HOW MAIGRET REGARDS WOMEN
Robert Jouannytranslated by Stephen Trussel
Do we imagine that Maigret's relationship with women can be reduced to the lines of mutual and cheerful understanding, or even the gastronomic tradition that the Commissioner maintains with his wife? This would ignore the fact that despite his incontestable chasteness, he is none the less a man, and the peace of his body doesn't necessarily imply that of his mind, conscious or subconscious, and that in the exercise of his profession, poor Maigret is brought into contact with all kinds of women in all sorts of places and circumstances... Isn't it to be expected that in spite of his well-tested morals, he sometimes savors "a little too much this promiscuity which was so unusual"1? It is not so surprising that he finds himself sensitive to the ambiguous charm of the beautiful Else,...more than ever endowed with what Americans call sex-appeal. For a woman can be beautiful without being attractive. Others, with less regular features, unfailingly arouse either desire or a sentimental nostalgia. Else inspired both. She was at once woman and child. The atmosphere around her had a sensual charm. And yet, when she looked somebody in face, one was surprised to see that she had the limpid eyes of a little girl2.In addition, it is hard to forget that Maigret only exists as a product of Simenon: behind the regard that Simenon gives his character, there is always the regard of the novelist himself, a novelist who would not, certainly, be suspected of indifference in the consideration of women!
We will try therefore, without lingering over the image of woman as a novelistic character, to discover and interpret Maigret's regard towards the diverse types of women he encounters, hoping to reveal the Commissioner's imagination and the representation that Simenon gives him. To that end, we will use a corpus of about forty of the seventy eight novels3 of the "Maigret" series, published between 1931 and 1971, excluding the short stories, in which, generally, facts take precedence over description or analysis of behavior.
In general, a woman is rarely the protagonist in the criminal affairs to which Maigret attends; at most she may be the deus ex machina, sometimes used as an object of desire, an instrument or inspirer of vengeance, less often a ringleader in a criminal enterprise, as Anna Gorskine in Pietr-le-Leton [Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett] (1931, 16) or "the Pole" in the short story "Stan-le-Tueur" [Stan the Killer] (1938, 25).
In a first typological approach, some images impose themselves by their frequency: that of the girl, "a nice [...] young girl, with dimples,"4 who "was not beautiful but [...] had a pleasant face and a well-proportioned figure, [...] wore a simply-cut suit and her hair [...] held back by a ribbon, although it was not the fashion"5; she is generally desirable but with an intense freshness verging on immodesty. Like Sylvie:'I must get dressed,' said Sylvie, standing up again, disclosing as she did so the greater part of her body. It wasn't intentional. It wasn't meant to be seductive. It simply didn't matter, and that was all. [She dressed and came back] looking altogether fresh and girlish. Under her white silk blouse her little breasts looked more than attractive yet Maigret had been staring at them previously without the smallest concern. Her skirt, fitting neatly over the haunches, and her tautly stretched stockings made her figure look light and lithe.6Another reassuring picture, that of the young mother, also calm and healthy in her blossoming,...she was firm and sound and glowing with health. Her features were regular, the colour in her cheeks was enhanced by her fair hair. [...] Her voice was the voice of a child, the docile voice of a good child answering questions. [...] While she was speaking, the girl gently took her breast from the baby, wiped its lips, and fastened her bodice.7One can associate her, or rather Mme Maigret, with the image of the interior woman, "a plump, kindly little woman, the sort usually associated with good home cooking, nourishing stews, and lovingly put-up preserves"8. More frequent are the ambitious or vulgar women, greedy or weak, dancers or prostitutes, often associated with the crime, directly or not, on whom Maigret looks without tenderness but not without kindness. And we should also remember, as much as he hates them, the shrewish women, generally aged, abusive, selfish, cruel mothers, sometimes criminal, generally destitute of all femininity9.
In fact, in all of these cases with the exception of the last, this summary typology is either denied or shaded by facts: the woman, attractive or unpleasant, honest or provocative, is for Maigret a being eminently ambiguous. She is the object of a constant subjective questioning, often, we will see, of sensual, or even sexual character. Is it not meaningful, for example, that of the spectacle of Paris teeming under a triumphant sun, he retains the impression of "the women nearly nude under their thin dresses"10?
Maigret never remains indifferent, and it is obvious that after his first look, the women whose paths he crosses arrange themselves into two opposite categories, according to their physiques and characters.
The negative image is that of the virile woman. Consider Gisèle, in Signé Picpus [Maigret and the Fortuneteller]:Why was Gisèle so badly dressed? And why did she have that scowl on her face, without which she would have been pretty? Her handshake was like a man's. She greeted Maigret without a smile, without the least softening of her expression, and when she turned toward the old man, her look was pitiless..11She is generally skinny, "an odd sort of girl, thin as a stick, with a pointed nose and a forehead like a nanny goat's, always decked out in all the colors of the rainbow"12, with a "high, stubborn forehead, butting away obstinately at anything that stood in its path"13. Her face, "hard and suspicious," testifies to a rigidity of character attested by the "rigid alignment of her hair14. What pleasure would there be in seeing a "skinny flat-chested creature, devoid of all femininity or charm"15? In most cases, indeed, the gauntness is unforgivable, even if it is associated with some sexual appeal, particularly a certain beauty of the breasts, to which Maigret is always attentive. And so,Although she was thin, with no hips to speak of, her breasts, by contrast, were well-developed and pointed and accentuated by her dress, which was a size too small for her.16But more frequently this thinness is an obstacle to all sensual perception, the relation between gauntness and lack of charm being put as nearly inescapable:She pulled one leg after the other out of bed, long, thin legs that would attract few male glances. Standing, she appeared tall, skeletal17.Another negative characteristic, with, however, more ambiguity, or even perversity, in Maigret's regard, is that of animality, which he doesn't hesitate to underscore when he finds himself in the presence of an adversary of his size, "provocatively animal, magnificently sensual"18: "...in the struggle her dress tore, and she was reduced to her usual state of half-nakedness, but looking magnificent, with her flashing eyes and curling lips [...] all the same she was beautiful, in a vulgar, animal way"19. That one there, at least, knew her men20...
To these pictures are opposed the more moving positive images, or at least those perceived as such by Maigret. The feminine type which attracts him is well-rounded, "young and blond, with plump curves under her overall"21 to whom he is ready to give his sympathy from the first meeting, even if he may later withdraw it:'What do you want?' she asked, buttoning her half-open blouse over a buxom bosom. Her accent was almost as musical as that of the South of France. She was not in the least uneasy. She waited. She seemed to be protecting the two men with her joyous corpulence.22And better still if it is a young girl. It is perhaps not without irony that a colleague announces to him:"Another young lady to see you, Maigret.... You seem to be popular with them today..."Appreciative of the freshness of a girl who "was neither pretty nor plain, but her simplicity was rather touching"24, he has, with another, "a paternal and benevolent air"25. The image haunts him even more when he glimpses the femininity of "a fine figure of a woman, in the popular acceptance of the word. A woman with an attractive body, sound teeth, a provocative smile, and an eye that was always animated"26; or of another such who "looked shy, scared [...] She had large limpid eyes, of a bluish violet and a face with childlike features, yet she was very womanly, and you could tell that she had a fully formed figure and soft, delicate flesh"27.
A different type altogether from Mlle Berthe. A plump girl, perhaps eighteen, with a large bosom, red cheeks, and bulging eyes. There was almost a smell of milk about her. You couldn't help feeling she'd just come from milking the cows.23
But Maigret is not content to draw up full-scale portraits that would let him establish a typology of women, without showing at what point he is himself concerned. This is not about typology, but of a real meeting that is supposed to occur in a context, in the very meaningful circumstances of the imagination of the novelist.
Woman in her intimacy
To appreciate the behavior of Maigret, it is important to note the nearly obsessive presence of settings or significant objects. Maigret is not content to receive women in his office necessities of the investigation bring him, more often, to see them in their familiar surroundings, to violate an intimacy that he is pleased to either imagine or to observe furtively, unless they obligingly offer him the spectacle of it. Maigret's behavior is determined by the silent dialogue that, in the same way as a real dialogue, is established between his regard and the female body.
the blue peignoir
If feminine apparel a severe suit or small provocative dress is always the object of a rapid evocation, one notes that frequently Maigret, at some moment or another, will enter a woman's room, and she will appear before him, in an obsessive and meaningful way, clothed in the blue peignoir which one knows must have belonged to the imaginary eroticism of a teenaged Simenon. So in Félicie's room,...there was Maigret, looking more imperturbable than ever. He seemed scarcely to be aware that he was in a young girl's bedroom, and that she was still in bed. [...] "Here's your dressing gown. I'll turn my back while you put it on." In spite of herself, she did as she was bidden [...] Her eagerness to learn the truth was so great that she dashed out alone to the landing, pale, thin, and shivering, in her vivid-blue dressing gown, intending to go and see for herself.28They parade through the works, "a youngish woman, trying to disguise the state of her undress beneath a pale blue housecoat"29, "Mme Parendon, still wearing her blue silk housecoat"30, "a tall girl in a sky-blue wrap"31, a dark little thing in her "sky-blue bathrobe"32, etc.
No doubt the robe isn't always blue, but of no color33, garnet34, grubby35, shabby36, or simply a dressing gown37... What is important is that, even if some shift or lingerie interferes, the robe has its role (at least for effect) to conceal as little as possible of the reality of the feminine body, a shoulder, a breast "small and round"38, even "letting one flabby breast pop out"39, as it "opened every time she moved"40, or "hanging wide open" to reveal her skin, "very pale, probably very soft"41, disclosing "the greater part of her body"42, quivering breasts43, or simply to make it clear "that she wore nothing underneath"44.
the offered body
It is indeed interesting to note how attentive Maigret is to feminine nudity. No doubt it is normal that the necessities of an investigation bring him to be alone in a woman's room, but one has the right to suspect his complaisant regard of such-and-such a part of this body. Are these women unaware of offering him real-life striptease performances? The frequency and detail of such narration show clearly that the quality of the Commissioner's regard of a body that denudes itself doesn't have anything to do with the needs of the investigation. There is no shortage of examples. It can be a professional dancer:[She] broke awkwardly into what was intended as a dance step, swaying her hips as much as possible; and then began, slowly, as she had been taught, to undo the hooks on the long black sheath she was wearing [...] The girl's shoulders were revealed, then one breast, which [...] caused a kind of surprise. [...] And Rose's hand indicated: "The other breast..." Her nipples were large and pink. The dress slid slowly down, the shadow of the navel appeared, and finally the girl,with a clumsy gesture, let it fall quite to the ground, and stood there on the dance-floor, hands clasped over her nakedness45a prostitute seeking scandal:Calmly she'd taken off her wrap, her shift, and pants, and, stark naked, had gone and lain down on the unmade bed, lighting a cigarette. [...] The whole thing was ludicrous. She was cool, quiet passive, a little glint of irony showing in her colourless eyes. [...] perhaps because of her pallid flesh, perhaps because of the surrounding squalor, it seemed to him that he'd never seen a woman so naked as that.46a girl who wants to pass for a prostitute:"Get undressed..." he sighed, relighting his pipe. But he had to turn aside his head so that his prisoner should not see the strange smile that came to his lips.
"Take everything off?"
He anticipated a conflict [...] Finally she literally tore off her jacket and her cream-coloured silk blouse, then sat down to remove her shoes [...] she let her skirt drop. Two small firm breasts were visible under her chemise47.
How surprised would Maigret be, tempted on occasion to brush aside such-and-such a fantasy, such-and-such a memory, conscious of the surprising character of such-and-such a meeting in the promiscuity of a room? If he is attentive at the instant, to the body and clothing of each of these women, if he is ready to analyze their personalities according to their shapes48, he retains no less the pleasing memory of that one's "sister, plump as a pigeon behind the snow-white counter of the shop. Had he not been just a little in love with her? "49, of "Lise in her bed, her fleshy lips, her gold-flecked eyes, her plump, naked breast..."50 "It was all too ridiculous, wasn't it? Could anything be more out of place than that solemn, bulky figure of a man [...] in surroundings [...] flimsy and insubstantial as a toy village?"51, he comments. No doubt he savors, more often than he would "perhaps a little too much this promiscuity which was so unusual"52.
Behind the discomfort, behind the feeling of living in a strange situation, which he often states, surfaces the sexual connotation of the situation. He acknowledges,...he remembered how he had glanced automatically at her breast; and above all he remembered the smell of human female that emanated from her almost the smell of a warm bed. He had seldom met a woman who gave such a strong impression of sensuality.53The discomfort that he feels on noting that a victim was "completely shaved"54 is meaningful enough of the Commissioner's psychic state: words that Simenon uses to describe the attitude of Maigret trouble, irritation, hindrance, curiosity, redness55, smile translate the existence, in his subconscious, of a troubled feeling: "desire, or a sentimental nostalgia"56.
Some passages are explicit enough. First the scene in the movie theater, which occurs with full commentary:...he could sense the movements of the woman next to him, [...] though all he could see was the man's pale hand. He gave a brief shocked cough. [...] She was motionless. Her face was white, like the man's hand, like the patch of thigh that he was uncovering, while keeping his eyes firmly fixed on the screen. [...] The soft sound of a kiss beside him... He could almost taste the moist, unfamiliar mouth... He slumped deeper inside the collar of his overcoat. Not long ago Nouchi had been impudently provocative... If he had been so inclined... Was it a common feature of adolescent girlhood, this inclination throw themselves at the head of any older man57?In other scenes, he seems plagued by fantasies caused by what he sees and hears (at the same time as he attempts to reassure himself). So,[He] put his ear to the door. Through it he heard something like a sigh, then the creaking of bedsprings. [...] Bare feet on the floorboards. The light went on. More footsteps. Finally, a bolt shot back, and the door opened just wide enough to show the fat girl in her nightgown, her features swollen with sleep, her eyes frightened. [...] The room smelled of bed, woman, a faint whiff of face powder [...] Emma slipped an old coat on over her nightgown [...] He turned his back and heard her fumbling for her underclothes, which he had seen in a heap on a chair by the bed [...] When he turned around she was still in her pink underwear and was pulling on her stockings. But he had seen plenty of women in his time. As for her, she was too upset to realize she was dressing in front of a man. [...] What a chance for a photographer, [...] the massive Maigret in that tiny room, leaning over a fat girl in pink underwear, tapping her on the shoulder! [...] [It was he the more emotional of the two]58.Sometimes he is content to imagine the woman based on only the sounds which reach him:One o'clock in the morning. Félicie was talking in her sleep. Maigret put his ear to the door and tried to hear what she was saying. [...] He stood for a moment listening to her breathing, and to the words that tumbled out like the babbling of a child. All he could see was the bed, like a milky stain, and her black hair on the pillow. He shut the door softly and returned downstairs on tiptoe59.Passages that take their meaning in their very discretion, if one remembers the ambiguous rapport that has settled between the two characters. Maigret coming to wonder whether he doesn't somehow miss Félicie (ibid., p. 585 [p. 36]) and to forget he believes! "that he was in a young girl's bedroom, and that she was still in bed" (ibid., p. 641 [p. 132]). The reader has besides in memory that Maigret was the object, or close enough, of an attempted (strategic) "rape" on the part of this same Félicie, during a scene in which his "interior monologue" and the nature of his regard are easy to decipher:
Overhead footsteps came and went, water splashed, coat hangers rattled in a wardrobe, a shoe was dropped and picked up, and a voice could be heard muttering feverishly. Félicie was there, all right!60He took the stairs two at a time and came to a halt in the doorway of Félicie's bedroom when he saw her lying on the couch. She was crying [...] It crossed his mind that this was all an act, that Félicie had picked her moment [a violent storm had frightened her], and even arranged herself in this touching attitude, with her dress artfully hitched up well above her bony knees. "Get up, my dear". Well, well! She was actually doing as she was told. The last thing he espected from Félicie was meek , unprotesting obedience. And here she was, sitting on the edge of the couch, her eyes brimming with tears, her face streaked with rouge, gazing at him with such a miserable, weary expression that it made him feel like an absolute brute. [...] Standing looming over her in this small room, he felt disproportionately massive, so he drew up a chair, sat down at the foot of her couch, and considered taking hold of her hands and pulling them away from her tear-stained face. [...] Good God! How impossible she was! Maigret would have been happier with the most hardened of hardened criminals, the most intransigent of recidivists. [...] At this point Maigret ought to have stood up, asserted himself, and put an end to this nonsense once and for all. He had every intention of doing so, thankful at least that there were no witnesses to this absurd scene. But he missed his chance. He was half out of his chair when another roll of thunder gave Félicie another excuse for a fresh outburst of hysteria. She threw herself into his arms and, with her face so close to his that he could feel her hot breath on his cheek, she cried: "Is it because I'm a woman? Are you another of those men like Forrentin?" "What's wrong with Forrentin?" "He wants me... He pesters me... He says that sooner or later he will have his way, and that, in the end, I... [...] If that's what you want, say so! I'd rather that than..." "No, child, no." This time he did manage to get to his feet. He pushed her away from him. "Let's go downstairs, shall we? There's no point in staying up here." "You came of your own accord..." "That doesn't mean that I have to stay, still less that I have any ill intentions such as you suggest..." 61In fact, Maigret succumbs, and, in his way gastronomic commits a real disloyalty to Mme Maigret, the only one, it seems, of his career:He waited, little suspecting that this lobster, even now turning red in the pot of boiling water, was to be the subject of endless teasing by his wife. Madame Maigret was not of a jealous disposition, or so she claimed. [...] Which did not prevent her from seizing every opportunity of saying [...] "It's not all hard work, [Maigret's professional activity] you know. It has it's compensations. Once might, for instance, in the course of an inquiry, find oneself dining on lobster with a girl named Félicie, and spending the night with her afterward..."Maigret, in any case, would he think that he was acting with no more than consideration for Félicie, arranging flowers in a vase, suggesting that it was time for her to go to sleep, bringing her café au lait in bed... for the purposes of the investigation, of course!
Poor Félicie! Good heavens, the last thing on her mind was an amorous adventure!62
But it is doubtful that it is still about the investigation when he undresses another with his eyes, notes that no bra retains a tired chest63 or that "little Maguy's printed cotton dress was clinging to her body; there were big dark circles under the arms, and one could see the outline of her bra and panties through the material"64!
Another scene deserves to be mentioned because it shows Maigret in the embarrassing situation that he imposes on so many women, at once constrained and, in the end, a little disappointed, maybe, that fantasies barely at level of consciousness don't turn themselves further into reality:He was convinced it had not been a dream: Geneviève Naud had come into his room. [...] She had positioned herself on that chair, sitting bolt upright without touching the back of it. At first, as he stared at her in sheer amazement, he had thought she was deranged. In reality, however, Maigret was infinitely more disturbed than she was. He had never been in such a delicate situation. Never before had a young girl who was ready to pour out her heart stationed herself at his bedside, with him in bed in his nightshirt, his hair ruffled by the pillow and his lips moist with spittle. [...] Even now, he could scarcely believe all this had happened, and the thought that he had lain prostrate like a dummy throughout the proceedings humiliated him. He was not vain, in the way men can be, and yet he was ashamed that a young girl had caught him in bed with his face still bloated by sleep. And the girl's attitude was even more annoying; she had hardly glanced at him. She had not pleaded with him, as he might have expected, she had not thrown herself at his feet, she had not wept. [...] He could not have said if she was beautiful, but she had left him with an impression of maturity and poise, which even her insane overture had not dispelled65.When all is said and done, this man who defines himself as chaste, "this powerful man, who for nearly thirty years had, in sense, been involved with the uttermost frenzy of human passion [...] was a puritan"66 Is it true? If his conduct is professionally and morally blameless, his reflections and his imagination are more ambiguous than he would wish: the sexual curiosity, the desire, is always present, hardly expressed, always dominated. But at what price and by what means? In only one case, but very meaningful, this pent-up desire expresses itself in "automatic" drawing:...he glanced down mechanically at the sheet of paper on his desk, and saw that what he had drawn was the outline of a fleshy mouth, a pair of sensual pouting lips, such as are to be seen in the paintings of Renoir. He tore the sheet into little shreds and threw them into fire.67
The images of women which pursue the unhappy Commissioner are inevitably brought by their functions to be in situations where the female body sometimes plays a determinant role: prostitutes, girls in revolt, jealous or forsaken lovers, maids complaisant or not, women surprised at their wakening... It results in a real fixation of his sexual imagination on breasts: furtively glimpsed breasts, defiant breasts of young women, breasts of mothers nursing, a "flat chest [...] not formed to rouse desire"68, etc. Does a kind of obsession haunt him (the one of the novelist perhaps?) which sometimes made Maigret feel "he was witnessing a blossoming of [open bodices]".69
Rarely is temptation is admitted. The novel in which, probably, it is most manifest, and on which we must dwell a while, is La nuit du carrefour [Maigret at the Crossroads]. There one finds a dramatisation of eroticism along with, implicit or explicit, evidence of the unexpressed feelings of Maigret: the setting and the game of seduction, the reactions of the victim of the game.
Recall that Else, prostitute and criminal, plays the role of an aristocratic girl living alone with her brother (in fact her husband, who, himself, is a real aristocrat) in a beautiful residence. Her "game" consists of seducing Maigret while playing on her charms and the setting of her room. The novelist arrives, while arranging in some pages the dominant motifs of the eroticism of Maigret, at making the reader a spectator, on the side of Maigret and, at the same time, making known the Commissioner's reflections and unexpressed desire, before this stereotypical image of the femme fatale, fascinating, then vulgar, in a setting worthy of La Vie parisienne, or a luxurious brothel. As one can judge, from a series of excerpts:[Else] came forward, outlines of her figure blurred in the half light. She came forward like a film star, or rather like the ideal woman in an adolescent's dream. Was her dress made of black velvet? In any case it was darker than the rest, forming a deep, rich patch. And what little light still remained scattered in the air concentrated on her fine fair hair, on her lustreless face. [...]Farther in the novel, even though trouble persists, Else, unmasked, rejoins in her vulgar reality other women Maigret has encountered:
A note which was too voluptuous, too lacivious perhaps? But there was nothing provocative about her. All her gestures and postures were simple [...]
The walls, the objects, Else's face itself were so to speak cut up into luminous slices. Added to that there was the young woman's cloying and other vague details, silk underwear thrown onto an easy-chair, a Turkish cigarette smouldering in a porcelain bowl on a lacquered table, and finally Else, in a garnet-red dressing-gown, stretched out on the black velvet divan. [...].
She laughed, a gay, mischievous laugh. One of her shoulders emerged from the dressing-gown, which she hitched up. And she remained recumbent, or rather curled up on the low divan [...] The scented bedroom, with her lying there in her dressing-gown, dangling a slipper from the end of one bare foot, and a middle-aged, rather red-faced Maigret with his bowler hat on the floor, looked like a drawing in La Vie Parisienne [...]
She was wearing the same close-fitting black dress as the day before. [...] She laughed. An innocent, tinkling laugh, more than ever endowed with what Americans call sex appeal. For a woman can be beautiful without being attractive. Others, with less regular features, unfailingly arouse either desire or a sentimental nostalgia. Else inspired both. She was at once woman and child. The atmosphere around her had a sensual charm. And yet, when she looked somebody in the face, one was surprised to see that she had the limpid eyes of a little girl [...]
The dressing-gown opened, as it had done that morning. For a moment one small round breast was visible. It was only a glimpse, and yet Maigret had had time to make out a scar [...]A pretty face, very thin, and suddenly tense and pointed [...] She poured some water into the bowl, calmly took off her dress as if it were the most natural thing in the world, and stood there in her slip, neither modest nor provocative [before Maigret]. [...] How well she had played the wilful girl of good family when she had talked about her parents' castle [...] It was all over. A single gesture was more eloquent than any number of words: the way in which she had taken off her dress and was now looking at herslef in the mirror before washing her face. She was the typical tart, ordinary and vulgar, healthy and cunning. [She says to Maigret:] "yesterday, when you were here and I let you catch sight of one of my breasts, your mouth went dry and your forehead damp, like the good old fatty you are... " [...] She straightened her back and looked complacently at her scantily-clothed body. [...]In counterpoint, the mechanic's wife represents, in the novel, the inverse of the femme fatale: "A woman in a pink crepon dressing-gown [who] was neither ugly nor pretty. [...] Her dressing-gown was vulgar and unattractive, and she stood awkwardly in front of Maigret, looking at her husband"71. If cases like this, where Maigret remains unmoved by the lack of charm, or even the vulgarity of the woman, or insensitive to too obvious attempts at seduction, are relatively numerous, it is no less true that, consciously or not, he often feels the need to protect himself against dark impulses, born of his own curiosity as well as the naive charm of some child-women, or the resplendent maturity of certain others.
As for him, he was savouring perhaps a little too much this promiscuity which was so unusual [...].70
He arranges several lines of defense, of which the most important are paternalism, his desire for lucidity and... Madame Maigret...
His problem is probably not having had a child (or more precisely having had a child who died very young and to which only one reference is made in the series) and so he is tempted to play the father to the young women he meets. The father he often recalls, to the point of self-denigration, the physical presence, in opposition to the fragility of the woman: this "solemn, bulky figure of a man"72 who can create the effect of a "brute"73; he wants to be "imperturbable"74, "powerful"75, feels "massive [...] in that tiny room, leaning over a fat girl in pink underwear, tapping her on the shoulder"76, "too tall and too broad for the room"77, and nearly admires his own self-restraint at being "utterly calm, utterly indifferent [...] As though he were looking at some completely commonplace object"78.
As a father, he adopts the appropriate behavior: "In the presence of this fresh young girl, Maigret assumed a paternal and benevolent air"79, especially when he persuades himself that he has before him a "child on the brink of womanhood" to whom he "was now so gentle, so indulgent, so affectionate"80: he "was only too willing to help her, to be a father to her"81.
Secure in this "fatherhood", he can permit himself to call the young women "my dear," to be protective without too much ambiguity, as he is with Félicie when she plays the game of seduction, or with others:Maigret, without realizing it, felt an urge to lay his hand on Berthe Pardon's plump shoulder. This sort of quasi-paternal response is common enough in elderly men, and seldom arouses comment. But [he] had no doubt been clumsy, because the girl turned around and stared at him in amazement, as if to say: "You too...!"82But, however pure his feelings, the gentleness, the tenderness that he feels for the fresh young girls, pink, in full bloom85, the more aware women don't deceive themselves, with sometimes as much lucidity as vulgarity, knowing how to unmask the underlying sensuality behind the prudent indifference of Maigret. Else is one in la Nuit du carrefour, as we have seen. Others also, like a vulgar chambermaid who plays at teasing him with her physical and verbal games:
Suddenly, when he was least expecting it, Thérèse threw herself into his arms and burst into frantic sobs. "There, there," he murmured as if to a child. "That will do, now. Tell me all about it."83
He gripped her shoulders with his heavy paws and looked her in the eyes, his manner both gruff and kindly, [...] She tried only a timid move to get free, then stood motionless, trembling and making herself as small as possible. [...] "You're a sad little girl..."84She was in her nightdress, her hair falling down her back, a heavy swelling bosom. [...] "Must I get dressed? [...] Doesn't it feel funny having all those clothes on, with me just in my nightdress? [...] Your wife's not jealous?" [...] She had begun combing her hair in front of the mirror, showing the red tufts in her armpits, and he could see her pink skin through her thin nightdress. [...] I once read a historical novel about Queen Elizabeth of England, [...] She was a cold woman, who couldn't make love. [...] The comb was crackling through her hair, and she was bending her back, occasionally looking at Maigret in the mirror [...] "I'm not like that, thank God!" [...] "Now you don't mind watching a woman get dressed, do you? [...] You had a little idea at the back of your head, hadn't you? You're scared! Is it because of your wife?".Or an honest Mlle Blanche who understands "that he was not displeased to see her in her dishabille"87. Maigret even comes to interpret, in light of his own fantasies, the behavior of the blushing Sister Marie des Anges, while taking refuge, once more, behind protective paternal desire:
She had already poured water into the basin to wash in, and Maigret could see the moment coming when she would let her nightdress fall, its shoulder straps were slipping a little more each time she moved.86Sister Marie des Anges had come in two or three times, and every time she had darted a furtive but insistent glance in his direction. She was a very young woman. Her pink face was completely unwrinkled. A fool might have suggested that she was in love with him, she was in such a hurry to go and meet him on the stairs, and, when he was in his wife's room, she was so clumsy with her hands. He knew perfectly well that it was something else, that it was something simpler, something very ingenuous, something really very girlish.88This last example illustrates another mode of "defense" for Maigret, his desire to remain lucid and not to let himself be taken in. The examples that follow show him questioning himself, his feelings, his behavior, his motivations, the situation in which he finds himself:It was all too ridiculous, wasn't it? Could anything be more out of place than that solemn, bulky figure of a man, [...] in surroundings [...] flimsy and insubstantial as a toy village.89More especially meaningful is the privileged moment when, finally meeting "a true woman," he is conscious of the impetus that would carry him toward her, but forces himself to repress it:
...the whole thing was ludicrous90
And yet she was just a woman, or, rather, a child on the brink of womanhood. This was what Maigret had seen in her, which was why his manner toward her now was so gentle, so indulgent, so affectionate91.
Her flat chest was not formed to rouse desire. Nevertheless, she had an odd attraction, perhaps because she seemed troubled, discouraged, unhealthy.92
She was certainly not beautiful, particularly in those slippers and that grubby dressing gown. But somehow that was all the nicer. He was being admitted into something that lay beneath the surface.93
Had he not been just a little in love with her?94He found he liked her at first sight. She had a frank face, a well-modelled mouth, was much more feminine than one would have expected of someone who heaped up academic honours. He almost wanted to go and speak to her and she had several times the same idea, for when their looks crossed, a slight smile would rise to her lips. [...] "A real woman", he thought95.Let's dwell for a moment on the character of this Martine Chapuis, exceptional enough in the work since she is one of the rare women whose body is nearly without importance. Maigret is content, indeed, to give an almost exclusively moral and intellectual portrait of her, revealing what he likes to find in a woman: she has a logical mind ("He sometimes enjoyed trying like this to predict what people were going to do and he always experienced a certain satisfaction when he had not been mistaken", p. 799 [Ch. 7, p. 191]), she has the strength of character, after a long mute questioning, to rise and to come over "rather awkwardly" (p. 799 ) to sit down at his table, she understands the simple batting of his eyelids and seems able to guess the commissioner's thoughts, she is capable of blushing ("and that made him pleased, for he didn't like women who have outgrown being able to blush", p. 800 ), she is "on such friendly, confiding terms with her father" (p. 800 ), she is chaste and straightforward. An atmosphere of domestic understanding settles between them ("It was rather as if, in [the absence of her father] she had chosen the chief inspector to replace him", p. 800 ).
The "my dear" by which Maigret addresses her, nearly mechanical with other young women, is justified here by a commentary that shows how this simple and upright girl causes in the commissioner a desire for fatherhood and integration, or even of substitution for the parental couple:He was surprised he had addressed her like that: it was because he liked her a lot. If he had had a daughter, he wouldn't have been sorry, come to that, if she were like her. Madame Maigret would have reacted like Martine's mamma [she is furious at the liaison Martine has just confessed to Maigret], but he himself would surely have reacted like Chapuis ["but father doesn't hold it against me."]96But are Maigret's (or Simenon's) feelings ever really simple? Behind the "father-daughter" rapport, doesn't one notice, after the resolution of the crime, a strange, couple-like connection?They were walking in silence, and from a distance, they would probably have been taken for lovers, or rather for a couple who have just come out for a breath of night air along the quays before going to bed97.The episode of Martine Chapuis has brought us, by these allusions, to evoke what constitutes for Maigret the only real and lasting support in his internal conflicts, at the level of the subconscious: the couple that he forms with Mme Maigret. Without a doubt she doesn't appear except in counterpoint, and it is not within our scope to examine here the restful and comfortable married life of Maigret. It is sufficient to recall how much Maigret was "glad to have a wife like her and smiled with satisfaction"98. Discreet, considerate, appreciative, apparently completely "naive"99, understanding without having things spelled out, capable, on occasion, of helping Maigret with his intuitions, or even his initiatives, while knowing "that her husband hated having her involved in his cases"100, "brave"101 before pain, she has also the shortcomings of her qualities: her too great domestic preoccupation ("since she would not have a maid, merely a cleaning woman in the mornings for the rough work. She took up the game"102), and her inability to "sit for a minute with [her] hands idle", could "get on his nerves!"103.
She is for Maigret the image of the woman of his heart, maternal to his wish. In their married life, after beginnings which seem to have been more tender than passionate, she arrived, according to a frequent psychological progress, to compensate for the absence of sexuality with the profusion of pleasures of the table, more relaxing even if she is sometimes... overweight. And nothing indicates that Maigret pities himself for it. On the contrary, the life that the Commissioner leads close to his wife permits him to reduce his own sexual curiosity to only "cosa mentale," a thing of the mind, as Stendhal put it, and, while preserving him from incurred perils, it conditions to some extent the regard that he has for women...
The gourmet's regard
In most of the examples we have given, the constant, almost obsessive interest that Maigret brings to a woman's body could lead us to consider him a pent-up "voyeur," inhibited by a forbidding morality, professional, or even physiological. But is his regard not rather that of the collector, for whom to it is sufficient to see, to observe, to differentiate, to classify, for whom the justification of the regard is the pleasure which he feels at watching, as for others it is to possess?
A lexical inventory of the "Maigrets" (or of the whole of Simenon's work) would show the rather exceptional frequency of verbs belonging to the semantic field of vision (to watch, to see, to observe, to glimpse, etc.). Numerous characters are visual, in the image of the physician who lets himself be dragged into the meshes of crime by the terror of not being able to see, the desire to continue to see the wife he knows to be unfaithful: his motivations summarize themselves in a few words: "I wouldn't have seen her", I risked "not seeing her"104. Maigret is in this race of the visual, either because his profession developed his qualities of observation, or because his initial training three years of medicine, which he recalls nostalgically: "I could have been a surgeon too"105 corresponded to a particular taste for observation and classification. As Commissioner of police, he observes and classifies men; as a man, he observes and classifies women (while adding to his regard, it is true, a more emotional connotation).
His regard is extremely diversified, according to the situation. He can be...
modest ("turning his eyes away whenever his gaze fell on the fat woman's legs, which she insisted on spreading apart so that he could see large patches of pink skin above her black stockings"106),
surprised (by the "amazing bosom"107 of a fat maid),
observant ("Maigret observed him and his daughter, [...] Looking at her in this way, he could see pretty well what she would be like in about ten years, when the charm of youth had gone"108),
moved ("Everything about her was appealing, even her flat figure, her black dress, her red eyelids"109),
embarrassed ("He never paid much attention to her. He had regarded her as a solid, well-built girl without any nerves. And here she was, her face ravaged, her body heaving, clinging to him with embarrassing fervour"110),
indiscreet ("Once when the Chief Inspector glanced down at her legs, she lowered her dress unaffectedly"111),
indifferent ("She had the lovely, supple body of a dancer. But the superintendant wasn't moved at all"112),
dubious ("There she was in front of him, a living creature of flesh and blood, thin and faded in her dark dress, which hung from her shoulders like a shabby window-curtain. She was real enough, with the fire of her inner life smoldering in her somber eyes, and yet there was about her something insubstantial, elusive. Was she aware of the impression she created? "113),
intimidating ("She looked shy, scared [...] by the eyes fixed upon her"114),
without enthusiasm ("The heavy gaze that he turned on her was a hundred percent Maigret. Utterly calm. Utterly indifferent. [...] As though he were looking at some completely commonplace object"115),
appreciative ("The maid was flushed and evidently excited. Without rightly knowing why, Maigret smiled as he looked at her. She was a big appetizing girl, especially from behind, for at first sight her coarse face with its rough irregular features was rather disappointing. [...] She took two steps, and had to bend down to pull up her stockings; then another two, and, thinking she was hidden by the half-open door, fastened her suspender and pulled up her knickers. Maigret's smile grew broader"116), etc.
He can also, when necessities of an investigation impose, make do with a photograph, with the same nuances of appreciation.
The preceding examples have been chosen purposely. The majority of them are devoid of the sexual connotation to which the reader is sensitive at first: curiosity, the desire to keep everything that might help to understand a character are, obviously, Maigret's first priorities. While verging on the paradoxical, one could go so far as to say that, anxious to understand women, to discover "the dominant feature of [their] character"117, he pursues their most specific quality, their femininity. But that would be ignoring the fact that, with him, as with all human beings, sexuality remains present, if only at the level of sublimated fantasy: it is enough to assure himself that he is following the progress of his imagination before an unmade bed, or, even more explicitly, before such a [woman, well-endowed, with a] "freshness and sparkle about her [...] Just the sort to have a rioutous affair with".118
Maigret, however, doesn't relinquish control of his fantasies: uneasy, but resolved to stay chaste, he refuses to bring the questioning to a point which would risk carrying fantasy to the level of consciousness:
They could hear Nouchi bounding up the stairs [...]. Had she been behaving as improperly as the plump girl in the cinema? What business was it of the Chief Superintendent's, anyway? In what way could the behavior of this urchin...?119
He certainly neither underestimates the charm nor the sensuality that can emanate from a woman, nor the effect of repulsion that her vulgarity can cause, but, accustomed to the gastronomic "compensations" lavished on him by Mme Maigret, and the rich food and drink he finds abundantly in the Parisian bistros, he proceeds, in fact, by "consumption", in a way of metaphorical transfer, from sexual consumption to that of the gourmet. For this big child, on the whole very introverted, oral pleasure remains essential. His first image is well that of the sort of woman "usually associated with good home cooking, nourishing stews, and lovingly put up preserves"120. Readings confirm the prevalence of terms belonging to the semantic field of taste, applied to desired women. It is meaningful that, when he wants to express the feeling he has for a woman, rather than the qualifier "desirable", which is very rare (because of its sexual connotations?), he prefers terms like "appetizing"121, "tasty"122, "spicy"123, "creamy"124, or the comparison to "juicy fruit"125, "candy-pink"126; that the scene in the movie theater where he is the constrained witness, almost leaves him with "a taste of someone else's saliva"127, that, in a general way, Maigret is appreciative of the quality of the flesh, the presence of the sap, to everything that can establish a tie, however fugitive, with an object to consume a lustful animal, often128.
Maigret's regard is never simple, ranging from the impassive observation of the practitioner anxious to understand, to the curious insistence and veiled secretiveness of someone, if not troubled, at least somewhat agitated. Maigret's curiosity cannot be reduced to a desire to establish mental police cards on each of these women: the recurrent themes are too numerous for one to be able to consider them as simply technical information. The ambiguity of Maigret's regard holds to the nature of the novelistic character, to the exercise of his profession, to the form of his intelligence, to his dominated sexuality in the so particular relation that he maintains with his wife. But she also keeps to the personality of Simenon that we have sometimes glimpsed, and especially the novelist's rapport with women: women to consume, "child-women" to protect, woman-mothers with soft and protective behavior. If one returns to the character of the novelist one can only formulate the hypothesis of a privileged relationship between him and this companion of forty years of writing. A simple detail may be sufficient to support this hypothesis: the relative disappearance, in the last "Maigret", published by an aging Simenon, of the complaisant descriptions of young, well-endowed women...
Is Maigret a reflection of Simenon? Is Maigret an anti-Simenon? One is tempted to think, at first, that Simenon wanted to make of Maigret the sum of everything he himself was not: a chaste, blameless man, alien to temptation, a good spouse for lack of having been able to have been a good father. But it is also clear enough that a novelist always speaks of himself, and that his character never stops escaping him... to rejoin him. Maigret's views of women are those of Simenon: novels like La nuit du carrefour [Maigret at the Crossroads] or Félicie est là [Maigret and the Toy Village] testify enough to the presence of the novelist and the pleasure that, well in spite of himself, the Commissioner extricates from the promiscuity that (well in spite of himself also) Simenon imposes on him so often. Behind the writing of the fictional character, is there an involuntary illustration of the fantasies of the writer? The question deserves to be put: it would require an investigation greater than on the totality of the "Maigrets", on the other novels and on the autobiographic writings. It will be sufficient for us to have recalled here, while studying the regard of Maigret toward women, that this regard reflects the imagination of the Commissioner, and the representation it is given by Simenon.
1. G. SIMENON, La Nuit du carrefour, 1931, 16, p.534. All notes refer to the recent edition of his Tout Simenon, 25 vols., Presses de la Cité, 1988-1992, the indication of the page being preceded by the date of the novel and number of the volume. [Maigret at the Crossroads, Penguin Books, 1975, Ch. 9, p.112]
2. Ibid., p. 501. [Ibid., Ch.5, p. 60.]
3. In a number of them women are completely absent or generally without significance in relation to Maigret's regard.
4. Signé Picpus, 1941, 24, p. 459. [Maigret and the Fortuneteller, Harvest/HBJ, 1990, Ch. 10, p. 133 (as: "that charming little sister of his")]
5. Maigret hésite, 1968, 14, p. 209. [Maigret Hesitates, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1970, Ch. 6, pp. 146-147]
6. Liberty Bar, 1932, 17, p. 768. [Liberty Bar, in: Maigret Travels South, Penguin Books, 1952, Ch. 3, pp 41-42]
7. L'écluse n° 1, 1933, 18, p. 474. [The Lock at Charenton, in: Maigret Sits it Out, Penguin Books, 1952, Ch. 3, pp 35-36]
8. L'Ami d'enfance de Maigret, 1968, 14, p. 346. [Maigret's Boyhood Friend, Curtis Books, 1971, Ch. 1, p, 18]
9. So: "a woman of about fifty and a definitely unpleasant customer [...] wearing a dress of mauve silk, and not a single grey hair was out of place [...] Her face was hard and suspicious; only her plump fingers trembled." (Monsieur Gallet décédé, 1931, 16, p. 11) [Maigret Stonewalled, Penguin Books, 1976, Ch. 1, pp 7-9]
10. Signé Picpus, 1941, 24, p. 381. [Maigret and the Fortuneteller, Harvest/HBJ, 1990, Ch. 1, p. 5]
11. Ibid., p. 390. [Ibid., Ch. 2, p. 21.]
12. Félicie est là, 1941, 24, p. 591. [Maigret and the Toy Village, Harvest/HBJ 1987, Ch. 3, p. 47]
13. Ibid., p 578. [Ibid., Ch. 2, p. 25]
14. Monsieur Gallet décédé, 1931, 16, p. 11. [Maigret Stonewalled, Penguin Books, 1976, Ch. 1, p 9]
15. L'écluse n° 1, op. cit., p. 529. [The Lock at Charenton, op. cit., Ch. 10, p 118]
16. Cécile est morte, 1939, 23, p. 232. [Maigret and the Spinster, Harvest/HBJ 1982, Ch. 3, p. 36]
17. Les Caves du Majestic, 1939, 23, p. 341. [Maigret and the Hotel Majestic, Harvest/HBJ 1982, Ch. 4, p. 59]
18. Au Rendez-vous des Terre-neuvas, 1931, 16, p. 682. [The Sailors' Rendezvous, Penguin Books, 1976, Ch. 5, p. 62]
19. Pietr-le-Letton, 1931, 16, p. 432 and 439. [Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett, Penguin Books, 1979, Ch.12, p. 97, Ch. 13, p. 107]
20. Maigret et son mort, 1947, 2, p. 436. [Maigret's Special Murder, Penguin Books, 1966, Ch. 7, p. 120]
21. Ibid., p. 437. [Ibid., Ch. 7, p. 121]
22. Le Charretier de la Providence, 1930, 16, p. 215. [Maigret Meets a Milord, Penguin Books, 1970, Ch. 3, p. 38]
23. Signé Picpus, op. cit., p. 399. [Maigret and the Fortuneteller, Ch. 3, p. 36]
24. Au Rendez-vous des terre-neuvas, op. cit., p. 650. [The Sailors' Rendezvous, Ch. 1, p. 15]
25. Signé Picpus, op. cit., p. 397. [Maigret and the Fortuneteller, Ch. 3, p. 32]
26. Au Rendez-vous des terre-neuvas, op. cit., p. 675. . [The Sailors' Rendezvous, Ch. 5, p. 50]
27. Les Vacances de Maigret, 1947, 3, p. 34. [Maigret on Holiday, Penguin Books, 1970, Ch. 3, p. 42]
28. Félicie est là, op. cit., p. 641. [Maigret and the Toy Village, Ch. 8, p. 132]
29. Nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret, «L'Amoureux de Madame Maigret», 1944, 25, p. 21. [Madame Maigret's Admirerer, in: Maigret's Pipe, Harvest 1985, Ch. 2, p. 74]
30. Maigret hésite, 1968, 14, p. 213. [Maigret Hesitates, HBW, 1970, Ch. 6, p. 154]
31. Maigret et la grande perche, 1951, 5, p. 544. [Maigret and the Burglar's Wife, Penguin Books, 1960, Ch. 1, p. 6]
32. Maigret, Lognon et les gangsters, 1951, 5, p. 804. [Inspector Maigret and the Killers, Curtis Books, 1973, Ch. 5, p. 112]
33. Le Charretier de la Providence, 1930, 16, p. 200 [Maigret Meets a Milord, Ch. 1, p. 16]; Maigret en meublé, 1951, 5, p. 393. [Maigret Takes a Room, Penguin Books, 1965, Ch. 5, p. 94]
34. La Nuit du carrefour, op. cit., p. 451 . [Maigret at the Crossroads, Ch. 4, p. 46]
35. La Danseuse du Gai-Moulin, 1931, 17, p. 25. [Maigret at the Gai-Moulin, Harvest/HBJ 1991, Ch. 3, p. 30]
36. Pietr-le-Letton, op. cit., p. 394. [Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett, Ch. 5, p. 44]
37. Maigret et la grande perche, op. cit., p. 569 [Maigret and the Burglars's Wife, Ch. 3, p. 43]; Maigret, Lognon et les gangsters, op. cit., p. 749. [Inspector Maigret and the Killers, Ch. 1, p. 9]
38. La Nuit du carrefour, op. cit., p. 492 et p. 509. [Maigret at the Crossroads, Ch. 4, p. 46, Ch. 6, p. 72]
39. Maigret, Lognon et les gangsters, op. cit., p. 804. [Inspector Maigret and the Killers, Ch. 5, p. 112]
40. Ibid., p. 791. [Ibid., Ch. 4, p. 87.]
41. Maigret et l'indicateur, 1971, 15, p. 614. [Maigret and the Informer, Popular Library 1976, Ch. 4, p. 98]
42. Liberty Bar, op. cit., p. 768. [Liberty Bar, Ch. 3, p. 41]
43. Pietr-le-Letton, op. cit., p. 394. [Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett, Ch. 5, p. 44]
44. Maigret en meublé, op. cit., p. 393. [Maigret Takes a Room, Ch. 5, p. 94]
45. Maigret au Picratt's, 1950, 5, p. 317. [Maigret in Montmartre, Penguin Books, 1958, Ch. 8, pp. 118-119]
46. Maigret et la grande perche, op. cit., p. 544. [Maigret and the Burglar's Wife, Ch. 1, p. 7]
47. Nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret(2), op. cit. «L'Etoile du Nord», p. 117. [At the Etoile du Nord, in: Maigret's Pipe, Ch. 2, pp. 220-221]
48. "...she was a buxom girl with almost too ample a figure. In her dark silk dress, she obviously meant to be a dangerous woman, but it didn't quite come off", Liberty Bar, op. cit., p. 752. [Liberty Bar, Ch. 1, p. 18]
49. L'Ami d'enfance de Maigret, op. cit., p. 355. [Maigret's Boyhood Friend, Ch. 2, p. 31]
50. La Maison du juge, 1942, 23, p. 494. [Maigret in Exile, Harvest/HBJ 1982, Ch. 11, p. 161]
51. Félicie est là, op. cit., p. 565. [Maigret and the Toy Village, Ch. 1, p. 4]
52. La Nuit du carrefour, op. cit., p. 534. [Maigret at the Crossroads, Ch. 9, p.112]
53. Maigret au Picratt's, op. cit., p. 247. [Maigret in Montmartre, Ch. 2, p. 28]
54. Ibid., p 242. [Ibid., p. 22]
55. "What made Maigret blush? Was it because he had seen her in a nightdress, in the disorder of a maid's bedroom? She was certainly no maid." (La Première enquête de Maigret, 1948, 3, p. 391). [Maigret's First Case, Penguin Books, 1963, Ch. 3, p. 54]
56. La Nuit du carrefour, op. cit., p. 533. [Maigret at the Crossroads, ?]
57. Cécile est morte, 1939, 23, pp. 261-262. [Maigret and the Spinster, Part II, Ch. 3, pp. 87-88]
58. Signé Picpus, op. cit., pp. 129-130. [454-456] [Maigret and the Fortuneteller, Ch. 9, pp. 125-126, (128)]
59. Félicie est là, op. cit., p. 638. [Maigret and the Toy Village, Ch. 7, pp. 126-127]
60. Ibid., p. 646 [Ibid., p. 139]
61. Ibid., pp 593-595. [Ibid., pp. 50-51]
62. Ibid., p. 633. [Ibid., p. 118]
63. Les Caves du Majestic, 1939, 23, p. 325. [Maigret and the Hotel Majestic, Harvest/HBJ 1977, Ch. 2, p. 29 ?]
64. Maigret tend un piège, 1955, 8, p. 222. [Maigret Sets a Trap, Penguin Books, 1992, Ch. 1, pp. 14-15]
65. L'Inspecteur cadavre, 1941-43, 24, pp. 478-479. [Maigret's Rival, Harvest/HBJ 1984, Ch. 2, pp. 23-24]
66. Cécile est morte, op. cit., p. 261. [Maigret and the Spinster, Part II, Ch. 3, p. 87]
67. La Maison du juge,op. cit., p. 442. [Maigret in Exile, Ch. 5, p. 70]
68. Le Chien jaune, 1931, 16, p. 287. [Maigret and the Yellow Dog, Harvest/HBJ, 1988, Ch. 2, p. 16]
69. La Première Enquête de Maigret, op. cit., p. 414. [Maigret's First Case, Ch. 6, p. 95]
70. La Nuit du carrefour, op. cit., pp. 476, 478, 491, 492, 501, 509, 533, 534. [Maigret at the Crossroads, pp. 22-23, 25, 46, 47, 59-60, 72, 108, 109-110, 112]
71. Ibid., p. 496. [Ibid., Ch. 5, p. 53]
72. Félicie est là, op. cit., p. 565. [Maigret and the Toy Village, Ch. 1, p. 4]
73. Ibid., p. 340.  [Ibid., Ch. 3, p. 50]
74. Ibid., p. 641. [Ibid., Ch. 8, p. 132]
75. Cécile est morte, op. cit., p. 261. [Maigret and the Spinster, Part II, Ch. 3, p. 87]
76. Signé Picpus,op. cit., p. 455. [Maigret and the Fortuneteller, Ch. 9, p. 126]
77. La Maison du juge, op. cit., p. 439. [Maigret in Exile, Ch. 5, p. 65]
78. Pietr-le-Letton, op. cit., p. 375. [Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett, Ch. 2, p. 18]
79. Signé Picpus, op. cit., p. 397. [Maigret and the Fortuneteller, Ch. 3, p. 32]
80. Félicie est là, op. cit., p. 611. [Maigret and the Toy Village, Ch. 5, p. 80]
81. Ibid., p. 612. [Ibid., Ch. 5, p. 82]
82. Cécile est morte, op. cit., p. 253. [Maigret and the Spinster, Part II, Ch. 2, p. 73]
83. La Maison du juge, op. cit., p. 439. [Maigret in Exile, Ch. 5, p. 65]
84. Le Chien jaune, op. cit., p. 289. [Maigret and the Yellow Dog, Ch. 2, p. 19]
85. The typical portrait: "...she was firm and sound and glowing with health. Her features were regular, the colour in her cheeks was enhanced by her fair hair. [...] Her voice was the voice of a child, the docile voice of a good child answering questions." (L'Ecluse n° 1, op. cit. p. 474. [The Lock at Charenton, Ch. 3, pp 35-36]
86. La Première Enquête de Maigret, op. cit., pp. 406-408. [Maigret's First Case, Ch. 5, pp. 81-85]
87. Maigret en meublé, l951, 5, p. 423. [Maigret Takes a Room, Ch. 8, p. 142]
88. Les Vacances de Maigret, 1947, 3, p. 12. [Maigret on Holiday, Ch. 1, p. 9]
89. Félicie est là, op. cit., p. 565. [Maigret and the Toy Village, Ch. 1, p. 4]
90. Maigret et la grande perche, op. cit., p. 544. [Maigret and the Burglars's Wife, Ch. 1, p. 7]
91. Félicie est là, op. cit. p. 611. [Maigret and the Toy Village, Ch. 5, p. 80]
92. Le Chien jaune, op. cit., p. 287. [Maigret and the Yellow Dog, Ch. 2, p. 16]
93. La Danseuse du Gai-Moulin, 1931, 17, p. 25. [Maigret at the Gai-Moulin, Ch. 3, pp. 30-31]
94. L'Ami d'enfance de Maigret, op. cit., p. 355. [Maigret's Boyhood Friend, Ch. 2, p. 31]
95. Maigret s'amuse, 1956, 8, p. 797. [Maigret's Little Joke, in: Maigret Cinq, 1965, Ch. 7, p. 190]
96. Ibid., p. 801. [Ibid., Ch. 8, p. 194 (&193)]
97. Ibid., p. 805. [Ibid., p. 198] An incomplete "romance" which will have a conclusion, chaste and melancholy the last words of the book: "It was not until four days later, in an inn on the banks of the Loing, that Maigret received a post-card with a view of the Quai des Orfèvres. His name and address were written in block letters, in the part reserved for the message, there were only two words: THANKS, CHIEF." (p. 809) 
98. Maigret et l'indicateur, 1971(l'avant-dernier des «Maigret»), 15, 15, p. 576. [Maigret and the Informer, Ch. 1, p. 30]
99. Nouvelles Enquêtes de Maigret, «L' Amoureux de Madame Maigret», 1944, 25, p. 9. [Madame Maigret's Admirerer, Ch. 1, p. 62]
100. Ibid., p. 14. [Ibid., Ch. 1, p. 67]
101. Un Echec de Maigret, 1956, 8, p. 517. [Maigret's Failure, Popular Library, 1976, Ch. 1, p. 2]
102. Nouvelles Enquêtes de Maigret, op. cit., p. 10. [Madame Maigret's Admirerer, Ch. 1, p. 63]
103. Ibid., p. 15. [Ibid., Ch. 1, p. 68]
104. Les Vacances de Maigret, op. cit., p. 108. [Maigret on Holiday, Ch. 9, p. 154] The italics are Simenon's.
105. Ibid., p. 9. [Ibid., Ch. 1, p. 5]
106. Ibid., p. 46 [Ibid., Ch. 4, p. 60]
107. Ibid., p. 14 [Ibid., Ch. 1, p. 13]
108. Au Rendez-vous des Terre-neuvas, op. cit., p. 715. [The Sailor's Rendezvous, Ch. 10, p. 109]
109. Le Chien jaune, op. cit., p. 328. [Maigret and the Yellow Dog, Ch. 7, p. 80]
110. Le Charretier de la Providence, op. cit., p. 224. [Maigret Meets a Milord, Ch. 5, p. 52]
111. Monsieur Gallet décédé, op. cit., p. 48. [Maigret Stonewalled, Ch. 5, p. 61]
112. Maigret et l'indicateur, op. cit., p. 614.  [Maigret and the Informer, Ch. 6, p. 166]
113. Maigret et le corps sans tête, 1955, 8, p. 65. [Maigret and the Headless Corpse, Avon Books, 1975, Ch. 5, p. 106]
114. Les Vacances de Maigret, op. cit., p. 34. [Maigret on Holiday, Ch. 3, p. 42]
115. Pietr-le-Letton, op. cit., p. 375. [Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett, Ch. 2, p. 18]
116. L'Ecluse n° 1, op. cit., p. 464. [The Lock at Charenton, Ch. 2, p. 20]
117. La Danseuse du Gai-Moulin, op. cit., p. 25. [At the Gai-Moulin, Ch. 3, p. 31 ("her main trait")]
118. La Guinguette à deux sous, 1931, 17, p. 160. [Maigret and the Tavern by the Seine, Harvest/HBJ, 1990, Ch. 8, pp. 124-125]
119. Cécile est morte, op. cit., p. 269. [Maigret and the Spinster, Part II, Ch. 3, p. 99]
120. L'Ami d'enfance de Maigret, op. cit., p. 346. [Maigret's Boyhood Friend, Ch. 1, p. 18]
121. L'Ecluse n° 1, op. cit., p. 464. [The Lock at Charenton, Ch. 2, p. 20]
122. Les Vacances de Maigret, op. cit., p. 34 [Maigret on Holiday, Ch. 3, p. 42 (for savoreuse (tasty): "delicate")]; Au Rendez-vous des Terre-neuvas, op. cit., p. 657 [The Sailor's Rendezvous, Ch. 2, p. 25 (for savoreuse: "alluring")]; Un Echec dc Maigret, op. cit., p. 557. [Maigret's Failure, Ch. 4, p. 72 (for savoreuse: "luscious")]
123. La Guinguette à deux sous, op. cit., p. 160.  [Maigret and the Tavern by the Seine, Ch. 8, pp. 124-125 (for croustillante (crunchy, spicy): "sparkle")]
124. Maigret s'amuse, op. cit., p. 797. [Maigret's Little Joke, Ch. 7, p. 190 (for plus moelleuse (creamier): "softer")]
125. La Maison du juge, op. cit., p. 421. [Maigret in Exile, Ch. 3, p. 31 ("ripe and juicy")]
126. Les Caves du Majestic, op. cit., p. 333. [Maigret and the Hotel Majestic, Ch. 3, p. 43 ("sugary pink")]
127. Cécile est morte, op. cit., p. 262. [Maigret and the Spinster, Part II, Ch. 3, p. 88]
128. This can approach the derisive, as when he evokes "her great breasts shaking [...] like jelly" (Maigret en meublé, op. cit., p. 353). [Maigret Takes a Room, Ch. 2, p. 30]
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