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Constructive Drinking: Perspectives on Drink from Anthropology,
Edited by Mary Douglas. Chapter 12, pp. 220-236.
Cambridge: © Cambridge University Press, 1987.

 

Maigret's Paris, Conserved and Distilled

Lisa Anne Gurr

In 1930, Simenon wrote The Strange Case of Peter the Lett, which introduced Jules Maigret, Chief Inspector of the Quai des Orfèvres in Paris; the last Maigret story appeared in 1972 (see Appendix A for those cited in this essay). Few other detective novelists wrote so much so well, and particularly so well about drink; Maigret appears in 102 books and short stories.1

Any work of fiction seeks to create a world; a good novel succeeds.2 The world, to be believable, must be properly formed and structured, and ordered with a logical system of rules. This is not to say that the novel's world is always familiar; it need only be coherent.

Simenon wrote of a Paris — of its bistros and quartiers, of its Chief Inspector, criminals and policemen, and of its landladies, shopkeepers, and waiters — that did not exist. But it is patterned on a real world; the archetype is Paris of the 1930s. So this Paris is frozen; it is the same a decade before World War II as it is just after Viet Nam. It is a Paris that existed only in memory for most of the years that saw the publication of the Maigret stories. Dennis Porter, writing about the detective novel genre, calls this "unchangeability in radically changed times."3 The social rules of Maigret's world are discernable because the behavior is patterned. The social order is the same throughout all the books, and the rules that form the social order are also the same.

The behavior that most clearly indicates the social structure is drinking. The other classes of things that people do that might have served the same purpose for Simenon — to give clues to what to expect — are not nearly as well developed as the drinking habits. Food and dress are not often mentioned in these books, and very rarely in any detail. Drinking is used by Simenon as "a class of behavior which makes regular responses to changes in the world."4 Drinking is not only physically functional. Its social functions are perhaps less apparent, but also important. Drinks occur within and denote a social system. They indicate groups: the social classes, the sexes, foreigners, and outsiders. The principles of inclusion and exclusion are apparent in the rules of hospitality and in other rules of drinking. Drinks also form a sequence that begins with the morning coffee, includes the apéritif before dinner, and ends with the bedside water. Simenon pays very close attention to the structure, the social system. As Porter says, the Maigret novels are "characterized by notations on manners that make sharp distinctions between the social strata of French life.''5 Maigret says: "Our job is to study men. We take note of some of the facts. We try to establish others.''6 This is, no more and no less, anthropology's job, too. Maigret seeks to understand the whole of the milieu. He gathers his impressions, and then he ponders; he is not analytic, but rather imaginative. He goes deeply into the local mores, tries to unravel a system of rules. The clues, the details, are infinite, and few are directly related to any crime. But they are the atmosphere of the criminal and the crime. And if Maigret can succeed in understanding the atmosphere, he knows who the criminal is. His purpose is

To know the milieu in which a crime has been committed, to know the way of life, the habits, morals, reactions of the people involved in it, whether victims, criminals, or merely witnesses.7
We are looking at a variety of levels of observation, and it would be helpful to keep them separate in our thoughts: Simenon creates and observes Maigret and the other characters; Maigret observes other characters; and we observe the whole lot of them. Simenon has created a world, and left clues; we, and Maigret, seek to decipher the clues, and the biggest clues for us are the drinks.

An amazing variety of drinks in great quantity are named in these books. Maigret and many other characters drink an awful lot but are rarely described as being drunk. A list of the drinks and the frequency with which they are mentioned or are drunken may be seen in Table 1. It gives a good idea of the variety of drinks being consumed by a variety of characters. (Appendix B is descriptions of some of the less obvious drinks.) Table 2 is of the actual number of drinks that Maigret consumes or mentions. These lists are a starting point for distinguishing the social classes. Table 3 gives some characteristics of most of the drinks, including the class with which they seem to be associated.

The social classes in Maigret's Paris are the same in 1942 as they are in 1969. The lines are clear, and the crossover rare. The main divisions are the working class, the petite bourgeoisie, the haute bourgeoisie, and the aristocracy. The distinction between the petite and the haute bourgeoisie is economic, not ideological. Maigret is entirely committed to upholding the entire system. His commitment as a policeman and a detective is to order, to uphold the order.

Simenon pays most attention to the bourgeoisie and most fully describes it, and his central character is bourgeois. Maigret's father was bailiff to the count and the château of Saint-Fiacre in Allier in central France. Maigret says that his father was of an intermediary social class:

the estate of which my father was manager was one of seven and a half thousand acres and included no less than twenty-six small farms.
Not only was my grandfather ... one of these tenant farmers, but he followed at least three generations of Maigrets who had tilled the same soil.8
Maigret's grandfather was a peasant; Maigret's father was one half step up; and Maigret himself has reached the petite bourgeoisie: "I belong to the social group, of course, to what are known as respectable people."9 His personal, not professional, loyalties lie with the lower-middle class. Describing his arrival in Paris as a young man, he says
I was all alone in the world. I had just landed in an unfamiliar city...
Two things struck one: that wealth on the one hand, and that poverty on the other; and I belonged to the second group...
Now not for one moment did I feel tempted to rebel. I did not envy them. I did not hope to be like them one day.10
By his class loyalty and his commitment to the social system as a whole, Maigret conforms to the social ideal. John Raymond comments that "Maigret has his own firm ideas about the social order."11 His work reflects his desire to maintain the order, his commitment is to the status quo.

The word maigret means thin, spare, scarce. Maigret is by no means thin, but he disapproves of any form of ostentation, of display. He is bourgeois in manner, in expectations, and in tastes. His drinks of choice are beer, brandy, coffee, and wine. Beer seems to be the lowest common denominator of drinks for Maigret and men of his class. The brandy category includes a wide range of brandies, which have many different meanings. Maigret drinks coffee for the same reasons as everyone else; coffee has no particular meaning for Maigret except that he occasionally has to be up all night. It is interesting that Maigret never orders red wine for himself. He drinks white wine much as he drinks beer, though less often.

Maigret is not a peasant, and his drinking marc (a coarse, mediocre brandy) is a regional distinction. Marc is made in Bourgogne, less than fifty kilometers from Maigret's birthplace near Moulins.

Other regional loyalties are also demonstrated. In Maigret's Memoirs, Maigret is writing a letter to Simenon, making a few corrections to the Maigret stories:

Simenon has mentioned a certain bottle which we always had in our sideboard ... and of which my sister-in-law, according to a hallowed tradition, brings us a supply from Alsace on her annual visit there.
He has thoughtlessly described it as sloe gin.
Actually, it is raspberry brandy. And for an Alsatian, apparently, this makes a tremendous difference.12
Incidentally, not only did the sloe gin become raspberry brandy, but the raspberry brandy later underwent a final transformation into plum brandy which is, however, still Alsatian.

Maigret is the symbol of his class, and the great majority of Simenon's Parisians are bourgeois, including many of the criminals. Maigret visits a woman in the Rue Mouffetard to tell her that her son, a burglar whom Maigret had known for many years, had been killed in the Bois de Boulogne. They have a drink of plum brandy together from her sideboard (Maigret's people often drink at the news of a death and at funerals). When Maigret gets home, he notices that his sideboard also holds a bottle of white spirits.13

Simenon's distinction between drinks and between classes is very clear. The haute bourgeoisie and the aristocracy are set apart from the petite bourgeoisie by their drinks. Tea is treated as a sign of upper-class and foreign habits. Maigret visits two women one day in the course of an investigation: the first is a bourgeoisie, the second a princess. "Alain Mazeron's wife, in the Rue de la Pompe, had offered him some beer. Here it was tea."14 Tea reappears as a sign of social class in another investigation.15 A lower-class prostitute describes seeing a man visiting a house across the street from her room:

"He never stays long. If I remember rightly I've never seen him late in the evening. About five o'clock, that's more his style. For afternoon tea, I expect."
She seemed delighted to show off her knowledge of the fact that, in a world remote from her own, there were people who took tea at five o'clock.16
Maigret never drinks tea. Tea is not masculine, it is a mark of those aspiring to a higher class, and it is foreign. Maigret compares himself to another high-ranking inspector: "Superintendent Danet probably took afternoon tea now and then; whereas Maigret had lunched at a bistro with a paper tablecloth, in the company of workmen and Algerians."17 Maigret sets himself firmly against social climbing of all kinds.

The upper classes (the upper-middle class and the upper class) often pride themselves on their discrimination and taste. Maigret visits a lawyer of the highest level of the bourgeoisie. The lawyer, Parendon, offers Maigret a drink: "'The cognac isn't particularly good, but I have a forty-year-old armagnac...'"18

In the Maigret stories there is very little naming of wines, and no overt gourmet appreciation of wine. Maigret would consider the gourmet approach to wine upper-class and affected. Although wines are mentioned 42 times, there are only seven individual wines named, and only eleven times are wines even named at all (see Table 4). Only one named wine — the Saint-Emilion — is described, and then simply as "unforgettable."19 The bouquet, aroma, or body of a wine is rarely mentioned. Although Maigret "remembered the white wine which left an aftertaste that recalled some country inn,"20 this is a personal and not a gourmet description.

When Maigret is first made a detective, he goes with his new colleagues to the Brasserie Dauphine to celebrate. The Brasserie Dauphine is hard by the Quai des Orfèvres, and is patronized by the detectives. The Brasserie Dauphine also delivers; the waiter carries up countless trays of beer and sandwiches to the offices.

In our old corner we used to drink half-pints of beer, seldom an apéritif. Obviously that wouldn't do for this table.21
Maigret buys several rounds of the unfamiliar and potent mandarin-Curaçaos, and spends his first day as a detective drunk. This is the only time Maigret is ever described more than a little tipsy. He does not usually indulge in oddities. He sticks to his beer and pipe.

The working men drink red wine more than anything else, but not many are described. At a bar, the clientele is described as "mainly men in blue work-clothes or old men from the surrounding district who came in for their glass of red wine."22 Workers do not ever drink beer or white wine in this Paris.

Maigret, in the course of his work, comes into contact with people of many different social classes. He follows their social rules and drinks what they drink. When he is in the company of people of a higher class than he, he sometimes needs to show his own class loyalty, to indicate that he is not trying to rise socially. But with people of the working class, he is comfortable and doesn't need to differentiate himself. For example, in an expensive hotel where a murder has occurred, Maigret tries to order a beer at a tea-dance. The waiter answers, "'We don't serve...'" Maigret interrupts, tells the waiter who he is, and is served a beer.23 After leaving the home of the wealthy bourgeois lawyer and his family, he goes into a bistro: "He wondered what he would drink, and ended up by ordering a pint of beer. The atmosphere of the Parendons still stuck to him."24 Later on, in the same household, he is offered a choice of wines:

What did it matter? In the state he was in, vintage Saint-Emilion or some ordinary red wine...
He didn't dare say that he would have preferred the ordinary red.25
In one story, Maigret investigates the death of an aristocrat. He is ill-at-ease and unsure of himself. He is with people with whom he is unfamiliar and whom he holds in awe.
He had made contact ... with a world which was not only very exclusive but which for him, on account of his childhood, was situated on a very special level.26
And when he leaves their home, he "literally plunged into the fuggy atmosphere of a cafe and ordered a beer"27 to regain his equilibrium.

Maigret is investigating a murder among the international jet set and is rather disgusted with the members of this group and their way of life. Drinks indicate a group or a class. Often, the group and the drink are stereotypes. Americans drink whiskey and gin, the working class drinks inexpensive red wine, and the aristocracy drinks tea.

Maigret had intentionally taken a Calvados after his meal out of sheer contrariness, because he was about to re-enter a world where one did not drink Calvados, much less marc, but only whiskey, champagne, or Napoléon brandy.28
Another time, Maigret goes to Monte Carlo to speak to a wealthy American, and as they are talking, "A waiter whom nobody had rung for brought in a misted glass of some transparent liquid, presumably a Martini." Maigret is curious, and has one too.29 The American is unknown to Maigret, but Maigret can nonetheless guess what the man drinks, simply because he is a rich American.

Maigret's efforts in an investigation are always directed towards learning, towards understanding. His bourgeois Paris is not a sophisticated, urbane place. In his encounters with the exotic, he is always curious. Maigret visits a Turkish criminal, and sits "on the edge of the sofa, examining the little Turkish coffee cups with interest."30

Maigret also reacts against drinks which have a gender rather than a class identification. A landlady from whom Maigret rents a room serves him chartreuse: "He had always hated liqueurs. Mademoiselle Clément, on the contrary, seemed to delight in them.''31 Maigret does on occasion drink liqueurs, but here he is reacting to the sweetness, the false gentility of the drink. While working on this case, he rebels against the cloying atmosphere by drinking beer,32 white wine, and also "calvados, as a protest against the chartreuse he had drunk the night before."33

Although the most obvious use of drinks is in the denotation of social classes, Simenon also uses them in other ways.

Only four women are ever described drinking alcohol. One is the landlady already mentioned above. Another is a prostitute whom Maigret buys a drink in exchange for information. The two others are alcoholics. One woman, a wealthy bourgeoise, is a secret drinker. Her husband is murdered, and when Maigret tells her, she does not react, although she did not kill him:

he was certain the woman facing him had been drinking, not merely before she went to bed, but that morning already, and a strong smell of alcohol still hung about the room.34
Maigret sees her drink out of a bottle (we are not told what she drinks); he is repulsed, and leaves her bedroom quickly.35

Another Frenchwoman, a very wealthy countess and a member of the international jet set, also drinks, but not as secretly. Her drinking and her choice of drinks — champagne (Krug '47) often and whiskey occasionally36 — reflect her special, high status. She withholds information from Maigret; she had discovered the corpse, and had not notified the police.

Otherwise, none of the other women with whom Maigret comes into contact are ever described drinking alcohol. Presumably, the Frenchwomen in Maigret's world do drink wine at meals, but they are only described drinking coffee, tea, and mineral water. Maigret is very aware of this, and when an elderly woman is to go to the Quai for questioning. Maigret orders a bottle of mineral water for her from the Brasserie Dauphine along with the usual bottles of beer.37

The only woman who reappears in the stories, Maigret's wife, never seems to drink alcohol at all. The only drink Madame Maigret is ever described drinking besides coffee is a tisane: "[Maigret] treated himself to a glass of calvados and his wife had a verbena tisane."38

This Paris may entertain a prejudice against women drinking alcohol. The tacit exclusion of women from the bistros then would be a means of preventing women from drinking, especially publicly. Women are not especially prominent in Maigret's Paris, and would not then be bound to the social system in the same way men are, which is in part through the use of alcohol beverages.

Social groups can be identified by their drinks. Between individuals, imitation can be sincerest flattery. Lucas, one of Maigret's trusty inspectors,

had come to copy his boss in his slightest habits, in his attitudes, in his expressions, and this was more striking here [in the Maigrets' apartment] then in the office. Even his way of sniffing at the glass of plum brandy before putting his lips to it...39
In an effort to understand a new situation, Maigret sometimes imitates the people in a case. A very young man of good family is shot one night in a poor district after drinking a brandy in a bistro.40 The next day, Maigret "ordered a brandy, since there had been a lot of talk about brandies the previous evening.''41 Later on in the investigation, the killer, a psychopath, calls Maigret on the phone. He tells Maigret that he has had a few brandies. A little later, Maigret and another one of his inspectors, Janvier, go to the Brasserie Dauphine: "'A brandy,' ordered the superintendent, which made Janvier smile."42 A story often centers on a single home or a very small area of Paris where there are well-established patterns. The pattern of drinking there, the prevalence of a single drink in a story often adds a unifying thread to the story. Simenon is not interested in random, violent crime, crime without reason, without background, without locale. There must be a context in order for the crime to be understood.

The principles of inclusion and exclusion which are the foundation of the division between the social classes and the sexes, are also demonstrated in the display of hospitality. Offering or accepting a drink is an indication of a social relationship, the acknowledgement of social obligation. Hospitality has its rules.

A woman who keeps a lower-class bistro reproaches Maigret: "'... you forget that in the old days you sometimes came to my bar for a drink, and you weren't above picking up the bits of information I could give you."'43 He is obliged to her because he accepted both the information and the drink.

A wealthy American offers Maigret and his inspector a whiskey; Maigret accepts. However, Lapointe, "out of tact, merely took a glass of beer."44 Lapointe was not the real object of the offer, but the offer had to include him and he had to accept the offer, according to the rules of social drinking. But he chooses a lesser drink appropriate to his more minor role.

The obligations which are implied in accepting a drink can be manipulated. There is a handsome, red-haired prostitute from whom Maigret wants some information. He buys her a drink because she "felt slightly mistrustful."45 Thus, he forces her to be obliged to him, and he also displays good will. She does give him the information, and helps him trap a murderer.

The Maigrets have a house in the country which they use on the weekend, and to which they later retire. One weekend, they arrive in the village: "They are welcomed at the inn with open arms and they had to have a drink with everyone, for they were considered almost as belonging there."46

In one case, a gesture of hospitality not offered is a clue. An elderly diplomat is found dead in his study, and Maigret is thinking:

Supposing the former ambassador had let somebody in the flat ... Somebody he knew, since he had sat down again at his desk, in his dressing-gown ...
In front of him, a bottle of brandy and a glass ... Why hadn't he offered his visitor a drink?47
It would have to be someone well known to the diplomat, but someone he did not like — and so it was.

On another level, drinks point to a time of day, or to a location in the week or year. Even though the Maigret stories are not fast-paced, there is still a need to indicate the time, the day of the week, and holidays. The most regular indicator, or clock, is coffee; it is drunk by men and women of all social classes in the morning, after dinner and supper, and as a stimulant late at night. A great many of the stories contain an almost identical scene:

As on every other morning, his first contact with life was the smell of coffee, then his wife's hand touching his shoulder, and finally the sight of Madame Maigret, already fresh and alert, wearing a flowered housecoat, holding his cup out to him.48
This scene starts the vast majority of Maigret's days. But Sundays and holidays, "he was supposed to lie in bed till late in the morning."49 But Maigret hates staying in bed, he likes his weekday routine. Anything out of the ordinary makes him grumble.

Maigret drinks coffee at home before he goes to the Quai. He arrives a little before nine. After nine, and for the rest of the morning, he drinks, for the most part, beer and white wine. The beer is often sent up by the Brasserie Dauphine. Maigret also very often drinks in the bistros in the Paris neighborhoods. He drinks coffee after the midday meal, before going back to the Quai. In the afternoons and evenings, Maigret mostly drinks brandy. He drinks coffee again after the evening meal. along with brandy, and late at night if he must be up late.

There is evident in the cycle of drinks the cycle of the day and of the calendar. The owner of a bar describes his daily pattern of business:

There's never a lot of people except in the morning for their coffee and croissants, or a Vichy water. About ten o'clock or ten thirty, workmen come in for a break, when there's some work going on anywhere nearby. I'm busiest when people come to have a drink before lunch or before dinner.50
It's difficult to tell when Maigret is having a drink before a meal, because he does drink so often, but it would be safe to guess that he uses this part of the pattern too.

If one knows the time or the day, one can predict the drinks. If one observes the drinks, one can guess the time or the day. On one Christmas day, Maigret is restless because he is on holiday, because he is not at the Quai. He is glad when an odd occurrence in the neighborhood relieves him of having to do nothing.51 There is, on this day, "wine and cakes on the table, the bottle of liqueur ready to hand on the sideboard."52 Several people come to the Maigrets' apartment that day in the course of the investigation, and are given liqueur — plum brandy — in honor of the holiday.53 But again, Maigret wants the old order: "After all, perhaps [he] too felt like a glass of cool beer."54 On another Christmas morning, "a large proportion of the population was still sleeping off the wine and champagne drunk at last night's réveillon suppers."55

The norm and the deviation from the norm are very important in Maigret's world. Maigret's duty is to defend the order, and crime lies outside the social order. Not only is the crime itself an anomaly, but the clues which lead to knowledge of the crime are also anomalies in the system. Maigret pays very close attention to anything out of the ordinary. Both actions and individuals can be usual or unusual.

The ordinary world is regulated by habits performed with little or no thought. For Maigret

Nine times out of ten an investigation would fling him at a moment's notice into an unfamiliar setting, confronting him with people of a set about which he knew little or nothing, and everything had to be learnt, down to the most trivial habits and mannerisms of a social class with which he was unacquainted.56
For it is only within the context of the normal — the habits — that the anomaly — the clue — becomes apparent. A burglar who watched homes he planned to rob from the windows or terraces of bistros, was caught because "they had picked up his trail in this way, finding that he had become a sudden and temporary habitué of various local cafés."57

The landlady who drinks chartreuse rents Maigret a room so that he can investigate a murder which occurred in the street outside. In the middle of the night, he goes downstairs to go across to the cafe to get a beer because the chartreuse annoyed him so much. He finds the landlady making coffee and sandwiches. The sandwiches are not surprising; the coffee is. He discovers that she is hiding a young robber under her bed and feeding him by night.58 The boy, however, has nothing to do with the murder.

Changes in habit can innocently reflect a change elsewhere in the system. When Maigret's wife goes on a visit to her sister's, he has two apéritifs instead of one.59 When he's at home, "as he passed the sideboard, he decided to pour himself a drink, something he could do today without exchanging a glance with his wife."60

When the burglar's corpse is found in the Bois de Boulogne, Maigret is called on the 'phone in the middle of the night. He grouses to himself, "Why did the coffee always taste differently on winter nights when he was woken up like this?"61

There are five characters whose drinking habits reflect their anomalous status. In Maigret's Paris men drink and women don't. Both the two women who drink too much do not report a murder. And of the three men who are abnormal because they do not drink, two are murderers.

Maigret talks on the telephone with the psychopath who killed the young man who drank brandy.

"Have you been drinking?"
"How did you know?"
He spoke more forcefully.
"I had two or three brandies."
"You don't usually drink?"
"Only a glass of wine with meals, rarely a drink by itself."
"Do you smoke?"
"No."62
Maigret talks with another man — another murderer — who has been a fugitive for many years, and the conversation is very similar:
"Do you smoke?"
"No, thank you. I haven't smoked in years now."
"And you don't drink either?"
They were getting to know each other, little by little ...
"I don't drink any more, no."
"You once drank a lot?"
"Once upon a time."63
Another man, the husband of the fugitive's mistress, does not drink but this time because his father was a drunkard: "'he's always had such a horror of drink ... Some people laughed at him."'64 This man is not a murderer, but an outsider all the same.

A small piece of information is often much more than it seems. That information can point to a lot within a context. The problem of course is knowing a context well enough to see the direction in which it points.


Table 1. Frequency of use of drinks

Coffee47
Café crème1
Coffee43
Coffee and brandy (listed twice)2
Turkish coffee1
Brandy46
Armagnac3
Brandy16
Brandy and water2
Calvados8
Coffee and brandy (listed twice)2
Cognac1
Kirsch1
Marc3
Napoléon brandy1
Plum brandy7
Raspberry brandy2
Beer42
Wine (excluding named wines)37
Champagne6
Red wine7
White wine17
Wine7
Miscellaneous alcoholic drinks26
Apéritif4
Gin and tomato juice1
Martini3
Rum (straight)5
Scotch2
Toddy (or hot grog)4
Whiskey7
Liqueurs15
Absinthe1
Chartreuse6
Liqueur2
Mandarin-Curaçao1
Pastis2
Sloe gin3
Drink (not specified)14
Non-alcoholic drinks (excluding coffee)11
Herb tea3
Tea5
Vichy water3


Table 2. Number of Maigret's drinks

Beer34*
Brandy24
Armagnac1
Brandy7
Brandy and water2
Calvados7
Marc1
Plum brandy5
Raspberry brandy1
Coffee19
Wine15
Red wine0
White wine14
Wine1
Liqueurs10
Chartreuse4
Mandarin-Curaçao2
Pastis2
Sloe gin2
Miscellaneous alcoholic drinks10
Apéritif2
Martini2
Rum2
Toddy (or hot grog)2
Whiskey2
Non-alcoholic drinks (excluding coffee)2
Herb tea (while ill)2
Drink (not specified)7
* "More than one," "several," and "many" are counted as two.


Table 3. Characteristics of some drinks: who drinks what

DrinkSex
Men or
women
LowerMiddleClass

Upper

ForeignMaigret
Coffeeboth–*regularly
Brandymenregularly
Armagnacmen   when offered
Calvadosmen   regularly
Kirschmen   never
Marcmen  regularly
Napoléon brandymen   never
Plum brandymen   regularly
Raspberry brandymen   regularly
Beermen   regularly
Wine (ordinaire)menregularly
Champagneboth  never
Red winemen   rarely
White winemen   regularly
Miscellaneous Alcoholic Drinks      
Apéritifmen   occasionally
Gin and tomato juicemen   never
Martinimen   when offered
Rum (straight)men   never
Scotchmen   when offered
Toddy (hot grog)men   occasionally
Whiskeymen   when offered
Liqueurs      
Absinthemen   never
Chartreusemen   when offered
Mandarin-Curaçaomen   when offered
Pastismen   occasionally
Sloe ginmen   occasionally
Non-alcoholic drinks      
Herb teawomen   when ill
Teawomen not by choice
Vichy waterboth not by choice
* Likely, but there is no evidence


Table 4. Named wines

Wine*Number of times
mentioned
Number of times
Maigret drinks it
Beaujolais22
Chavignol12
Pouilly-Fuissé21
Pouilly-Fumé11
Saint-Emilion33
Sancerre11
Vouvray11
* Interestingly, only the Beaujolais and the Saint-Emilion are red wines.


Appendix A. Citation of the Maigret stories

In citing the Maigret stories, I have used the date of the edition in English. These are the dates of the first publication in French.

novel / short storyFrench
publication
English
edition
Maigret and the Hotel Majestic19421978
"The Evidence of the Altar-Boy"19471976
Maigret's Memoirs19501978
Maigret Takes a Room19511978
"Maigret's Christmas"19511976
"Seven Little Crosses in a Notebook"19511976
Maigret's Failure19561973
Maigret and the Millionaires19581974
Maigret in Society19601973
Maigret and the Lazy Burglar19611973
Maigret Hesitates19691970
Maigret and the Killer19691971


Appendix B. A Description of Certain Drinks

Absinthea strong liqueur flavored with wormwood
Armagnaca dry brandy from the southwest of France
Calvadosa brandy made from cider; from Normandy
Chartreusean aromatic liqueur made in the southeast of France
Hot groga mixture of hot water and liquor
Kirscha cherry brandy from Alsace, West Germany, and Switzerland
Mandarin-Curaçaoa liqueur flavored with orange peel
Marca brandy of middling quality made from the residue of grapes; from Burgundy
Martinia cocktail made with gin or vodka and dry vermouth
Pastisa liqueur flavored with aniseed
Raspberry brandyfrom Alsace
Sloe gina liqueur flavored with sloe, the fruit of the blackthorn
Tisanean herb tea
Toddya sweetened mixture of liquor and hot water


Notes

1.  Becker 1977: Preface. For this paper, I have used eight novels and three short stories (although the lengths of the novels and the short stories are not very different). I have also used one book written in Maigret's voice, Maigret's Memoirs; it is not a mystery, but rather a collection of reminiscences. The publication dates of these twelve stories range between 1942 and 1969. The citation dates are the dates of the edition I quote, not the dates of the original French publication. See Appendix A for the latter.
2.  In this essay I am gratefully following I. Schapera's model of the use of fiction as ethnographic text as he developed it in "Kinship Terminology in Jane Austen's Novels", 1977.
3.  Porter 1981: 211
4.  Douglas 1984: 28
5.  Porter 1981: 213
6.  Simenon 1978b: 64
7.  Simenon 1978b: 76
8.  Simenon 1978b: 32
9.  Simenon 1978b: 77
10.  Simenon 1978b: 41
11.  Raymond 1968: 157
12.  Simenon 1978b: 81
13.  Simenon 1973a: 236
14.  Simenon 1973b: 158
15.  Simenon 1973a
16.  Simenon 1973a: 248
17.  Simenon 1973a: 256
18.  Simenon 1970: 20
19.  Simenon 1973a: 213
20.  Simenon 1978c: 114
21.  Simenon 1978b: 71
22.  Simenon 1971a: 39
23.  Simenon 1978a: 97
24.  Simenon 1970: 96
25.  Simenon 1970: 179-80
26.  Simenon 1973b: 118
27.  Simenon 1973b: 167
28.  Simenon 1974: 136
29.  Simenon 1974: 71
30.  Simenon 1978a: 150
31.  Simenon 1978c: 107
32.  Simenon 1978c: 127
33.  Simenon 1978c: 125
34.  Simenon 1973c: 45
35.  Simenon 1973c: 46
36.  Simenon 1974: 3, 100
37.  Simenon 1973b: 184
38.  Simenon 1971a: 120
39.  Simenon 1976a: 36
40.  Simenon 1971a
41.  Simenon 1971a: 60
42.  Simenon 1971a: 148
43.  Simenon 1973a: 287
44.  Simenon 1974:50
45.  Simenon 1974 158
46.  Simenon 1971a: 132
47.  Simenon 1973b: 172
48.  Simenon 1970: 112
49.  Simenon 1976a: 1
50.  Simenon 1971a: 33-4
51.  Simenon 1976a
52.  Simenon 1976a: 24
53.  Simenon 1976a: 30, 36, 41
54.  Simenon 1976a: 41
55.  Simenon 1976b: 53
56.  Simenon 1976a: 24
57.  Simenon 1973a: 229
58.  Simenon 1978c: 110, 115-16
59.  Simenon 1978c: 87
60.  Simenon 1978c: 88
61.  Simenon 1973a: 203
62.  Simenon 1971a: 146
63.  Simenon 1978c: 165
64.  Simenon 1978c: 141


References

Becker, Lucille F., 1977. Georges Simenon. Boston, Twayne Publishers
Douglas, Mary (ed.). 1984. Food in the Social Order. New York, Russell Sage Foundation
Porter, Dennis, 1981. The Pursuit of Crime. New Haven, Yale University Press
Raymond, John, 1968. Simenon in Court. London, Hamish Hamilton, Ltd.
Schapera, I., 1977. Kinship terminology in Jane Austen's novels. Occasional Papers No. 33. London, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
Simenon, Georges, 1970. Maigret Hesitates. New York, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich
1971a. Maigret and the Killer. New York, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich
1971b. When I was Old. New York, Harcourt. Brace, Jovanovich
1973a. Maigret and the Lazy Burglar, collected in A Maigret Trio. New York, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich
1973b. Maigret in Society, collected in A Maigret Trio. New York, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich
1973c. Maigret's Failure, collected in A Maigret Trio, New York, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich
1974. Maigret and the Millionaires. New York, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich
1976a. Maigret's Christmas, collected in Maigret's Christmas: Nine Stories. New York, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich
1976b. Seven little crosses in a notebook, collected in Maigret's Christmas: Nine Stories. New York, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich
1976c. The evidence of the altar-boy, collected in Maigret's Christmas: Nine Stories. New York, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich
1978a. Maigret and the Hotel Majestic. New York, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich
1978b. Maigret's Memoirs, collected in Georges Simenon. London, Heinemann/ Octopus
1978c. Maigret Takes a Room, collected in Georges Simenon. London, Heinemann/Octopus
Zeldin, Theodore, 1984. The French. New York, Vintage Books


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