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Maigret Biography
from the work of Jacques Baudou

Jacques Baudou, in his book, The Numerous Lives of Maigret, published by Les moutons électriques in 2007, proposes his own chrono-biography of Maigret. As it is spread over more than 100 pages in that work, I've summarized the essentials here (comments are mine - MG)...


1885 –   The birth of Jules Amédée François Maigret in Saint-Fiacre (Baudou's note: "In "Maigret Stonewalled" [GAL], the first volume published by Fayard in 1931, the biography gives Maigret, on June 27, 1930, an age of 45. Which places his date of birth either in the second half of 1884, or the beginning of 1885. Gilles Henry, in his "Commissaire Maigret, qui êtes-vous ?", leans towards 1884, because that was the year of the birth of Simenon's father, which supports his "biographical" theory. Maigret's retirement in April, 1940, further supports a birthday in April, 1985.").

1893 –   The death of Maigret's mother.

1897 –   His father puts Maigret in boarding school at the Banville Lycée in Moulins.

1902 –   Maigret begins his studies at the School of Medecine of Nantes.

1905 –   The death of Maigret's father, which interrupts his studies. He goes to Paris, where a chance encounter leads him to enter the police (see Maigret's Memoirs [MEM]).

1911 –   Maigret becomes secretary to the Commissioner of the Saint-Georges district.

1912 –   Maigret marries Louise, whom he met during the winter of 1911-1912.

1913 –   Following a first case where he experiments with what will become his "method", he is posted to the Quai des Orfèvres as an Inspector.

1915 –   Maigret enters the Special Squad of Chief Inspector Guillaume.

1927 –   In November Maigret investigates, in a distressing plunge into his childhood memories, the death of the Countess de Saint-Fiacre; at Christmas of the same year, little Colette is entrusted for a while to the Maigrets (see Maigret's Christmas [NOE]).

1928 –   Maigret is charged with reorganizing the Flying Squads in Normandy and Brittany; he investigates the death of the old lady of Bayeux [BAY]; in January, he attended a sale by auction [VEN]; then, towards the end of the year, he would hear the evidence of the altar-boy [cho]; in November, Maigret investigated a mysterious yellow dog [JAU], which roamed the streets of Concarneau.

1929 –   In July, Maigret found himself in Delfzjil for a crime in Holland [HOL] (Baudou proposes at this time an amusing theory according to which Maigret would meet Simenon in Delfzjil, while he was awaiting the recaulking of the Ostrogoth... "We can assume that this meeting took place in one of those squeaky clean Dutch taverns, under the characteristic odor of gin... Maigret, reassured by the attentiveness of his listener... and in the spirit, thanks to several glasses of the national liquor, tells the young man about some of the most interesting cases he'd had to deal with."). In October, Maigret was on a case in Liège where he met a dancer at the Gai-Moulin [GAI]; In November, he was named Chief Inspector of the first Flying Squad, in Paris, and led the investigation of the enigmatic Lett [LET]. At the end of November he returned to Liège for the case of the hundred gibbets [PHO].

1930 –   A busy year for Maigret, who resolved a number of cases, which Baudou classifies here:

January: Inspector Cadaver [CAD] and Maigret and the Flemish Shop [FLA].

February: The Hotel Majestic [MAJ].

March: Liberty Bar [LIB] and The Madman of Bergerac [FOU].

April: Maigret Meets a Milord [PRO] and Maigret at the Crossroads [NUI].

May: Maigret and the Toy Village [FEL].

June: The Sailors' Rendezvous [REN] and Maigret Stonewalled [GAL].

July-August: The Bar on the Seine [GUI] and Maigret and the Fortuneteller [SIG].

October: Maigret and the Spinster [CEC], A Man's Head [TET] and Maigret and the Death of a Harbor Master [POR].

November: Maigret Mystified [OMB].

1931 –   Maigret, who'd been transferred to Luçon, in February led the investigation in exile [JUG]. After several months he was recalled to Paris, where he was appointed Divisional Chief Inspector and took over the direction of the Homocide Squad. During the following years, he led numerous investigations, which Simenon recounts in the Presses de la Cité cycle. (Jacques Baudou: "The publication of these investigations was spread out from 1947 to 1972. The biographer considered it well, in order to fit in better with the time of appearance, to add several "modern" touches... the Maigret have a television, have bought a car to get away on the weekends... details which fit well with the '60s and the beginnings of the society of consumption. During the '30s, when the reported investigations actually took place, there was no television beyond the experimental stage... But we can't hold it too much against Simenon for having fit his novels to "the taste of the time"...").

1933 –   Maigret investigates an art collector (Maigret and the Ghost [FAN]).

1937 –   In June, Maigret deals with a strange dentist (Maigret on the Defensive [DEF]); that winter, Maigret investigates the death of Honoré Cuendet, a quiet burglar (Maigret and the Idle Burglar [PAR]).

1938 –   In June, Maigret has a visit from Léon Florentin, which begins the investigation of his boyhood friend [ENF]. In the summer of the same year, the Maigrets buy a little house in Meung-sur-Loire; in the fall, Maigret takes on the case of Gaston Meurant (Maigret in Court [ASS]); in November, he deals with the reluctant witnesses [TEM].

1939 –   Maigret turns down the post of Director of the PJ; in May he investigates the death of Count Saint-Hilaire (Maigret in Society [VIE]); in September, it's the affair of the black sheep [BRA] which keeps him busy.

1940 –   In April, Maigret begins his last large official investigation, at the lock at Charenton [ECL]; two days before he is to retire, he investigates a murder committed in the North Star Hotel; and on Wednesday, April 16, 1940, he retires at the age of 55. That same year, however, he agrees to take on two cases – in May, that of Mademoiselle Berthe and her lover [ber], and in July, that of the three daughters of the lawyer [not]. In November, he goes to England with Mme Maigret, but, stuck in Dieppe because of a storm, he finds the time to resolve the murder of a boarding house maid (Storm over the Channel [man]).

1941 –   In February, he has to handle another affair, that of his nephew, suspected of murder (Maigret Returns [MAI]). In March, he will spend several days on the Côte d'Azur, where he investigates the unlikely Monsieur Owen [owe]. In April, at Meung-sur-Loire, he investigates the death of a butcher (The Group at the Grand Café [ceu]). In May, we see him cross the Atlantic for the Maura affair (Maigret in New York's Underworld [NEW]). In the month of August, he receives a visit from Bernadette Amorelle, who asks him to investigate the death of her grand-daughter Monita (Maigret in Retirement [FAC]).

1953 –   Maigret takes up the pen to settle some accounts with Simenon and writes his Memoirs [MEM].

Murielle Wenger

translation: S. Trussel,
Honolulu, February 2010

Original French

 

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