaine's brother in a café near the Town Hall, he comes in for criticism, resulting in an altercation.
But he persists, doggedly seeking out various people and being drawn back to the Flemish house, where on an earlier visit he listened to Anna Peeters singing to her own piano accompaniment. The music on that occasion was Solvejg's Song, one of the incidental pieces of music that Grieg composed for the play Peer Gynt by his compatriot Henrik Ibsen.
This song becomes a leitmotiv throughout some of Maigret's visits to the Flemish house, with chapter X of the novel being entitled La chanson de Solveig (Solveig's Song). There is a parallel between the story of Peer Gynt and the Peeters' family, a story of hero worship. From his adventures, Peer Gynt is saved by the love of two women, his mother Åse and his long standing fiancée, the innocent Solvejg, in the same way the three women of the Peeters' household hero worship their brother Joseph, with his loyal fiancée Marguerite Van de Weert waiting patiently.
Finally, Maigret travels to the Belgian town of Namur to meet the fifth member of the family, Maria Peeters, who is working at the Ursuline convent there, but is laid up with a sprained ankle.
With some form of conclusion reached, Maigret is only too glad to return to his wife and home in Paris.

To date, there is only one English translation of this novel, that by Geoffrey Sainsbury, which, as with this translator, is wayward in comparison with Simenon's French text.

In 1938, Simenon wrote the novel Chez Krull. Although the author does not indicate a town or city, he does mention that the Krull family runs a shop, with a small bar, close to a Quai Saint-Léonard catering for the requirements of the canal trade. Once more Simenon must have been thinking of his aunt Croissant's shop, with the Quai Saint-Léonard, in Liège, preceding that of the Quai de Coronmeuse. The Krull family consists of five members — Cornélius, the father, who is a basket-maker, his wife Maria and their three children, Anna, aged 30, Elizabeth, 17, and Joseph, 25, who is a medical student. The body of the daughter of one of bargees in discovered in the canal and the German cousin of the Krulls, who is visiting them, comes under suspicion, followed by the whole family. Simenon conjures up the atmosphere of an alarming reaction, with the thoughts and feelings of the members of the family being seen through their own eyes rather than a central figure like Maigret. (This novel was first published in the English translation by Daphne Woodward, under the same title, in the two novel volume entitled A Sense of Guilt, London, Hamish Hamilton Ltd. 1955 and as the single novel paperback Chez Krull, London, Four Square Books, N° 24, 1958. It has not been published in the United States).

Peter Foord, UK

Interviews with filmmakers (in French)
2/11/05 – You will find a few "entretiens" I have done of French directors on my site mapage.noos.fr/jtombeur
So far, Serge Gainsbourg, Claude Autant-Lara & Bertrand Tarvenier's are available. Pierre Granier-Deferre's one is under progress. These are nearly identical to the ones published in Simenon Travelling in Oct. 1989.

Jef Tombeur

Maigret In Hungarian
2/22/05 – Thanks to Varga Kalman of Hungary for doubling the size of the list of Maigret in Hungarian!

ST

Maigret of the Month: Le Port des Brumes (Death of a Harbourmaster)

3/01/05 –
Most of this Maigret novel is located in and around Ouistreham (département of Calvados) in Normandy, with a visit, later, to the town of Caen fifteen kilometres to the south west.
Simenon was in Ouistreham during the latter part of August, then for September and October 1931 during the final part of his two and a half year journey on board his boat the "Ostrogoth". Early in November of the same year he took it to Caen where he sold it.
During his stay in Ouistreham he wrote two Maigret novels, At the Gai-Moulin (La Danseuse du Gai-Moulin) and The Guinguette by the Seine (La Guinguette à deux sous), but Le Port des Brumes was written three months later in February 1932, the last of four more Maigret novels, whilst he was living in his rented villa "Les Roches Grises" at Cap-d'Antibes (Alpes-Maritimes) on the French Riviera.
His reminiscence of his stay in Ouistreham is evoked near the beginning of Chapter IV of the novel (Le Port de Brumes, Paris, Arthème Fayard & Cie., Éditeurs, Mai 1932, page 68):


'Ouistreham, c'était un village quelconque, au bout d'un morceau de route plantée de petits arbres. Ce qui comptait seulement, c'était le port: un écluse, un phare, la maison de Joris, la Buvette de la Marine.
Et le rythme de ce port, les deux marées quotidiennes, les pêcheurs passant avec leurs paniers, la poignée d'hommes ne s'occupant que du va-et-vient des bateaux....'
Ouistreham was a very ordinary village, at the end of a bit of road lined with small trees. The only thing that counted was the harbour: a lock, a lighthouse, Joris's house, the Buvette de la Marine .
And the rhythm of this harbour, the two daily tides, the fishermen going past with their baskets, the handful of men only occupying themselves with the comings and goings of the boats... (translation by Peter Foord).

A recent map showing Ouistreham (Calvados) in Normandy in relation to Caen, with the canal running parallel to the river Orne. (303, Calvados, Manche, Michelin et Cie., Mai 2004). (click to enlarge)

And as a 1920s guidebook put it... 'An old seaport at the mouth of the canal.'
This canal, the construction of which was completed in 1850, made it possible for ships to reach Caen, where it ends. It runs parallel to the river Orne that frequently silts, especially as it nears the coast.
When a middle-aged man, possibly suffering from amnesia, is found wandering about central Paris, the police take charge of him and Maigret becomes involved. The unknown man is finally identified, with the result that Maigret officially accompanies him back to his home in Ouistreham. Within a short time of arriving, Maigret is plunged into the atmosphere of the canal and in wandering about almost loses himself in the fog that envelops the whole area, which gives the novel its French title.
Gradually finding his way around, Maigret becomes only too aware that the people with whom he has to deal constitutes a marine community very much closed in on itself with a well established strata from ship owner and mayor to deck hand. Unable to cover all aspects of his enquiries, Maigret sends for his colleague Sergeant Lucas who together endeavour to unravel and understand the complex relationships within the community, made all the more difficult by a wall of silence that seems to be in place. The web of intrigue seems to involve the same few people that finally Maigret discerns emanates from a long-standing family feud.
Writing this novel in early 1932, Simenon describes the area around Ouistreham, the canal with its functions, and the beach, as it must have been, probably with little change, since the canal was constructed. But scarcely thirteen years after Simenon stayed there, the events of the Second World War were to change the area. The huge stretch of coast from Ouistreham (Calvados) westwards to Les Dunes de Varreville (Manche) on the Cotentin Peninsula was the location chosen for the D-Day landings made by the Allied Forces on the 6th of June 1944. Many maps since indicate the wartime code names given to the Beaches — Sword (Ouistreham), Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah.


A recent and more detailed map showing the canal from the English Channel adjacent to Ouistreham and beyond towards Caen. Also to be seen is the lock with its bridges, lighthouse, and the harbour, which are similar to those that Simenon describes in the novel. (1612 OT, Caen, Ouistreham, Institut Geographique National, 2000). (click to enlarge)

Translation
To date there is only one English translation, that by Stuart Gilbert. As with some of the earliest translations of Simenon's work, it is much freer in comparison to the author's original French text. Some of the English expressions and phrases used are somewhat quaint and dated.

Peter Foord, UK

Identify this Simenon quote?
3/5/05 – In what Simenon novel is the line "If the world made any sense, we would all die in graveyards" ?

Rudy Franchi

Another Turkish Title for Bandes Dessinées
3/9/05 – Maigret et la danseuse du Gai Moulin is also translated into Turkish, with this title: "Maigret ve Gai Moulin Dansçisi". Maybe you'll update your site.

And a question: Is that all the Maigret comics list? I mean, are there only 5 bd's including Maigret stories?

Thanks in advance,
Oquzeron

Maigret Checklist
3/13/05 – I salute your website devoted to Simenon and Maigret. I've read most of the books in the original (it's an excellent form of studying French; I discovered Maigret while in Paris supposedly studying at the Sorbonne, but learning much more out of class :-)
One small point, for others who may be more familiar with the books in the original is that while your checklist page is very handy for referencing Simenon's work, I think another column is necessary, to include the *original title*. There seem to be so many variations in some of the book titles in English that the only real way to catalogue any particular book is, I think, to give it its original title first, then give its various translated titles.
Anyway, thanks again for providing such a great website.

Cheers,
Richard
Toronto

Thanks, Richard - try clicking on the 3-letter link to the left of the titles on the checklist - it will bring you to the main list, with the original title and detailed bibilographic info...
ST

Hard-To-Find Maigrets
3/16/05 – Could anyone tell me if Penguin or any other publishers are going to publish Maigret Sits It Out and Maigret on Holiday? I need copies of these titles to complete my collection. I have looked on Amazon and internet bookshops but the prices quoted are outrageous. Some people looking for £150 and one wanted £400 a copy. My collection is a ragbag of old Penguins, book club editions, and Harcourt paperback reissues. I am not looking for first editions, just readable copies.
PS the site is a treasure.

James McKevitt

Help with Hard-To-Find Maigrets
3/17/05 – James, Try searching for Maigret and the Fortuneteller & No Vacation for Maigret individually instead of Maigret on Holiday which has both and was only published once.
There is $10 copy of Maigret Sits it Out posted at:
Michelle
The Old Book Company
4 Christopher Road,
Leeds, LS6 2JX, UNITED KINGDOM
Tel. 01132286112
sales@oldbook.co.uk
www.oldbook.co.uk

Juan

Maigret of the Month: Le Port des Brumes (Death of a Harbourmaster) - 2

3/17/05 –

Present Tense

I'm really enjoying Le Port des Brumes. I noticed that about halfway through the first chapter in the French version, Simenon switches to present tense. I seem to remember from my schooldays that this is not uncommon in French literature, but I can't say I've noticed it before in Simenon, and I'm pretty sure it doesn't occur in the earlier Maigrets. Any scholars out there who can add to this?

Roddy

Saint-Fiacre
3/17/05 –

Saint-Fiacre - The Patience of a Saint

By Adrian Higgins

On a day when we toast Ireland and its patron saint, Patrick, raise a glass to a lesser known Irish holy man who haunts our shrubberies, Saint Fiacre.

Fiacre, who is the patron of gardeners, needs a bit more recognition, after all. There will never be a Saint Fiacre's Day Parade on Fifth Avenue. He is unlikely to get a cathedral named after him (though novelist Georges Simenon invented the village of Saint-Fiacre as the home town of his intrepid detective, Inspector Maigret). Even in the crassness of the modern marketplace, don't look for a Saint Fiacre's Day Blowout Sale ("Everything Must Grow!").

Fiacre has a couple of things against him. The first is his name. No one seems to know quite how to pronounce it, even members of his fan club. (The closest to a consensus is fee-ACK-ree). The second difficulty is that as a healer, his ailment specialties are somewhat unmentionable and include hemorrhoids. By contrast, Saint Patrick seems much more a swashbuckler, casting out demonic serpents and spreading the word throughout the land by confronting the tribal chieftains in Ireland's ancient provinces.

Fiacre was a monk who fled Ireland in the seventh century in search of solitude and ended up in France, where the bishop of Meaux gave him a forested site at Breuil and said he could have as much land as he could encircle with a trench in one day, or so the story goes. His crook turned out to be a saintly version of a gas-powered mini-tiller, and turned the soil wherever it was placed. This was the start of a long career in the garden. Fiacre, like a lot of medieval monks, raised herbs for healing. He also established a shrine for pilgrims and, like Martha Stewart, a cell for himself...

Read the whole article from the Washington Post here.

Roddy

Maigret in Welsh
3/18/05 – Thanks, Roddy, for spotting a copy of a Maigret in Welsh on eBay - L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre - Maigret Yn Mynd Adre. The 28th language for our list!

ST

Paris Buses
3/20/05 – Here in Leipzig we have a small fleet of Parisien Autobus which are used to show tourists the city. They are quite small by today's standards and suprisingly quiet.

(click to enlarge)

Carl Studt

Help with Hard-To-Find Maigrets
3/20/05 – I use www.abebooks.com. There is a copy of Maigret and the Fortuneteller in the US cost: €1.50 + postage of €7.13

Carl Studt

BBC Radio 7 Maigrets broadcasts featuring M Denham
3/20/05 – I missed the following broadcasts, Maigret in Monmartre; Maigret Has Scruples; and Liberty Bar, is there anyone out there who could loan me a copy, as the BBC dont seem to want to re-broadcast. As future broadcasts are likely to be the Nicholas Le Provost series, borrowing someone's old recording is my only option. Please help.

Martin Cooke

Harlan Ellison and Simenon
3/20/05 – Extracted from the SignOnSanDiego.com article, Dangerous Visions by Arthur Salm (3/20/2005)

"A long time ago," Ellison says, returning to an almost normal tone, "I was reading about (French mystery writer) Georges Simenon. He was incapable of writing a bad book, you know. I read, to my astonishment, to my awe, that for the 100th anniversary of his publisher, his publisher suggested that he sit in the front window of a pub and write a novel in one week. And that he did it.
"I thought, 'Oh my god, that's great, I can do that.' I approached A Change of Hobbit (bookstore in Santa Monica). They set up a typing table in the window, and announced that 'Beginning Monday, Harlan Ellison will write a short story from beginning to end, every day for five days. We will post the stories in the window as he's writing them. He will talk to readers, sign autographs, eat.' "
Ellison wrote the five stories; three later won awards. The bookstore did tremendous business. He took the show on the road, and over the years he has performed/written in bookstores in cities all over the world, including, he says, Boston, San Francisco, San Diego - even London, where "all day long foreign tourists would come up to me and ask me where they could find books in the store. I'm writing a story, and people are asking me in German for directions to 'Field Guide for Herons.' "
Not long after he began this high-wire act, his credibility was questioned: It was suggested that he already knew what he was going to write. So he started having celebrities give him ideas upon which the story of the day had to be based. They were delivered in sealed envelopes. In San Francisco, his pal Robin Williams waded through the crowd at the bookstore and presented him with "Computer vampire: the byte that bites."
"I screamed, 'You (blankety-blank)! You know I'm computer illiterate!' But I wrote the story ('Keyboard') using computer geeks, fans of mine who were sitting on the floor around me."
(But his tale-telling is being interrupted: "A PHONE IS RINGING SOMEWHERE," he shouts, "AND NO ONE IS ANSWERING IT." When it is pointed out to him that that sounds like a Harlan Ellison short-story title, he grabs a pen and scribbles the words on a paper napkin.)
Finally, he went to Paris.
"Now I've come full circle. I'm going to do it in the town where Simenon did it. No one else can do it but Simenon and me."
Ellison went to see Simenon's publisher - who hemmed and hawed in a French accent and finally admitted that, well, the idea was discussed, but Simenon never actually wrote a novel in a pub.
"I thought it could be done, so I did it!" he roars. "If I'd known nobody could do it, I wouldn't have done it!"
He wrote a story in a Paris bookstore, of course. "Footsteps" later won awards and "was done as part of a bad series called 'The Hunger' on HBO. (Director) Tony Scott messed it up something horrible."

Roddy

Maigret of the Month: Le Port des Brumes (Death of a Harbourmaster) - 3

3/22/05 –
At end of the third chapter, the last sentences bring a feeling of fear, uncertainty, like in "Maigret et le chien jaune". In chapter nine, there is a sentence that shows the way Maigret feels toward the victim "Mort, il n'a qu'un seul ami... C'est moi...." [Now that he's dead, he has just one friend... me.] He calls himself a friend of the victim. He behaves like he had known Joris for a long time; he tries to understand him , guesses how he behaved.
In the small house, when Maigret finds the wife of the Mayor, Simenon writes "Or, soudains on eut froid." [Suddenly, everyone felt cold.] With only a small sentence, he manages to bring a real feeling to what is happening in the room. There is always an economy in the number of words that make his sentences very efficient: tell a lot with few words.

Regards,
Jerome

La Première enquête in Polish

3/22/05 –

Thanks to Przemysław Charzyński and Jarosław Prokop of Poland for sending in notice of this new Polish translation of La Première enquête de Maigret, 1913.

Simenon's Desk
3/23/05 –

A photograph of Simenon's desk, taken in 1960 by the photographer Izis, in Avec les écrivains du siècle, ©2000, Éditions Filipacchi -- Société Sonodip -- Paris Match.

Roddy

Simenon in Writers at work
3/28/05 –
In 1968 Penguin published a book called 'Writers at Work' containing interviews from the Paris Review selected by Kay Dick. Included is a 15-page interview with Georges Simenon, conducted in his house in Lakeville, Connecticut, when he lived in the States.
Simenon is one of 15 authors — others include Hemingway, Pasternak, Pinter, Bellow — who discuss what they think of their own, and other people's work, their lives and the problems of writing in the contemporary world.
Best wishes,
Anthony Green
PS: As I write, I notice that one copy is available to buy on the internet through Abe Books.
You can read the original (1955) Paris Review interview here.
ST

Maigret of the Month: Le Port des Brumes (Death of a Harbourmaster) - 4

3/29/05 – Back on May 6, 2002 (and May 10, 2002) there was a discussion in this Forum about the typo of Nantes for Mantes in the opening paragraph of Stuart Gilbert's English translation.

The discussion was picked up by Le Courier de Mantes a few months later, and reported here. Here's a reprint:

Maigret dans le train de Mantes :
grand débat sur trussel.com

Claude Cécile
Le Courrier de Mantes
Publié le 24 juillet 2002

C'est un débat certes microscopique, mais il a agité récemment quelques fervents de Georges Simenon, dans un forum anglophone dédié au commissaire Maigret. En voici résumé l'enjeu : dans Le Port des brumes (1932), le train du commissaire Maigret passe-t-il par Nantes ou par Mantes ?

Dans le texte original de Simenon, on lit : "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 Evreux, tout était noir dehors".

Mais une internaute, Patricia Clark, a lu la traduction de Stuart Gilbert : "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".

Elle écrit : "Paris-Evreux via Nantes, ce serait assez pervers, ça n'a aucun sens. S'agit-il d'une erreur d'impression ? L'erreur vient-elle de Simenon ou bien du traducteur ?"

Le modérateur du forum, Steve Trussel, se reporte au texte français, et suggère que l'erreur a été commise par un correcteur trop zélé, ignorant en géographie.

Richard Thomas signale que l'erreur a été reproduite dans une édition anglaise de 1944, après l'originale de 1941, et John H. Dirckx confirme que dans l'édition Harcourt de New York (1942), c'était aussi Nantes à la place de Mantes.

Steve Trussel : se peut-il que Stuart Gilbert ait été aussi nul en géographie ?

Un nouvel examen de sa traduction dédouane Stuart Gilbert quelques jours plus tard. Traducteur pas toujours scrupuleux, Gilbert a pris quelque liberté avec le texte de Simenon, et il a ajouté cette précision kilométrique : "Thirty miles later...".

Trussel : "Il apparaît donc que Gilbert a fait des recherches sur les temps de trajet et les distances, il ne fait pas de doute que sa traduction originale mentionnait bien Mantes". Le coupable est à chercher ailleurs... Voilà une enquête collective rondement menée qui fera que, peut-être, la prochaine traduction anglaise du Port des brumes ne sera pas fautive.

and translation:

Maigret on the Mantes train:
big debate on trussel.com

Claude Cécile
Le Courrier de Mantes
Published July 24, 2002

It's certainly a microscopic debate, but it recently agitated some fans of Georges Simenon on an English-speaking forum dedicated to Commissioner Maigret. At issue: In Death of a Harbourmaster (1932), does Maigret's train pass through Nantes or Mantes?

In Simenon's original text, we read : "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 Evreux, tout était noir dehors."

But one Internaut, Patricia Clark, noticed in Stuart Gilbert's translation: "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."

She writes: "Paris-Evreux via Nantes would be perverse, it doesn't make any sense. Is it a typo? Does the mistake come from Simenon or the translator?"

The moderator of the forum, Steve Trussel, refers to the French text, and suggests that the mistake may have been committed by an overzealous proofreader, weak in geography.

Richard Thomas reports that the mistake had appeared in an English edition of 1944, after the original of 1941, and John H. Dirckx confirms that in the Harcourt edition (New York, 1942), it was written as Nantes instead Mantes.

Steve Trussel: Can it be that Stuart Gilbert himself was hopeless in geography?

A further examination of Stuart Gilbert's translation some days later showed him to be not always scrupulous, for Gilbert took some liberty with Simenon's text, even to adding precisely: "Thirty miles later... ."

Trussel: "So since Gilbert investigated the times and distances, his original translation must have been Mantes." The guilty party must be sought elsewhere... It was a concise collective investigation that will perhaps make the next English translation of Port de brumes more accurate.

ST

Rupert Davies as Maigret
3/29/05 –

This is being offered now on eBay UK. Here's the description:

In 1962 Rupert Davies received a BAFTA for his work in the TV series "Maigret". Tony Hart had already been a freelance TV artist for 10 years at that time. Tony's wife, Jean, was working on the Maigret series, in Paris, and - as a tribute - Tony created this stunning pen and wash impression of Rupert Davies as Maigret, on paper 25cm x 35cm, leaning against a wall, striking a match on his BAFTA award to light his pipe. There are impressions of Paris, such as the Eiffel Tower, in the background. The drawing is mounted on black card 32cm x 42cm. At the end of the day's shooting, Jean Hart took the drawing up to the bar and gave it to Rupert Davies, who wrote: "Bien Accord, Sincierment, Rupert Davies, Maigret", and promptly knocked his glass of red wine all over the tribute! There were frantic efforts to mop up the red liquid, and in the course of which some areas of the drawing were removed, fortunately not the most vital areas, and the drawing still contains some faint red wine marks. This damage can all be seen in the illustration provided. The story behind this picture provides a wonderful talking point, and makes it a unique feature to embellish any wall. The picture is signed by Tony Hart with the year "62", and on the back of the black mount Tony has written: "Rupert Davies - 'Maigret' 1962, BAFTA Award". The picture is offered for auction from Tony Hart's own collection, by his agent.

Roddy

Maigret of the Month: Le Fou de Bergerac (The Madman of Bergerac)

4/01/05 –
At the request of the Director of the Police Judiciaire in Paris, Maigret decides to travel to Bordeaux in order to clear up a certain problem as well as taking the opportunity to visit a friend from the police force who has retired to that region of France.
Travelling by train from the Gare d'Orsay (now redesigned as the Musée d'Orsay — the large art gallery), Maigret opts to sleep in a couchette, but any idea of sleep is interrupted by the restlessness of the person in the couchette above him. As well as being annoyed, Maigret is intrigued and when this passenger suddenly leaves the compartment and jumps from the train as it slows down, on a whim, Maigret follows him into the dark of the countryside, only to receive a bullet in his right shoulder.
Discovered, Maigret is transported in a farm cart to hospital in the town of Bergerac in the département of Dordogne where at first he is mistaken for the serial killer known as the 'Madman of Bergerac'. When his real identity is established, and having received surgery, Maigret insists of recuperating in a hotel room.
Confined to his hotel bed, Maigret sends for his wife to look after him and for the first time Madame Maigret plays more of an important role in an investigation. Unable in his usual way to visit certain locations, to take in the atmosphere and to interview people in their normal environment, he instructs his wife to do some of this work for him. Also he asks his friend Leduc, the retired police officer who lives in the area, to carry out other errands.
But after a while, even with the information that he receives and talking to people who visit him, Maigret is puzzled and feels that he is at an impasse, so much so that when he falls asleep it manifests itself in a nightmare that Simenon describes both vividly and succinctly, reflecting Maigret's lack of progress.
Although strictly not his investigation, and despite being urged to rest and to give up probing, stubbornly Maigret decides to continue. It is suggested to him that it is no more than a simple case in this provincial town, but not convinced, gradually, Maigret unravels a much more complex and wider situation involving a family with tragic consequences, including a form of blackmail.

Translation
Simenon wrote this novel in March 1932 at the Hôtel de France et d'Angleterre in La Rochelle (Charente-Inférieure, now Charente-Maritime), whilst he was waiting for some renovation work to be carried out on the house he was renting in Marsilly a few miles to the north. The English translation by Geoffrey Sainsbury was first published under the title of "The Madman of Bergerac" in the two novel volume with the overall title of "Maigret Travels South" (in the UK by Routledge, and in the USA by Harcourt, both in 1940). As part of the centenary commemoration of Simenon's birth in 2003, Penguin Books (UK) and Harvest (USA) reissued in paperback a number of, mainly, Maigret novels. Penguin reprinted "The Madman of Bergerac" and although the translation is credited to Geoffrey Sainsbury, certain passages have been retranslated which are closer to Simenon's French text.

A map of the centre of the town of Bergerac (Dordogne). Guide Michelin, France, 1934. (click to enlarge)
On the map the Place du Marché is indicated by the number 11 and in the novel Maigret looks down on this Place from his first floor hotel window. Although certain hotels are marked on the map, Maigret's Hôtel d'Angleterre is not one of them, nor is its rival on the other side of the Place, the Hôtel de France. It is possible that the author utilised and split the name of his hotel in La Rochelle where he wrote this novel in order to give Maigret a base from which to operate.
Other places mentioned in the novel are the railway station (la gare), the Palais de Justice (marked with the letter J) and the River Dordogne. The location of the public prosecutor's house could be in the Place des Carmes (marked 1).
For the record, on the map, C is the Caserne (Barracks), G the Gendarmerie (Police Station), H the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), P the Préfecture, S.I. the Syndicat d'Initiative (Tourist Office) and T the Théâtre.

Peter Foord, UK

Three more Polish Maigrets

4/05/05 –

Thanks to Przemysław Charzyński for spotting these three Polish Maigrets published in a newspaper...

Maigret w pensjonacie Maigret takes a room
Sąd przysięgłych Maigret in court
Maigret i starcy Maigret in Society

Maigret of the Month: Le Fou de Bergerac (The Madman of Bergerac) - 2

4/05/05 –
In his summary of The Madman of Bergerac, Peter Foord wrote that Maigret was hurt in his right shoulder. In French the text where Simenon wrote about this is
"Que Maigret, debout, qui tient son épaule de la main droite. Au fait, c'est l'épaule gauche! Il essaye de bouger le bras gauche .... mais le bras retombe, trop lourd."

From that, in French, it is clear that Maigret was hurt in the left shoulder. What is the English translation of this text?

Regards,
Jerome


In the "ever dependable" Geoffrey Sainsbury translation:
"There all by himself, holding his right shoulder with his left hand. Yes, it was the right shoulder that was wounded. He tried to move the arm, but it was too heavy; he could only raise it a few inches."

ST

Maigret of the Month: Le Fou de Bergerac (The Madman of Bergerac) - 3

4/06/05 –

Jerome has raised an interesting point (4/05/05) concerning the site of Maigret's wound. When I was rereading this Maigret novel, I consulted three texts —1. The Madman of Bergerac, the English translation by Geoffrey Sainsbury in Maigret Travels South (London, Routledge, 1940), 2. Georges Simenon's French text Le Fou de Bergerac (Paris, Fayard, 1932) and the reissue of Geoffrey Sainsbury's translation The Madman of Bergerac (London, Penguin Books, 2003). Knowing how Geoffrey Sainsbury can deviate from the author's original text, I looked at the latter as often as I could. Also I noticed in the small print on the reverse of the title page of the 2003 Penguin paperback edition that it states 'Reissued with revisions...' but Geoffrey Sainsbury is still credited with the translation.
Following on from Jerome's point and Steve's follow up, I have had another look.
To quote Jerome's context again, the author writes:

'Que Maigret, debout, qui tient son épaule de la main droite. Au fait, c'est l'épaule gauche! Il essaie de bouger le bras gauche. Il arrive à le soulever légèrement, mais le bras retombe, trop lourd.'
This I translate as:
Only Maigret, standing, who was holding his shoulder with his right hand. In fact, it was his left shoulder! He tried to move his left arm. He managed to raise it slightly, but the arm fell back down again, too heavy.
From The Madman of Bergerac (in Maigret Travels South, London, Routledge, 1940. page 167), translated by Geoffrey Sainsbury:
Only Maigret. There all by himself, holding his right shoulder with his left hand. Yes, it was the right shoulder that was wounded. He tried to move the arm, but it was too heavy: he could only raise it a few inches.
From The Madman of Bergerac (London, Penguin Books, 2003, page 8), translation credited to Geoffrey Sainsbury, but with (anonymous) revisions:
Only Maigret. There all by himself, holding his shoulder with his right hand. Yes, it was the left shoulder that was wounded. He tried to move the arm, but it was too heavy: he could only raise it a few inches.
I note that most of the Penguin Books English translation reissues for the Simenon Centenary year 2003 have minor revisions, both the later as well as the early titles. Ideally, it would be good to have many of the early titles newly translated close to Simenon's original French texts.
But thank you, Jerome, for pointing out my error.

Peter Foord, UK

Maigret of the Month: Le Fou de Bergerac (The Madman of Bergerac) - 4

4/07/05 –
It would be interesting to find a map of the French railways network in the year 1930 to see why Maigret had to take this line. I know that many companies existed before the war and that SNCF was created in 1945 to unify and rebuild all the network.
If you look today at you will find a Hotel de France located at 18 place de Gambetta. I do not know how old the hotel is, but today a Hotel de France does exist. Did they read Simenon to choose the hotel name? On the 1934 map, it is located nearby the theatre location. (T on the map).
In the third chapter, Simenon is referencing the Guide Michelin as used by Maigret to help him build a map of the city in his head. It must be the same one Peter is using. Simenon has some very strong sentences like "C'est une petite ville où il y a une fou !" ("This is a small city where there is a madman!"), always the minimum efficient number of words.
The last sentence of the book in French is rude : "On fout le camp !" Maigret usually does not use this level of French language, which is colloquial. That must express his feeling for the time and lives lost : a mess, a waste.
For information, in chapter 5, Leduc describes the size of the Maison-neuf farm as "200 journeaux". A "journal" is an old French area unit, its definition was the area that one person could work manually in one day : around 5 ares or 500 square meters.

Maigret on BBC Radio

4/12/05 –

Here's a website dedicated to the BBC radio Maigret series: "Maurice Denham, Bernard Hepton & Barry Foster as Insp. Maigret..."

Regards,
Jerome

Speaking of Maigret

4/13/05 – There is a reference to Simenon books — but I cannot remember if it were Maigret books — in E. Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast," his autobiographical account of his years in Paris. But since I don't own the book — and I read it in a Dutch translation! — I cannot give you the exact reference. I am sure "La maison du canal" was mentioned.
Congratulations with your excellent site, that I just recently discovered.

Frieda Schlusmans
Belgium


Thanks Frieda - I've found the section in "A Moveable Feast" - on page 27 ("Une Génération Perdue") of the Scribner 1996 paperback edition:

...I never found anything as good for that empty time of day or night until the first fine Simenon books came out.
I think Miss Stein would have liked the good Simenons — the first one I read was either L'Ecluse Numéro 1, or La Maison du Canal — but I am not sure because when I knew Miss Stein she did not like to read French although she loved to speak it. Janet Flanner gave me the first two Simenons I ever read. She loved to read French and she had read Simenon when he was a crime reporter.
ST

Peter Foord's 1988 Simenon Bibliography on eBay


(Click to enlarge)
4/14/05 –Description:

GEORGES SIMENON A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE BRITISH FIRST EDITIONS IN HARDBACK AND PAPERBACK AND OF THE PRINCIPAL FRENCH AND AMERICAN EDITIONS With a Guide to Their Value. Dragonby Press (Scunthorpe) January 1988 First edition. 86 pages including covers. Staple bound 5 3/4" x 8 1/4" softcover.

Limited to 300 copies. The Dragonby Bibliographies: Number Three. The SCARCE first edition of this useful bibliography. A total of 371 works by Georges Simenon comprising novels, short stories and autobiography appear in the French section of this bibliography of which 240 have been traced in English translation. These translations are listed in the main index which is divided into two sections Maigret (100 entries) and Non-Maigret (240 entries). Prices are perhaps dated, but the information on the GEORGES SIMENON's books is invaluable!

online auction this week at eBay.

Maigret of the Month: Le Fou de Bergerac (The Madman of Bergerac) - 5

4/14/05 –
As a reply to a couple of Jerome's points (4/07/05), the following may be of interest.
The development of the railways in France is complicated, being bound up with the political and economic state of the country, as well as opposition from certain countryside factions and the well-developed canal trade. Eventually by 1842 an agreement was reached by which the State financed the infrastructure (tunnels, bridges and development of the track bed) and private companies were responsible for tracks, stations, rolling stock and operating costs. The main companies were:
Chemin de Fer de l'Est
Chemin de Fer du Midi
Chemin de Fer du Nord
Chemin de Fer de l'Ouest
Chemin de Fer Paris-Lyon-Méditerranéen
Chemin de Fer Paris-Orléans

These companies operated their own routes independent of each other, which at times lead to passengers having to go unnecessary lengths to reach their destinations.
Maigret was obliged to travel from the Gare d'Orsay in Paris as this station and lines were run by the Chemin de Fer Paris-Orléans, serving Orléans, Limoges and Bordeaux among other towns en route, including Bergerac (These towns and cities served by this railway were inscribed on the façade of the Gare d'Orsay, still to be seen in its transformation as the Musée d'Orsay).
But by the 1930s, the private companies were losing money, so in 1937 the French Government of the time nationalised the railways forming the SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français). The Second World War interrupted further development, which was continued from 1945 onwards.
Regarding the hotels in Bergerac, Jerome mentions the Hôtel de France, located today at 18 Place Gambetta. Maigret speaks of a hotel of this name as a rival to the one in which he is staying, but although this hotel is listed in the 1962 Guide Michelin at the same address, I cannot find any reference to it before 1960. In the novel, Maigret is recuperating in the Hôtel d'Angleterre overlooking the Place du Marché. As a possible association of ideas, in the 1920 edition of Baedeker's Southern France, in Bergerac there is listed the Hôtel de Londres, situated at 51 Rue Neuve-d'Argenson, which also appears in the 1934 Guide Michelin and is indicated on the map, but there does not appear to be any reference to this hotel at a later date.

Peter Foord, UK

Maigret Maps
4/20/05 – I (and probably many other Maigrets fans), like to travel with my finger on the map of Paris when reading Maigret's books. And not only in Paris.
There are a lot of maps on your site (the best are these old ones), but they are scattered in many places.
It would be nice, I think, to group them together somewhere. What do you think?
with best regards
Przemek

Good idea! I'll work on this list of links add it to the Reference page. If anyone spots any I haven't listed below, please let me know — I'm sure there are more here:

Bergerac [1934] (Le Fou de Bergerac)
Boismorand - source for Boissancourt? (Maigret et le corps sans tête)
Concarneau (Le Chien Jaune)
Concarneau (Le Chien Jaune)
Delfzijl (Un Crime en Hollande)
Essonne and Seine-et-Marne departments (La nuit du carrefour)
Fecamp (Au Rendez-vous des Terre-Neuvas)
France showing major rail lines
France, showing departments
Givet [1962] (Chez les Flamands)
Givet (Ardennes) [1990] (Chez les Flamands)
Liège (La Danseuse du Gai-Moulin)
Liège [2003]
Morsang-sur-Seine (La Guinguette à deux sous)
Morsang-sur-Seine and St. Fargeau-Ponthierry (Monsieur Gallet, décédé)
Moulins (L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre)
Neuilly (relationship to Paris -small map)
Ouistreham (Calvados) [2000] (Le Port des brumes)
Ouistreham (Calvados) in Normandy [2004] (Le Port des brumes)
Paris - Boulevard Richard-Lenoir - area where Maigret lived.
Paris - Brasserie Dauphine site
Paris - Montmartre
Paris - Montparnasse [1924 Baedeker]
Paris - Place des Vosges (L'Ombre Chinoise)
Paris (Central) [1924 Baedeker]
Paris-Nantes with Mantes [1909 Baedeker's] (Le Port des brumes)
Porquerolles (Mon Ami Maigret)
Puteaux [1937 Baedeker] (M. Lundi)
Quimper/Brest/Concarneau (Le Chien Jaune)
Sancerre (Monsieur Gallet, décédé)
Tracy, St. Thibault and Sancerre (Monsieur Gallet, décédé)

ST

La Guinguette à Deux Sous
4/24/05 – This novel has been overlooked by critics, although Stanley G. Eskin reveals that in a questionnaire (probably in Le Petit Journal, Dec 22, 1932) Roger Devigne includes it as one of the ten best masterpieces since 1918. Devigne, who was the writer of the novel Menilmontant (1936), according to a Google search, does not, however, appear anywhere else in the main critical works.
I think it is spoiled as a detective novel by the fact that Maigret accidentally stumbles on the location of La Guinguette à Deux Sous by being coincidentally in the same hatshop as one of the main characters, Basso.
However, the book is not without interest in its own right, revealing the semi-bohemian escapades of an element of the Parisian bourgeoisie, and the precarious existence of small businesses in the Paris of the 1920s and 1930s.
It is also interesting that James, a leading character in the drama, is an unemotional Englishman, recalling the equally unemotional "Milord" of Le Charettier de la "Providence", Sir Walter Lampson. One wonders who the Englishman was whom Simenon encountered and who made such an impression on him with his traditional English phlegm that he would include him as a main character (and murderer) in two novels.
I wonder too whether any critics have seen the influence of Simenon on the French existential novelists of the 1940s and 50s? Camus used the crime genre to frame his masterpiece, L'Etranger, a novel which Simenon himself might have written in wish-fulfilment, involving as it does the death of a mother.
Roddy

Maigret Maps
4/25/05 – The most entertaining "map" link was posted on the forum some time ago:

www.pagesjaunes.fr/pj.cgi

Select the Paris option and you can "walk" along the streets mentioned in the books.

Muir

Simenon in Retirement - Paris Match 1973
4/25/05 –

Paris Match   (N° 1243)
March 3, 1973, p 80-81

 

SIMENON IN SEARCH OF HIMSELF

L.M.

He has sold his Rolls,
his 25-room house,
and told
Paris-Match
that he has given up writing.
But his friends are convinced
that he has a surprise for them.

original French

Maigret of the Month: Liberty-Bar (Liberty Bar / Maigret on the Riviera)

5/01/05 –

In the spring of 1932, Simenon moved into "La Richardière", a residence first mentioned in the seventeenth century, in the countryside at Marsilly (Charente-Inférieure — now Charente-Maritime), but not far from the sea, some seven kilometres north of La Rochelle. Renting this establishment, he installed running water, electricity and furnishings suitable for himself, his wife Tigy, and their maid and cook, Boule. This became his base for nearly the next three years and it was here that he wrote a dozen novels.
In April 1932 the first novel that he wrote at "La Richardière" was Liberty-Bar.
This Maigret novel is set along the French Riviera, in Antibes, Cap d’Antibes, Juan-les- Pins and Cannes (all in the département of Alpes-Maritimes). Simenon had stayed in the villa des Roches Grises in Cap d’Antibes from November 1931 until February 1932 and so came to know this area well.


Map of Antibes. Guide Michelin, France, 1934. Maigret travels to this town by train where he is met by a local police Inspector and conveyed from the station (la Gare) to the Place Macé (numbered 1 on the map — this square is now the Place Général de Gaulle). (click to enlarge)

The novel opens with Maigret arriving by train at Antibes station. Little is stated as to the reason for his journey to this part of the French coast except that a certain William Brown has been murdered and Maigret is instructed to handle the investigation with caution. During the First World War William Brown had worked for the Deuxième Bureau — the French Intelligence Service — so Maigret’s superiors were probably concerned with possible political and diplomatic repercussions.
On arrival Maigret is met by a local police Inspector, but Maigret has a feeling of unreality among the people enjoying the bright sunlight, the blue sea and the air of being on holiday, coupled with the luxury of wealth, the villas and the yachts.
On this occasion, although outside his jurisdiction within the city of Paris, Maigret has been sent to the French Riviera on the instruction of his superiors and so is able to use his police authority.


Map indicating the proximity of Antibes, Juan-les-Pins and Cap d’Antibes. Michelin, France, 1962. From November 1931 until February 1932 Simenon was staying in a rented villa along the Boulevard James-Wyllie, (numbered 13 on the map) in Cap d’Antibes. (click to enlarge)

Booking into a modest hotel in Antibes and with the instruction "to proceed with caution" constantly in the forefront of his mind, he begins to probe into the life of William Brown. Although officially having the assistance of the local police, Maigret, for most of the time prefers to wander from place to place sensing the atmosphere and attempting to understand how William Brown’s mind worked.
Gradually he discovers that the dead man lived in a world of contrasts. He started out working in the family business in the wool trade in Australia, only later to travel by himself to the French Riviera in order to live the high life among the wealthy. But for the past decade he had lived with his mistress and her mother in a somewhat rundown villa in Cap d’Antibes supported by a monthly allowance from his Australian family.
Maigret learns that during this time William Brown had a routine, driving himself the eleven kilometres westward along the coast to Cannes for a few days each month. Travelling by the local bus, Maigret goes to Cannes, steadfastly visiting bar after bar searching for the one that William Brown had frequented. Eventually he comes across a very small bar, the Liberty-Bar of the novel’s title, in a back street. This bar is yet another world involving a handful of characters and one that William Brown must have considered to be his bolt-hole.
Later Maigret meets Harry, one of William Brown’s three sons who is staying at the most luxurious hotel in Juan-les-Pins, Le Provençal, running the family wool business, but unlike his father, Harry Brown is a model of business efficiency.
But in spite of discovering much of William Brown’s lifestyle and activities, Maigret is disgruntled, feeling that his investigation is in a muddle on account of the way he has handled matters. Doggedly he forges ahead, until certain events happen that clarifies the situation in his mind to enable him finally to resolve the investigation in his own way.


Map of Cannes. Guide Michelin, France, 1934. Cannes is eleven kilometres westward along the coast from Antibes. The Boulevard de la Croisette, which runs along the seafront, is numbered 28. The Casino Municipal is marked with the letter B and just to the west of it is the harbour where the yachts are moored. (click to enlarge)

To date there is only one translation of this novel, that by Geoffrey Sainsbury, and as usual with this translator his English text is wayward in some passages in comparison with Simenon’s French text.

This is Georges Simenon’s seventeenth Maigret novel. This "run" of Maigret novels is only broken by two others, Le Passager du "Polarlys" (The Mystery of the Polarlys), written in the summer of 1930, and Le Relais d’Alsace (The Man from Everywhere), written in July 1931.

Having spent nearly six years writing many pulp novels and a host of short stories under pseudonyms, sometime at the beginning of 1930 he felt that he was ready to write the more "literary" type of novel under his own name, but he was cautious. He was wary of making too much of a sudden change, so he developed the genre that he knew from his research would prove acceptable to the reading public. Some of his pulp fiction involved detectives, so he drew on certain characters that appear in a few of these earlier novels, hence Maigret, and now with him as colleagues, part of his team, Lucas and Torrence, and from time to time Coméliau, an Examining Magistrate, all based in Paris.
After writing Liberty-Bar, it is obvious that Simenon now felt ready to embark on other novels, which some commentators have described as "the novels of destiny" or "the psychological novels", as of the next nine novels he produces, only two involve Maigret.

[On the maps, C is the Caserne (Barracks), G the Gendarmerie (Police Station), H the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), J the Palais de Justice, M the Musée (Museum), S.I. the Syndicat d’Initiative (Tourist Office) and T the Théâtre.]

Peter Foord, UK

Speaking of Maigret
5/01/05 – On a slightly lower-brow note than Hemingway, I was passing a few moments watching "The St Trinian's Train Robbery" on TV this afternoon when I noticed that the local policemen ( played by Terry Scott ) was engrossed in a green Penguin Maigret paperback.
The film was made in '66 which was presumably the height of Maigret-mania in the UK.
regards,
Muir

Logic in Maigret books
5/01/05 –
I have been collecting the Maigret books and when I get the mail today should have them all. I have only about 5 more to read.
I just finished "Maigret and the Flea". The edition I have is 1972, Book Club Associates (by arrangement with Hamish Hamilton). In size and shape the book is the same as the Hamish Hamilton books I have of other titles. This book is not in your bibliography, possibly because it is a copy of the original ?? But it has 156 pages. ??
I have noticed odd lapses of logic in the text of the stories but did not make a note of them and now cannot quote them - maybe when I reread the stories I will do that. But in this story there is one comment that jumped out at me--
Chapter 6, Page 122. Maigret and Janvier are getting into one of the little black cars when one says-
'The Rue Tholozé isn't a one-way street?' [and the reply is-]
'It's bound to be, because it ends in a flight of steps.'
?!?!? Do Parisians drive down (or up) steps?
I love your website, it has been a constant reference as I have built my collection of Maigret books. Thanks for all the effort you put into it.
Regards,
Paul Thomas,
Sydney, Australia


Thanks, Paul!
That section is translated the same way in the Penguin (Simenon Eighth Omnibus) for
— La rue Tholozé n'est-elle pas à sens unique ?
— Fatalement, puisqu'elle se termine par des escaliers...
.
The original French (fatalement) generally means "inevitably", but unless there's an error, in this case it must actually mean "inevitably not". In the Popular Library (U.S.) translation (Maigret and the Informer), the logic has been restored, as:

"It can't be, because it ends in a flight of steps."

ST

BBC Maigret
5/02/05 – John Mott 1/12/05 has asked about a source of BBC TV Maigret series of the 60's; sadly this has not neen answered by anyone yet to my knowledge. Have they destroyed their recordings? pre video recording of course.
Bill Lee

Maigret of the Month: Liberty-Bar (Liberty Bar / Maigret on the Riviera) - 2

5/03/05 –

Liberty Bar was adapted as a play for the theater in 1955.
At www.legrandmeaulnes.ch you will find the text from Simenon about the play.
At www.theleme.net there is an interesting study about the adaptation of the book. There are many citations from Assouline's biography.
The play seems to have been published in les Œuvres Libres N°114, novembre 1955 Ed. Arthème FAYARD and in October 1955 in the revue Paris Théâtre, 9e année, n° 101.

Below you will find some details on the play.

Liberty Bar (France), comédie policière en trois actes.
Adaptation : Frédéric Valmain.
Mise en scène : Jean Dejoux.
Avec : Jean Morel (Maigret), Rellys, Frédéric Valmain, Karl Klingström, Paul Forget, Catherine Anys, Mary Grant.
Création : Paris, Théâtre Charles-de-Rochefort, le 17 octobre 1955.

Liberty Bar a paru en octobre 1955 dans la revue « Paris Théâtre », 9e année, n° 101.

Le texte de Frédéric Valmain est accompagné de photos de la pièce et précédé d'un avant-propos — intitulé Maigret vient au théâtre — de Georges Simenon.

Regards,
Jerome

Maigret Door
5/04/05 – I believe that I live opposite the 'Maigret Door' in which Rupert Davies used to start the 1960 British Television series, by lighting his pipe in the doorway.
My address in Paris is 35 Quai des Grand Augustins, and when I first visited this apartment (circa 1980), my first words to my hostess were, "Oh! I see you live opposite the 'Maigret Door'"; to which the reply (in haute Française), was 'what are you talking about — stupid little Britisher!'.
Anyway I would like if anyone can send me some pictures (from the series) of the said door. (I believe it to be the same door that the TV cameras were focused on after Princess Diana's 'accident' in which she died). It is the door though which all the 'arrested personnel' are taken into the "Palais de Justice".
Sam Hawthorne

Maigret of the Month: Liberty-Bar (Liberty Bar / Maigret on the Riviera) - 3

5/04/05 – From the "fascicule" accompanying No.1 of Maigret: Les Meilleures Enquêtes en DVD:

En 1960, La RTF produit Liberty-Bar, un téléfilm tiré d'un roman datant de 1932 et realisé par Jean-Marie Coldefy. Il s'agit d'une dramatique, selon l'expression consacrée. Louis Arbessier y joue Maigret, au sein d'un casting très féminin ou on relève les noms de l'excellente Margo Lion (la Jenny de L'Opéra de quat'sous de Georg W. Pabst), de Mathilde Casadesus, de Lysiane Rey ou encore de Marie-Blanche Vergne.
I bought the first two editions in this series and they include some interesting information. Haven't watched the DVDs yet, which star Jean Richard.
Roddy

Logic in Maigret books: Rue Tholozé
5/05/05 – Paul has raised an intriguing point with his reference to the Rue Tholozé (Paris, Montmartre, 18th arrondissement). By coincidence, I was in that very street just six weeks ago, this time not for Simenon interest, but to visit a small, very good restaurant.
The Book Club Associates edition of Maigret and the Flea is the same as the first British edition published by Hamish Hamilton in 1972, including text, number of pages (156), colour of binding cloth, dust jacket and size. The only difference is the indication that it is a book club edition and the back flap, which is plain instead of having a list of the titles of previous Maigret novels.


Photograph of a stretch of the top half of the Rue Tholozé, which shows the Moulin de la Galette. (Photo, March 1992, Peter Foord).

Paul has quoted the English translation of a brief conversation from this Maigret novel, which is the object of the enquiry.
Steve has presented the author’s French text as well as the American edition English translation version and offers an explanation.
Simenon is his usual succinct self here.
Could one interpretation of this brief conversation,

— La rue Tholozé n’est-elle pas à sens unique?
— Fatalement, puisqu’elle se termine par des escaliers...
be as:
— Isn’t the Rue Tholozé one way?
— Inevitably, as it ends with some steps...
confirming that a vehicle could enter and exit from this street only from one end?

Simenon knew this street well and it appears as a location or is mentioned in several of his novels:
La Maison de l’Inquiétude (written probably in the winter of 1929-30 under the pseudonym Georges Sim).
Maigret in Montmartre (written in 1950).
Maigret sets a Trap (written in 1955).
Maigret and the Saturday Caller (written in 1962).
Maigret and the Flea (written in 1971).
Also in his early days in Paris, Simenon visited the Cinéma d’Art et d’Essai (Art and Experimental Cinema), the first of its kind in the French capital, opened in 1928 at N° 10 Rue Tholozé and named Studio 28, which is still there.
The Rue Tholozé runs from the Rue des Abbesses at its southern end, going uphill until it reaches, with a short flight of steps, the Rue Lepic, and where it is overlooked by La Moulin de la Galette, a windmill originally constructed in 1622 and made famous from the 1860s onward by such artists as Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec and Auguste Renoir, among others.


Map 1. A section of Montmartre showing the Rue Tholozé and the Rue Durantin.
(London, Baedeker, Paris and its Environs, 1924). (click to enlarge)

Half way along its length, the Rue Tholozé is bisected by the Rue Durantin, which may contribute to the confusion. Map N° 1 (1924) clearly shows the layout of these two streets at a time when Simenon first became acquainted with this part of Montmartre. So in reality the Rue Tholozé is in two sections. In the lower half of the street, traffic could flow in both directions, having access from the Rue Durantin and the Rue des Abbesses, but the upper half, closed at the top by some steps, only has access for vehicles from the Rue Durantin. When Simenon wrote Maigret and the Flea in Switzerland in 1971, his penultimate Maigret novel, did he rely entirely on his memory of Montmartre, or did he consult street maps of Paris?


Map 2. The same section of Montmartre. (Michelin, Plan de Paris, 1980). (click to enlarge)


Map 3. The same section of Montmartre. (Michelin, Atlas, Paris et Banlieue, 1997). (click to enlarge)

In the past few decades with the problems of traffic flow and parking, the street maps of Paris have red arrows to indicate traffic directions. As an example of the situation Maps 2 (1980), 3 (1997) and 4 (2003) show how the authorities have designated (and changed!) traffic flow along the Rue Tholozé and the Rue Durantin.


Map 4. The same section of Montmartre. (Michelin, Paris, Atlas par arrondissements, 2003). (click to enlarge)

Peter Foord
UK

Simenon in Noir et Blanc - 1971
5/07/05 –
Noir et Blanc
January 25-31, 1971
27th year - N° 1346
pp 3-5

Exclusive - Georges Simenon goes to war against bourgeois hypocrisy

Marriage has no meaning–
freedom in love is everything!

remarks collected by Ingrid ETTER

 

original French

More Maigret in Romanian
5/12/05 – In the past months these are the titles that have appeared in Romania:

Maigret se insealaMaigret se trompe
Maigret la Picratt'sMaigret au Picratt's
Maigret si asasinulMaigret et le tueur
Domnul Gallet a decedatM. Gallet décédé
Subsolurile MajesticuluiLes Caves du Majestic
(This last is an older version I forgot to send last time.)

Keep up the good work!

Best regards,
Alexandru Jianu

Maigret Game
5/14/05 –
I just found at www.universitygames.net a game based on Maigret. (follow the Maigret link).
There is a short story by Michel Carly with Maigret characters (10 pages) and then a jigsaw (1000 pieces?) to do without model and from the jigsaw some clues to get to find the solution. The solution is in a small leaflet in reverse writing (need a mirror to read it). The name of the game is "Maigret et l'homme sans passeport"
Regards,
Jerome

Paris Autobus in England?
5/17/05 – Hello. Did David Cronan find a Paris Autobus in England?

Victor Spink

BBC Maigret
5/17/05 – Since my last email have heard from an old friend who worked for the BBC 40 years ago that their Maigret series was on film and must surely be in the archives? Anyone out there who has "connections" with the beeb?

Bill Lee

Maigret of the Month: Liberty-Bar (Liberty Bar / Maigret on the Riviera) - 4
5/22/05 –
"Liberty Bar" has always been my favourite Maigret, so when we went to the Riviera this month, we planned to go also to Antibes and Cannes to visit "les lieux du crime". I marked them on your map of the Cap d'Antibes of your site.


On the Cap d'Antibes there are two sure, and still existing reference points: the Hôtel Bacon, where Maigret stayed (nr.1 on the map) – Il y avait un hotel genre pension de famille, à mi – chemin du Cap et de la ville – Il rentra à son hotel, l'Hôtel Bacon – , which is now a one-star restaurant in the Guide Michelin, and where the speciality is still bouillabaisse! – La patronne de l'Hôtel Bacon etait entréé dans la pièce, souriante, mielleuse. "Est-ce que la bouillabaisse vous a plu?... Je l'ai faite exprès pour vous, étant donné que...


"Les Roches Grises", where Simenon stayed in 1931-32.

Then there is the hotel Provençal (nr. 3 on the map), in Juan-les-Pins, where Harry Brown, the son of William stayed, when he came to Antibes. It is a huge pile of an Art Deco building, now completely decayed, but renovation is soon to start to make it into a complex of luxury apartments.


The "Proven?" in Juan-les-Pins.

I was really excited when I thought I found Brown's villa (nr. 2 on the map). The location corresponds exactly to the description in the book – at 500 meters from the Hôtel Bacon, after the sharp curve in the road of Pointe Bacon, where Gina Martini crashed with Brown's car, and on the sea-side of the road, because through the hall there was a view on the sea – ...un hall dont les baies s'ouvraient sur la mer –. It is a small, white villa, called "Ashore" (no house number), with a garage on the right side, une grille before the house, reinforced now with a metal fence (so that taking a good picture of the house is impossible!), une lampe électrique s'allumant au-dessus de la porte. But – alas – on looking at the pictures I took, I think this villa cannot possibly be dating from the 20's, it is more of the style of the late 1930's. Maybe it is built on the site of an older villa.


The villa "Ashore", I thought was the villa of Brown.


The same villa, showing the backside and the location by the sea.

As for the Liberty Bar itself: it should have been in the old quarters of Cannes, in one of the back streets parallel with the port. These one-time slums have very much changed since 1932: the whole neighbourhood has been upgraded and is now very touristy, with many little restaurants and boutiques. So I was not able to even remotely identify the bar.

John Hendriks

Maigret on TV 2

5/30/05 – This coming Friday, June 3, France 2 will broadcast Maigret et le Ministre:

Origine : Fra. (2001)
Scénario : Pierre Granier-Deferre et Dominique Garnier.
Musique : Laurent Petitgirard.
Réalisation : Christian de Chalonge.
Distribution : Bruno Cremer (Jules Maigret), Alexandre Brasseur (Paul Lachenal), Bruno Abraham-Kremer (Lorenzi), Laurent Schilling (Lambert).
Date : 03/06/2005
Horaire : 21H00 - 22H40
Durée : 99 mn
Lorsque le sanatorium de Clerfont s'effondre, ce sont cent vingt-huit enfants qui perdent la vie. L'opinion publique est atterrée. Auguste Point, ministre des Travaux publics, reçoit la visite d'un certain Piquemal. L'homme lui remet en mains propres le dossier Calame, du nom d'un spécialiste des constructions qui avait prévu le drame. Point comprend que des promoteurs et des politiciens se sont rendus coupables de malhonnêtetés. Lorsque le précieux dossier lui est dérobé, il craint d'avoir affaire à plus fort que lui. Il contacte alors le commissaire Maigret et lui demande de mettre bon ordre dans tout cela.
Notes : Une belle intrigue, un jeu subtil et sobre, une atmosphère de fin de règne, tout concourt à l'intérêt de cet épisode.

Regards,
Jerome


L'écluse no. 1 in Italian...
Jerome

Maigret of the Month --2005

monthtitle
JanuaryL'affaire Saint-Fiacre - Maigret Goes Home (1932)
FebruaryChez les Flamands - The Flemish Shop (1932)
MarchLe port des brumes - Death of a Harbormaster (1932)
AprilLe fou de Bergerac - The Madman of Bergerac (1932)
MayLiberty Bar - Liberty Bar, Maigret on the Riviera (1932)
JuneL'écluse n° 1 - The Lock at Charenton (1933)
JulyMaigret - Maigret Returns (1934)
AugustLes Caves du Majestic - Maigret and the Hotel Majestic (1942)
SeptemberLa Maison du juge - Maigret in Exile (1942)
OctoberCécile est morte - Maigret and the Spinster (1942)
NovemberSigné Picpus - Maigret and the Fortuneteller (1944)
DecemberFélicie est là - Maigret and the Toy Village (1944)

Rupert Davies as Maigret
5/31/05 – The BBC is showing a short clip of Rupert Davies as Maigret in a program called 'Je T'aime Europe', to be next broadcast on Friday 3 June at 23.00 on BBC Four.
Robert Hood
London

Simenon in L'Express by Michel Grisolia - 2003
6/06/05 –

L'Express International
week of February 13-19, 2003
N° 2693, pp 8-11

He would have been 100 on February 13, the greatest of novelists and one of the most read in the world. Why does he remain impossible to ignore, classic, immortal? Examine

Simenon, the book tree

Michel Grisolia
 

original French

BBC Maigret (follow up)
6/07/05 – Regarding Bill Lee's email of 5/17/05 about the BBC's Maigret episodes being on film, hopefully I can clarify a rather confusing situation.
I used to work as a film editor (for the BBC and ITV) and in the 60s it was normal practice for TV dramas to have their exterior scenes shot on 35mm film (as used in feature films) and these scenes would be projected as required during the ?as live' performance of the drama in the studio. In those days before the advent of videotape, the only way such programmes could be recorded was by telerecording – effectively filming the image from a studio TV monitor on special low-contrast film stock. Compared with big budget programmes that could afford to be produced entirely on film (such as Jonathan Miller's Alice in Wonderland or Ken Russell's Elgar) the image quality was poor, but it was what audiences were used to, and it did enable some (very basic) editing.
This was how the BBC's Maigrets were produced and stored. They existed on telerecording film stock, but only the exterior scenes (those evocative Paris locations!) had originated on high-definition 35mm negative.
But of course, the big question is what has happened to those recordings? The BBC do have some episodes in their archives (some were broadcast not so long ago and some have been shown at the National Film Theatre) but how many have been lost? And will they ever be released on DVD like the recently-issued Quatermass boxed set of the 1950s sci-fi series? This would be a thrilling outcome, but could involve copyright issues as well as the existence of suitable source material.

Congratulations on your truly excellent site, which I've only recently discovered. It has inspired me to try to find out more about what Maigret episodes the BBC has in its vaults and whether there is any prospect of a DVD release.

Mel Roberts

Maigret se fache in Estonian
6/09/05 – On eBay this week - another language for the Multi-Lingual list -
Maigret se fache (Maigret in Retirement) in Estonian...

Maigret of the Month: L'écluse n° 1 (The Lock at Charenton)
6/09/05 –
I was taken aback to read the following in L'Ecluse No 1:
Maigret prit un taxi et arriva quelques minutes plus tard dans son appartement du boulevard Edgar-Quinet.
Quickly I turned to the English translation in Maigret Sits it Out and was relieved to read:
Maigret took a taxi, and a few minutes later was at his flat in the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir.
(Chapter 6, p78 in the Le Livre de Poche 1972 paperback, and p68 in the Penguin 1952 edition.)

Can anyone account for this discrepancy? We need Peter Foord and his invaluable maps!


Roddy


In the (1991) Tout Simenon edition (Tome 18, p. 496) it's as expected:
Maigret prit un taxi et arriva quelques minutes plus tard dans son appartement du boulevard Richard-Lenoir.
Maybe that was corrected from an eariler typo? There's no mention of boulevard Edgar-Quinet in any of the Maigrets, according to my notes (based on English translations). It's next to the Montparnasse cemetery.

ST

Maigret of the Month: L'écluse n° 1 (The Lock at Charenton) - 2
6/10/05 –
I have the Press Pocket edition, printed in November 1989, and in addition to the (Edgar-Quinet) text Roddy cites above, at the end of chapter 6, there is :
"Oui ..... Non ..... boulevard Edgar-Quinet, il n'y avait personne et le grand lit était parti pour la campagne,"

Bd E. Quinet is not far away from "La Coupole" where Simenon used to meet Joséphine Baker (see previous Forum).

Regards,
Jerome

Maigret of the Month: L'écluse n° 1 (The Lock at Charenton) - 3 - Bvd Edgar-Quinet
6/10/05 –
Just to say that I have a 1977 printing of the Presses Pocket paperback of L'Ecluse No 1 which includes the reference to Bvd Edgar-Quinet noted by the previous correspondents. Although it must be a typo, the Bvd. E-Q is actually, in some ways rather similar to the Bvd Richard-Lenoir. Wide, tree-lined and with a central reservation which is used for a lively weekly market. It has always been an anomaly that Simenon never mentions the market in the Bvd Richard-Lenoir unless it only started up in the post-war period (though that seems unlikely to me). The Bvd Edgar-Quinet forms the northern boundary of the Montparnasse Cemetery which is always worth a visit, even without any Simenon connections.
Thanks for your ever interesting web-site,
David McBrien

Maigret of the Month: L'écluse n° 1 (The Lock at Charenton) - 4 - Bvd Edgar-Quinet
6/10/05 –
Here is an Ecluse N° 1 cover in German, Maigret in Nöten.
Chapter 6 does reference Bd E.-Quinet for Maigret's home.
Jerome

Maigret of the Month: L'écluse n° 1 (The Lock at Charenton) - 5
6/11/05 –
I hardly think replacing Bd Richard-Lenoir with Bd Edgar-Quinet could be a typo. I like the theory that Simenon had Josephine Baker on his mind, but I have the feeling (without looking it up) that the affair was over by the time he wrote L'Ecluse No 1.
I don't think there can be any doubt that Simenon placed the apartment in the Bd Edgar-Quinet in his manuscript (if anyone has a 1st edition they could perhaps confirm that).
What I find most interesting is that an editor at Penguin who obviously knew the works (or perhaps the translator?) decide that they knew better and relocated the Simenon household to Bd Richard-Lenoir.
Or maybe it was more likely to be an editor at the hardback publishing house which issued The Lock at Charenton in 1941 who spotted the error.

6/12/05 – The 1952 Penguin edition of Maigret Sits it Out has it that The Lock at Charenton was first published in England in 1941, but David Carter in The Pocket Essential Georges Simenon (p24) states that it was published by Routledge in 1940.
Simenon's editor at Routledge was Herbert Read, an eminent art critic. Assouline has the following amusing sidelight:
[Simenon} was initially unaware that it was under the amicable pressure of T. S. Eliot that Herbert Read ... deleted a few shits from some of his Maigrets. Eliot and Read believed that British readers would be disagreeably surprised to encounter such vocabulary in high-class books. (Assouline p255)
It would seem that this English squeamishness is not dead, if we consider David Carter's splendidly prim comment on The Lock at Charenton:
The novel is rather disturbing due to the sordid nature of the relationships involved. (Carter p24)

Edgar Quinet 1803–75, was a French historian. For more information, see Answers.com.

Roddy

Maigret of the Month: L'écluse n° 1 (The Lock at Charenton) - 6 - Bvd Edgar-Quinet
6/12/05 –
Typo wasn't really the right word but some sort of publisher's error may have crept in. In any event the 1941 Harcourt Brace edition (translated by Margaret Ludwig) has Bvd Richard-Lenoir.
David McBrien

Les scrupules de Maigret
6/12/05 – I found on the web at clap.be a detailed description of the TV movie Les scrupules de Maigret. What is interesting is that the places where the movie was made are described.

On the web site of Dune, www.dune.fr I saw that 2 new Maigrets with Bruno Cremer are being done : Maigret et les 7 petites croix and Maigret et l'etoile.

Regards,
Jerome

Maigret of the Month: L'écluse n° 1 (The Lock at Charenton) - 7
6/12/05 –
Stanley G. Eskin makes this perceptive comment about The Lock at Charenton in his critical biography of Simenon:
L'Ecluse No. 1 is set in Paris and features another attractive "strong" type, Ducrau, a no-nonsense, virile, open personality whom Maigret instinctively responds to because he is a bit like himself — and both a bit like Simenon... (Eskin p91)


David McBrien's point that Maigret's apparent change of address might have been a publisher's error is a very good one. It's almost inconceivable that Simenon, who had been writing 18 Maigret books intensively over a short period of time, would forget or arbitrarily change the name of the boulevard where Maigret lived.
The error has obviously only appeared in French editions. Maybe the French compositor lived on the Bd. Edgar-Quinet!
It's surprising that the error lasted in different French editions for so long, being corrected apparently only in the Tout Simenon edition.
Roddy

Maigret of the Month: L'écluse n° 1 (The Lock at Charenton) - 8
6/16/05 –
L'Ecluse N°1 was the 18th Maigret published ; all of them in 2 years time. Simenon gets Maigret to retire. Luckily he does not kill him like Conan Doyle did with Sherlock Holmes in "The Final Problem".
Did Simenon want to free himself from a hero getting too much recognition, or did he want to write real literature and no more detective novels? Or was he only tired of Maigret? Can we find a parallel between "The Final Problem" of C. Doyle and "L'ecluse N°1" of Simenon?
Regards,
Jerome

Simenon in La Libre Match - 2003
6/23/05 –
La Libre MATCH
February 19, 2003
N° 75, pp 16-29

A hundred years ago, a little Georges was born. But it was Simenon, the author of the immense work and the controversial life, who left his mark on our minds forever...

SIMENON

Jean-Baptiste Baronian
Jérôme Bègle

 

original French

Celebrating the centenniel of Georges Simenon's birth.
25 photos – essay by Jean-Baptiste Baronian, interview with Bernard de Fallois by Jérôme Bègle.
La Libre Match is published in Belgium, an association of the Belgian La Libre and Paris Match.

London Libraries Launch 'Crime Novels' Summer Reading Promotion
6/24/05 – London's public libraries launched a promotion of 50 European crime novels on June 20th 2005. The Passport to Murder list includes such classic writing as that of Georges Simenon and contemporary authors, Henning Mankell and Barbara Nadel.
Story settings stretch across the continent from Iceland in the north to Greece in the South and from Spain to Russia. The promotion is the brainchild of the London Libraries Development Agency and is running in all the capital's 395 libraries. Flyers publicising the list will be available in libraries, the European cultural institutes in the capital and selected bookshops.
The London Libraries Recommend website www.londonlibraries.org.uk/read features reviews of the selected novels written by librarians and a quiz related to the Eurocrime genre.
Lyn Brown, newly elected MP for West Ham and Chair of the London Libraries Development Agency said, "Reading remains at the heart of public libraries' work. As a passionate crime fiction reader, I'm delighted that Passport to Murder is offering Londoners some less well known choices for their summer reading. I for one will be packing my holiday suitcase knowing that there are some cracking reads from my local library." (ManagingInformation.Com)
Roddy

Maigret's Patience and other episodes on DVD
6/25/05 – Watched again Maigret (M. Gambon, of course) series, and something really surprised me in the Patience of Maigret episode. Paris jewelers were robbed when their street-front display windows were smashed and thieves grabbed-and-ran with valuables displayed there. It continued for seven years!!! Did Maigret ever wonder why Paris jewelers did not realize that displaying expensive jewelery in street-front windows was a bad idea ???!!! Could they at least install steel bars?
A comment about series order selection. In the first episode, a gangster is killed and his girlfriend goes to jail. Later, he is alive and she is with him, although these are different actors (M. on Defensive).
One episode in the Gambon-series is called 'M. and the Maid', however this title is not listed in the "plot" descriptions on this site.
Cheers,
Vladimir Krasnogor

Maigret and the Maid is the title of the Gambon video version of Félicie est là (Maigret and the Toy Village). (There's a title index for the Film page, where I just looked it up...)
ST

Inspector Maigret Deduces — La Extraña Pasajera?
6/25/05 – I just watched the Mexican movie "La Extraña Pasajera", apparently filmed in 1952 and released in 1953, and it gave me a feeling of déjà vu. The story is remarkably close to the plot of the short story "Jeumont, 51 Minutes' Wait!" (Inspector Maigret Deduces). It takes more than 51 minutes, it stretches for several days, but the Simenon story goes back before the 51 minutes start.
No credit is given to Simenon, but it looks like some rip-off of his short story.
The only information I could find on the film is at: www.imdb.com.
Juan Castro

Maigret's Trains in La Vie du Rail - 1989
6/30/05 –
La Vie du Rail
September 21, 1989
N° 2211, pp 45-49

Maigret's Trains

by Michel Chlastacz

Simenon is dead — Maigret won't take the train anymore. Simenon — 500 million books translated into 55 languages. Maigret on the screen had the face of Albert Préjean and Charles Laughton, Michel Simon and Jean Gabin, in turn. And Jean Richard.
Where was Maigret born? In a train station!

 

original French

 
Thanks to Jérôme Devémy, of Paris, for providing a copy of this!

Maigret and Food

photo from back cover of HBJ edition of Robert Courtine's "Madame Maigret's Recipes"

7/02/05 – Hello! I just found this remarkable Maigret site and spent the last couple of hours reading things on it... I found it because (well aside from that Maigret mysteries are my absolute favorite books) I am going (back) to Paris is a couple of weeks and was looking for a list of foods mentioned in the Maigret books. I thought I had seen one online a while back but apparently forgot to bookmark it. So I was looking but did not see such a list on your site... do you have one?

I thought it would be fun to find some of the foods mentioned and try them. (I already know calvados and cassoulet but there were many others that Mme Maigret cooked or that he ate at the Brasserie Dauphine that I would like to find and taste.

Do you have any ideas on this?

Many thanks in advance,
Rhonda

Maigret and Food

7/02/05 – Here's the beginning of a long list of references to Maigret's meals I collected some years ago, just waiting for someone to come along and ask... It's arranged chronologically, and the source novel or story is the 3-letter link...

If you look through the long list, you'll notice that Maigret's taste changes. In 1940, "M couldn't abide liver in any form," but by 1969, "M had calves' liver à la bourgeoise. It was one of his favorite dishes...."

Bon appétit!

  • M and Aurore Gallet waited 25 minutes at the station at Melun, where M bought a package of sandwiches, some fruit, and a bottle of Bordeaux. [1930-GAL]
  • M said he'd never had better kidneys à la liégeoise than at the Bécasse, behind the Royal Theater in Liège. [1931-GAI]
  • M dined off a plate of choucroute and called his office. [1931-GUI]
  • Mme M had made quiches – the whole house smelt of it. [1932-FLA]
  • Mme M said she'd make a crème au citron for M. She said they served truffles by the dishful, like fried potatoes at the hotel.... For his last meal at the hotel M ordered the truffes en serviette and foie gras for lunch.... Leduc said he'd lunch at the hotel, that it was always good on Thursdays, Confit d'oie.... M was having lamb cutlets, as he had to avoid heavy food. [1932-FOU]
  • M went into a restaurant famous for its soles normandes and its tripe à la mode de Caen. [1937-38-bay]
  • At Mère Catherine's they had the fricandeau of veal with sorrel... "One of my favorites" said M. [1937-38-NOY]

    The "complete" list is here, now accessible from the Reference page
    ST

Dick Bruna Exhibition

7/04/05 –

Happy Birthday Miffy: a celebration of the work of Dick Bruna
Exhibition and Miffy Bookshop presented by Seven Stories, at the Discovery Museum, Blandford Square, Newcastle upon Tyne
3 June to 5 September 2005
Monday to Saturday 10 – 5, Sunday 2 – 5, Free Entry
For group bookings please email: miffybookings@sevenstories.org.uk

 
In 1955, during a rainy seaside holiday in Holland, Dick Bruna first drew a picture of a little white bunny and made up stories about it to entertain his 2 year old son. That little bunny became Miffy – the star of many stories by Bruna which, after 50 years, are still captivating children worldwide. This interactive exhibition, curated by Seven Stories, the Centre for Children's Books, celebrates Miffy's 50th anniversary by inviting visitors to journey through her world. Children will meet Miffy's friends in the library, in the post office and in the garden, before joining Miffy at her birthday party. Dick Bruna's original artworks are now on display (for the first time in the UK), plus details about his life's work. Lots of innovative hands-on games will delight along the way, allowing young children to learn and explore in the capable hands of this accomplished illustrator.


Dick Bruna illustrated the covers of many Maigret books (in Dutch) for his family publisher in Holland. I will contact Seven Stories to see if any of these will be on display in the exhibition.

Roddy

Le Fou de Bergerac - 200 Journaux
7/05/05 – In Maigret of the Month: Le Fou de Bergerac (The Madman of Bergerac) - 4, 4/07/05 – Jerome states that
"in chapter 5, Leduc describes the size of the Maison-neuf farm as "200 journeaux". A "journal" is an old French area unit, its definition was the area that one person could work manually in one day : around 5 ares or 500 square meters."
I was idly curious to think that an acre (area a ploughman can manage in a day ) is 0.4046 hectares or 40 ares and found:
"Le journal : is a surface measurement used in the Ancien Régime. It is a matter of the amount of land that a plough could till or that a man could work or the amount of a meadow which he could mow etc in a day."

"Le journal : c'était l'unité de superficie la plus utilisée sous l'Ancien Régime. Il s'agissait de la quantité de terre qu'une charrue pouvait labourer, ou qu'un homme pouvait travailler, ou la quantité de pré qu'il pouvait faucher, etc. en une journée.
Le journal de Paris : 32 ares 86
Le journal de Bordeaux : 31 ares 93."

Maybe English farmers worked just a little faster but not eight times!!
Carl


Could "manually" in the Leduc quote mean "without an animal"? The definition of "acre" at Wikopedia includes "The acre was selected as approximately the amount of land tillable by one man behind an ox in one day."
ST

Maigret of the Month: Maigret (Maigret Returns) - 1
7/05/05 –
Assouline writes of this novel:

At the beginning of the summer of 1933 [in June, according to both Marnham op.cit. p147 and Eskin op.cit. p98], in Porquerolles, he [Simenon] had finished his nineteenth Maigret novel, entitled simply Maigret (Maigret Returns, 1934). A young police officer working on a murder case asks for help from his uncle, former inspector Maigret, now in retirement in his country house on the banks of the Loire. The circumstances were quite deliberate. Simenon wanted to go beyond his hero, free himself from his soothing notoriety, carve himself a new niche in the hierarchy of literary recognition, and strike out once and for all in search of something new.

The meeting with Artheme Fayard was stormy. Having proudly informed everyone that he had launched Maigret like a brand of soap, the publisher was astonished to find him slipping through his fingers. But Simenon seemed determined:
"It's over. I'm quitting."
"You're insane! You'll never make it trying to write anything else but detective novels!"
"Let's put Maigret on the shelf. I don't need handrails any more. I think I can write a real novel now."
"Just like Conan Doyle. He always wanted to kill off Holmes and write a real novel. You'll regret it for the rest of your life. No author of detective novels has ever succeeded in other domains. Believe me, it's an illusion. You'll be back."
But Simenon wasn't listening. His mind was already elsewhere -- in his next book, with his next publisher.

(Assouline, p131)
That was Gaston Gallimard, for whom, over the next six years, he was to produce no fewer than forty-two romans durs.

Maigret Returns was optioned as a film by Alfred Greven, head of the German-controlled French film company, Continental. Simenon sold them the exclusive rights to the Maigret character for 500,000 francs in 1942.

(Assouline, p195)


According to David Carter, after 1933 he wrote no Maigret novels for five years, though he did write some Maigret short stories [op.cit. p24].


In Chapter One in the French edition, Maigret purchases un paquet de gris, which I understand to be his normal brand of pipe tobacco, but in the English translation he buys "a packet of cigarettes".

Roddy

New Maigret in Polish

7/13/05 – Some 2 weeks ago was published a Maigret never before published in Polish, "Maigret i żona kasiarza" - Maigret et la Grand Perche.
best regards,
Przemek

Dick Bruna Exhibition
7/13/05 – With regard to the Bruna exhibition in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (07/04/05), the curator has written to me:
There is a small section devoted to Dick Bruna's art before Miffy came along! Well worth a visit I think.
Among the art are included some book jackets, but unfortunately she has not specified if there are any Maigrets among them.
Roddy

The missing ending to Maigret and the Tavern by the Seine

7/17/05 – A couple of weeks ago, when I was translating "Maigret's Trains," I used published English translations for most of the Maigret quotations in the article. But I couldn't locate the one for La Guinguette à deux sous. In Simenon's original, it was the final paragraph of the book. But in the Geoffrey Sainsbury translation (Maigret and the Tavern by the Seine), it wasn't there! He (or his editor) had dropped the last paragraph, and ended the story with James's remark.
I've just gotten a copy of the David Watson translation (The Bar on the Seind, Penguin 2003), and the last paragraph is back where it belongs. For those of you who only have the Harcourt Brace paperback or other Sainsbury edition, here's the French, and Watson's translation of "the missing ending":

Trois heures plus tard, celui-ci roulait vers l'Alsace, dans un compartiment de seconde classe, et, le long de la Marne, il vit des guinguettes toutes pareilles à la guinguette à deux sous, avec le piano mécanique sous un hangar en planches.
Quand il se réveilla au petit jour, il y avait, devant le train arrêté, une barrière peinte en vert, une petite gare entourée de fleurs. Mme Maigret et sa sœur, déjà inquiètes, regardaient les portières les unes après les autres.
Et tout cela, la gare, la campagne, la maison des parents, les collines d'alentour, le ciel lui-même, tout était frais comme si chaque matin c'eût été lavé à grande eau.
— Hier, à Colmar, je t'ai acheté des sabots vernis... Regarde... Des beaux sabots jaunes que Maigret voulut essayer avant même de quitter son complet sombre de Paris.

 

Three hours later, Maigret was sitting on a train on his way to Alsace. Along the banks of the Marne he saw lots of bars just like the guinguette à deux sous, with its mechanical piano in a wooden lean-to.
He woke up early the next morning as the train pulled in. He saw a green-painted barrier in a little station bedecked with flowers. Madame Maigret and her sister were anxiously scanning all the train doors. And everything – the station, the countryside, his in-laws' house, the surrounding hills, even the sky – looked as fresh as if it had been scrubbed clean every morning.
'I bought you some varnished wood clogs yesterday in Colmar.'
And Maigret wanted to try on the lovely yellow clogs even before he had taken off his dark city clothes.

ST

Three comments on the new Penguin edition of The Bar on the Seine
7/19/05 –
  1. Maigret travelled in second class yet it's mentined in several other stories that he had a pass that let him ride everywhere in France in first class.

  2. As with the new Penguin edition of The Madman of Bergerac, the locomotive on the cover of the book is an American one. I might forgive Penguin for putting an English loco on the cover as Penguin is from the UK. Both of them should be French locomotives.

  3. Maigret arrived in a small flower-bedecked station where his wife and her sister were waiting for him. Mme M mentioned that she bought him a pair of clogs in Colmar. Didn't her sister live in Colmar in several stories?
Anyway, I'm glad to finally read the missing ending of this story.
Regards
Joe

Colmar, manufacturing commune, NE France, capital, Haut-Rhin dept. pop. 1959: 47,300. (1968: 59,550). 105 mi. E of Chaumont.
Maigret s'amuse (Maigret's Little Joke) [1956]:
Mme M's sister lived in Colmar with her husband and children, and owned a chalet on the Col de la Schlucht, where the Maigrets had been fairly often, and where life was pleasant and restful.
(more sisters at Mme Maigret's Four Sisters...)
Les Mémoires de Maigret (Maigret's Memoirs) [1950]:
M said he should really present a genealogy of the Schöllers, the Kurts and the Léonards, his wife's family. Anywhere in Alsace between Strasbourg and Mulhouse you can hear speak of them. A Kurt from Scharrachbergheim first, under Napoleon, founded the tradition of Bridges and Highways. ... It was considered a comedown when a Kurt merely became one of the biggest brewers in Colmar.
Maigret tend un piège (Maigret Sets a Trap) [1955]:
The first place Lapointe went they identified the button as having come from Mullerbach's of Colmar, with an office in the same building.
At least in his Maigrets, after Guinguette [1931], Simenon seems to have only mentioned Colmar in the 1950's.
ST

Thanks!
7/22/05 – Not everything that comes in gets noted on this Forum... many additions, corrections and improvements are unheralded. The contributions are international – and not just from English-speaking countries. For example, in just the past two days, C.M. Bolle of the Netherlands sent in an update to the Kees Brusse bio blurb on the films page, and Alexey Fomushkin of Moscow added 35 translation titles to the Russian Maigret list. These are valuable additions – they continue to make this site the best resource on the web for Maigret fans worldwide – thanks to everyone who shares their resources!
ST

Simenon before Simenon
7/31/05 – I just saw on fnac.com / Amazon.fr the following book that had not caught my eye before, as it is being printed again by Edition Omnibus. These were 4 of the books he wrote before starting Maigret. That could give us some insight on the "birth" of Maigret.

Yves Jarry, détective-aventurier 

L'amant sans nom 
Chair de beauté 
La femme qui tue 
La fiancée aux mains de glace

de Georges Simenon

Langue : Français Éditeur : Omnibus (7 février 2002)
Collection : Omnibus
Format : Broché - 970 pages
ISBN : 225805673X
Dimensions (en cm) : 13 x 2 x 20

here's what Simenon says about Jarry :

"... lorsque j'écrivais des romans populaires, les derniers temps, j'avais commencé à dessiner un personnage nommé Jarry qui me séduisait particulièrement. Sa seule ambition était de vivre un certain nombre de vies - parisien raffiné à Paris, pêcheur en sabots en Bretagne, paysan ici, petit-bourgeois là... et puis Maigret est venu qui l'a supplanté et je m'aperçois qu'il est une transposition de Jarry lui aussi. Mais c'est à la vie des autres que pendant un moment il se substitue."
[... near the end of my period of popular novels [written under pseudonyms], I had begun to do a character named Jarry who especially captivated me. His sole ambition was to live a number of different lives – a refined Parisian in Paris, a wooden-shoed fisherman in Brittany, one day a peasant, then a petit-bourgeois... and then Maigret came along and supplanted him, and I see that he himself is a transposition of Jarry. But it is into the lives of others that he inserts himself for a moment...]
Jerome

Maigret of the Month: Les Caves du Majestic (Maigret and the Hotel Majestic) - 1
8/01/05 –
Maigret and the Hotel Majestic starts superbly, with the awakening of the suspect Prosper Donge and his journey to the hotel where he works, and thereafter his discovery of the body which of course brings the appearance of Inspector Maigret.

Stanley G. Eskin writes of this:

The real Maigret revival began at the end of 1939 when Simenon wrote Les Caves du Majestic. As far as the public was concerned, it began in 1942 with the Gallimard volume entitled Maigret revient..., which includes Les Caves du Majestic, La Maison du Juge and Cecile est morte, followed by four more volumes in 1944. The public, which had been buzzing with a steady background clamor, was ready for it. Claude Farrere was perhaps acting on its behalf when he almost got into trouble with the authorities by sending a telegram to the Police Judiciaire: "Commissaire Maigret missing. Very worried". These volumes constitute a "second movement" of the Maigret saga which has tended to get lost in Simenon criticism: commentators who refer to the "earlier" and the "later" Maigret tend to leave out this "middle" Maigret, which is a mistake. If one is to take Maigret seriously at all as literature, two of these stories are first-rate. [Eskin, op.cit. pp138-139]

I will add more of Eskin's analysis later in the month, since it contains "spoilers".

This also a very interesting book in the sense that it throws light on Simenon's involvement in the German Occupation of France, since Les Caves du Majestic was one of the novels to be filmed at this time. Again, I will return to this in a later post.

In David Carter's analysis, he puts Cecile est morte before Les Caves du Majestic in terms of composition, while an Italian website: MPC has Signe Picpus as an earlier composition. However, I think we can take it that Steve's meticulous bibliography is the one to follow!

Roddy

German Maigret radio series
8/02/05 –
For those of you who speak German, Amazon.de has a very good radio series from 1961 on four CDs (+one CD with another dramatisation from 1974) with many famous German actors and actresses such as Hanne Wieder, Horst Frank, Klausjürgen Wussow and Hans Clarin. Paul Dahlke plays Maigret. The title is "Maigret, Die besten Fälle".
Mattias Siwemyr

Bruno Cremer "Maigret" Collection
8/02/05 –
Three collections have now appeared with ten episodes in each. What is more, they all have English subtitles! Great news for us who don't speak French! If you do not feel like buying them all, the individual releases (with two episodes) have English subtitles. They can be bought from fnac.com.
Mattias Siwemyr

Maigret ( Jean Richard ) on DVD
8/02/05 –
Having prematurely completed my carefully selected reading matter on holiday near Beziers last week I was browsing optimistically in the Tabac when I stumbled across a Maigret DVD - "Maigret se fache" & "Maigret au Picratt's"

Both star Jean Richard and are the French TV versions from the '70s and '80s. They come with a slim magazine including background info and make up No.20 in a series.

If anyone's interested there's an address given for ordering this ( or presumably any others in the series ) direct from the publisher.

No. 21 features "Maigret, Lognon et les Gangsters" & "Les Caves du Majestic" (strangely appropriate this month).

Sadly the newsagents back here in Glasgow don't seem to be stocking this series ;-)

Muir
Glasgow

John Tempest [11/24/04] suggested journaux.fr for ordering titles in this series... and for out-of-print French magazines in general. I've bought from them a few times myself, and been very satisfied.
ST

Changing English Title
8/02/05 –
I cannot say what is exactly the meaning of this title in French, but every time I see in English the title "M. and the MAD woman", it sound quite inappropriate to me.

Maybe the title was fine when the first translation was made, but today the usage of word 'mad' does not fit it any longer. Is there a way to update the title to today's standards of English usage?

Besides, the woman was not mad at all; she was a nice old lady who was actually correct. I would rather give it a title like "M. and widow of gun inventor" - would fit the book so much closer.

Vladimir


The French title, La Folle de Maigret (literally, Maigret's Madwoman), means something like "Maigret's Crazy Old Lady," similar to the translation of Le Fou de Bergerac as The Madman of Bergerac (– fou is the masculine form, folle the feminine, for 'crazy person', 'mad(wo)man'). La Folle de Maigret, was, presumably, Simenon's choice.
ST


8/04/05 – One more comment - the title is mostly confusing, too. The first time I saw this book, I assumed that M. would be investigating crimes committed by a mad woman. What else can you expect if a mad woman is involved in a detective story? So, regrettably, I passed on this book. It took several years and 'Gambon' series to discover that the book is not about a mad woman at all!
VK

Maigret Fans
8/04/05 –
Hello - what a great web site, I have been a regular viewer for some time now.
I have been collecting Maigret / Simenon books for over 20 years, and now have well over 100 books.
I would like to have contact with other Maigret fans if anyone would like to e/mail me, I live in N. Ireland and I met another Maigret book collector at a book fair in Belfast some years ago, but did not get his name.
You can contact me on d.nicholl@ntlworld.com,
David

Bruno Cremer DVDs
8/07/05 –
I believe the series has English subtitles, I have looked on the relevant site but can't find what titles are involved. Can anybody help? (English subtitles are crucial).
Gloria Cooke

Bruno Cremer DVDs
8/10/05 –

Bruno Cremer DVDs released so far:

Coffret n°1 : Les scrupules de Maigret / Maigret et l'inspecteur Cadavre
Coffret n°2 : La maison de Félicie / Les petits cochons sans queue
Coffret n°3 : Maigret et le clochard / Signé Picpus
Coffret n°4 : Maigret et l'ombre chinoise / Maigret voit double
Coffret n°5 : Mon ami Maigret / Maigret et l'enfant de choeur

- Coffret 10 DVD

Coffret n°6 : L'improbable M. Owen / Un meurtre de première classe
Coffret n°7 : La fenêtre ouverte / Maigret tend un piège
Coffret n°8 : Maigret et la vente à la bougie / Madame Quatre et ses enfants
Coffret n°9 : Maigret chez le docteur / Meurtre dans un jardin potager
Coffret n°10 : Maigret chez les riches / Maigret et le Liberty Bar
Coffret n°11 : Maigret en meublé / Maigret à l'école

- Coffret (DVD 6 à 10)

Coffret n°12 : Un échec de Maigret / L'ami d'enfance de Maigret
Coffret n°13 : Maigret chez le ministre / Maigret et l'homme du banc
Coffret n°14 : Maigret a peur / Maigret et les sept petites croix
Coffret n°15 : Maigret et le fou de Sainte-Clothilde / Maigret et le port des brumes
Coffret n°16 : Maigret et le fantôme / Maigret et le marchand de vin
Coffret n°17 : Maigret en Finlande / Maigret et la demoiselle de compagnie

All have English subtitles!

Mattias Siwemyr

Maigret of the Month (June): L'écluse n° 1 (The Lock at Charenton) - 9
8/10/05 –
Having chosen to set up his home in the property named "La Richardière" at Marsilly (Charente-Inférieure, now Charente-Maritime) near La Rochelle, Simenon proceeded with his intention to concentrate on writing novels other than those involving Maigret. After writing Liberty-Bar (Liberty Bar / Maigret on the Riviera), his seventeenth Maigret novel in April 1932, he wrote La Maison du Canal (The House by the Canal) in May 1932. This was followed by a visit to Africa, taking in several countries, which lasted until the beginning of September.

This was one of a number of times that he and his wife Tigy travelled to various parts of the world. These visits were largely financed by several magazine and newspaper editors who commissioned from him a variety of articles, which they published soon after his return.

Then in the autumn of 1932 he produced the novels Le Coup de Lune (Tropic Moon) with an African setting, L'Âne Rouge (The Night Club), which has echoes of a period in his earlier life in Liège, in Belgium, and Les Fiançailles de Monsieur Hire (Mr. Hire's Engagement).

During part of February and March 1933, he visited various European countries, including Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Roumania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. Whilst on these visits he kept a record of what he saw through his own photography. This collection of photographs is now kept in the Fonds Simenon (the Simenon Archive) in Liège and from time to time is put on show, as the temporary exhibition in the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris in early 2004, as well as being reproduced in various publications.

Returning to Marsilly, he reverted to writing L'Écluse N° 1 (The Lock at Charenton) in April 1933, his penultimate Maigret novel to be published by Fayard.

With his focus now on his other novels, he must have wondered what to do with his creation, Maigret. Launched in February 1931 at the spectacular "Bal anthropométrique" in Montparnasse, his Maigret novels had proved a success with the reading public as well as attracting film directors such as Jean Renoir.

In retrospect, it seems logical that Simenon took the obvious step and retired le commissaire Maigret from the French police force, perhaps bearing in mind Conan Doyle's solution for the exit of his creation Sherlock Holmes.

And Simenon was making another move by changing publishers from Fayard (who in the 1920s had published some of his work written under pseudonyms, as well as the later thirty-one volumes under his patronym) to Gallimard. He signed his first contract with Gallimard in October 1933.


A recent simplified section of a map of Paris showing the confluence of the rivers Seine and Marne (south east corner) at Charenton to the Île de la Cité. On one occasion Ducrau and Maigret walked along this stretch of the river as far as the bar Tabac Henri-IV in the centre of the Pont-Neuf (Michelin, Paris Plan, 1988).

For this, his last investigation, Maigret is in the Paris area. And once more it is centred around people who work on the river and in particular at the lock at Charenton (Val-de-Marne), a community that has its own way of life and code. The incident that brings Maigret onto the scene occurs just outside the south-east boundary of the city of Paris, beyond the 12th and 13th arrondissements, at the confluence of the rivers Marne and Seine.

This novel concentrates mainly on the duo of personalities, le commissaire Maigret, who is retiring from the police force in a matter of days, and the domineering Émile (Mimile) Ducrau, a barge and quarry owner. There are other people involved in various ways, mainly family, employees and those of the community, but Ducrau and Maigret's presence dominate the whole investigation. It is almost as if Simenon, as in his other novels, has decided to concentrate on and explore the personality of one person and how events, however small, affect him, with Maigret acting as a kind of mentor.

During those few days in April, there is a rapport that builds up between Maigret and Ducrau, so much so that when the latter learns of Maigret's imminent retirement, he offers le commissaire a lucrative position in his company. Maigret declines the offer, his furnishings have already been moved from his apartment in the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir and he sees his wife off from the Gare d'Orsay so that she can organise their new home at Meung-sur-Loire (Loiret).

At one point Ducrau and Maigret walk along the quayside of the Seine from Charenton to the centre of Paris by way of the Pont de la Tournelle on to the Île Saint-Louis and the Île de la Cité, where they end up at the Tabac Henri-IV, a bar in the centre of the Pont Neuf, which is a meeting place for freighters. En route they learn something of each other's background.

Over the days Maigret moves back and forth along the same stretch of the river meeting up with the same few people, attempting to piece together what he learns and observes with varied success. Later Maigret is invited to Ducrau's house amid the latter's family at Samois-sur-Seine (Seine-et-Marne) near the Forest of Fontainebleau. Here the tension rises as a battle of wills is played out, leaving it to Maigret to defuse the situation and to arrive at the truth.

To date there is only one translation, that by Margaret Ludwig who is one of the few earlier translators to follow Simenon's text faithfully.


Photograph (c 1945) of the end of the buildings fronting the Place du Pont-Neuf. The establishment on the right corner of the left building (with the large open blind) is the bar Tabac (Taverne) Henri-IV. In the novel, Ducrau explains to Maigret that this bar is the meeting point for freighters to discuss business (Leonard Pitt, Promenades dans le Paris Disparu, Éditions Parigramme, 2003).


A recent photograph of the same two buildings fronting the Place du Pont-Neuf with recent restoration work (Photograph, March 2005, Peter Foord).


The building with the Taverne Henry IV (The spelling of the name on this bar at the present time), N° 13, Place du Pont-Neuf on the corner with the Rue Henri-Robert. This short street leads to the tree lined Place Dauphine with the façade of the Palais de Justice in the background. (Photograph, March 2005, Peter Foord).

Peter Foord
UK

Maigret of the Month (June): L'écluse n° 1 (The Lock at Charenton) - 10 - Boulevard Edgar-Quinet
8/10/05 –

In his book Paris Chez Simenon, Paris, Encrage, 2000 (Travaux 37), under the entry Boulevard Edgar-Quinet on page 198, Michel Lemoine writes:

'By a curious mistake, Maigret and his wife on one occasion are resident in the Boulevard Edgar-Quinet and on another in the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir, according to the first edition of a novel written in 1933. The editor of the Œuvres Complètes had realised this lapse of memory, but had "wrongly" standardised the address in opting for the Boulevard Edgar-Quinet. One theory in connection with this strange desertion of the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir: when he wrote this Maigret novel, Simenon had forsaken the commissaire for nearly a year; is it not conceivable, therefore, that after this length of time, the novelist had had a lapse of memory concerning Maigret's precise place of residence? Perhaps he remembered a boulevard, a first name, a surname and he chose Edgar-Quinet, close to Richard-Lenoir as far as the number of syllables (2/2) and as far as the inner rhyme Edgar/Richard. Besides it is probable that Simenon at the time did not attach hardly any importance to the address of the hero who had brought him fame since he had firmly made up his mind to finally abandon him. That does not explain the two addresses appearing in the same chapter of the first edition. In view of such a blunder, one would like to be able to consult the manuscript of the novel, but the latter seems irredeemably lost. We hasten to add, to conclude this matter that the traditional home in the Boulevard Richard–Lenoir has been restored to the commissaire for the Tout Simenon edition from Presses de la Cité. Be that as it may, the offending novel is also the one of moving house for the Maigrets who are on the point of leaving Paris for the banks of the Loire, so much so that the commissaire, on the eve of his retirement, is unable to refrain from thinking with sadness of "this devastated home that they were going to leave for ever".

We could not "decently" leave the Boulevard (Edgar-Quinet) without mentioning The Sphinx, a luxurious brothel formally situated at N° 31 and ignored by the novels, but whose private salons often saw Simenon, according to the confidences delivered by the novelist to Alphonse Boudard.'

(translated by Peter Foord)

Note:

1) The first set of the "Complete Works" of Georges Simenon was Œuvres Complètes published in Lausanne by Éditions Rencontre, 1967-1973, in 72 volumes edited by Gilbert Sigaux.

2) The second set of the "Complete Works" of Georges Simenon was Tout Simenon published in Paris by Presses de la Cité, 1988-1993, in 27 volumes.

This set was reissued 2002-2004 as part of the Simenon Centenary (2003)

Michel Lemoine has indicated possible reasons for Simenon mistaking Maigret's address in Paris. It was a time of changes for the author. Obviously he thought the time was right for him to concentrate now on writing the more literary novels, changing publishers from Fayard to Gallimard and giving up writing the Maigret novels. Although popular with the reading public, for him Maigret had served the purpose, bridging the transition from his pulp fiction written under pseudonyms and the work he was eager to produce soon to be published by Gallimard.

But apart from writing novels, Simenon had other commitments. In September 1932 he visited various parts of Africa, while in December he studied the activities along the frontiers between Belgium, France and Germany. In February 1933 he visited several European countries, all these being sponsored by magazines for which he wrote several series of articles.

I have always been of the opinion that Simenon was not interested in developing Maigret's career or his private life as a secondary strand to the main story lines. Maigret's position in the Police Judiciaire varies slightly and inconsistently, and although his jurisdiction covers the city of Paris, Simenon finds various ways of sending him elsewhere to take on investigations.

Throughout his fiction, Simenon has made a few errors with names and places that have not been observed by publishers or proof-readers. Not that he was careless. The number of his manuscripts that are extant indicates his concern for correcting texts.

Peter Foord
UK

Welcome back Peter Foord!
8/11/05 – Due to technical problems, we haven't had contributions from Peter Foord for the past few months. Below are two of his (June) MOMs for L'écluse n° 1. Welcome back Peter!

Maigret web site and Danish titles
8/11/05 –
I am very impressed by the Maigret website with a wealth of information. I inherited an almost complete collection of Maigret books in Danish from my late mother, so it was interesting to compare with the data on the website. You ask for updates and corrections, so in my hunt to find the missing parts of my mother's collection, I have recorded the differences between my findings and the list you have on the website of Danish editions.
The most notable difference is that the short stories in Danish are missing in your web site. These have been published in four collections as the last four volumes of the series from Carit Andersens Forlag (publisher). Also the novel: "Maigret, Lognon et les gangsters" did not have the correct name in the list in your website.
I hope you can use the list.
Thomas Fich Pederson
Germany

Thanks, Thomas - I'll update the Danish list.
ST

Rupert Davies
8/11/05 –
In the 60's the highlight of my week was to watch an episode of Maigret. I have waited years to renew my acquaintance with those great films. Surely someone in the BBC can go down into the cellars and rediscover and restore them. Please – before it is too late for some of us and we have joined Simenon in that far off place.
Jean Hardcastle

Simenon's Detective Story Ballet
8/11/05 –
About 50 years ago

Simenon wrote the libretto for

'the world's first
detective story ballet'

"La Chambre" (The Room)

reported in

Elle

and

Paris Match

Maigret of the Month (July) : Maigret (Maigret Returns) - 2
8/16/05 –

In May 1933 Simenon went on another visit accompanied by his wife Tigy. This time they visited Turkey, the Black Sea area, Roumania and parts of Russia as it was, including the Ukraine and Georgia. In June he interviewed Leon Trotsky at Prinkipo and he completed a series of articles for his magazine sponsors.

Having returned to his home in Marsilly, Simenon, between July and December 1933, wrote six novels, four of which were the last that Fayard published of his work.

Written at Marsilly in November 1933, Maigret (Maigret Returns) was not only the very last novel published by Fayard, but also the last Maigret that Simenon was to write at that time. As far as he was concerned the Maigret novels had served their purpose.

In the previous Maigret novel, L'Écluse N°1 (The Lock at Charenton) he is about to retire from the Police Judiciaire, and the ending has him quietly escorting a culprit into custody whilst the Seine traffic behind them proceeds as normal. In the novel Maigret (Maigret Returns), the former commissaire has been retired for two years and is now living with his wife at their home at Meung-sur-Loire (Loiret).

Perhaps Simenon felt that the ending of L'Écluse N° 1 and the departure of Maigret was too abrupt and that he wanted to give the reading public a view of Maigret in retirement. Or was it to give Fayard just one more Maigret novel as an appeasement?

Whatever the reason, in this novel Maigret and his wife are woken up in the middle of a February night by their nephew Philippe who is an Inspector in the Police Judiciaire in Paris. Philippe had been instructed to keep watch on the owner of the Floria nightclub in the Rue Fontaine (9th arrondissement) in Paris, but the owner is shot and Philippe finds himself compromised.

Taking the taxi in which he arrived, Philippe, together with Maigret travel to Paris. Having booked into a hotel, Maigret wastes no time in visiting certain establishments. One such is the Chope du Pont-Neuf, a café in the Rue Dauphine (6th arrondissement), close to the Quai des Orfèvres. This café is frequented by several of Maigret's former colleagues, including commissaire Amadieu, Maigret's successor, who is in charge of the investigation involving Philippe.

Simenon has put Maigret into an intriguing situation where the latter, in proving his nephew innocent of a crime, has to deal with individuals and situations mainly with his own intuitive skills and personal experience without much help from his former colleagues.

He visits the Floria club in the Rue Fontaine*. This establishment, together with the café Tabac Fontaine in the same street, is used by a group of criminal types. In the club Maigret meets Germain Cageot who he knows to be the leader of the group, and Fernande Bosquet, a prostitute, from whom gradually he obtains information about certain members of the group. Over a period of time, patiently, obstinately, at times frustrated and annoyed, Maigret moving from place to place, gleans facts by enquiring and observing. He continues to visit the same few places including the Police Judiciaire where he talks to Amadieu, but his longest stay is at the Tabac Fontaine where various members of the group come and go. In the early hours of the morning he decides to follow one member of the group, Joseph Audiat, through the streets, but a car is used deliberately to run them down. Audiat is injured, but Maigret being unhurt looks after him at his hotel.

This incident persuades commissaire Amadieu to think again about the enquiry and various members of the group are brought to the Quai des Orfèvres, but the outcome is still somewhat muddled and Maigret feels frustrated and powerless.

An interlude is provided for Maigret with the arrival of his sister-in-law, Philippe's mother, with whom he spends some time. Possibly relaxing in the company of his sister-in-law clarified his thoughts as now he devises a trap in order to obtain vital information from Germain Cageot.

 
The only translation of this novel is by Margaret Ludwig who follows Simenon's text closely.

A small error of translation that Roddy has pointed out (7/05/05). Un paquet de gris is pipe tobacco usually called Shag, a strong mixture of tobacco leaves cut and shredded.


* At number 40 Rue Fontaine was Josephine Baker's club, which Simenon frequented until they parted company in the summer of 1927.

Map 1. Part of the Île de la Cité with the Quai des Orfèvres, and the Rue Dauphine where at the beginning of this street the café the Chope du Pont-Neuf was situated (Paris Plan, Michelin 1988).

Map 2. Part of the 9th arrondissement showing the Rue Fontaine running south-east from the Place Blanche (Paris Plan, Michelin 1988).

Peter Foord
UK

BBC Maigret
8/16/05 – Mel Roberts 6/07/05 Email is the most heartening news yet in the search for the BBC Maigret series and to hear that he is making serious enquiries based on his past connections with the BBC has set my pulse racing in anticipation! Is it safe to hold one's breath? I am sure that I am not the only one to wish you success Mel. Would it help if we all deluged the BBC with requests and to what address should our letters/emails be sent?
Bill Lee

BBC
8/17/05 – BBC Worldwide is the consumer publishing arm of the BBC. From its website it would appear that the address to send all those requests for a DVD release of the Rupert Davies series would be:

BBC Worldwide Limited
Woodlands
80 Wood Lane
London W12 0TT
UK

Tel: + 44 (0) 20 8433 2000
Fax: + 44 (0) 20 8749 0538

Roddy

Maigret and the Young Girl - the Brooklyn address
8/24/05 –
"...a little Polish tailor whose name is... Lukasek. ... 1214, 37th Street [Brooklyn, New York]."
Chapter IX, translated by Daphne Woodward
Here are some photos from the location in New Your City mentioned at the end of Maigret et la jeune morte (Maigret and the Young Girl). Dave Woolf, a friend of mine who lives nearby, went there in May, and recently sent me the photos.

The actual address, 1214 37th Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, does not exist now, and never did. It is currently a school bus garage, and has been other commercial properties over the years, and is not zoned for residential. The house across the street has the next number so Dave took a photo of that plus a couple of general views.

Given that Simenon lived in Lakeville, Connecticut when this was written, I'm not suprised the address doesn't exist, and I'm sure he personally went there to check out the area before including it in a story.


The corner of 12th Avenue and 37th Street.


1217, 1219, 1221 37th Street.


1215 37th Street. A resident said that the houses were built in the 1880s and have all been refaced.


The site of "1214" 37th St. was formerly an elevated train line, never zoned for residential. The buses in the lot were all for different Orthodox Jewish day schools or pre-schools. Written on the side of the first bus is "Yeled v'Yaldah, which means 'boys and girls'.

Photos by Dave Woolf, May 2005
Joe Richards

Simenon and the revival of Maigret from 1936
8/25/05 –

Front cover of Le Chien Jaune, one of twelve paperback reprints that Fayard published in 1936 of Maigret novels, each having the same still portrait of the actor Harry Baur from the 1933 film "La Tête d'un Homme" as part of the cover design. These reprints may have stimulated Simenon to revive Maigret in a series of short stories in the same year of 1936.

The period from 1934 to 1939 continued to be busy for Simenon, not only with his writing, but in his private life as well. In the autumn of 1933 he wrote his first novel (Le Locataire / The Lodger) for his new publisher Gallimard. It first appeared in serial form in the same publisher's magazine "Marianne" from December 1933 to February 1934, before being published in book format in 1934. This "prepublication" in magazines or newspapers was the usual method that Simenon negotiated for many of his novels and short stories throughout his writing career.

Simenon was to remain with the publisher Gallimard until just after The Second World War, writing his last novel for this publisher in June 1946 (Le Clan des Ostendais / The Ostenders) based on his experience in the southwest of France with Belgian refugees in 1940.

During the period from April 1933, when he wrote the Maigret novel L'Écluse N°1 / The Lock at Charenton, until December 1946, Simenon produced 177 works of fiction and one autobiography. These consisted of 64 novels and 113 short stories. In all, Gallimard was responsible for publishing 112 of these, 51 novels (including 6 involving Maigret) and 61 short stories (including 17 also involving Maigret).

This period, of course, included the difficult time of the Second World War, when Simenon was living in various places in the southwest of France.

During the last six years of the 1930s, Simenon was in a strong financial position, which he used to the full. He rented properties in France for various lengths of time, such as at Ingrannes (Loiret), in the Forest of Orléans (summer 1935), a luxury apartment at N° 7 Boulevard Richard-Wallace at Neuilly overlooking the Bois de Boulogne (October 1935 to September 1938), at Anthéor (Var), near St. Raphaël on the French Riviera (March to September1936), as well as buying a house at Nieul-sur-Mer near La Rochelle in March 1938. On several occasions he stayed on the island of Porquerolles off the coast of the French Riviera and in May 1934 rented there the sailing ship "Araldo", with its crew, for a lengthy tour of the Mediterranean. At the end of 1934 he and his wife Tigy went on a world tour that lasted until May 1935.

During this whole period, many of the places where he lived and visited provided locations and themes for his writing, both fiction and non-fiction.

By the summer of 1936, Simenon had written fifteen novels for Gallimard, but there were times when this publisher kept the manuscript for some time before it was issued in book format, although the author always received advanced royalties. Then whilst staying at his apartment in the Boulevard Richard-Wallace at Neuilly in October 1936, he resurrected Maigret in the form of nine short stories.

Simenon does not appear to be forthcoming as to why he reverted to Maigret, having been adamant only two years before in eliminating him from his writing. Certainly the nineteen Maigret novels published by Fayard had proved popular with the reading public. Could one factor of this renewed interest be from the reprint by Fayard in 1936 of twelve of the Maigret novels with a new paperback cover, each having the same still of the portrait of Harry Baur in his role of Maigret from the 1933 film "La Tête d'un Homme"? Being a shrewd businessman, Simenon always saw the possibilities of financial gain.

During July and August 1936, before he wrote the nine Maigret short stories, Simenon had written one of his longest novels "Le Testament Donadieu" (The Shadow Falls / Donadieu's Will). Later in his career, Simenon said that the writing of the roman dur — the "novels of destiny" — took much out of him and that the writing of the Maigret novels and short stories acted as a relaxation, which may have also been the case in October 1936.

Whatever the reason, Maigret enthusiasts did not have to wait long in order to read the new short stories as they were first published in Paris-Soir Dimanche from 25 October 1936 until 3 January 1937. The newspaper Paris-Soir had previously published, in serial form, some of his novels and short stories, including the Maigret novel L'Écluse N° 1 (The Lock at Charenton) between May and June 1933.

Whether intentional or not, there is a pattern emerging. Following the Maigret short stories, Simenon returned to writing ten of his other novels by the winter of 1937-38. According to the detailed research of Claude Menguy (Le Veilleur de Nuit, 2001), Simenon was then approached by the Offenstadt brothers for some new Maigret short stories. It was in 1909 that these brothers (there was six of them) established a magazine publishing house that became La Société Parisienne d'Édition. Their magazines covered a wide range of topics including some for children. About the winter of 1937-38, the Offenstsdts were planning a new magazine devoted to the crime novel and short story. In their existing "Police-Magazine" they had already reprinted Simenon's Maigret novel "La Guinguette à Deux Sous" in early 1937, followed by a reprint of "La Nuit du Carrefour" early in 1938, so that the author was familiar with the brothers.

During that winter of 1937-38 Simenon wrote ten Maigret short stories, which the Offenstadts published at about monthly intervals in their new magazine entitled "Police-Film"(later "Police-Film/Police-Roman", finally just "Police-Roman"). The first short story published on the 29th of April 1938 was "Mademoiselle Berthe et son amant" (Maigret and the Frightened Dressmaker/Mademoiselle Berthe and her Lover).

In the spring and summer of 1938 Simenon wrote three more sets of crime short stories, (Nouvelles Exotiques, Le Petit Docteur and Les Dossiers de l'Agence O), thirty-three in all, which were published in the Offenstadt magazine between October 1938 and November 1941.

Because of the popularity of Maigret, and other crime stories, both Simenon and the Offenstadts gained financially from the venture. But then as Simenon's wife noted in her Memoirs (Tigy Simenon, Souvenirs, Gallimard, 2004, page 110):

'Then a series of "Maigret" short stories for Offenstadt. We must have been short of money for him to work for Offenstadt.'

Although these two sets of Maigret short stories appeared in a newspaper and a magazine soon after the author wrote them, Gallimard did not publish 17 of them in book form until the spring of 1944. Likewise, the sets of the other short stories were only published in book form by Gallimard in 1943 and 1944.

Coupled with Simenon's production of all the sets of short stories for the Offenstadt magazine, the author turned his attention to writing ten more novels for Gallimard. This was the period from 1938 until late 1939 with the very disturbing political situation in Europe and the start of the Second World War.

But Simenon had something else important to think about as in September1938 his wife Tigy became pregnant. Living at his home in Neuil-sur-Mer the author must now have contemplated his future household basically of four people, himself, his wife, their child and Boule, their cook and maid, and his provision for the near future. On the 19th of April 1939 Tigy gave birth to their son Marc at a hospital in a suburb of Brussels. With the threatening political situation, Simenon must have considered his position, his writing, the financial side and other problems in a very unpredictable future.

One personal factor that is present in some of the novels of this period is the relationship of a younger person within the structure of the main theme. This occurs before and after the birth of the author's child, as in the novels Les Inconnus dans la Maison (The Strangers in the House), Malempin (The Family Lie) and Il pleut, bergère (Black Rain). Simenon has a young boy as part of the theme when he decides to resurrect the Maigret novel with Les Caves du Majestic (Maigret and the Hotel Majestic) written in December 1939.

His revival of the Maigret novel was probably prompted by financial considerations as well as the public interest shown from the short stories published in Paris-Soir Dimanche and in the Offenstadt magazine. He was to write six Maigret novels, with one or two other novels in between, for Gallimard during the war years of 1939 until 1943.

Peter Foord
UK

Maigret of the Month: Les Caves du Majestic (Maigret and the Hotel Majestic) - 2
8/29/05 –
Stanley Eskin writes:

In Les Caves du Majestic, the narrative pacing, suspense and construction all work admirably, hand in hand with deft characterization and convincing scene setting. The scene is an extensive elaboration of one which Simenon had created more cursorily in the first Maigret, Pietr-le-Letton: the inner workings of the swank Majestic Hotel in Paris. As Maigret sniffs his way into the case, detective and reader alike experience total immersion in the disciplined hecticness of this labyrinthine infrastructure. Maigret observes the prime suspect ... Donge, who bicycles to work from his suburban cottage early every morning ... Reconstituting route, timing and behavior, Maigret, in a charming scene, gets himself a bicycle and pedals along behind Donge, comes to know his pathetic little household and his unhappy life history. The humble bicycling of the commissaire symbolizes well enough the sympathy of the mender of destinies for this ... little man.

[Eskin, op. cit. p.139]
This novel shows Maigret at his most plebeian. He dislikes intensely the rich patrons of the Majestic, and all his sympathy is for the poor denizens of the basement of the hotel and the toilets of night-clubs. This is not purely sentimental: he shows clearly the amorality of two of the female characters (though he pities one enough to slip her some dope to ease her suffering).

Donge's immense longing for his son reflects in a sense Maigret's sadness at being childless, and he certainly likes the unfortunate Donge enough to punch the true killer in the face for putting Donge in prison in his place

Even the minor characters in this novel are well drawn: the crooked banker turned carpet-dealer; the manager of the Majestic, forever concerned about scandal; the obnoxious owner of the correspondence bureau, all come to life.

The plot too is satisfyingly complex and plausible, and as Eskin implies, we learn everything there is to know about the life below stairs in the Majest

When you put the characterisations and plot in this novel next to those in an earlier novel like, say, Le Charretier de "La Providence," (my least favourite Maigret admittedly) it seems to me that this novel shows a real development in Simenon's talent and skill.


Continental Films was set up with German money to run the French film industry, and was headed by a staunch Nazi, Alfred Greven, for whom Simenon had "amicably devoted feelings". In 1942 Simenon sold the exclusive rights to the Maigret character to Continental. When they announced that they were planning to make a film of Les Caves du Majestic, Simenon had to tell them that he had already sold the rights to an American company. Greven was not perturbed: he owned the rights so he would make the film.

The scriptwriter was to be Charles Spaak. As he worked on the script he was arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned on charges of Resistance activities — carried out not by him but his brother, whom they could not find.

The film was delayed until Continental sent an emissary. They realised that Spaak had made so many changes already to the novel that no-one else could finish the script. (apparently he even changed the murderer!)

Spaak insisted on being given tobacco, food and stationery, and he finished the script in prison, with Continental sending someone to pick up the finished pages.

The source of this information is Pierre Assouline (op. cit. p.207), whose research into Simenon's wartime experiences is impeccable and balanced. He seems to conclude that Simenon was not a collaborator (and finds some evidence to the contrary) but that he was both naive and opportunistic.

Roddy

Maigret of the Month: La Maison du juge (Maigret in Exile)
9/2/05 –
Maigret has been exiled to Luçon. Even Mme Maigret does not why he has fallen into disgrace, but apparently it is as a result of the recent merger between the Police Judiciaire and the Sûreté Générale, and because of some friction...

He is bored and unhappy, then suddenly he is presented with a mystery. His eyes start to sparkle. An elderly woman has appeared. Her husband was pruning his apple trees while she held the ladder, and he spied a body lying on the floor of a bedroom in the judge's house. Instead of contacting the local policeman (a drunk), they kept watch, then he sent her by bus to see Maigret, whom he had once met in Concarneau.

Maigret travels back with the lady in a taxi and keeps watch on the quayside with her husband, a former Customs official, who suspects that the judge will try to dump the body in the sea. Sure enough, eventually the judge's door opens, and he appears, dragging what appears to be the body of a man...

Although Maigret is commissaire at Luçon, the main action of the book takes place in L'Aiguillon:

Roddy

History and organisation of policing in France
9/7/05 – This link – Police Online – supplies information about the history and organisation of policing in France. (It's all in French...)
The Sûreté Nationale was created in 1934, at which time Maigret was presumably caught up in internal politicking and exiled to Luçon (La Maison du juge).
Roddy

Maigret et l'inspecteur malgracieux / malchanceux
9/7/05 – Ever wonder why there are two French titles for the 1947 story "Maigret et l'inspecteur malgracieux"? John H. Dirckx noticed this explanation in a recent eBay ad for a copy of the book:
Par la faute d'un linotypiste étourdi, "Maigret et l'inspecteur malgracieux" devint "Maigret et l'inspecteur malchanceux." Simenon, fort irrité, obtint qu'il fût corrigé dès la réédition, à la grande joie des amateurs d'éditions rares.
By the mistake of a careless typesetter, "Maigret et l'inspecteur malgracieux" (M. and the Rude Detective) became "Maigret et l'inspecteur malchanceux" (M. and the Unlucky Detective). Simenon, very upset, got them to correct it in the next edition, all to the great joy of book collectors.

The book contains four stories, "Maigret et l'inspecteur malgracieux/malchanceux," "Le témoignage de l'enfant de chœur," "Le client le plus obstiné du monde," and "On ne tue pas les pauvres types."

(They were all reissued in single-volume editions illustrated by Loustal, 2000-2002:)

ST

Maigret et l'inspecteur malgracieux / malchanceux
9/9/05 –

The front cover of the dust jacket of the first edition of Maigret et l'inspecteur malchanceux (Paris, Presses de la Cité). The printer's date in the book is 15-9-1947. The text is bound with a thin card cover around which is the dust jacket.
There were paperback reprints of Maigret et l'inspecteur malchanceux in 1949, 1951, 1952 with printed covers of the left hand design in Steve's entry of 9/7/05.
The title was finally changed to Maigret et l'Inspecteur Malgracieux with the paperback reprint of 1954. All subsequent editions have the changed title.

Here is more information on the change of name for this collection of short stories.

Claude Menguy (Cahiers Simenon N° 6, 1993, Bruxelles, Les Amis de Georges Simenon) writes:

'Considered inappropriate by Madame Doringe, the official copy editor for the manuscripts of Georges Simenon at Presses de la Cité, the name Malgracieux had been replaced — including in the text — to that of Malchanceux. The proper title Maigret et L'Inspecteur Malgracieux has been re-established, on the request of the author, for the 1954 reprint.'

In his biography of Simenon (Simenon: biographie, Paris, Julliard 1992), Pierre Assouline writes about the author's attitude to corrections of his texts by himself and others (Chapter 19: Le style, c'est le rythme 1972), particularly Madame Doringe:

'Doringe, his official copy editor, was the only person with whom he was willing to discuss the validity of his choices, of grammar, of syntax or again of spelling. At a time, even before the publisher saw the manuscript, the main first readers were: Tigy (his wife), the secretary, Boule (the housekeeper) and Doringe.
The latter, a woman of temperament who loved "her" writer exclusively, did not mind telling him what she thought, without beating about the bush, often with "sadistic delight". She made fun of him, considered that at his age (over 50), he must be capable of making the difference between a circumflex, an acute and a grave accent.
Doringe, "that dear old child", irritated him. But he could not do without her. Not only was she one of those rare people who dared to contradict the master, but she was also capable. Aged 83, she continued to work for him from her retreat of Pérouges, a small village in the Ain. In July 1964, suffering from generalised cancer, she had only one concern: to finish personally the correction of the last manuscript sent by Simenon. Confined to her bed for several days, she no longer had the strength. Therefore she sent for the priest from Meximieux, not for confession or Extreme Unction, but for a very different exercise. Seated at the bedside Canon Gonnet then finished in her place the correction of Maigret se defend (Maigret on the Defensive)...
In that way, Doringe rests in peace.'

(Note: I have translated the above passage from the original French edition of Pierre Assouline's Biography as the English translation edition of the whole work is very much abridged — Peter Foord).

Occasionally Madame Doringe wrote the summary of the contents of some of Simenon's publications that were printed on the back cover of the paperbacks.

The following summary (translated by Peter Foord) appears on the back cover of the 1956 reprint of Maigret et l'Inspecteur Malgracieux (the front cover design is the same as the edition reproduced on the right hand side in Steve's entry of 9/7/05):

'Poor Lognon! So churlish because (he was) so unlucky. So unlucky because (he was) so churlish!...Many times you will find him by Maigret's side. In fact, every time Maigret runs into Lognon when the latter believes to be having "the investigation of his life" and, of course, some discretion that puts the commissaire there, always increases Lognon's bitter
"The best of men, deep down, the most conscientious of Inspectors, conscientious to the point of being unbearable, Lognon, upon whom the bad luck persists with so much insistence that he had been reduced to having the surly disposition of a mangy
So it is in the work that you are going to read, as you will find in MAIGRET, LONGNON ET LES GANGSTERS, as again in that small masterpiece, MAIGRET ET LA JEUNE MORTE.
Today, following "Inspecteur Malgracieux", you are going to appreciate the TEMOINAGE DE L'ENFANT DE CHŒUR, this short story where Simenon helped the commissaire with a good many of his childhood memories, and that the screen contributed in making famous by giving to Maigret the characteristics and the talent of Michel Simon. You will also find a very Simenon-like interest in ON NE TUE PAS LES PAUVRES TYPES, but I do not know if you will be particularly taken by LE CLIENT LE PLUS OBSTINÉ DU MONDE, this strange narrative ... in which nothing happens... which constantly holds the reader intrigued and puzzled...and which leaves him without any assurance... You will chose yourself the ending that pleases you.
One thing for certain: the volume that you hold in your hand offers you the most diverse aspects of Simenon's skill and will convey to you the most ever sympathetic commissaire Maigret.

DORINGE'
Peter Foord
UK

Maigret - Faithful translations?
9/15/05 – I've often visited the site and found it very interesting and informative. A couple of questions if I may?
Have you ever conducted a poll to find the reader's top five or ten favourite Maigret stories? As a relatively casual M reader I've stumbled between those that I've loved and those that I've found somewhat dull. A top ten or similar recommendation would be, I think, both revealing and also a good "beginner's" guide to some of the favourite stories...
Moving on, part of the reason I've found one or two of the books less than satisfactory is that the different translators seem to impose differing prose styles, which I suppose is almost inevitable. Not being a fluent French reader, I've been left with the feeling that somewhere in the book I'm reading there's a better "original" version waiting to be revealed.
For instance, I've found G Sainsbury's "M In Holland" translation to be a flat, seemingly literal exercise and missing out on the real meaning which creates the atmosphere and colouring that is a large part of the appeal of the Maigret stories. However I really enjoyed the recent Penguin edition of "The Yellow Dog" which I think is translated by GS!
Again are there any particular translators or versions which can be recommended to the newer reader?
(Incidentally, are there any further Penguin re-issues planned?)
Very best wishes,
Peter Young
Cambridge UK


Thanks, Peter. The 2003 Penguin edition, The Yellow Dog, is a newer (1987) translation, by Linda Asher. More about Geoffrey Sainsbury translations is here, from (Rothschild's translation of) Assouline's biography of Simenon, and in numerous references in the Forum (try 'Sainsbury' in the search engine).
ST

Martin Beck TV Series?
9/16/05 –
I am hoping that someone might get in touch with me concerning trading for copies of the Martin Beck TV series. I have exactly one so it is wide open. I would need any copy subtitled in English. Can anyone help?
Glynford Hatfield


Martin Beck is a fictional Swedish detective (Central Bureau of Investigation in Stockholm) created by the husband and wife team of Per Wahlöö (1926-1975) and Maj Sjöwall (1935-). There are 10 Beck novels, published between 1965 and 1975, and 15 TV films, three between 1967-1980, another dozen from 1993-1997. So Beck was a Swedish contemporary of the later Maigret...
I've enjoyed reading them all, but have never seen one of the tv films. The Laughing Policeman, a Martin Beck novel, was made into a 1973 film starring Walter Mathau, set in San Francisco.
ST

Dick Bruna Exhibition
9/16/05 – The Bunny that Bounces Back, an article by Moira Jeffrey from The Herald (Scotland) about the Dick Bruna Exhibition (featuring Miffy the Rabbit, hence the article's title).

"... Before Miffy, [Dick Bruna's] most successful work was for the Black Bear pocketbook series, designing classic book jackets and railway posters for thriller writers like Simenon, Charteris and Ian Fleming. In these bold, iconographic images we can see the roots of Miffy. Each author has a recurring symbolic image, a pipe for Simenon for example..."

Roddy

49 pipes - Presses de la Cité Maigrets: mid-60s - mid-70s

Maigret of the Month: Les Caves du Majestic (Maigret and the Hotel Majestic) - 3
9/19/05 –
Simenon's first revival of Maigret was a set of nine short stories written in October 1936, followed by a second set of ten produced in the winter of 1937-38. Each story in this second set was considerably longer than those of the first, with Maigret in five of them in his usual active position as a member of the Police Judiciaire based in Paris, but in the other five he is living in retirement and being asked to use his skills to solve a variety of mysteries.

(Seventeen of these short stories were published in an English translation by Jean Stewart in book form under the title of Maigret’s Pipe, firstly in hardback by Hamish Hamilton, UK, 1977 and Harcourt, USA, 1978 and then in paperback by Penguin Books 4930, UK, 1984, and Harvest, USA, 1985 — with the exception of Jeumont, 51 minutes’ stop! which is omitted from all American editions).

Simenon wrote the Maigret novel Les Caves du Majestic at his home at Neuil-sur-Mer, near La Rochelle, in December 1939, making a gap of six years since writing his last Maigret novel, entitled Maigret, in November 1933. In this latter novel, Maigret had been retired from the police force for two years, but found himself engaged in proving his nephew innocent of supposedly shooting a nightclub owner.

Gallimard first published Les Caves du Majestic in their weekly magazine "Marianne", in serial form, from April until October 1940 before issuing it in book form, with two more new Maigret novels, in the autumn of 1942, the volume containing the three novels being entitled "Maigret Revient" (Maigret Returns).

Whatever the reasons Simenon had for returning to the Maigret novel, his text of Les Caves du Majestic has a fresher tone to it compared to the last two Maigret novels that he wrote for Fayard in 1933 which have a more sombre atmosphere perhaps as he was determined to finish with Maigret in order to concentrate on his other novels.

With this new novel, Maigret is well and truly in situ, investigating a murder that has taken place in a luxury Paris hotel.

Leaving aside all the short stories and articles, Simenon wrote 34 other novels in the six years between Maigret (1933) and Les Caves du Majestic (1939). Although these other novels vary in quality from interesting to outstanding, the author was obviously developing his skills with characterisation and structure, as well as maintaining his inborn sense of atmosphere. His experience with these other novels has obviously infected Les Caves du Majestic where there is about it a touch of relish as if he found the relaxation he needed after writing the sequence of his other novels.

When he changed publishers to Presses de la Cité after the Second World War, he established a pattern of writing Maigret novels regularly between others until 1972 when he ceased writing novels altogether.

Simenon chose a luxury hotel as the main setting for Les Caves du Majestic. Although, at that time, there was a Hôtel Majestic at 19 Avenue Kléber (16th arrondissement), on one of the twelve avenues that radiate from the Arc de Triomphe, Simenon opted for the Hôtel Claridge at 74 Avenue des Champs Élysées (8th arrondissement), merely changing its name to Majestic. The site of the Hôtel Claridge is confirmed in the novel by the mention of the Rues de Berri and de Ponthieu.

Simenon knew the 500 room Hôtel Claridge very well, staying there, as well as using it as a venue for meeting friends.

(Note: In 1962 there was a fire in part of the hotel. Designated as an historic monument in recent years, the building has been divided up. Number 74 is now the address for two main establishments. On the ground floor is FNAC the home entertainments store, whilst the upper floors are Claridge, Champs Élysées, a three star, 81 room hotel. The name Claridge can still be seen just below the pediment at the top of the building. The site of the original Hôtel Majestic at 19 Avenue Kléber is now the Centre de Conférences Internationales).

Two groups become involved as a result of the murder of young woman in the basement of the hotel. One group consists of a wealthy American businessman, his wife (the victim), the six or seven year old son, the governess and the nanny, who are staying at the hotel as guests. The other group is by former association, having been together some years before when they worked in Cannes on the French Riviera.

Maigret, at the hotel investigating, finds himself dealing with a variety of people — the guests who come and go as they please, and the various employees who are governed by, at times, a hectic routine of working in the basement kitchen area, which Simenon describes so well with his acute sense of place and atmosphere.

Leaving certain details to be followed by his team, Maigret wanders about, with what he would describe as his lack of method, feeling his way around the layout of the hotel and its activities. Later, intuitively, he borrows a bicycle, so that he can accompany one of the main persons involved, Prosper Donge, to his home in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Cloud. In an earlier investigation (Le Charretier de la "Providence" — The Crime at Lock 14 / Maigret Meets a Milord), he cycles along a canal towpath in order to locate a barge that set off along that waterway some time before. Here Maigret cycles alongside Prosper Donge so that he can find out something about him, his home environment and meet up with Prosper’s companion Charlotte who works in the cloakroom of a Parisian nightclub. This leads Maigret to visit Cannes where he locates a third member of the second group.

With the discovery of a second victim at the hotel and with the investigation building up as an intriguing and somewhat complex set of circumstances, Maigret, now back in Paris, finds himself having to focus on more than one factor — to discover the perpetrator of the murders and to try to settle the custody of the first victim’s young son.

Maigret continues to talk to the same people as before, as well as receiving information from others, until he is certain that the whole investigation centres on forgery, blackmail and fraud.


The English translation by Caroline Hillier, which follows Simenon’s French text closely, was first published only in 1977 by Hamish Hamiton in the UK and in 1978 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch in the USA, both in hardback format.


Map of a section of Paris showing the Avenue des Champs Élysées with the location of the Hôtel Claridge indicated by a red asterisk. The staff entrance of the hotel was in the Rue de Ponthieu. For the purposes of his Maigret novel, Simenon changed the name to the Hotel Majestic. (Map: Dauzat et Bournon, Paris et Ses Environs, Paris, Librairie Larousse 1925). (click on map to enlarge)

Peter Foord
UK

Simenon was never a collaborator: Interview with Michel Carly on his new book,
Simenon, les années secrètes (Vendée 1940-1945)

9/23/05 – Here's an article on M. Carly from yesterday's Le Figaro about his new book on Simenon during the war. It's available at fnac.com...

Simenon, les années secrètes (Vendée 1940-1945), de Michel Carly, Éditions d'Orbestier, 180 p., 19 €.
Michel Carly : «Le Simenon collabo n'existe pas»
Entre 1940 et 1945, Georges Simenon a vécu en Vendée. Cette période cruciale de sa vie et de sa création est mal connue et sujette à de multiples soupçons. L'écrivain aux cent quatre-vingt-douze romans a-t-il été un «collabo», comme le laissent entendre quelques spécialistes du roman policier ? Grand admirateur du créateur de Maigret, auteur d'une dizaine d'ouvrages consacrés à Simenon, à commencer par celui qui s'intitule Sur les routes américaines avec Simenon, Michel Carly a voulu en savoir davantage. Son enquête sur le terrain force le respect, fourmillant d'anecdotes, de témoignages inédits, il éclaire les «années secrètes» d'un des grands romanciers du XXe siècle.
Michel Carly: "Simenon was never a collaborator"
Between 1940 and 1945 Georges Simenon lived in the Vendée. This crucial period of his life and work is poorly known and subject to various suspicions. Was this writer of 192 novels actually a "collabo", as some specialists in the detective novel would have us believe?
A great admirer of the creator of Maigret, author of ten works on Simenon, beginning with On the Road with Simenon in America, Michel Carly wanted to know more. His investigation forces our respect; filled with anecdotes and unpublished testimonies, it illuminates the "secret years" of one of the great novelists of the 20th century.

LE FIGARO LITTÉRAIRE. - Pourquoi cette enquête sur l'attitude de Simenon durant la guerre ?
Michel CARLY. -
Je voulais savoir la vérité. Comment s'était comporté l'homme durant la guerre ? Des rumeurs, des avis, les révélations de Pierre Assouline dans sa biographie consacrée à Simenon induisaient une certaine ambiguïté. Mais rien de très précis ou étayé de preuves, loin s'en faut. Alors, je suis parti en Vendée, à la rencontre des témoins encore vivants, capables de m'en dire plus, de m'éclairer.

LE FIGARO LITTÉRAIRE. - Why this investigation of Simenon's attitude during the war?
Michel CARLY. -
I wanted to know the truth. How did the man behave during the war? Rumors, opinions, revelations by Pierre Assouline in his biography of Simenon induce a certain ambiguity. But nothing very precise or supported by proof, far from what you'd need. So, I went to the Vendée, to meet witnesses still living, able to tell me more, to enlighten me.

Et quelles sont vos conclusions ?
Attention, je n'ai pas écrit ce livre afin de dédouaner Georges Simenon de quelque accusation que ce soit. Si j'avais trouvé des preuves tangibles de collaboration avec l'ennemi, je m'en serai fait l'écho, évidemment. Simplement, en conclusion de l'enquête, les témoignages que j'ai obtenus démontrent que le «Simenon collabo» n'existe pas. Restons sérieux ! Simenon ne dénonce pas, il ne s'engage pas. C'est un homme comme les autres, un peu lâche, et qui ruse. Pour s'assurer une survie agréable, il commet d'énormes imprudences. Il écrit dans des journaux contrôlés par les Allemands. Sa prose ne comporte rien de politique. Seulement de la fiction. Car, pour lui, tout cela ne représente rien. En fait, Simenon est un opportuniste. Il n'a aucun sens de l'Histoire avec un grand «h». Ce n'est pas qu'une opinion personnelle, ce sont juste les faits qui sont irréfutables.

And what are your findings?
Look, I didn't write this book to clear Georges Simenon of some accusation. If I had found tangible proof of collaboration with the enemy, I would certainly have published it. But the investigation testimonies clearly show that "Simenon the collaborator" simply never existed. Let's be serious! Simenon never denounced anyone, he never did anything. He was a man like any other, a little loose, and rather cunning. To insure a pleasant survival he was enormously imprudent. He wrote in newspapers controlled by the Germans. But his writing had nothing to do with politics. Only fiction. Because, for him, it didn't mean anything. In fact, Simenon was an opportunist. He had no sense of History with a capital H. This is not my personal opinion, it's just irrefutable fact.

Concrètement, qu'avez-vous appris sur lui, pour cette triste période ?
En 1944, j'ai retrouvé la dépêche de l'AFP à Poitiers qui mentionne sa dénonciation pour «Intelligence avec l'ennemi». En étudiant l'affaire de plus près, je me suis aperçu qu'elle émanait de certains villageois vendéens, exaspérés par la conduite égoïste de cet écrivain affichant l'opulence de son train de vie, à l'époque des tickets d'alimentation. Deux ans auparavant, il ne faut pas oublier que la Gestapo avait soupçonné Simenon d'être juif, tablant sur une confusion entre Simenon et Simon, patronyme d'origine israélite. «Vous êtes juif, je ne me trompe jamais», aurait même lancé le zélé fonctionnaire, en quittant la demeure de l'écrivain.

Concretely, what did you learn about him, for this sad period?
I recovered the dispatch of the AFP to Poitiers in 1944 that mentions his denunciation for "Secret dealing with the enemy". Examining the affair more closely, I learned that it emanated from certain Vendée villagers, aggravated by the selfish conduct of this writer displaying his wealthy life style at a time of food coupons. But don't forget that two years before, the Gestapo had suspected Simenon of being Jewish, based on a confusion between Simenon and Simon, a Jewish last name. "You are Jewish, I am never mistaken," a zealous civil servant had even said, on leaving the writer's home.

Justement, que devient l'écrivain durant ces cinq années ?
Lui, si amoureux de la liberté, n'est plus libre de ses mouvements. Entre 1940 et 1945, il écrit vingt romans, parmi lesquels trois Maigret à peine. Dans le nombre, on compte de nombreux chefs-d'oeuvre, tels La Vérité sur bébé Donge, Le Voyageur de la Toussaint, La Veuve Couderc, L'Aîné des Ferchaux et L'Inspecteur cadavre. Quand on examine l'oeuvre du Simenon de ces années-là, on constate paradoxalement que la Vendée y est très présente. Des Sables-d'Olonne à Fontenay-le-Comte, en passant par Saint-Mesmin-le-Vieux ou Vouvant, Simenon restitue une région lumineuse, impressionniste, où la mer rejoint la terre. Un plat pays se dessine au fil des chapitres, c'est un lointain écho de sa Belgique natale. La Vendée, c'est la dernière France de Simenon. Après la guerre, il gagnera les Etats-Unis. Dans Le Cercle des Mahé, dernier roman de cette période, ce n'est pas par hasard s'il décrit la vie d'un médecin en proie à la crise de la quarantaine. En Vendée, Simenon vit la fin d'un cycle. En Vendée, il prépare déjà sa mue.
So what exactly did he do during these five years?
Simenon, so in love with freedom, lost his freedom of movement. Between 1940 and 1945 he wrote twenty novels, with only three Maigrets. Among them are masterpieces like La Vérité sur bébé Donge, Le Voyageur de la Toussaint, La Veuve Couderc, L'Aîné des Ferchaux and L'Inspecteur cadavre.. When we examine the work of the Simenon of those years, we note paradoxically that the Vendée is very present. From Les Sables-d'Olonne to Fontenay-le-Comte, while passing by Saint-Mesmin-le-Vieux or Vouvant, Simenon restores a luminous, impressionist region, where the sea joins the earth. A flat country is drawn with the passing of chapters, a distant echo of his native Belgium. The Vendée, is the last France for Simenon. After the war he will move to the United States. In Le Cercle des Mahé, the last novel of this period, it is not by chance that he describes the life of a physician prey to the crisis of quarantine. In the Vendée Simenon lives the end of a cycle. In the Vendée he is already preparing to molt.

Regards
Jerome

French police history
9/26/05 –
This week a new book on the history of the French police was published; from the comment it seems that this kind of book was missing. It gives information on the organization, the changes in the French police. It is interesting to learn more about the system in the years before the war when Simenon started to write the Maigrets...

Histoire et Dictionnaire de la Police : Du Moyen Age à nos jours
de Michel Auboin, Arnaud Teyssier, Jean Tulard, Dominique de Villepin (Préface), Nicolas Sarkozy (Préface)
Langue : Français
Éditeur : Robert Laffont (15 septembre 2005)
Collection : Bouquins
Format : Broché - 1059 pages
ISBN : 2221085736
Dimensions (en cm) : 14 x 3 x 20

Regards
Jerome

Maigret of the Month: La Maison du juge (Maigret in Exile) - 2
10/2/05 –

Shortly after writing the Maigret novel Les Caves du Majestic (Maigret and the Hotel Majestic), Simenon followed it with another, La Maison du Juge (Maigret in Exile), written by the end of January 1940 at his home in Nieul-sur-Mer. In these novels Maigret investigates in two very different locations. In the former his investigation is carried out in a luxury hotel on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris, whereas in the latter he is in the village of l’Aiguillon-sur-Mer (Vendée).

Maigret has been sent to the town of Luçon in the Vendée under circumstances about which Simenon is vague. But it does give the author the opportunity to put Maigret in a very different place from his normal official jurisdiction of the city of Paris.

The Vendée in the south west of France was a region that Simenon knew very well and where he was to live during the whole of the Second World War and the Occupation.

It was in the spring of 1932 that he rented "La Richardière" at Marsilly as his home in the adjacent département until 1935. Later he bought a house at Nieul-sur-Mer just four kilometres south of Marsilly and north of La Rochelle. According to Simenon, this latter port and town, together with the island of Porquerolles off the coast of the French Riviera, were his two favourite locations in France.

A number of locations in the Vendée and the neighbouring département, which is now Charente-Maritime, feature in several of Simenon’s novels and short stories. In 1989 La Rochelle honoured the author by naming after him the Quai Georges-Simenon in the centre of the port.

With his wife, Maigret has been in the town of Luçon for three months and apparently has not had much to do apart from routine matters and occasionally playing billiards or cards in a local café, but his daily activities are changed when a married couple in their sixties, the Hulots, report that they have observed from outside a body in the home of a former judge. The judge’s house is in the village of l’Aiguillon-sur-Mer (Vendée) to where Maigret travels, booking into a local hotel.

He finds himself in a small community where some of the inhabitants work in the traditional mussel industry and various forms of fishing.

Under the cover of darkness, Maigret and Justin Hulot, only a few feet away from the judge’s house, observe, with a slight touch of farce, as the slimly built sixty five year old former judge attempts to drag a body out of his home towards the water.

When quietly challenged by Maigret, the judge calmly denies knowing or attacking the victim and his actions and his failure to inform any of the authorities only adds to the oddity of the situation.

In this small community, from then on Maigret finds himself wondering about possible suspects, aided by his young Inspector from Luçon, and the sixty four year old Didine Hulot who, often hovering around Maigret, seems to be the fount of local knowledge.

The pace of the investigation varies, and at times Maigret is at a loose end wondering what to do next. Although in this small place there are only a few who could be responsible for the crime, arriving at the truth seems to Maigret to be tantalisingly frustrating.
 

The English translation by Eileen Ellenbogen is close to the author’s text. It was only published first in hardback format in 1978 by Hamish Hamilton (UK) and Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in 1979 (USA).

A section of map from Luçon (north) to La Rochelle (south). At the western end of the D746 from Luçon is l’Aiguillon-sur-Mer, adjacent to La Faute-sur-Mer where in 1942 Simenon stayed in order to write Félicie est Là (Maigret and the Toy Village) and the second part of his longest novel Pedigree. Along the coastal region just north of La Rochelle are Marsilly and Nieul-sur Mer, both locations where the author established a home, and near by, Coup-de-Vague and La Prée-aux-Bœufs, both of which feature in two of his other novels. (Loire-Atlantique, Vendée, Michelin 316, 2003). (click map to enlarge)

Peter Foord
UK

A title I can't find in the website list
10/06/05 –
I have just purchased a copy of a Maigret story called Inquest on Bouvet, which I can't find in the list of titles. If it is there, what title is it listed under? I know it can be tricky, for instance there are two stories for which the English title is Maigret's Mistake (Une Erreur de Maigret 1944, and Maigret se trompe 1953) which is going to be fun when I need to know whether the one on Ebay is the one I haven't got! So maybe this is a case of an earlier/later translation of something listed under another title.
Details from imprint page as follows:
First published 1952 as L'Enterrement de Monsieur Bouvet
Translated by Eugene MacCown for Hamish Hamilton 1958
This edition by Penguin 1962 (price 2s6d)
I hope that is enough info. The novel may not be listed as a Maigret story because the Chief Inspector is on holiday and the case is deputed to Lucas. Personally I think that makes it a Maigret but others may disagree.
Cheers!
Keith Marr


Inquest on Bouvet isn't counted with the Maigrets, since he doesn't appear. The name "Maigret" is never mentioned in the story, or at least I didn't find it in the translation. There are others without Maigret, like Seven little crosses in a notebook and The Mouse where Lucas is the chief. I see in the Forum of June 3, 2002 that I had just read it and talked a little about these "semi-Maigrets".
The earlier Forum discussion about semi-Maigrets was in November, 2000
ST

Simenon in Le Soir illustré - 1957
10/07/05 –
Le Soir illustré
February 28, 1957
N° 1288, pp 3-5, 14

Simenon the "Best Seller"

A Visit with Georges Simenon

at Cannes

Original French


Although the cover of this 1957 Belgian magazine promises "A Day With Georges Simenon", and the title is "A Visit With Georges Simenon," most of the article is a biographical sketch, with a few inaccuracies (notably Simenon's failure to get the job at the Gazette de Liège, and his immediate hire by Fayard upon his arrival in Paris). The author and photographer of the accompanying eight photos are uncredited. The ending is surprisingly abrupt. But we get a view of Simenon underwater, and we learn about his 'pet goldfish', and a joke about his poodle's name... This seems to be the kind of article Simenon bemoaned when he wrote about journalists in "When I Was Old". But still, it provides us a 'time-capsule' view... Simenon as portrayed by the press of 50 years ago.

Why these old French magazine articles?
10/07/05 – The Simenon article in Le Soir illustré, below, is the seventh this year of what I consider a major feature of this Forum and site - the republication and translation of articles about Maigret and Simenon from magazines and newspapers of the world, many of them from a half century ago or more. (see Texts)
Uncountable articles have been published about Simenon, but perhaps 90% of them are in French, naturally enough, and so, for the most part, they remain unseen and unread by English-speaking fans. I think access to these articles provides us with a view of Simenon that differs from that of biographies... for we can see how Simenon was presented to the public at that time.
Below are images of the covers of magazines containing the other articles posted here in 2005. (Click on a cover for the article...)

Comments?
ST

Another 'semi-Maigret'?
10/08/05 – There is another short story, "Le petit restaurant des Ternes", which is a "Maigret" without Maigret. Refer to the 9/24/2004 entries in the Forum.
Juan Castro


At the beginning of this story, apparently untranslated into English, there is a suicide in a café on Christmas Eve, which brings together two women who were there at the time. The Inspector who comes to investigate is Lognon...

... L'inspecteur portait un pardessus mal coupé, ou qui avait rétréci à la pluie, un chapeau incolere, et paraissait morose.
— Le premier de la série ! grogna-t-il en se penchant. Il est en avance. D'habitude, ça les prend vers minuit, quand la fête bat son plein.
...

— Domicile ? grommelait l'inspecteur Lognon, qu'on appelait dans le quartier « l'inspecteur malgracieux »...

... The inspector was wearing an overcoat which was either poorly cut, or had shrunk in the rain, and a colorless hat. He appeared sullen.
"The first of the series!" he grumbled, bending down. "He's early. Usually they wait till around midnight, when festivities are in full swing."
...

"Address?" muttered Inspector Lognon, whom they called "Inspector Grouch" in the neighborhood...

The extent of his involvement is one page out of fifteen, and the story, which isn't a mystery, is otherwise unconnected to the suicide. (A demi-semi-Maigret?)

Lognon appeared in seven Maigrets, including two in which he had a title role - Maigret, Lognon, and the Gangsters, and the short story Maigret and the Surly Inspector. He was the investigator in the semi-Maigret, The Mouse.

ST

Non-Maigret Lists
10/10/05 – Keith's note about Inquest on Bouvet, reminded me that I hadn't put up a list of Simenon's Non-Maigret writings, although often requested. I've remedied that with two lists - alphabetized by English and French, of the novels (and a few reminiscences). They can be found here, and via the explanation box at the top of the Checklist.
ST

M. Owen
10/11/05 – I don't dispute your summary of the M. Owen plot — but does it make sense? What IS the role of that whisky bottle? Why is Devon so scared that Maigret has got hold of it — when the police had it anyway? What had the bottle been used for??
I'm always frustrated by plots that don't make sense and Simenon is not flawless in this regard.
Continuing congratulations on the site.
David Derrick

The total number of "core" Simenon works is...
10/11/05 – ... 245!   All core titles under Simenon's name, but including the 4 pseudonymous Maigrets.
That's counting all first appearances of all new patronymous core material in French. Plus the 4 early Maigrets. Therefore it includes Tout Simenon and Rencontre where appropriate.
245 doesn't duplicate where Maigret and non-Maigret material overlapped in a single book. The wartime Gallimard omnibuses, however, which contained 3 novels each, count as 6. The non-Maigret material in Picpus counts separately. I think. I know I tested that 245 pretty rigorously! You can check! Adding up the totals per publisher doesn't take care of the duplications, so you have to be careful.
But obviously, there is some non-core stuff published by "Simenon". The Canals book, for example. Posthumously collected journalism for another.
And when you add all the pseudonymous stuff, 245 comes in at under half.
David Derrick


David Derrick's Simenon title lists can be accessed via the Introduction to the Checklist, or here:
Maigret.pdf
Non-Maigret.pdf
Main Autobiographical.pdf

Semi-Maigrets --- 17 Short Stories & 3 Novels?
10/14/05 –

I reread all the forum messages on the semi-Maigrets and I counted 17 Short Stories & 3 Novels. Is that the correct count?

SHORT STORIES
  • Le petit restaurant des ternes
  • Seven little crosses in a notebook
  • The Mouse
  • Les dossiers de l'agence O (1943) a collection of (14) short stories featuring Torrence

NOVELS

  • Inquest on Bouvet
  • The Man who Watched the Trains Go By
  • Monsieur La Souris

Juan


The Mouse and Monsieur La Souris are two "English" titles for the same novel, so that would make 16 short stories and 3 novels.
ST

Thanks for the recount
10/15/05 –
I have been searching the web for affordable copies of those titles. There is a Spanish translation of Monsieur La Souris available through the internet but I had no luck in finding any of the others translated to Spanish.
The UK Routledge & Kegan edition of "Poisoned Relations" contains English translations of Monsieur La Souris and Les Sœurs Lacroix. The R&K is a hardback originally published in 1950. There is also a Penguin paperback with the same title "Poisoned Relations", first published in 1958, but apparently it only includes Les Sœurs Lacroix; it does NOT include Monsieur La Souris.
Juan

Maigret of the Month: Cécile est morte (Maigret and the Spinster)
10/16/05 –
According to Marnham, Simenon wrote to André Gide in December 1939: "To keep the family pot on the boil I thought of writing some more 'Maigrets'. What do you think?" (Marnham p196).

Also according to Marnham, after that letter Simenon "started work on Cécile est morte (Maigret and the Spinster). His sales had fallen since he stopped writing Maigrets. In 1940, after his visit to the radiologist [when he was diagnosed wrongly as only having a short time to live], he wrote two romans and two more 'Maigrets', as well as Je me souviens." (Marnham, p199)

Cécile est morte was optioned by Continental Films. Directed by Maurice Tourneur, it was filmed in December 1943. Albert Prejean played Maigret.

Stanley G. Eskin writes:

Cécile est morte is ... a splendid tale and a kind of festival of Maigret items. The murder of an avaricious, crippled old woman in a popular neighborhood outside Paris engenders an ideal cast of characters and situations to bring out Maigret at his best. (Eskin, p139)
The 'popular neighborhood' of Bourg la Reine is actually depicted as a dreary suburb, and while the characters and atmosphere are excellent, I was rather less taken with the tale myself than Eskin.
Roddy

Semi-Maigrets, etc.
10/17/05 –
A few years ago, a French publisher, Omnibus, published a book edited by Francis Lacassin which reprinted 4 early pseudonymous Maigrets:
Train de nuit
La jeune fille aux perles
La femme rousse
La maison de l'inquiétude
Is La jeune fille aux perles the same as the novel called La figurante? Why is La figurante normally listed as one of the 4 and not La jeune fille aux perles? I must admit there are several appendices and critical additions to this book which may answer this, which I haven't read.
The book also reprints a fifth novel, in effect a fourth semi-Maigret, L'homme à la cigarette, of which it says:

"Dans L'homme à la cigarette, le nom de Boucheron pourrait être biffé et remplacé par celui de Maigret, tant il lui ressemble par sa manie de «renifler» les lieux du crime et de se mettre dans la peau de l'assassin inconnu: pour le comprendre, et donc pour le demasquer ..." "In The Man with the Cigarette, the name Boucheron could have been crossed out and replaced with Maigret, so much does he resemble him in his mania for 'sniffing out' the scene of the crime, and putting himself into the skin of the unknown killer — to understand him, and then to unmask him."

Who knows what else is lurking in that vast sub-œuvre called Simenon before Simenon?

David Derrick

La Jeune Fille aux perles
10/17/05 –
Your posting answered my question, but begged another. Your link to your page The Other Maigrets says that the novel was called La jeune fille aux perles in 1932 and in 1991. It was again in 1999 in the Omnibus edition I referred to. So when was this proto-Maigret called La Figurante?
I hope one day we'll see your translations of the other Other Maigrets!
David


My mistake on the "Other Maigrets" page. Here's the note on the verso of the title page of the 1991 Julliard edition:
Nous restituons à La Jeune Fille aux perles (rebaptisé en 1932 par l'éditeur : La Figurante) son véritable titre, conformément au vœu et à l'usage de l'auteur.

We restore to La Jeune Fille aux perles (renamed La Figurante in 1932 by the publisher) its real title, in accordance with the author's wish and usage.

So, Fayard changed Simenon's title to La Figurante when they published it.

ST

Semi-Maigrets
10/17/05 –Searching your site for more on the proto-Maigret novel L'homme à la cigarette, I came across Lemoine's article quoting that novel's hero JK Charles's profession of faith:

There are people who cannot be content with only one life...
They are rare. And that is what has always astonished me.
Truly, Boucheron, I can't understand beings who have so little appetite as to confine themselves to a small compartment of the world and at the same time to such a restricted range of sensations.
I'm not speaking of simpletons, but of intelligent people, of those that one calls superior people.
Take a fat banker, who, for his whole life, never savors any but a banker's sensations! ...
As for me, I...
Why shouldn't I say it? I was sailor, like P'tit Louis. I even worked in the engine room. You've seen that I could eat glass.
I was a dishwasher in San Francisco, worked in a canned goods factory in Chicago.
I'm a secret agent, and yet, in Sancerre, I'm a vintner.
Elsewhere, I'm something else, but that doesn't concern you. And elsewhere again...
Heaps of lives!
And even this is not enough! I must live the lives of others, mix myself into their dramas...
My dream? Wait! I'm going to tell you! To be rich and powerful enough to live the lives of about hundred men or more, simultaneously! ...
To really live these lives, without sham, listen well! To suddenly flee a great luxury hotel in Paris, to reach the Brittany coast, and there, to find a hut of gray stone, a simple fisherman's hut, a boat, nets... and to fish...
To be for people of the country a man like them...
Then, after some days or months, to run to the French provinces as a true commercial traveler!...
To leave there, a few days later, to throw a million down on the green cloth, at the Privé in Deauville!
To change personality at will! To know the biting struggle of the poor for their daily bread and to know abundance, the satiety of the rich, to know the chilling dawns in the sea and voluptuous mornings in the alcoves of great coquettes...
To live at the rhythm of the world! To feel the earth throb! All the earth! What can I say? To be the world....

A remarkable passage: a clue to many of his characters and their pathologies. Why am I heading this "Semi-Maigrets", in reference to recent postings? Because that living of multiple lives reminded me of things in L'enterrement de M. Bouvet.

And part of the goodness of Madame Maigret, as Simenon knows only too well, is that she lives only one life.

David Derrick

Destinées: Simenon's two books with one title
10/17/05 –
Simenon may have been the only author who accidentally published two books with the same title. I doubt whether he remembered when he published his dictée Destinées in 1981 that he had published a novel with that title (as Georges Sim) in 1929 !
David Derrick

Maigret of the Month: Cécile est morte (Maigret and the Spinster) - 2
10/20/05 –
Most of the year 1940 proved to be a busy time for Simenon, but not in terms of his writing. After writing La Maison du Juge (Maigret in Exile) by the end of January of that year, he produced only three more novels and the start of an autobiography. At the beginning of May he wrote the novel La Veuve Couderc (Ticket of Leave), but during the same month as the Second World War was developing, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg were invaded. Determined to be involved in some way, Simenon travelled to Paris to the Belgian Embassy and soon found himself designated as "High Commissioner for Belgian refugees for the Département of Charente-Inférieure (now Charente-Maritime)" in the south-west of France where he had his home. Simenon still had Belgian citizenship and was to retain it throughout his life.

From the 14th of May to the 9th of August he organised accommodation for thousands of his compatriots arriving in the area, many in their fishing boats as well as overland. In 1946 he wrote the novel Le Clan des Ostendais (The Ostenders) based on this experience. After the Occupation of Belgium was complete, all of the Belgian refugees returned to their country, leaving Simenon to go back to his private life, but the progress of the war moved to nearby La Rochelle and La Pallice and he decided, reluctantly, to leave his home at Neuil-sur-Mer in August and move inland. Storing many of his possessions with a friend, Simenon, his wife Tigy, their young son Marc, and Boule, their housekeeper, travelled inland about fifty kilometres north-east to a farmhouse in the forest of Mervent-Vouvent in the Vendée region, staying there for about two months.

In September he wrote one of his best novels, La Vérité sur Bébé Donge (The Trial of Bébé Donge), before moving again to a house in the town of Fontenay-le-Comte (Vendée) during the autumn.

One day whilst cutting wood, Simenon received a blow on his chest from a branch, which caused him pain, and a local doctor diagnosed, wrongly, heart problems with a short life expectancy. Simenon’s wife, Tigy, observing her husband and consulting another doctor, came to the conclusion that he was suffering from anxiety and nervousness.

From this experience, Simenon, decided to write in the form of a letter to his young son, an autobiography narrating his families’ roots and his own childhood in Liège. Later published as Je me souviens (I remember — but not translated) it became the model for his novel Pedigree.

But in the same month of December 1940 Simenon turned to writing another Maigret novel entitled Cécile est morte (Maigret and the Spinster).

As the novel opens Maigret is investigating a Polish gang of criminals with the aid of Lucas and Janvier. Simenon has presented this theme of the Polish gang earlier, firstly in the Maigret short story Stan le Tueur (Stan the Killer) written in the winter of 1937-1938, and then in the non-Maigret novel L’Outlaw (The Outlaw) written in February 1939.

But parallel to this investigation is the repetitive appearance at the Quai des Orfévres of the twenty-eight year old Cécile Pardon who causes Maigret annoyance, embarrassment and to be the butt of some of his colleagues remarks.

But Maigret’s mood, and the atmosphere, changes when he sends for Cécile to be told that she is no longer in the waiting room. Concerned, he travels to where she lives with her aunt.

This turns out to be a typical building found in many parts of cities and large towns with shops on the ground floor and five storeys of apartments above. The dismal building is by itself, having waste ground on either side of it and is situated at Bourg-la-Reine (Haute-de-Seine) about a mile south along the Route Nationale 20 from the Porte d’Orléans exit from Paris.

In the course of a few hours two murder victims are discovered and Maigret goes back and forth to the house at Bourg-la-Reine talking to, and getting to know, the very mixed bunch of tenants, some attracting more of his attention than others.

Simenon has created the atmosphere of the house and its environment, together with the personalities who live there, with appropriate succinctness and sharp observation.

But in spite of all his efforts, Maigret finds himself at an impasse.

The arrival of an American criminologist, Spencer Oats, at the Quai des Orfévres seems to change Maigret’s mood. At the request of the Director of the Police Judiciaire Maigret is requested to allow Oats to observe his methods. Gradually he warms to Spencer Oats, rather using him as a kind of sounding board as he weaves his way through the investigation.

Simenon uses the first part of the main storyline of this novel in a later work. In Cécile est morte it is the young woman who complains that in the flat where she lives someone enters at night and moves things around. In La Folle de Maigret (Maigret and the Madwoman) written in May 1970 it is eighty-six year old Madame Antoine de Caramé who presents herself at the Quai des Orfévres to complain of objects being moved around in her apartment when she is out. The later development of the storyline in both novels is very different.

The English translation of Cécile est morte by Eileen Ellenbogen is close to Simenon’s French text. It was first published in hardback format in 1977 by Hamish Hamilton (UK) and by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (USA).

A section of the map showing the Route Nationale 20 running south from the Porte d’Orléans exit from Paris. To the south of this map below the name Bourg-la-Reine can be seen the Hôtel de Ville (The Town Hall) — indicated with an H — next to the church of St.-Gilles on the Boulevard Carnot almost at the junction with the N20, where Maigret and Spencer Oats obtained some information. (Map 101 Banlieue de Paris, Michelin, 1992).

Peter Foord
UK

Simenon in Le Soir illustré - 1958
10/20/05 –
Le Soir illustré
January 9, 1958
N° 1333, pp 8-9, 12

Georges Simenon,
profession: Man of Means

Nicole de Jassy

photos: François Martin

 
original French

Within a year of Le Soir's article on a visit to Simenon's villa in Cannes, they published this cover story, an interview at his new home, a château in Switzerland. Nicole de Jassy avoids the errors and clichés of the earlier article... presenting an enjoyable sketch of a fairy-tale life.

Stravinsky a Simenon fan

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)

10/21/05 –From Lillian Libman's (1972) And music at the close: Stravinsky's last years: A personal memoir (covering 1959-71)

p 83: (in Stravinsky's room, probably in LA)

Dictionaries of practical size – Russian-English, French, German – were always in evidence, and consulted constantly; detective stories ran a close second. Of the latter, Miss Christie's brain-twisters ranked high on the popularity scale at the time (the only period, I believe, when he was unfaithful to the immortal Simenon)...

P 187:

Stravinsky read one Simenon on our train to Washington for that concert [his Abraham and Isaac], and another on the return trip.

p 260: (in a hotel)

One night, as I sat up in bed very late ... writing some release or other, he tapped on the connecting door and entered. He explained that he had seen my light and begged pardon for having disturbed me, but could he use my reading lamp, which seemed brighter than his? Then he sat down in an armchair, opened the Simenon he was carrying, read for half an hour (while I pretended to continue working), and finally closed the book, waved good night, and left. I felt as if I had just had a visit from someone who was afraid of the dark.

P 294:

One part of our audience was reading Simenon in bed on the second floor...

David Derrick

French Police History?
10/31/05 –

Ernst Gennat [1880-1939]
Some time ago I began to write an article about Germany’s most famous and gifted detective: “Kriminalrat” (Chief Superintendent) Ernst Gennat of the Criminal Investigation Department of Berlin. He introduced and led in 1926 the first German murder squad. He also introduced in 1926 the “Mordauto” (murder car), a black special vehicle (made by Daimler-Benz) which was equipped with various crime fighting tools and other important improvements. Gennat lived from 1880 to 1939. He solved difficult cases like the serial murderers Fritz Haarmann from Hannover (1924) or Peter Kürten from Düsseldorf (1932).

Recently I made inquiries about other European detectives. As a real Maigret-fan it is a matter of course that I come across “Commissaire divisionnaire” Marcel Guillaume. In my opinion Guillaume was the French Gennat. (Or Gennat was the German Guillaume...)

I have several questions for my further research about crime fighting in lovely Paris of the 1920’s/30’s:

  1. What was the “Sûreté Nationale”? The criminal investigation department of France was/is the “Police Judiciaire”. In some articles Maigret, Guillaume and other were called “detectives of the French sûreté”... Even Blake Edward’s “Inspecteur Jacques Clouseau” (marvellous played by Peter Sellers) worked for the Sûreté.

    My personal supposition is, that the French state police (the “Police Nationale”) of today is the successor of the “Sûreté Nationale” of the 1920’s/30’s and the P. J. was/is a department of it. But others describe the Sûreté as the French secret police... I am really not sure about this.

  2. What are the cars the CID of Paris really drove in the 1920’s/30’s? Simenon wrote “the little black cars of the P. J.” – but, what did he really mean by those little black cars? Citroens? Renaults? Did they have a vehicle like Gennat’s “murder car”? (I am really interested in vintage (police) cars...)
  3. Were there other “specialities” of the Parisian CID which made it unique in the 1920’s/30’s period?
  4. I am also interested in the “real Maigrets”. Where there other famous detectives at the “Quai” in the 1920’s/30’s? (Besides Commissaire Divisionnaire Marcel Guillaume, Directeur du P. J. Xavier Guichard and Commissaire Divisionnaire Massu.)
Thanks a lot for your help!
Very best regards,
Kay U. Baselt
Germany
Freelance Writer

Madame Quatre et ses enfants
11/1/05 –
I'm trying to find a page giving the synopsis for "Madame Quatre et ses enfants."
Thanks!
Linda S. Jones

"Madame Quatre et ses enfants" appeared on France 2 as a television Maigret with Bruno Crémer on January 15, 1999. The episode was based on a Simenon short story which is not a Maigret, but which appeared in the short story collection Maigret et les petits cochons sans queue (1950), which includes two Maigrets, "L'Homme dans la rue" and "Vente à la bougie." (The title of the collection, like Maigret et M. Labbé, is misleading.)
The story – seven pages long in Tout Simenon 4 – set in Sables-d'Olonne (Vendée), describes "Madame Quatre," as the other boarders called the woman who occupied Room 4 (quatre) of the family pension Notre-Dame with her two out-of-control sons, about 7 and 10. They could be seen arguing in the dining room at meal times, or heard through the walls. She leaves them in the care of the owner of the pension for the day, and someone discovers her picture in the newspaper, for she had gone to testify... as the first wife of a serial killer who had walled up the bodies of six or seven of his later wives in his cellar. End of story.
In the Crémer TV version, (which I haven't seen), Maigret installs himself in the pension – reminiscent of M en meublé – to try to find the killer, after one of the bodies is discovered in the woman's cellar.
ST

Maigret et les petits cochons sans queue
11/1/05 –
I haven’t read through the Forum to see if anyone else has mentioned this, but I just cross-referenced the full list of Maigret titles on your site with my own collection. I have one title that is not listed : “Maigret et les petits cochons sans queue”. (This is how it is titled on the cover. On the title page, it is simply “Les petis cochons sans queue”.) My edition is dated 1950, Les Presses de la cité.
Thanks for the site !
Bruhale


Maigret et les petits cochons sans queue (1950) is a short story collection which includes two Maigrets, "L'Homme dans la rue" and "Vente à la bougie." (The title of the collection, like Maigret et M. Labbé, is misleading.) The full contents:

Les Petits Cochons sans queue
Sous peine de mort
Le Petit Tailleur et le chapelier
Un certain Monsieur Berquin
 L'Escale de Buenaventura
L'Homme dans la rue
Vente à la bougie

Le Deuil de Fonsine
Madame Quatre et ses enfants
ST

Maigret of the Month: Signé Picpus (To Any Lengths/ Maigret and the Fortuneteller)
11/3/05 –
Most of the year 1940 proved to be a busy time for Simenon, but not in terms of his writing. After writing La Maison du Juge (Maigret in Exile) by the end of January of that year, he produced only three more novels and the start of an autobiography. At the beginning of May he wrote the novel La Veuve Couderc (Ticket of Leave), but during the same month as the Second World War was developing, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg were invaded. Determined to be involved in some way, Simenon travelled to Paris to the Belgian Embassy and soon found himself designated as "High Commissioner for Belgian refugees for the Département of Charente-Inférieure (now Charente-Maritime)" in the south-west of France where he had his home. Simenon still had Belgian citizenship and was to retain it throughout his life.

During the year 1941 Simenon wrote nine short stories, four novels (including one Maigret), finished his autobiography Je me souviens and completed the first part of its successor, the novel Pedigree.

Living in the town of Fontenay-le-Comte (Vendée) he grew to dislike the rented house in which he was living, so negotiated to rent some accommodation in the Château de Terre-Neuve from its owner Comte Alain Du Fontenioux. Just on the edge of the town, this chateau dating from the sixteenth century (with mid-nineteenth century restoration and additions) provided Simenon with more space and facilities.

The Maigret novel that he wrote was Signé Picpus.

Michel Carly in his book (Simenon: Les années secrètes. Vendée 1940-1945. Éditions d’Orbestier 2005), has included this intriguing account on pages 45 and 46 (translated by Peter Foord):

‘Focus on Signé Picpus. Up to now a well kept secret in connection with the gestation of an excellent “Maigret”. A remarkable venture: this devil of a novelist attempted a quite amazing experiment in the form of a challenge. The newspaper Paris-Soir asked its readers to indicate the characters that Simenon must be obliged to introduce into the novel. In order to do this, the daily announced in its edition of the 18th of November 1941: “Do you want to work with Georges Simenon? Signé Picpus ou La Grande Colère de Maigret is the title of the next novel that Georges Simenon is going to write with the collaboration of the readers of Paris-Soir. We are going to present to you thirty characters from among whom you will choose the fifteen faces that Georges Simenon will bring to life for you around the sympathetic Commissaire Maigret. You will also choose the victim. Ballot papers will be published for this purpose”. Thirty “faces” of actors and actresses were put forward in the following editions, the photograph of the actor Carette, for example, presented the character of Monsieur Blaise. Time for readers to make their choice. The 8th of December edition of Paris-Soir announced the first five characters, of whom Mademoiselle Jeanne, the clairvoyant, will be the victim. The following day, Octave Le Cloaguen was accepted by the readers. A keen test, a very real idea to titillate and to build up the loyal public. Simenon took up the challenge. Quite an incredible achievement. Did he already have a feeling for the plot before the contest?’

The last sentence in the form of a question is very much an understatement, as Simenon wrote the novel in June 1941, weeks before the newspaper Paris-Soir proposed the “competition”.

It would be very interesting to be able to consult the relevant editions of Paris-Soir of the period in order to read exactly how the newspaper presented the “competition” to its readers.

Simenon was not unfamiliar with his work being the object of reader participation.

When he wrote the three sets of short stories, Les Treize Mystères, Les Treize Énigmes and Les Treize Coupables for the weekly magazine “Détective” between 1928 and 1930 under the pseudonym Georges Sim, reader participation was involved. Initially when the magazine published each of the 39 short stories, the dénouement was omitted. Readers were invited to submit to the magazine what they thought the solution to each short story should be. Any reader whose dénouement was the same as the author’s was awarded a cash prize. The magazine published Simenon’s dénouement a fortnight later.

Having acquired a reputation for producing novels within a remarkably short time, Simenon, then generally know as Georges Sim, in January 1927 was offered a challenge. Eugène Merle, the proprietor of the newspaper Paris-Matin, drew up a contract challenging Georges Sim to write a novel in a week whilst he remained in a glass case located in front of the Moulin Rouge in the Place Blanche in Paris. The readers of the newspaper would choose the theme, the title and the characters of the novel, but in spite of much publicity, this event did not take place.

In 1941 another work by Georges Simenon was the subject of a newspaper “competition”. Several of his works had been serialised by Paris-Soir, the last being Cécile est Morte (Maigret and the Spinster) published in 45 instalments between February and April 1941.

But the reader participation with Signé Picpus was different in the circumstances. Simenon had already written the novel in June 1941 whilst Paris-Soir did not broach the subject of the “competition” until November. Presumably the newspaper would have been in possession of the author’s manuscript some time beforehand. The reason for involving the newspaper’s readers in this curious way is a matter of conjecture apart from publicising the novel and to sell more copies of Paris-Soir. As France was under wartime conditions, perhaps the newspaper wished to create a diversion, a form of escapism, to distract their readers, for a time at least, away from the daily news of the conflict.

A curious newspaper event which does not appear to be mentioned elsewhere.

Paris-Soir serialised Signé Picpus in 34 instalments between the 11th of December 1941 and the 21st of January 1942.

Signé Picpus is set mainly in Paris, and of the locations Simenon uses two familiar addresses. At the very beginning of the novel, Joseph Mascouvin, who alerts Maigret to a crime that is to be committed, lives in a two-roomed flat at 21 Place des Vosges (3rd arrondissement). This address is where the author lived mainly between 1924 and 1929, and it is where Maigret and his wife were living, temporarily, in the short story L’Amoureux de Madame Maigret (The Stronger Vessel/ Madame Maigret’s Admirer). The crime is committed at 67 Rue Caulaincourt (18th arrondissement), that is in the English translation, but Simenon’s text gives the number as 67bis (which does not exist). But the author has used this address, 67 or 67bis, several times, as the home of Lulu the mistress of Jean Cholet in the novel L’Ane Rouge (The Nightclub), for the dressmaker Gabrielle Vivien in Maigret et l’Homme tout seul (Maigret and the Loner) and in the short story Mademoiselle Berthe et son Amant (Maigret and the Frightened Dressmaker/ Mademoiselle Berthe and her Lover) among others. In fact N° 67 is not opposite the Place Constantin-Pecqueur as mentioned in the text, but near the Square Caulaincourt.

As with many areas of Paris, Simenon knew this other side of the hill of Montmartre very well. It was in a café opposite the Place Constantin-Pecqueur that in 1924 he wrote his first novel Le Roman d’une dactylo (The Typist’s Novel — not translated) under the pseudonym Jean du Perry, whilst his wife Tigy was exhibiting her paintings in the Place Constantin-Pecqueur with other artists. A long-time friend from Liège, Luc Lafnet, who had studied painting with Tigy at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in their home city, lived in the Rue Lepic and later in the Rue du Mont-Cenis in this same area.

In Signé Picpus a certain Madame Roy, who discovered the crime, ran a hotel at Morsang-sur-Seine (Essonne). It was in 1930 and again in 1931 that Simenon moored his boat, the Ostrogoth, along the Seine near Morsang where he came to know a riverside inn and hotel named the Vieux-Garçon which fits the description of Madame Roy’s Beau-Pigeon, and where a curious Maigret and his wife spent a weekend.

In using these three locations, the Place des Vosges, the Rue Caulaincourt and Morsang-sur-Seine, was the author being expedient or did he have a touch of nostalgia?

For the first three quarters of the novel, the pace is steady, with Maigret interviewing various people either in his office, at their homes or other locations, and at times, with certain individuals, being faced with obstinacy, stubbornness or even a wall of silence. But in the last quarter something sparks in Maigret’s mind that makes life hectic for him as he unfolds a conspiracy of deception, fraud and blackmail.

The only English translation of this novel is by Geoffrey Sainsbury who treats Simenon’s French text in a wayward fashion, with additions, omissions and alterations. For example, early in chapter 2 when Maigret is accompanying Octave Le Cloaguen in a taxi from the Quai des Orfévres to the Boulevard des Batignolles, Simenon uses one route whilst Sainsbury uses another. A small point, but why change the route, as the main issue of this journey was Maigret observing Le Cloaguen’s reaction as the latter neared his home?


A part of the map of the 18th Arrondissement showing the Rue Caulaincourt and the Place Constantin-Pecqueur. Number 63 Rue Caulaincourt is indicated, making Number 67 close to the Square Caulaincourt instead of being opposite the Place Constantin-Pecqueur. (Paris plan 11, Michelin, 1988).

Peter Foord
UK

Maigret Theme
11/5/05 –
Visited your site to listen to the Maigret Theme because every time I tried to play it in my head I got the Bergerac Theme!
I am building a website for Accordion Music Publishers and they have just released an accordion arrangement by Trevani of the Maigret Theme – if you would be interested in further details, Trevani can be contacted at music@trevani.co.uk.
Regards
Graham World

Simenon Year articles on line
11/6/05 –
While checking the links, I found a dead one for a Le Soir en ligne Simenon article, but when I looked in the Internet Archives, I was able to find it there. It had actually been part of a mini-site containing some 60 Simenon-related articles and book reviews that had appeared in Le Soir en ligne throughout 2003, the Simenon Year. I've restored the content of the site, indexed it, and connected to it a via new link, now at the bottom of the French-language list on the links page:

Le Soir en ligne:
Articles and reviews from the Simenon Year, 2003

(in French)

I've begun to realize that many of the Simenon Year sites are gone, and that it's not so easy to find info on the 2003 Simenon Expo... It's a good thing we've got Joe's Walking Tour... (There's another link to it in the Gallery.) And Peter Foord's The Simenon Centenary Exhibition in Liège

ST

BBC Maigrets
11/7/05 –
At the National Museum of Photography Film & Television in Bradford last week I stumbled across what claims to be the only free open-access television collection in the UK. In the catalogue of 900 rare and classic programmes from 50 years of British television I found “Maigret and the Old Lady”, made by the BBC in 1960. After a quick word with the girl at the desk I was sitting in a booth, headphones on, watching Rupert Davies lighting his pipe to the sound of Ron Grainer's theme tune.
By my reckoning there are at least eight other BBC Maigrets still in existence – enough for several DVD compilations. In 2003, the Simenon anniversary year, the National Film Theatre in London screened the 90-minute “Maigret at Bay”, made with Rupert Davies in 1969 as a one-off “Play of the Month”. The NFT has also shown the 1960-63 stories “The Winning Ticket”, “The Golden Fleece” and “Peter the Lett”, while the BBC itself has shown “Death in Mind”, “The Fontenay Murders”, “Seven Little Crosses”, and “Maigret’s Little Joke”.
When I asked in Bradford about the chances of getting a copy of “Maigret and the Old Lady” I was told, not surprisingly, to contact the BBC.
Best wishes,
Richard Thomas

Saving old web data
11/7/05 –
I saw your recent compilation of the Le Soir web site from the web archive; it is very interesting and a good thing to save as much data as you can. Do you have time to copy other web sites that could disapear so we could refer to them if neeeded ?
I saw that Google Print is starting in beta mode, and searching for Maigret or Simenon brings many results – I saw 1 or 2 that reference books with interesting comments... I will try to get them again and send them to you.
Regards
Jerome


Preserving memories of the Simenon Year
...on eBay this week!

Speaking of Maigret...
11/7/05 –
In January, 2001, Andrew Lee-Hart wrote that "The sea captain in The Comedians by Graham Greene, is described as reading a Maigret novel, which the narrator of the book suggests shows that he has a human side." Here's the actual quote, from p. 212 of the Penguin Classics edition:

"At least I had not woken him from sleep. He was propped up in his berth wearing a white cotton nightshirt, and he had put on very thick reading-glasses which made his eyes look like broken chips of quartz. He held a book tilted below the reading-lamp, and I saw it was one of Simenon's novels, and this encouraged me a little – it seemed to be a sign that he had human interests."

Regards
Jerome
Speaking of Maigret... is a collection of references to Maigret and Simenon in literature...

Story change by Simenon?
11/7/05 –
In "Le mémoire sur ordinateur" (1998), Annick Englebert writes (below) that Simenon changed a story after the death penalty was abolished in France. The death penalty was abolished in France in 1981, so I think she could be mistaken, as I do not think Simenon changed anything as late as 1981 ?? Do you have any idea which book she is talking about?

Dans la première édition d'un de ses tout premiers Maigret, rédigé en 1930, Simenon condamne le personnage du criminel confronté à Maigret à peine de mort. Dans une édition ultérieure, postérieure à l'abolition de la peine de mort en France, cette condamnation devient une condamnation à la prison à vie. Une étude de la conception de la justice chez Simenon ne peut méconnaître aucune de ces deux versions. In the first edition of one of his very first Maigrets, written in 1930, Simenon has the criminal confronted by Maigret condemned to death. In a later edition, after the abolition of capital punishment in France, this sentence was changed to life imprisonment. A study of Simenon's concept of justice cannot ignore either of these versions.

Regards
Jerome

Story change by Simenon?
11/9/05 –
Here is my suggestion with reference to Jerome’s question in his entry (11/7/05, below) in connection with Annick Englebert’s statement.
Simenon wrote his last work of fiction in February 1972, Maigret et Monsieur Charles (Maigret and Monsieur Charles), followed by a series of autobiographies, concluding with Mémoires intimes (Intimate Memoirs) written between February and November 1980. After this autobiography, as far as I am aware, he wrote nothing more.
I believe that the novel referred to by Annick Englebert is La Tête d’un Homme (A Battle of Nerves/ Maigret’s War of Nerves/A Man’s Head), which was written in March 1931.
Near the end of chapter XI, Maigret is explaining to the examining magistrate, Coméliau, the outcome of his final interview with the killer Jean Radek. The latter has confirmed with Maigret that the death penalty will be carried out. In the short final chapter XII it is the morning of the execution with Maigret present as requested by Radek.
If it is the work in question, I cannot find a changed ending to this novel in the French text, including its publication in Tout Simenon, Volume 16, one of the most recent reprints. Whatever his opinion of the abolition of the death penalty in France, I do not think that he was interested in changing anything that he had written as a result. What would be the point, especially in a novel that he had written fifty years before? With few exceptions, he set his fiction contemporary to the time when he was writing, so that events, the atmosphere and peoples’ reactions are a reflection of that time.
After 1980, for a while he did give interviews, and articles were written about him and his work. He may have expressed his opinion concerning the death penalty, which may have been misinterpreted in some publication or other.
Peter Foord
UK

Maigret of the Month: Signé Picpus (To Any Lengths/ Maigret and the Fortuneteller) - 2
11/10/05 –
This is one of my favorite Maigret's. Part of that comes from the fact that there are so many different things going on in this story in so many different places. Another reason I like it so much is the part of Paris it is set in. This is a place I've become very familiar with and I can easily relate to the setting. The plot is interesting and holds your attention while the solution is never obvious until the end. It's a great read.

What I didn't like was the fact that M Le Clouagen was given short shirft after being a major player for a while in the story. Remember that the murdered fortuneteller was his daughter and although it was mentioned, it was never dwelt on, for example how he felt about her death. Also, his final fate was left out of the story. I figured that he continued living at 13 Boulevard des Batignoles until the two women were released from prison, but afterwards? I suspect as he was no longer needed, he returned to his former life on the streets and under the bridges. At the very end, it was something of a surprize to read that the family that gave the real Dr. Le Clouagen his annuity thought it was something of a joke that they had been defrauded out of a fair amount of money by his wife.

Regards
Joe

See "In the Footsteps of Chief Superintendent Jules Maigret in Montmartre"
section on Maigret and the Fortuneteller

Story change by Simenon? continued
11/14/05 – I wrote to Annick Englebert, asking for the name of the modified novel. Here is her reply:

Je suis effectivement l’auteur de cette affirmation, mais je dois avouer que je ne me souviens plus du Maigret dont il s’agit. Je vois encore le livre devant moi, j’ai le souvenir très net de la notice signalant le remaniement de la fin de récit (il s’agissait d’une notice de l’éditeur), mais j’en ai oublié le titre. Cette défaillance de ma mémoire m’a d’ailleurs irritée, et m’a valu de relire ultérieurement l’intégrale de Simenon à la recherche de l’information qui m’échappait. Malheureusement ma relecture ne s’est plus faite dans la même édition que ma 1re lecture et je n’ai pas retrouvé la trace de cette notice. Pour ce qui est de l’inconséquence historique, je n’y vois aucune explication ; peut-être la récriture est-elle le fait de l’éditeur ? Faute d’avoir retrouvé l’édition en question, je ne peux pas vous en dire plus. Peut-être devrais-je une nouvelle fois relire les premiers Maigret pour me remettre les choses en mémoire… mais cela ne se fait pas en un jour !
Annick Englebert
Yes, I am the author of this affirmation, but I must confess that I no longer remember which Maigret it is about. I can imagine the book before me again, and I remember very clearly the note (from the editor) indicating the revision at the end of the narrative, but I've forgotten the title. Troubled by this failing of my memory, I subsequently searched for the missing information, but unfortunately my rereading wasn't in the same edition, and I didn't recover any trace of the note. As for the historical inconsistency, I can see no explanation, except that perhaps the revision was made by the editor? Not having recovered the edition in question, I cannot say any more. Maybe I'll have to reread the early Maigrets to jog my memory… but that will take more than a day!
A.E.

Jerome

The elusive Signé Picpus
11/16/05 –

Édito-Service, Suisse
I was very interested to see that the Maigret of the month for November is Signé Picpus, as it's the only Maigret novel that I've been unable to find (in my prefered format) over the last four years of collecting.

I got into Maigret after reading Maigret's Christmas in a cheap Christmas mystery collection that I picked up when I was living in Santa Barbara, California. I'm English, and was missing the cold weather and gloom.

Despite various degrees in literature, I'd never heard of Simenon, and had only vague memories of the Michael Gambon series, but really enjoyed the pacing, atmosphere, and intimacy between Maigret and his wife, so started collecting. I began in English – used single-volume pocket-sized paperbacks only (the edition was unimportant, but I particularly liked the mirror covers from HBJ) – using a condensed list of alternate titles culled from your site.

About 18 months later, I'd found about 50 of the novels but, by this time, I was beginning to think about returning to Europe, and so switched to collecting in French. Aside from some long-forgotten high-school lessons (I'm 35), I didn't know anything of the language, and taught myself by reading Maigret novels (Mon ami, Maigret was my first) slipped inside a pocket English-French dictionary. Any word I didn't know (and that was most of them, at first), I'd look up in the dictionary and scribble in the margin. That meant reading only about 2 pages an hour initially, but I enjoyed the novels (and the challenge) and so persevered and things picked up fairly quickly.

I moved first to Belgium and then, eight months ago, to Paris, where I'm working as a tech writer in a French-speaking office and living in the 4th arrondisement. Les bouquinistes filled the remaining holes in my dual language collection (sauf Signé Picpus), and I've continued to buy and reread in French (sans dictionnaire) those that I'd found in English. I've added Rouletabille and Arsène Lupin to my classic collections and also follow various contemporary series.

But Signé Picpus as a separate novel remains elusive (you can, of course, buy the edition that includes Cecile est Morte and L'inspecteur Cadavre, or the relevant Tout Simenon volume on Amazon). Your main list has always seemed to me to be very comprehensive, but I notice that it doesn't seem to mention the curious positioning of Maigret se fâche as hidden away in La pipe de Maigret in the Presses de la cité edition. I was wondering if you knew of anything similar for SIG – it's curious that a story that has been dramatized in both the Jean Richard and Bruno Crémer series (and that, is apparently a good 'un) has never been republished. If not, I guess I'll have to buy the big volume!

Anyway, congratulations on an excellent site – it's really a fabulous resource and greatly deserving of its prime position on Google seaches for both "Maigret" and "Simenon"!

Cheers
Robert Adlington

Simenon Centenary in Le Vif / L'Express 2003
11/16/05 –
Le Vif / L'Express
February 7-13, 2003
N° 2692, pp 40-51, 89

The Simenon Phenomenon
...100 years

Elisabeth Mertens, Ghislain Cotton, Louis Danvers

 
French original

A cover-story collection of articles celebrating the 100th anniversary of Simenon's birth, from Le Vif / L'Express. The special perspective of a magazine from Belgium, his native land.

Simenon ...a century!
Searcher of souls
The 10 Simenons to read
From the page to the screen
Studies on the man with the pipe
Simenon on stage
Searching for Simenon

Hard to Find
11/17/05 –

Édito-Service, Suisse
Like Robert Adlington, I found it hard to find Signé Picpus, but Félicie est là (December's MotM) has proved even harder. I have finally managed to track down a copy through Abebooks' excellent want list service, in a volume which also includes Picpus and L'Inspecteur cadavre, another title missing from my French Maigrets. The volume contains another text called Nouvelles, but I'll have to wait for the book to arrive before I discover what that is.

My present copy of Signé Picpus is a school edition published by George G. Harrap in 1952, edited by J.B.C. Grundy M.A., Ph.D., Officier d'Académie, Harrow School, and the book bears the stamp of Lowestoft Grammar School (I hope they don't want it back!) It has footnotes, which were both irritating and useful. Some were explications in French, while others (presumably too difficult to gloss) were in English.

I didn't realise I had a copy of the English edition until I pulled a 1958 Green Penguin entitled To Any Lengths from my bookshelf and found it was the Sainsbury translation of Picpus. I imagine the title is another example of Sainsbury's rather wayward translating habits, though to be fair Signed Picpus is not a great title, and To Any Lengths is a fair description of how far the villainess of the piece is prepared to go.

The translation of Félicie est là (by Eileen Ellenbogen, my favourite Simenon translator) is entitled Maigret and the Toy Village! I'm looking forward to finding out why.

Roddy

The edition containing Félicie est là, Signé Picpus and L'Inspecteur cadavre, published by NRF, also contains Nouvelles exotiques, a collection of five (non-Maigret) short stories. (on eBay this week starting at €1)
ST

French Crime Writers
11/18/05 – I'd like to extend my knowledge of French crime writers but I could do with some help. I've tried Leo Malet, whom I found pedestrian, and Pierre Audemars, whose style is so arch as to be almost unreadable. I know you can pick up San-Antonio by the bucketload, but my impression is that his books are so thick with argot that I would need a dictionary of French slang beside me. Any suggestions?
Roddy

Signé Picpus
11/19/05 –
The white (NRF) version of Signé Picpus is available in French at Amazon's French site for €9,30 plus shipping. They have it new (should be shrink wrapped) and like new for the same price.
Joe

French Polars
11/19/05 –
Roddy asked about other French crime writers. At www.adpf.asso.fr there is a good introduction (cf attached file) with a list of books. I checked quickly and it covers older ones as well as newer ones. I like the Arsène Lupin ones, written by Maurice Leblanc, easy to read, and some mysteries. In the modern ones, JC Izzo is a good one, the stories take place in Marseille in the South of France. There are many of them and the newsgroup fr.rec.arts.polar is a good place to see what goes on.
Regards
Jerome

Simenon in the Encyclopædia Britannica
11/20/05 –

Simenon
©Jerry Bauer
Simenon, Georges (Joseph Christian) (b. Feb. 13, 1903, Liège, Belg. – d. Sept. 4, 1989, Lausanne, Switz.), Belgian-French novelist whose prolific output surpassed that of any of his contemporaries, and who was perhaps the most widely published author of the 20th century.
Simenon began working on a local newspaper at age 16, and at 19 he went to Paris determined to be successful. Typing some 80 pages each day, he wrote, between 1923 and 1933, more than 200 books of pulp fiction under 16 different pseudonyms, the sales of which soon made him a millionaire. The first novel to appear under his own name was Pietr-le-Letton (1931; The Case of Peter the Lett), in which he introduced the imperturbable, pipe-smoking Parisian police inspector Jules Maigret to fiction. Simenon went on to write about 80 more detective novels featuring Inspector Maigret, as well as about 130 psychological novels. His total literary output consisted of about 425 books that were translated into some 50 languages and which sold more than 600 million copies worldwide. In 1967 the publication of Simenon's complete works began in France and Italy. Simenon's Inspector Maigret is one of the best-known characters in detective fiction. Unlike those fictional detectives who rely on their immense deductive powers, Maigret solved murders using mainly his psychological intuition and a patiently sought, compassionate understanding of the perpetrator's motives and emotional makeup. Besides psychological novels and detective stories, Simenon's other books include short-story collections and autobiographical works.
Simenon's central theme is the isolated existence of the neurotic, abnormal individual. Employing a style of rigorous simplicity, he evokes a prevailing atmosphere of neurotic tensions with sharp economy. Simenon lived in the United States for more than a decade from 1945, and later in France and Switzerland.
Encyclopædia Britannica, 1993

2006 Quai des Orfèvres Prize
11/21/05 –
Yahoo! Actualités
lundi 21 novembre 2005, 16h50

Prix du Quai des Orfèvres 2006 pour "L'ombre du soleil"

PARIS (AFP) - Le Prix du Quai des orfèvres 2006 a été attribué lundi à Christelle Maurin pour son roman "L'ombre du soleil" publié au format de poche par les éditions Fayard.
"L'ombre du soleil" a pour cadre prestigieux le Château de Versailles, où des femmes portant toute le prénom d'une maîtresse de Louis XIV sont assassinées les unes après les autres, dans des conditions mystérieuses.
Créé en 1946, le prix du Quai des Orfèvres est décerné sur manuscrit anonyme par un jury présidé par le directeur de la Police judiciaire, François Jaspart, et qui réunit notamment des policiers, des magistrats, des avocats, des écrivains et des journalistes.
Il récompense un roman policier français "décrivant les modalités de fonctionnement de la police et de la justice françaises". Comme le veut la tradition, le nom du lauréat a été dévoilé par le préfet de police de Paris, Pierre Mutz.
Les éditions Fayard publient chaque année l'ouvrage récompensé au format de poche, avec un tirage minimum garanti de 50.000 exemplaires.
L'an dernier, le prix avait été attribué à Jules Grasset pour "Les Violons du Diable".
("L'ombre du Soleil" de Christelle Maurin -Ed. Fayard - 384 p.- 7,90 EUR)
Yahoo! News
Monday, November 21, 4:50pm

2006 Quai des Orfèvres Prize for "L'ombre du soleil" (The Shadow of the Sun)

PARIS (AFP) - The 2006 Quai des Orfèvres Prize was awarded Monday to Christelle Maurin, for her novel "L'ombre du soleil," published in paperback by Fayard.
"L'ombre du soleil" has for its prestigious setting the Palace of Versailles, where women with the same first name as one of Louis XIV's mistresses are being murdered, one after another, under mysterious circumstances.
Created in 1946, the Quai des Orfèvres Prize is awarded to an anonymous manuscript by a jury presided over by the director of the Judicial Police, François Jaspart, notably uniting police, magistrates, lawyers, writers and journalists.
It rewards a French detective novel "describing the methods of the workings of French police and justice". Following tradition, the recipient's name is revealed by the prefect of Police of Paris, Pierre Mutz.
Every year, Fayard publishes the winning work in paperback, with a minimum guaranteed edition of 50,000 copies.
Last year the prize went to Jules Grasset for "Les Violons du Diable" (The Devil's Violins).
("L'ombre du Soleil" by Christelle Maurin - Ed. Fayard - 384 p.- 7,90 EUR)

Fayard's page on the Prize
History, recipients... (in French)
Simenon was a member of the jury of the Prix du Quai des Orfèvres from 1955 to 1962.
Jerome

The Discovery of Simenon at Fayard
11/21/05 – While looking over the Fayard pages about the Quai des Orfèvres Prize (below), I found this section of one of the articles:
...C'est au cours de cette période faste, entre les deux guerres, que Charles Dillon, responsable des collections populaires, confia un jour à Arthème : " Parmi nos jeunes auteurs, il y en a un qui a un je ne sais quoi de différent... Il s'appelle Christian Brulls. Il signe aussi Georges Sim ".
Ce Belge s'appelait en fait Georges Simenon. Après avoir donné chez Fayard un certain nombre de récits populaires, il demanda à voir le patron et lui confia son désir d'écrire des romans policiers. Arthème suggéra qu'il en apportât un. Simenon répondit qu'il lui en apporterait quatre, afin que l'éditeur pût les sortir ensemble et lancer ainsi sa collection.
Ces quatre premiers romans de Simenon étaient Le Pendu de Saint-Phollien, Monsieur Gallet décédé, Le Charretier de la Providence et Le Chien jaune.
Arthème ne lésina pas : le lancement parisien de Simenon consista dans un grand " Bal anthropométrique " où les garçons étaient déguisés en bagnards et où les invités devaient se laisser prendre les empreintes digitales à l'entrée.
...It was in those good days, between the two wars, that Charles Dillon, in charge of the popular collections, confided to Arthème [Fayard] one day, "Among our young authors, there is one who has a certain something different about him... He is called Christian Brulls. He also signs himself Georges Sim."
This Belgian was actually named Georges Simenon. After having given Fayard a number of popular narratives, he asked to see the boss, and confided to him his desire to write detective novels. Arthème suggested that he bring one. Simenon answered that he would bring him four, so that the publisher could take them together and thus launch his collection.
These first four Simenon novels were Maigret and the Hundred Gibbets, The Death of M. Gallet, Maigret Meets a Milord, and The Yellow Dog.
Arthème didn't skimp: the Parisian launching of Simenon consisted of a great "Anthropometric Ball" where the waiters were dressed as convicts and guests had to give their fingerprints to gain entry...
Jerome

Maigret
Jean DELANNOY
11/22/05 –
Maigret n'a aucun rapport avec une mode parce que ce personnage, contrairement à pas mal d'autres, n'est plus une création.
Que l'on m'entende bien, je ne veux pas enlever a Simenon sa paternité, bien au contraire. S'il a pris un véritable commissaire de police comme modèle, il l'a développé, en a modifie certains comportements, certaines données de base. Il a fait totalement son travail de romancier en créant son bonhomme... Mais il lui a donné tant de traits, tant de détails, tant de complexité simple que ce personnage lui échappe, sort tout seul dans la rue, vit sa propre vie.
Simenon lui-même l'a si bien compris qu'il a écrire Les Mémoires de Maigret où le commissaire règle quelques comptes avec son créateur.
« Ce Simenon a dit que je portais un chapeau melon... ce n'est pas vrai... il a parlé de mes pardessus à col de velours... c'est un détail ridicule qui l'a frappé... j'en ai eu, bien sûr, mais j'en ai changé... ma carrière est longue... »
Simenon avoue que lorsqu'il lit Les Mémoires de Maigret, il n'est pas toujours d'accord, Maigret existe donc pour son propre compte.
Cela va si loin que même la Police, qui ne plaisante pas, a délivré une carte d'inspecteur à Maigret... Si Simenon peut participer à certaines démarches confidentielles ou officielles, ce n'est pas comme romancier mais parce que représentant de Maigret. Il fait un peu partie de la Maison. Cette aventure n'est arrivée à aucun personnage imaginaire, même pas à Sherlock Holmes.
Maigret m'intéresse parce qu'il n'est pas un vainqueur absolu, pas un héros pittoresque, il est un homme. Il a une femme que nous connaissons qui a ses manies et son charme; nous savons où il habite, nous connaissons son appartement avec son caractère et même ses côtés ridicules. Nous savons que Maigret s'enrhume facilement et comment il se soigne.
Nous ne connaissons pas seulement ses habitudes, son penchant pour un petit verre, ses mots familiers, mais aussi ses problèmes. Nous savons qu'il éprouve pour certains de ses clients une sorte de sympathie, que d'autres affaires le troublent jusqu'à le rendre malade. Il a des cas de conscience, il ne suit pas toujours les règles de la Maison alors qu'il se considère comme un cheval blanchi sous le harnais. Il a des inspecteurs favoris, il en supporte d'autres, quelques-uns le déconcertent.
Maigret existe, et je crois que je ne possède pas d'amis sur qui je connaisse autant de choses quotidiennes et intimes.
Faire vivre ce personnage, c'est une aventure passionnante pour un metteur en scène.
Parmi tous les livres de la série - je les ai tous lus plusieurs fois -, j'en ai choisi plus spécialement un : Maigret tend un piège parce qu'il permettait au commissaire de se manifester totalement.
Ce n'est pas le nombre de coups de revolver qui m'intéresse. Je ne crois pas qu'il soit captivant, ni pour les auteurs ni pour les spectateurs de recommencer, même sous une forme différente, ce que tout le monde connaît.
Tandis que dans notre histoire, Maigret rencontre une race de criminel qu'il ignorait. Sorti de son gibier habituel il doit employer des armes nouvelles et cela le conduit dans un tel enfer qu'il en éprouve une sorte de peur...
Tout cela rend plus humain et je dirais presque plus faible mon ami Maigret ...


Ce texte a figuré dans le dossier de presse de Maigret tend un piège, au moment de la sortie du film, en 1957.
Maigret has no connection with trends, because this character, unlike so many others, is no longer a creation.
So you don't misunderstand me, I'm not questioning Simenon's paternity – far from it. If he took a real police commissioner for a model, he developed him, modified his behavior, changed certain facts. He practiced his novelist's trade completely while creating this fellow... but he gave him so many features, so many details, so much simple complexity that his character escaped him, went out all alone into the street, and lives his own life.
Simenon himself understood that so well that he had to write Maigret's Memoirs, where the commissioner settles some accounts with his creator...
"Simenon said that I wore a bowler hat... that isn't true... he spoke of my overcoat with a velvet collar... that's a ridiculous detail that struck him... I had one once, of course, but I changed... my career is long..."
Simenon confesses that when he reads Maigret's Memoirs, he doesn't always agree, and so by his own account, Maigret exists.
It goes so far that even the Police, who don't joke, presented an inspector's card to Maigret... If Simenon can participate in certain confidential or official functions, it is not as a novelist, but as the representative of Maigret. He is to some extent a part of the corps. This has never happened to a fictional character, not even to Sherlock Holmes.
Maigret interests me because he is not an absolute winner, not a flamboyant hero, he is a man. He has a wife whom we know, who has her own habits and charm... we know where he lives, we know his apartment with its character and even its ridiculous sides. We know that Maigret himself catches cold easily, and how he takes care of himself.
We not only know his habits, his penchant for a small glass, his familiar words, but we know his problems. We know that he feels for some of his clients a kind of sympathy, that some affairs disturb him enough to make him sick. He has bouts of conscience, he doesn't always follow the rules, but still considers himself a horse grown gray under the harness. He has his favorite inspectors, and puts up with others, while some bother him.
Maigret exists, and I believe that I have no friends about whom I know so many intimate details of their daily lives.
To make this character come alive is a passionate adventure for a director.
Among all the books of the series – and I've read them all several times – I especially chose one, Maigret Sets a Trap, because it allows the commissioner to manifest himself completely.
It is not the number of revolver shots that interests me. I don't believe that it is enthralling, neither for authors nor for readers, to redo in a different shape, what everybody knows.
Whereas in our story, Maigret meets a kind of criminal new to him. Denied his usual game, he must use new weapons, and it drives him into such a hell that he feels a kind of fear...
All this makes more human, and I would say almost weaker, my friend Maigret...


This text appeared in the press release of Maigret Sets a Trap [directed by Jean Delannoy], at the time of the film's release in 1957.
From Cahiers Simenon 1 - Simenon et le cinéma, Les Amis de Georges Simenon, 1988.

Other French Polars
11/23/05 – If Roddy is interested in French polars then I can make a few recommendations.
The first couple of novels in the Rouletabille series (by Gaston Leroux, author of Phantom of the Opera) are fun. Rouletabille is a boy reporter who uses "le bon bout de la raison" to solve unsolvable mysteries. "Le mystère de la chambre jaune" (1907) is notable for being one of the first "locked room" mysteries and is quite successful (if, at times, somewhat hysterical). "Le parfum de la dame en noir" is a closely-tied sequel, which must not be read before chambre jaune, and which has a very weird premise. Both books were recently filmed by Bruno and Denis Podalydès. The series declines pretty rapidly from "Roueltabille chez le tsar" onwards, becoming more adventure than mystery, but almost all the French people I've spoken to have fond memories of Rouletabille. The vocabulary is fairly simple.
I like Arsène Lupin too, and would especially recommend the first two, "Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Cambrioleur" (1907), which is a series of great short stories, and "Arsène Lupin contre Herlock Sholmes" (1908), along with "Le Bouchon de Cristal" (1912). The vocabulary is pretty simple, and you can find the full list of titles at coolfrenchcomics.com.
On the contemporary scene, Fred Vargas is excellent. Her (yes, she's a woman, and a celebrated archaeologist) best novel is probably "L'homme aux cercles bleus" or "Pars vite et reviens tard". Both are great Paris-based mysteries, and her commissaire Adamsberg is a wonderfully weird character, a kind of dysfunctional Maigret. He shares M's penchant for getting out of the office and wandering the streets of Paris and avoids thinking during an enquiry (in one book he tries, comically and unsuccessfully, to maintain a notebook). But, in place of a Mrs Adamsberg, there's a romantic/catastrophic on-off relationship, shabby suits and poor eating habits. The vocabulary is fairly argotic, but worth the effort, and you can read a good interview with her (in English), at books.guardian.co.uk. I'm also following two contemporary series that are set in Paris in different historical periods.
Jean-François Parot's Nicholas Le Floch (hailed by one reviewer as "a new Maigret") is a young policeman, new to Paris in the period directly before the revolution. The period detail is impressive and fascinating - Le Floch meets various historical figures and gives us a good tour of 18th C Paris, and the mysteries are pretty good. The tone is quite dark, with plenty of unpleasant deaths, and some interesting stuff on the nascent arts of scientific investigation. The first in the series is called "L'énigme des Blancs-Manteaux", which is a street just around the corner from where I live! Vocabulary quite tough, because of lots of historical terms.
Claude Izner is the pseudonym of two sisters who are, apparently, bouquinistes on both sides of the Seine. Their Victor Legris is a bookseller who, in the first volume, "Mystère rue des Saints-Pères", gets involved in a series of murders in and around the Great Exhibition of 1889, including one on the newly opened Eiffel tower. Again, the period detail is nice, but the tone is much lighter (at one point Legris declines the opportunity to buy a painting by an unknown painter called Van Gogh for 10 Francs), and verges on the slapstick at times. I thought that the mystery was pretty much all over the place, but it won the Michel LeBrun prize, so what do I know! I just finished this, and liked the characters enough to try the next, but I'm hoping that the plot will be a bit better thought out. Vocabulary easier than Vargas or Parot.
Oh, and in the absence of a single volume edition, I just placed an order at Amazon for Signé Picpus - the edition recommended by Joe, amongst others. Thanks guys.
Cheers
--Robert

Thanks
11/24/05 – Thanks for the suggestions about French crime writers so far. Will keep me reading for a while. I look forward particularly to reading Fred Vargas.
By chance, on the day I posted my request, I picked up "One Deadly Summer" by Sebastien Japrisot, and have been devouring it this week. Great characters and setting, a real feel for French provincial life, and an intriguing plot. I believe it was made into a film starring Isabelle Adjani, so that is one DVD I must seek out.
Thanks again. Look forward to more recommendations.
Roddy

Maigret DVDs
11/24/05 – I spent Thanksgiving Day (24 November) in Paris walking around and searching for some jazz CDs that I never found. I did come up with two boxed sets of Maigret DVDs. The first is Box One of the Bruno Crémer series and there were three others on display.. Each has 5 DVDs and 10 total episodes. After looking at the contents of each box, I choose this one to get Signé Picpus.It's in French but has English subtitles. It was 60 euros at FNAC.
The second one may be the more interesting. It has 6 DVDs with 12 total episodes. These feature Jean Richard and are in black and white. These shows were first aired between 1967 and 1970 and are in broadcast order. They are only in French. They are for DVD Region 0 but only for PAL system TVs. Oddly enough, this one also includes Signé Picpus. The cover says that this is Volume 1 but I did not see Volume two anywhere. It was 50 euros at FNAC.
As I got home an hour ago, I've not had time to even open the packages.
Joe

More Simenon Books
11/25/05 – Forgot to mention that I also picked up L'Âne Rouge plus all three of the 13s, Mysteries, Enigmas, and Guilty Men. The 13 trio are newly released and this is the first time I've ever seen them as new books.
I had the idea to go to 67 rue Caulaincourt with the four books that played there; I would have set them on the stairs or the sidewalk and photographed them in front of the house. I brought M and the Fortuneteller, M and the Loner, and M's Pipe (Mlle Berthe and her Lover) on the train with me, reading over half of the Fortuneteller on the way down I read more in the Métro and the rest on the train back. Things and the weather didn't quite work out as planned and the shorter days didn't help matters along. I'll try and do this some other time.
Regards
Joe

Maigret Statue - 1966
Paris Match June 25, 1966, p.1

11/26/05 –


Sculptor Pierre de Hont, of Utrecht, finishing the model.
SIMENON DÉVOILERA
LA STATUE DU
COMMISSAIRE MAIGRET

Personnage imaginaire, plus célèbre que Georges Simenon qui l'a créé, le commissaire Maigret aura bientôt sa statue. Elle s'élèvera sur la place de Delfzijl, petite ville du nord des Pays-Bas, où Simenon plaça l'intrigue de son premier roman, en 1929. Le sculpteur Pierre d'Hont, d'Utrecht, en achève l'ébauche. Le 3 septembre, jour de l'inauguration, tous les Maigret de l'écran seront là. Pour la France : Michel Simon et Jean Gabin.

SIMENON TO UNVEIL
THE STATUE OF
COMMISSIONER MAIGRET

Imaginary character more famous than Georges Simenon who created him, Commissioner Maigret will soon have his own statue. It will be erected in Delfzijl, the small city in the north of the Netherlands, where Simenon set his first novel, in 1929. On September 3, [1966] the day of the inauguration, all the screen Maigrets will be there. For France: Michel Simon and Jean Gabin.

The Warm Compote

The stove is lit for the first time since last winter. Some intimate puffs have invaded all the corners.
He sits down at the end of the table, while his mother keeps walking, moving knives, jostling drawers, without deciding to sit. To clean knives just at the time of sitting down at the table! Mothers have these crazes. They trot, always in motion, always cleaning, and if, for a moment, they set themselves down, you know that their hands are not at rest.
To clean knives while the coffee is steaming in the cups! As if the table settings were not clean enough for the two of them! How important is the bronzed smudge of a blade on the fruit!
The cork rubs, squeaking ceaselessly on the steel. Again...
Finally, his mother sits down, after having removed, shaken, folded, and set down on a piece of furniture her striped apron.
He starts his meal. He eats, a little fire in his cheeks, while looking at the compote. A dull bluish pond, soft and warm, bottomless, alive, you might say... A pond that palpitates. Of the blood of plums, thick and heavy. A fragrant marmalade, soft like the first fire whose yellow flames sketch caresses.
The mother eats very quickly. Already she is thinking of some important task, to scour the copper candelabra, perhaps, or to cover the small pots of jam aligned on a table, warm and still alive.
He is going to tell her, while looking at the compote, to distance himself. No, he won't say it yet. The compote clings to him. This dull and sugary pond, it is the past in which he himself is mired. But he has to speak. Those months past, the months of waiting, without daring to bruise their life of two, their household. His small household of her, his melancholy household of a widowed mother.
He will speak. No, his resolution drowns itself in the fragrance of the ruddy compote. His small child's fingers dive into it instead; it is soft, warm, and sugary.
Is it his fault if he has to leave? Every man, one day, starts a household... and breaks with the past, all of a sudden.
Why is the compote looking at him like that, so softly, as if it promised quiet, infinite and sweet?
He wants to speak. He speaks, without giving free rein to his thoughts. One by one, he lets the pieces fall.
— Tell me, Mother! You understand... You also loved, started a home. I have a need, you see, to make a life of my own... Not immediately...
The mother who was nibbling a slice of bread so quickly, stops eating. Why is it that mothers never understand? Why do they one day forget their old feelings? No, the mother doesn't understand. It is warm. Everything is clean, and soft, and quiet... Why build another life? Why construct a nest of chance, when a soft nest enfolds you?
And the mother is sad. On the dull blue compote, as on her eyelid, a reflection shimmers, resembling a tear.
How things have changed so quickly! Are some words, a resolution, enough to cut the cords that join us to familiar objects?
Everything has changed: the mother, the home. The mother cries, and he feels that he cannot comfort her as before. He looks at the things around him, and in the sweetness of the first fire, they speak very soft reproaches. The cords have been cut. He doesn't understand them anymore.
The warm compote, fragrant and bottomless, gets no further regard, no more thought. The past has fled.

Georges SIM.
(December 15, 1922.)

 
The combination of studying Baronian's edifying "Chronology", and adding Simenon's 1922 Compote to the list of texts accessible at this site – now totaling over 200 – led to the creation of a Chronological Index for all the texts now residing here, in which "Le Compotier tiède" holds first position, as the earliest.
ST

A Simenon Chronology... Magazine Littéraire 2003... "The Warm Compote"... Chronological Index
11/29/05 –

Jean-Baptiste Baronian's

Simenon Chronology

A concise chronology of the high points of Simenon's life and work, from the Sur les traces de Simenon (On the Trail of Simenon) issue of Magazine Littéraire, February, 2003.

This Simenon birth centenary issue, with 14 articles on Simenon and his works, by leading Simenonists, is still available from Magazine Littéraire ( #417, 6€ ).

The first article, Francis Lacassin's 1975 Simenon interview, originally appeared in the December, 1975 issue, translated here as "Holding his characters at arm's length was exhausting", and again for the 2003 issue, with different photos and a few minor changes as "Simenon: Every Life is a Novel".


Fairly early in the interview, Lacassin asks, "You were doing well in journalism – why did you leave it in December 1922?" and Simenon replies,
"I already wanted to become a novelist. I'd written several stories that the Gazette de Liège had published. I'd submitted three or four others to the magazine Sincere, a literary magazine with a very small circulation, directed by a professor of the University of Brussels, Fernand Désonay. It was in this magazine that my first real literary text, "Le Compotier tiède," appeared."

 
"Le Compotier tiède" is reprinted in Francis Lacassin and Gilbert Sigaux's 1973 Simenon, from Plon. I've translated it here as The Warm Compote, Simenon's "first real literary text," signed Georges Sim when it appeared in La Revue Sincère in 1922:

Maigret of the Month: Félicie est là (Maigret and the Toy Village)
12/01/05 –
Whilst living at the Château de Terre-Neuve in Fontenay-le-Comte (Vendée), Simenon probably wrote in the winter of 1941 to1942 one of the longer Maigret short stories, Menaces de Mort, which was published in the weekly Révolution nationale in six instalments from March to April 1943. It did not appear in book format until Presses de la Cité included it in volume 25 of Tout Simenon in 1992. Steve Trussel has translated this short story under the title of Death Threats (refer to Maigret Forum 8/1/1998).

As far as his writing was concerned, the year 1942 proved to be a sparse one for Simenon. Several films based on his work were released during the year, but perhaps the author was more concerned about the health of his son Marc who was three year’s old. The Château proved to be damp and a doctor advised the Simenons to take their son to the coast for a while so that he could receive the sea air. A friend found a vacant villa for Simenon to rent in La Faute-sur-mer (Vendée) where Simenon, Tigy, their son Marc and Boule stayed for over two months. Here in April 1942 Simenon wrote the second part of his longest novel, Pedigree and in May the Maigret novel, Félicie est là (Maigret and the Toy Village). In July, having moved back to the Château de Terre-Neuve, he wrote one more novel, La Fenêtre des Rouet (Across the Street).
In Félicie est là, Maigret is investigating a murder which has taken place about thirty kilometres west of Paris. The location is between Poissy and Orgeval (both then Seine-et-Oise – now Yvelines) in a house on an estate that is in the process of being built, which Simenon calls Jeanneville.
[Near the beginning of the novel Monsieur Gallet, décédé (The Death of Monsieur Gallet/Maigret Stonewalled), written in the summer of 1930, Maigret visits the Gallets’ home on a similar new housing estate, but at St. Fargeau (Seine-et-Marne)].
The novel Félicie est là is lighter in tone than the previous two Maigret novels (Signé Picpus and Cécile est Morte) written within the past sixteen months, and the investigation turns out to be less complex.
Simenon concentrates mainly on a kind of duet between the twenty-four year old Félicie and Maigret. Throughout it is a battle of wills between the two, when at times the atmosphere created becomes one of annoyance and irritation, frustration and stubbornness, but not without touches of humour and empathy. With the character of Félicie it is almost as if Simenon is echoing one of those from his other novels – les romans durs – such as Marie Le Flem in La Marie du Port (Chit of a Girl/Girl in Waiting) written in October 1937.
The English translation of Félicie est là by Eileen Ellenbogen is close to Simenon’s French text. It was first published in hardback format in 1978 by Hamish Hamilton (UK) and in 1979 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (USA).
A section of a map of 1925 that shows Poissy and Orgeval in relation to their environment
(Albert Dauzat et Fernand Blournon, Paris et ses Environs, Paris, Librairie Larousse, 1925).


A section of a later map that shows Poissy and Orgeval in relation to the city of Paris
(Map N° 55, Paris, Michelin, 1963).

Peter Foord
UK

Maigret of the Month: Signé Picpus (To Any Lengths/ Maigret and the Fortuneteller) - 3
12/02/05 –

Stanley G. Eskin does not hold a very high opinion of Signé Picpus (he calls it "off-the-wall", and I agree with him, so far as the plot is concerned), but he draws a very interesting comparison between it and other Simenons.

During Simenon's "apprenticeship" writing pulp fiction, he produced a novel called Nox l'insaissable, published in 1926 in Ferenczi's detective series.

Eskin writes:

It is in the Arsène Lupin tradition, and features a super-detective, Anselme Torres, pitted against a super-thief, Nox. Nox announces ahead of time that he will rob a certain banker, defying anyone to stop him (preannounced crimes occur several times in the Maigrets: L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre, for example, Signé Picpus, and Maigret hésite).

Eskin, op.cit. p65

Roddy


Another pre-announced crime appears at the beginning of Death Threats, bringing Maigret into the affairs of M. Émile Grosbois.
ST

Maigret of the Month - 2006

monthtitle
JanuaryL'Inspecteur Cadavre - Maigret's Rival (1944)
FebruaryMaigret se fâche - Maigret in Retirement (1947)
MarchMaigret à New York - Maigret in New York (1947)
AprilLes Vacances de Maigret - No Vacation for Maigret (1948)
MayMaigret et son mort - Maigret's Special Murder (1948)
JuneLa première enquête de Maigret, 1913 - Maigret's Fist Case (1949)
JulyMon ami Maigret - My Friend Maigret (1949)
AugustMaigret chez le coroner - Maigret at the Coroner's (1949)
SeptemberMaigret et la vieille dame - Maigret and the Old Lady (1950)
OctoberL'Amie de Mme Maigret - Madame Maigret's Own Case (1950)
NovemberLes Mémoires de Maigret - Maigret's Memoirs (1951)
DecemberUn Noël de Maigret - Maigret's Christmas (1951)

Félicie est là
12/02/05 – I am grateful to Peter Foord for pointing out that a similar new housing estate to that in which Félicie est là is set is present in M. Gallet, décédé, but I seem to recall that Simenon set one of his romans durs in a similar setting. I thought it was in Les Fiançailles de M. Hire (one of my very favourite novels, for all sorts of reasons), but a cursory flick through that novel indicates that my memory has failed me on this one. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Roddy

Some French teachers catching on?
12/03/05 –

Maigret help!?
hey, i dont know if youll be able to help me, but i need some info on the book 'maigret et l'homme du banc'
in your description you talk about the man who steals for Mr. Thouret, called Jeff the Clown. Why does he have this name?
and it states that maigret realises that the killer must have been someone from the boardinghouse, how does he know this ??? why is this?
thanks, i need this info asap if you can help
Linton

Félicie est là / Cécile est morte
12/06/05 – I just finished "Félicie est là" and found some similarities with "Cécile est morte". In both books, there is a young women in front of Simenon and in both case, the emphasis is put by his colleague.

In "Cécile est morte" , Simenon wrote (chapter 1, 2nd page)
- Dites donc, Maigret ... Elle est là!....

In "Félicie est là", Simenon wrote (chapter 1, 2nd page)
- Dites donc, Maigret...
- Quoi ?
- Félicie est là!

The text is the same! The similarities stop here, one has to wait a month before getting Maigret's attention and the other needed only a few minutes (and a murder), as one is going to be murdered and not the other. Did Simenon remember his previous story when he started "Félicie est là"?

Jerome

BBC Radio Plays
12/06/05 – Firstly, what a wonderful site. I collect radio shows and am missing three of the BBC productions. Maigret's Special Murder from 1986, Maigret's Christmas from 1998, and Liberty Bar from 1977. Can anyone help? I have all of the other BBC productions available in cassette format.

Alan Keith James

Maigret on the Radio
12/07/05 – Alan's note (below) reminded me that radio doesn't usually receive much attention here, where print and film tend to reign. I've added a page to Reference to begin to correct this oversight – Maigret on the Radio. It's based primarily on data found in one of Frank M. Passage's Old Time Radio Program Logs, and needs some input.
I hope Maigret radio buffs will come forward to update, correct, and expand the information. Currently it's all from BBC and CBC, but I'm sure that's not the limit...

ST

More similarities with Félicie est là
12/07/05 – A prostitute named Adele is one of the characters in Félicie est là. The same name was used for women of easy virtue in Au Rendez-vous des Terres-neuvas and La Danseuse du Gai Moulin.

There is a crusty old bachelor called Monsieur Charles, although he is a harmless character compared to his namesake in Cécile est morte. The last Maigret of course is called Maigret et Monsieur Charles.

Roddy

A Simenon Afternoon
12/11/05 – I went to the second hand book Marjet, in Parc Georges Brassens this afternoon, and found a book on Simenon (for 6 euros) – it is Georges Simenon, collection portait souvenir, edited by RTF and librairie Jules Tallandier in 1963. The book is part of a set of portraits made by the RTF (radiodiffusion-télévision francaise), the public television channel realised by Paul Seban. It was broadcast the 30th of November and 7, 14 and 21 December 1963.
The book contains an interview between Simenon and Roger Stéphane, who asked the questions, and is illustrated with many pictures. There is a complete chapter on Simenon and Maigret. Some of the pictures are nice and I have never seen them before. It refers at the end to two other programs on Simenon: one by an Englishman, John Schlesinger, in 1958, and one by Jacques Hauduroy (Swizerland) in 1959 (see: Simenon... in the role of ...Simenon).
There's some information on the interview of Simenon made by John Schlesinger here...

He worked at the BBC (1956-61) directing documentaries for the Tonight and Monitor series. For Monitor he directed longer pieces including features on the Cannes film festival, a portrait of Georges Simenon, (1959), Benjamin Britten at Aldeburgh, (1959), Italian opera, (1960), and a study of four young painters, Private View, (1960). He made his name as director when he was given the 30-minute Terminus, (1961), to make. This gave him the Gold Lion award at the Venice film festival and a British Academy Award.
The BBC web site mentions some short documentaries in the 50s here.
I went after that to La Coupole and got a small leaflet, "La Coupole s'expose", related to an exhibition of pictures on the history of La Coupole. There is a picture of Josephine Baker but none of Simenon... the web link is here.

I wish you a Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Regards
Jerome

Best Mysteries of All Time
12/15/05 – I have been looking at several different lists of the 100 best mysteries of all time. They were put together by several mystery experts, which included mystery writers, critics, publishers and others. I combined ten of those lists and wound up with 790 mystery titles appearing in one or more of those lists. Simenon has five titles in the combined list; three Maigrets, one-half Maigret and one non-Maigret:

  1. Maigret in Court
  2. Maigret Stonewalled
  3. My Friend Maigret
  4. The Man Who Watched the Trains Go By
  5. The Stain on the Snow; The Snow Was Black
Juan

Maigret of the Month: Félicie est là (Maigret and the Toy Village)
12/20/05 –
One of the most interesting aspects, to my mind, of Maigret's characterization is the way in which he immerses himself in the atmosphere of the crimes that he investigates. There are a number of pertinent passages in Félicie est là, such as the following (excuse my translations - I don't have the English version to hand):

Maigret? Que voulez-vouz que je vous dise? Il s'installe dans une enquête comme dans des pantoufles. (chapter 2) Maigret? What do you want me to say? He settles into an enquiry as if it were a pair of slippers.
Il fait doux. Le ciel vire sensiblement au violet. Des boufées fraîches viennent de la campagne et Maigret se surprend, la pipe aux dents, à se tenir un peu voûté, comme se tenait Lapie. Voila même que, en se dirigeant vers le cellier, il traine la jambe gauche. (chapter 2) It's mild. The sky is turning markedly violet. Cool gusts of wind are coming from the countryside and Maigret is surprised, the pipe between his teeth, to find himself stooping a little, as Lapie did. He even drags his left foot as he heads towards the storeroom.
...c'est autre chose que cherche le commissaire, c'est le sens du drame et non sa reconstitution mechanique. (chapter 5) ...the commissaire is looking for something else, the meaning of the drama, and not its mechanical reconstruction.
Maigret a un façon de s'étaler, de s'épanouir, de respirer la vie par tous les pores... Il regarde autour de lui ce décor qui lui est devenu si familier, que par une sorte de mimetisme, il prend les allures des habitants. Maigret has a way of spreading himself out, of opening up, of breathing life through every pore... He looks around him at this décor, which has become so familiar that, by a sort of mimicry, he begins to ressemble the inhabitants.
...il lui semble qu'il est obligé, par ce sacré métier qu'il a choisi, de vivre la vie de tout le monde au lieu de vivre tranquillement la sienne. (chapter 6) It seems to him that he is obliged, by this damned job that he has chosen, to live the life of everyone instead of quietly living his own.

Such explanations and representations of Maigret's "methods" are, of course, strewn throughout the novels and are, perhaps, as crucial to the character as his pipe. Is anyone aware of any work done to inventory them?

Cheers
--Rob

Porquerollité
12/23/05 – My silence on this forum merely means I have nothing new to say – I still appreciate it immensely.
Recently, I've been rereading the Maigret works. Right now, I'm reading Mon Ami Maigret, and I was struck by the observation that many permanent residents just went there [Porquerolles] for a brief vacation and never left. It was debatable just how long one had to stay before acquiring "porquerollite" (my edition left off the accent that I'm sure belongs on the last "e").
Porquerollité must mean a totally laid-back, careless approach to life. You just live from day to day, and take pleasure in looking at the port, in having drinks at the bar, and in forgetting as much as possible that there is a mainland, there a few miles across the sea.
I think Simenon was always torn between porquerrolité and what one might call "liegisme", the hard-nosed, hard-working approach to life that he grew up with in Wallonia. To a remarkable extent, he achieved both, by working very hard for 10 days and then doing practically nothing for 20 or 30 days.
Maigret is a little the same, it seems to me. He loves to just drift along, talking and listening and sniffing the air, arrosé (what a wonderful word!) by constant drinks of one alcohol or another. Yet he turns what might be his failing into his method for success. For whatever Mr. Pyke might think, he does have a method, just not one he could lecture on before his fellow professionals.

Oz Childs

Maigen
12/25/05
an
alphabetical,
color-coded,
cross-indexed
hypertext list
of the proper names
and other interesting words
appearing in the 103 Maigrets,
with some explanatory context,
keyed to the source volume.

Merry Christmas!

For your present, click on the link in Oz's posting below...

Steve

Porquerollitis
12/26/05 –
Bonjour!
J'aimerais revenir sur le message de Oz Childs du 23.12. à propos de la "porquerollite", pour y apporter une précision.
Il faut bien en effet lire "porquerollite" sans accent aigu sur le e final. En français, le suffixe "ite" indique une maladie (terminologie médicale, avec une idée d'inflammation, comme dans bronchite, otite, conjonctivite). Dans l'épisode correspondant de la série "Maigret" avec Bruno Crémer, on utilise le terme d'"insulite", littéralement "maladie de l'île".
L'analyse que fait Oz Childs sur la porquerollite est donc correcte, à cette nuance près qu'il ne s'agit pas au départ d'un état, mais d'une "maladie", d'un "virus" que l'on attrape lorsqu'on séjourne dans cette île, et qui fait qu'on "se laisse aller", qu'"on se laisse vivre" sans se soucier de plus rien.

Meilleures salutations et bravo pour votre excellent site.

Murielle
[translation]
Hello!
I would like to go back to Oz Childs's message of Dec. 23, with regard to "porquerollite", to clear up a point.
"Porquerollite" should, in fact, be read without the accent aigu on the final e. In French the suffix "-ite" indicates an illness (a medical term, with an idea of inflammation, as in bronchite (bronchitis), otite (otitis, ear infection), conjonctivite (conjunctivitis)). In the corresponding episode of the Maigret series with Bruno Crémer, they use the term "insulite", literally "island sickness".
The analysis that Oz Childs makes for porquerollite is therefore correct, with the nuance that it begins not so much as a state, but as an "illness", a "virus" that you catch when you stay on this island, and that makes you let go of yourself, live without worrying about anything.

Best regards and bravo for your excellent site.

Murielle

Simenon in Connecticut - Paris Match 1953
12/30/05 –

Paris Match   (N° 217)
May 16-23, 1953, pp 56-57

 

Simenon, Connecticut farmer,
launches Maigret on American TV

Reported by Mara Scherbatoff and Nick de Morgoli,
of our New York office.

original French

Here's a nice little Paris Match story about Simenon living in Connecticut, to end off the year with a "catchy" title. The text reveals:
"Simenon is currently finishing up negotiations for a weekly Maigret television series. The films will be shot in France and the actor who will embody the famous inspector will live a large part of the year in Paris."
The CBS-TV Studio One (live) production of Stan the Killer was a few months earlier, in September of 1952, but this is the first I've heard about an American TV Maigret series planned in 1953...
ST

Prefaces to Maigrets?

12/31/05 – In Le chien jaune, there is a preface by Marcel Aymé. Are there other Maigrets with a preface? By who? Also, has Simenon written prefaces to any of his books related to Maigret?
I wish you a Happy New Year, 2006.
Jerome

25 Maigrets from the large and small screen...
12/31/05 –

How many have you seen?

click on a picture to check the name

A New Year's Blog
12/31/05 –

I guess I can call it that. I don't usually talk much here, mainly put up articles and add new features to the site. Actually, I had started to write about Félicie. First, how I was surprised in the Bruno Cremer tv version that they'd gotten rid of the "toy village" – it was set in a small country village, but not a development like Jeanneville, and so the house was quite different, and there were animals everywhere. It seemed very faithful to the plot, but if you just looked at the pretty images, it should have been called "Maigret at the Petting Zoo" – ducks, geese, rabbits, cats, dogs, mice, goats, sheep... all over the place, indoors and out. (Actually, it was called La Maison de Félicie (Félicie's House.)) Then I watched the Michael Gambon version (Maigret and the Maid) and there was the red hat (green in Crémer), and a feistier and more memorable Félicie, but in only 60 minutes, so the story was a bit condensed... (I've still to see Jean Richard play it, and find out what kind of Félicie Frédérique Meninger was... but coincidentally I had these two just in time for Félicie's Month.)

But then I got to thinking that Félicie wasn't a detective story at all, that it was a portrait, and I started to collect the references and it began to seem like maybe it wasn't a portrait either, or not as much as it was... a love story! Blasphemy! Mme Maigret's suspicions and joking take on a sharper meaning after Maigret hastens to reply, at the end of Ch. 6, before the Lobster Dinner... "And I, my dear Félicie, adore you!" So I gathered the quotes, and they tell their own story, as far as it went... and I thought, oh, this is too long for the Forum, I'll have to make it a full-fledged article... and so I put it aside, until Oz's mail – isn't that great, getting a posting clearing up the ite issue! – got me to thinking that Porquerolles needed that link to the encyclopedia... and then I was thinking...

Well, in fact, just the other day, someone sent mail wanting to buy my website. Not just Maigret, but all of Trussel.com. Why?, I asked myself. Well, to make money, of course. How? By charging for it. It's hard to find another explanation.

And I was thinking about that MaigEn – the Maigret Encyclopedia that some of you have already discovered. Now that's obviously the research tool I've used to come up with "all the Berthas in all the stories" or whatever, here, and it was a lot of work, and I first thought of publishing it in book form... after a lot of editing... but when I printed it and passed the 650-page mark, and realized how much I'd want to polish it here and there... well then I thought, oh, I see, CD-ROM! Then the hyperlinks are still there, and then I thought, yes, but it still needs more work, more editing... couldn't I just put it up on the site so that everyone could use it, and work on it at the same time?... And so once again...

Well, while thinking along those lines and working it up for the web, in came the pretty new (1953) Paris Match, which, because of the title, I'd looked forward to as possibly solving more of the mystery of, or at least adding to the information about, the US TV production of Maigret, which we've already learned had had the wrong actor credited for Maigret – not the famous Eli Wallach, who played Ozep, but the less known Brent Romney... and it turned out it wasn't about that show, but one which never existed... it seems...

So up went the new (old) Paris Match instead of that lovely Félicie article...

And no one has yet said a word about MaigEn. You can get there from any of the plots pages, where the names in the story are now linked to entries in MaigEn, (which I think is pretty cool,) and there's a link on the Reference page, where (I hope) you'd expect to find such a thing... but why would you want to? Only if you were reading a Maigret and something reminded you of something, or you didn't know where somewhere was, or if someone had appeared elsewhere, or... well, maybe because it was fun. So, I haven't put up an introduction, no key to the colors. I thought it would get to be obvious. There are cafés and hotels, police and real people, streets and geography... all a bit vague, but maybe helpful when scanning for a hotel name... Isn't it great how everything links together!

I always hope readers will send in corrections, but a friend of mine just spotted a typo in M. Owen (Such much... should have been So much...) that so many people must have seen and not mentioned, so I'm not too optimistic about getting proofreading help from users. Still, if you do spot something that looks terrible, won't you let me know?

Oh you want to see the Félicie? Well, it's really not finished... but what is? Click here.

Happy 2006!
Steve

Visiting Liège
12/31/05 – Some information on Liège for anyone fancying a stay there. I found it a very attractive city in 2003, though I travelled there from Brussels rather than staying in it.

It's no crime to steal away for a few days to Liege...

Happy New Year!

Roddy

MaigEn
12/31/05 – I guess I didn't notice the new encyclopedia until Steve mentioned it. It's useful and like all Steve does a labor of love (I can't imagine what this place would be like if someone bought it and tried to profit from it).
My first research was into the Place Constantin-Pecqueur, which was probably not named after the emperor Constantine's pecker, but it would be nice to know who it was named after. What surprised me was that the entry wasn't even longer. Not only does Lognon live there, but it seems Maigret's witnesses, etc., have an almost unnatural connection to the place, so Ithought it was in many more books.
I'm hoping that Steve (or volunteers?) has the time to expand the Encyclopedia, to provide a brief explanation of a lot of terms American readers might not understand, in two areas of interest to me: the French legal system (Parquet, juge d'instruction, greffier/bailiff, jury trial, the French bar, for instance). And, to explain, briefly, the various drinks that Maigret finds himself imbibing.

Oz Childs

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