The method of investigation according to Maigret:
A methodical absence of method?
translated by Stephen Trussel
The event in itself hardly surprised Commissioner Maigret. If there are places in the world which truly receive the most unexpected visits, the craziest, the most outrageous, they are the editorial offices of newspapers and the precincts of the police.
"I killed a man!"
We see here the title of the first chapter, and the beginning of the novel that readers of L'uvre could discover in their newspapers on March 1, 1930. It is safe to assume that those readers hardly suspected, while reading the name Maigret in those opening lines, that they were the first of a long series of readers who would be able to follow this policeman's investigations which, through 1972, would total 107, comprising 79 novels and 28 short stories. Indeed, how could they have imagined, while making the acquaintance of a modest novel, appearing serially in their daily under the title La Maison de l'inquiétude [The House of Anxiety] and penned by an obscure writer signing himself Georges Sim, that a rare character was being born beneath their very eyes, who would become world famous, truly one of the great literary characters of the 20th century, one who would reach the level and the dignity of a myth? Perhaps the shrewdest among those readers would have noticed, by April 4, on finishing the last of the thirty-two serials which had appeared day by day in L'uvre, that they had been in the presence of an original, of a hero who had brought new blood to the detective novel of their time.
It should be noted at this point, that while Simenon was writing La Maison de l'inquiétude, presumably at Stavoren during the winter of 1929-1930, he had already produced three other novels in which Commissioner Maigret had appeared: Train de nuit, La Figurante and La Femme rousse, respectively signed Christian Brulls, Christian Brulls and Georges Sim, and probably composed in the Netherlands during the second half of 1929. However, these novels, written before La Maison de l'inquiétude, all saw later publication. We will have the opportunity below, to return to the "prehistoric" picture of Maigret that they offer us.
Written at an extremely rapid and sustained pace from May 1930 to May 19321, the first 17 Maigret novels signed by Simenon with his true patronymic appeared from February 1931 through July 1932. An 18th and 19th were written and appeared in 1933 and 19342, completing the series of these novels published at Fayard, a series that forms an incontestable whole, since Simenon was then very determined to abandon Maigret, and had even put him into retirement (the commissioner being brought back into action in 1936 and 1938 in two sets of short stories before returning in novels again in December 19393). Since the publication of these first Maigret novels, certain journalists and among them eminent critics of the time took these "detective stories" seriously, in the articles they submitted to their newspapers and magazines, not failing to underscore, on the one hand, the originality of Simenon in the police fiction context of the early thirties, and on the other, the originality of Maigret in his way of leading an investigation4. One notes, for example, that Maigret breaks with the tradition of the deductive investigator and logician while becoming all the more human: "We are far ... from the automatons that we meet in most detective novels. Here we have the affairs of real people"5, so that "one can read these novels without, after finishing, feeling guilty for having wasted one's time following mere artificial exercises and novelistic detours"6.
Some critics of the time had already discovered that among the factors of this humanization of Maigret, compared with previous investigators, was the process of the commissioner's identification with certain of the characters he was investigating: "Maigret discovers the truth because he relives a victim's experiences intimately and, in some ways, resembles him. To the service of his intelligence, he adds the sympathy of a medium"7, remarks René Lalou about Liberty-Bar. John Charpentier also notes that the commissioner "finds a projection of himself in Liberty-Bar"8. In the same way, one quickly notices how Maigret saturates himself with the locations and settings in which he maneuvers9. Indeed, these critics regarded the atmosphere the essential component of these first novels of Simenon, and glimpsed in these narratives a dimension beyond the illumination of a police mystery, their emphasis being placed especially on the deep dramas which one qualifies, for lack of a better term, as psychological: "A detective novel?" wonders a L'Avenir critic about L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre [Maigret Goes Home, The Saint-Fiacre Affair]. "Better than that. Without a doubt it concerns discovering the perpetrator of a crime, but it is rather the psychological investigation which we participate in"10. And John Charpentier considers that while Chez les Flamands [The Flemish Shop], Le Fou de Bergerac [The Madman of Bergerac] and Le Port des brumes [Death of a Harbormaster] certainly put forth mysteries for an investigator to solve, these puzzles "are more those of the psychological novel than the detective novel"11. Without weighing too heavily on this topic, which risks moving us away from our proper investigation, we should still be aware that because of their originality, one wonders if, at the time, the Maigret novels deserved the pejorative appellation of police stories. Consider the words of Daniel Rops on this subject, who confessed that to him these novels "appear, in an intrinsic way, infinitely superior to many of the works which, in the past fifteen years, have been presented to us under the deceptive cover of literary novels"12. We can only praise the sagacity of these attentive readers who recognized, before many others, the uncommon characteristics of these detective novels.
As we have noted, from 1939 Maigret once more takes to the novelistic stage and we will discover him anew in more than 50 novels and some additional stories, no doubt enough to give us an idea of his investigative method... As a kind of introduction this section, we are pleased to recall the Fayard editor's words to the writer who had come to present him manuscripts of the first investigations of Maigret: "Your novels are not true detective novels. A detective novel takes place like a news story, whose reader must possess all the facts. Nothing like that here. Your commissioner is not infallible."13 Such a reaction was quite comprehensible at the time. Indeed, if we consider that the Maigret novels come closer to police fiction than to the mystery novel whose structure they resemble most closely, we note that the police intrigue therein is often not so rigorous, reduced to a minimum in the postwar novels, and that their problems present a questionable aspect, or even an incoherence, or include mistakes of detail. But this lack of logical rigor, already noted by Thomas Narcejac14, is linked to a fundamental difference of method between Maigret and his predecessors, that is detective novel investigators prior to his arrival on the literary scene. In those novels, the detective or the policeman charged with the investigation needed superior intelligence, in order to unravel the threads of an affair that the author had contrived to reveal intelligibly little of. Maigret, however, doesn't reason. We are quite familiar with the retorts he launches at interlocutors who, during an investigation, ask him what he thinks, what his ideas are, or what his method is. Invariably, his answer is that he doesn't think anything, that he doesn't have any ideas and that his method is precisely not to have one. Thus, to the classic super-detective, undisputed champion of deduction, Maigret opposes his intuition, what made Jules Bedner say, not without a touch of irony, that the commissioner "would be the antithesis of a Sherlock Holmes"15.
Then what exactly does this intuitive aspect of his character consist of? We intend to observe him through some brief excerpts from the corpus.
Far from comporting himself as man in his office who would wait quietly for the results of the investigations of his collaborators, Maigret doesn't hesitate to descend into the street. This man preoccupied with the lot of his counterparts believes deeply that there exists between the individual and his setting ties that can sometimes explain an existence and its dramas; he wants to be there, to be going to see places, to sniff them himself. In Mon Ami Maigret [My Friend Maigret, The Methods of Maigret] (1949), he is tempted to abandon these principles precisely because of the presence at his side of Inspector Pyke of Scotland Yard, who has come to France to study the commissioner's methods:
He had vaguely promised himself, expressly on Mr. Pyke's account, to behave that morning like a high police official. In theory, a Police Headquarters chief inspector does not run around streets and bars looking for murders. He is an important man, who spends most of his time in his office, and like a general in his H.Q., directs a small army of sergeants, inspectors and technicians.
Maigret had never been able to resign himself to this. Like a gun dog, he had to ferret things out for himself, to scratch and sniff the smells16.
Beyond odors, it is evidently others that the commissioner wants to "sniff". He sometimes even avoids going home for his meals in order not to break the connection that binds him to a certain milieu. So in Maigret et les témoins récalcitrants [Maigret and the Reluctant Witnesses] (1959) where the commissioner's investigation are at Ivry, where the Lachaumes live in a particularly stuffy manner in their home at the Quai de la Gare:
In actual fact as his wife must have suspected long ago if Maigret seldom went home for meals when he was in the thick of an investigation, it wasn't so much to save time as to remain withdrawn into himself, so to speak, like a sleeper who curls up when morning comes, swathed in his bedclothes, to get his own smell into his nostrils.
It was the private lives of other people, in reality, that Maigret was sniffing up, and at this moment, for instance, in the street, with his hands in the pockets of his overcoat, the rain on his face, he was still lost in the bewildering atmosphere of the Quai de la Gare.
Was it surprising that he should be reluctant to go home, back to his flat, his wife, his furniture, to a kind of unchanging order that had no connexion with the more or less degenerate Lachaumes?
This withdrawal into his shell, and certain other tricks, such as his legendary grumpiness at such times, his hunched shoulders, his gruff manner, were all part of a technique that he had unconsciously built up as the years went by17.
As for the rest, Maigret is conscious of groping to catch hold of the thread which will lead him to the resolution of his problem, a groping that is not without parallel in Simenon's way of writing18: in the following excerpt from La Guinguette à deux sous [Guinguette by the Seine, Maigret and the Tavern by the Seine] (1931), proposed by Jean Claude Vareille19, it would be sufficient to replace the terms of the police investigation with those of the lexicon of literary creation to show the manner in which Simenon composed his novels:
He had handled hundreds of cases in the course of his career, and he knew very well that the great majority of them could be divided into two distinct phases.
The first consisted in the detective's making contact with a new atmosphere, with people of whose existence he had been unaware a few hours before, people who made a little world of their own, and whose little world had been suddenly shaken by the irruption of some drama.
Enter the detective, a stranger if not an enemy, encountering hostile or suspicious glances on every hand. Sullen faces, cunning faces. Or, on the other hand, the distraught faces of those who are racked by suffering or terror and have cast away the last shreds of reticence and self-respect.
This of course was the fascinating phase, at least for Maigret. The groping, probing phase, often without any real point of departure. A dozen different ways look equally hopeful or hopeless. A dozen different people, and any one of them may be guilty, or at any rate an accomplice. Nothing to be done about it. Only to wait, to turn round and round, keeping one's nose to the ground....
And then suddenly a scent is picked up. Something real, something definite. And with that the second phase begins. The clutch is slipped in, the machinery starts turning, and the investigation proper, relentless and methodical, begins. Each step brings fresh facts to light. The detective is no longer alone with his problem. Others are there too, hosts of others, and time is now on his side.20
In this first phase of the investigation, the commissioner is not content merely to "sniff": he impregnates himself with a milieu, like a sponge. Consider the verbs in the following excerpt from Le Voleur de Maigret [Maigret's Pickpocket, Maigret and the Pickpocket] (1967) raised by Alain Bertrand21:
It was a bad stretch to get through. In nearly all of his cases, Maigret came to this period of floating, during which, as his colleagues used to whisper, he appeared to be brooding.
In the first stage that is to say, when he suddenly found himself face to face with a new world, with people he knew nothing about it was as if he were breathing in the life around him, mechanically, and filling himself with it like a sponge.
He had done this the day before at the Old Wine Press, his memory registering, as it were subconsciously, the smallest details of the atmosphere, the gestures, the facial quirks of each person. ...
At the moment he had absorbed a quantity of impressions, a whole jumble of images, of phrases, of words of varying importance, of startled looks, but he did not yet know what to do with them all.
His close acquaintances knew that it was best not to ask him questions nor to question him by looks, as he would quickly become irritable.22
The commissioner inhales, inflates himself, records, absorbs. Is the investigation at this moment considered and discerned like a digestion of elements - food? - ingested. How does he accomplish the swallowing? "Mechanically" or "without realizing it": undergoing "the thrust of the unconscious" while always having the "hunger of others", Maigret "wants himself transparent, like a photographic plate that would record the details and whose revelation would exhibit the innermost depths of the being"23. The digestion is not yet comfortable since Maigret ruminates and becomes "gladly grumpy".
Among many other novels, we find a characteristic example of this impregnation in Maigret et la vieille dame [Maigret and the Old Lady] (1950) where the commissioner is called upon to aid Valentine Besson who lives in Étretat, in a house situated at the edge of the countryside:
He wasn't thinking at all. He was looking at her, his eyes watering a little, with the sun dancing between the two of them. A vague smile was playing on his lips Madame Maigret would have said he was being smug while he was wondering, not very seriously, just as a sort of game, whether it was possible to unnerve a woman like this one.
He took his time, let her go on talking, now and then putting the glass of calvados to his lips, and the fruity fragrance of the alcohol was becoming the house's fragrance, so far as he was concerned, that and an aroma of good cooking, a suggestion of wax polish and cleanliness. ...
The gardener appeared behind the French windows and waited, motionless, confident that they would notice him eventually.
'Will you excuse me a moment? I must go and tell him what to do.'
Curious, there was a clock ticking somewhere, which he hadn't noticed before, but he finally identified the regular noise as coming from the floor above: it was the purring of the cat, probably asleep on its mistress's bed, which could be heard through the thin ceiling of this doll's house.
The sun, cut into small squares by the window-panes, was dancing on the objects in the room, making reflections and drawing the distinct shape of a lime-tree leaf on the varnish of the table. In the kitchen, Madame Leroy was making enough din for one to think she was moving all the furniture. The scratching began again in the garden.
Maigret imagined that he hadn't stopped hearing this scratching, and nevertheless, when he opened his eyes, he was surprised to see Valentine's face a yard away from him.
She quickly smiled at him so that he should not feel embarrassed, while he muttered, his mouth woolly:
'I must have dropped off to sleep.'24.
It is specifically stated in this excerpt that Maigret doesn't think. He appears particularly receptive to everything that is sensory: indeed all the five senses are solicited, including touch, if one admits that the action of the sun can be so discerned. Maigret absorbs all, absorbs life, in fact, in its scattering, without an explanation taking place. He swallows his impressions, lets them to decant themselves and ripen in isolation, translated here as sleep.
In the second phase, characters start living inside Maigret, who is no longer himself, no longer belongs to himself. Living in the affair in progress, he reaches a sort of hallucinated state where it is necessary once again not to think, but to feel, in the Rousseauistic sense. The case is most striking in Maigret s'amuse [Maigret's Little Joke, None of Maigret's Business] (1957) where the commissioner is not in charge of the investigation, which he only knows through the newspapers:
He was somewhere far away from the little bar. His wife knew this frame of mind well, as did his colleagues. At the Quai des Orfèvres, when it came over him, people would walk on tip-toe and speak in low voices, for at such times he was capable of flying into a rage as violent as it would be brief, which he would afterwards be the first to regret.
Madame Maigret pushed caution so far as not to look his way and was pretending to skim over the woman's page of the paper, though never ceasing to be alert for her husband's reactions.
He himself would probably not have been able to say what he was thinking about. Perhaps because he wasn't thinking? For it wasn't a question of reasoning. It was rather as if the three characters in the drama had come to life inside him, ... were no longer mere entities but were becoming human beings.
Alas, they were still incomplete, sketchy humans. They remained in a half-light, from which the chief-inspector was striving to drag them with an almost painful effort.
He could feel the truth quite close at hand and he was powerless to grasp it.
Of the two men, one was guilty, the other innocent. Sometimes his lips half-opened as if to pronounce a name and then, after a hesitation, he would forego it.
There was not just, as in the majority of cases, a single possible solution. There were at least two of them.
Yet only one was the right one, only one was the human truth. He had not to discover it by a piece of fierce reasoning, by a logical reconstitution of the facts but to feel it25.
The following excerpt from Maigret et la vieille dame [Maigret and the Old Lady] (1950) uses the notion of rumbling [grouillement] to designate this same stage where Maigret begins to discern characters "from within":
He knew there was a moment like this to get through in every case ...
It was when ... at a given moment, apparently without any reason, it all 'began to rumble'. The people concerned became at the same time vaguer and more human, in particular they became more complicated, and he had to be careful.
In short, he was beginning to see them from the inside, groping, not sure of himself, with the feeling that it would only need another tiny effort for everything to be clear and for the truth to be revealed by itself26.
The same phase is described in Maigret à New York [Maigret in New York], in which Maigret enters into a "trance", where characters cease being "abstractions ... and became human beings". Here too it would be easy to recognize in the movements of Maigret, those of the author delivering himself of his romantic creation27:
At the Quai des Orfèvres ... they used to say about Maigret in such moments:
"This is it, boys. The Chief's gone into his trance"
The irrepressible Sergeant Torrence, who actually worshiped the Inspector, would say more bluntly:
"The boss is in another world."
"In a trance" or "In another world" was in any case a state that Maigret's associates saw approaching with relief. And they had gotten so they could recognize it by little storm warnings, could foresee before the Inspector the moment the crisis would break. ...
It would happen in a rather odd way, which Maigret had never been curious enough to analyze. He had finally come to know it by dint of hearing his associates of the Police Judiciaire discuss it in endless detail.
For days, sometimes weeks, he would plod through a case, do what had to be done, no more, give instructions, keep tabs on this one and that one, with an air of being moderately interested in the investigation, sometimes of not being interested in it at all.
Because, during that period, the problem only appeared to him in a theoretical form. This or that man has been killed under such and such circumstances. So and So are the suspects.
These people, basically, did not interest him. Did not interest him yet.
Then suddenly, when one least expected it, when he might have seemed discouraged by the complexity of his job, something clicked.
Who was it who maintained that, at the very same time, he seemed to become more compact? ... It was only a joke, but it hit the mark. Maigret, all of a sudden, would appear to take on more depth, more weight. He had a different way of clenching his pipe between his teeth, of smoking it in short, widely spaced puffs, of looking about him with an almost secretive air, actually because he was completely absorbed by his interior activity.
It meant, briefly, that for him the characters in the drama had ceased to be abstractions, pawns, or puppets and had become human beings.
And Maigret put himself in their shoes. He doggedly strove to put himself in their shoes.
Whatever a fellow human being had thought, had lived, had suffered, was he not capable of thinking it, reliving it, suffering it as well?
Such and such an individual, at a given moment in his life, under given circumstances, had reacted in a certain way, and it was a question, briefly, of kindling identical reactions from the depths of his own being, by dint of putting himself the other's place28.
This excerpt ends with the theory of identification. Even though this process is far from occurring in all the Maigret novels, one notes in any case, in several of these novels, that the commissioner, obsessed by the thirst to understand the business in progress, starts to get into the skin of the one that interests him, guilty or victim, and that, not in the intellectualised fashion of a Poe or other previous detective novel authors, but in order to assign to this character "an emotional value"29. This fact is especially appreciable, in addition to Maigret à New York, in M. Gallet, décédé [The Death of M. Gallet, Maigret Stonewalled], Un Crime en Hollande [A Crime in Holland], Le Port des brumes [Death of a Harbor Master], Le Fou de Bergerac [The Madman of Bergerac], Liberty-Bar, Cécile est morte [Maigret and the Spinster], La Maison du juge [Maigret in Exile], Signé Picpus [To Any Lengths, Maigret and the Fortuneteller], L'Inspecteur Cadavre [Maigret's Rival], Maigret et la Grande Perche [Maigret and the Burglar's Wife] or Maigret à Vichy [Maigret Takes the Waters, Maiget in Vichy]. We can see some rather typical examples of identification in these quotes from Félicie est là [Maigret and the Toy Village] (1944), an investigation that drags Maigret to Orgeval and during which he has many opportunities to get into the skin of the victim, Jules Lapie, known as Peg-Leg:
Once, on being asked to comment on Maigret's methods by a visiting criminologist, the Chief Commissioner of the Police Judiciaire had replied, with an enigmatic smile:
"Maigret? How can I put it? He settles into a case as if it were a pair of comfortable old slippers."
Today, it would not have taken much to induce the Chief Superintendent to step not into the victim's slippers so much as into his clogs. For there they stood, inside the door on the right, obviously just where they were supposed to be. There was a place for everything, and everything was in its place. Except for the absence of Félicie, Maigret would have been prepared to believe that life was going on just as usual in the house, that he himself was Lapie, on the point of making his slow way into the garden, to finish pricking out his row of tomatoes. ...
It was a mild evening. The sky was visibly changing from rose to violet. Fresh breezes were blowing in from the countryside, and Maigret, his pipe clenched between his teeth, caught himself stooping a little, as Lapie had done. More than that, as he made for the cellar, he found that he was dragging his left leg. ...
Why had he been killed? Maigret could not help reflecting that he, too, would one day retire to a little house in the country, with a garden, a broad-brimmed straw hat...
...first, he would have to dig deeper into the old man's character. ...
Maigret, in his present expansive and receptive mood, seemed to breathe life in at every pore. He looked about him. These surroundings, which had become so familiar to him that, without realizing it, he was beginning to take on some of the mannerisms of the people who lived there... ...
It was several days since he had last had a decent night's sleep, and he had eaten nothing but odd snacks, with a snatched drink here and there of whatever he could get. It seemed to him that he was compelled, by virtue of his wretched calling, to live the lives of a whole lot of other people, instead of quietly getting on with his own.30.
The crowning touch was that even Mme Maigret had some difficulty recognizing her husband when he was in this state where he not only mentally, but also physically became another, as we noticed in Félicie est là. Simenon adopted the same attitude when he wrote, to the point that his familiars attempted to guess from his features the moral and physical characteristics of his hero. Consider particularly this short passage from Maigret et l'homme du banc [Maigret and the Man on the Bench] (1953) where the victim was Louis Thouret:
During lunch, his wife watched him more closely than was her wont.
Finally she plucked up the courage to ask:
"What's the matter?"
"What should be the matter?"
"I don't know. You don't seem like yourself, but like someone quite different."
"Who, for instance?"
"It might be anyone. But it's certainly not Maigret."
He laughed. He had been thinking so much about Louis that he had begun to behave the way he imagined Louis would have behaved, even to the extent of aping what he supposed were his facial expressions and mannerisms31.
At that moment, he was close to being everywhere at once. When Maigret was full, when he had filled himself sufficiently with the milieu and identified with the others, he was not far from having solved the business that had been entrusted to him. Thus, in this page from L'Inspecteur Cadavre [Maigret's Rival] (1944), the Vendée village to which he'd been called to help the Nauds, held no more secrets from him:
His colleagues at the Police Judiciaire frequently joked about his going off into one of his trances, and he also knew that this habit was gossiped about behind his back.
At such moments, Maigret seemed to puff himself up out of all proportion, to become dense and weighty, inaccessible, like someone blind and dumb, a Maigret whom an uninitiated outsider would take for a half-wit or a sloth.
"So, you're concentrating your thoughts?" said someone who prided himself on his psychological acuity.
And Maigret had replied with comic sincerity:
"I never think."
And it was almost true. For Maigret was not thinking now, as he stood in the damp, cold street. He was not following any train of thought. ...
"There comes a moment in the course of an investigation," Lucas had said, "when the boss suddenly swells up like a sponge. You'd think he was filling up."
But filling up with what? At present, for instance, he was absorbing the fog and the darkness. The village around him was not just any old village. And he was not merely someone who had been cast into these surroundings by chance.
He was, rather, like God the Father. He knew this village like the back of his hand. It was as if he had always lived here, or, better still, as if he had created the little town. He knew what went on inside all those small, low houses nestling in the darkness. He could see men and women turning in the moist warmth of their beds and he followed the thread of their dreams. A dim light in a window enabled him to see a mother, half-asleep, giving a bottle of warm milk to her infant. He felt the shooting pain of the sick woman on the corner and imagined the drowsy grocer's wife waking up with a start.
He was in the café. Men holding grubby cards and totting up red and yellow counters were seated at the polished brown tables.
He was in Geneviève's bedroom. He was suffering with her, feeling for her pride as a woman. Doubtless, she had just lived through the most painful day of her life and might even be anxiously awaiting Maigret's return so that she could slip into his room once more.
Madame Naud was wide awake. She had gone to bed, but could not get to sleep, and in the darkness of her room she lay listening for the slightest sound in the house. She wondered why Maigret had not come back, pictured her husband cooling his heels in the living room, torn between hope after his telephone call to Bréjon and anxiety at the Superintendent's absence.
Maigret felt the warmth of the cattle in the stables, heard the mare kicking, visualized the old cook in her camisole....
And in Groult-Cotelle's house ... 32
So we have arrived at the euphoric state where Maigret is "something like God the Father", the creator of a world which he has the feeling of understanding in its smallest details, not because he has studied it from the outside, but because on the contrary he has internalized it. One is from there on enabled to see in such a passage "the clearest and most developed picture of romantic creation"33. Is the novelist not the ape of God?
We thus understand that Maigret is not an ordinary investigator: it is not enough for him to discover or identify the guilty party; his passion is from the start, rather one of understanding the individual, guilty or victim. Without forgetting that there are also characters which he is indifferent to, or that he hates and Jean Forest has showed that when Maigret hates, he hates well!34 one cannot fail to come closer to the understanding of Simenon himself, for whom to understand is more important than to judge. Maigret's humanity, therefore, is a humanity which newspapers themselves echo as well, as is shown in this excerpt from Le Revolver de Maigret [Maigret's Revolver] (1952):
In a rough paper cover, which had been torn from the back of a school exercise book, were some press clippings, some of them illustrated with photographs.
Frowning, Maigret read the headlines and ran through the stories, while Janvier watched him with a curious expression.
All the articles, without exception, were about the Superintendent, and some dated back seven years. They were reports of cases, published day by day, with, often, a summary of the court proceedings.
"Notice anything, Chief? While I was waiting for you, I took the trouble to read them from beginning to end."
Maigret noticed something he preferred not to mention.
"You could swear, couldn't you, that they've chosen the cases where you seemed to be more or less defending the guilty party."
One of the articles was headed: "The Kind-hearted Superintendent. "
Another was devoted to testimony by Maigret to a high court, in the course of which all his replies showed his sympathy for the young man who was being tried.
Even clearer was another article, which had appeared the previous year in a weekly. It did not deal with any particular case, but with the question of guilt in general, and was titled: "Maigret's Humanity."
"What do you think of it? This file proves the fellow has been following you for a long time, has some interest in what you do or say, in your character."
Some words were underlined in blue pencil, among them the words "leniency" and "understanding."
And there was a passage entirely circled one in which a reporter described the last morning of a man condemned to death, and revealed that after refusing a priest the condemned man asked for the favor of a final interview with Superintendent Maigret35.
Furthermore, Maigret had become a policeman by chance, since he first undertook studies of medicine which he abandoned at his father's death. Yet it was a kind of last resort for one who had dreamed, just like Simenon if we are to believe him, of being a "repairer of destinies", "a guide to the lost", as we read in Maigret et le corps sans tête [Maigret and the Headless Corpse] (1955):
That was not the effect she had on the Superintendent. He was intensely interested in her, more so than in anyone he had met for a very long time.
Had he not in his youth dreamed of an ideal vocation for himself, a vocation which did not exist in real life? He had never told anyone, had never even given it a name, but he knew now what it was he had wanted to be: a guide to the lost.
In fact, curiously enough, in the course of his work as a policeman, he had often been able to help people back onto the right road, from which they had misguidedly strayed. More curiously still, recent years had seen the birth of a new vocation, similar in many respects to the vocation of his dreams: that of the psychoanalyst, whose function it is to bring a man face to face with his true self36.
Can one still speak at this stage of the simple detective novel? It seems rather at this point that the Maigret novels participate in the same research of the human condition as the 117 other novels of Simenon. Indeed, even when we read those "police" novels where the author didn't hesitate to impose the rules of this genre, we are in the end less interested in the question of who the killer was, than of who we ourselves are: "What people look for, isn't it to learn how far man can go, in good as well as evil?"37 We have attempted to show, on this point, the unity of the novelistic work signed by Simenon with his real patronymic38. Doubtless in any case the novelist could apply to his account this reflection which he lends to Maigret: "All his life he had endeavored to ignore the surface differences that exist between men, to scrape away the varnish to discover, under diverse appearances, the stark naked man"39.
But here we risk straying from our investigation itself. We note that most of the author's commentators, since Thomas Narcejac30, dedicate several pages, if not several chapters to the investigation according to Maigret and Simenon. Among these interpreters of things Simenonian, one must keep in mind Jean Fabre's scholarly analysis41, André Vanoncini's brilliant exposition42, Jules Bedner's ingenious and subtle work43, Jean Forest's gladly iconoclastic study44 and Alain Bertrand's rigorous survey45, for whom the set of Maigret novels, and therefore, every investigation, presents "a narrative structure comprising five specific stages: the affair, the sponge, the rumination, the revelation or the extrusion46, and the verification of the hypothesis"47. Finally, developing a thesis of Massimo Bonfantini48, Salvatore Cesario puts forward the attractive theory according to which Maigret's method raises Peircean abduction49. Whatever it is, all insist on the various points that we have put forth in evidence above, and which André Vanoncini summarizes well and strongly:
* * *
André Vanoncini's summary may lead us to wonder... does this mean that Maigret is impervious to scientific techniques of police work and the rationalistic or logical reflection so dear to the champions of the cerebral who preceded him? Certainly not. On the one hand, material evidence is necessarily present, and Maigret cannot ignore it; he sometimes even waits impatiently for the findings of the police physician, most often embodied by the famous Doctor Paul, mentioned in not less than 32 investigations, and he frequents the laboratories of Judicial Identity assiduously, where Inspector Joseph Moers, in 30 investigations, constitutes for him a precious aide. Yet, this evidence and these techniques generally form only the starting point, a basis on which to push the beginning of the investigation, and the commissioner appears so distant from the methods of scientific police work, he sometimes despises it overtly, even resorting to sarcasm it is sufficient to reread Le Chien jaune [A Face for a Clue, Maigret and the Yellow Dog] or Un Crime en Hollande [A Crime in Holland] to convince yourself that this aspect of the investigation remains most often in the background, canceled by other, deeper, more human methods, as the soaking in of the atmosphere or the identification with a character, which we have discussed above. On the other hand, evidence is still evidence; Maigret thinks, Maigret reasons: "It is sufficient to analyze from this point of view any account whatever, to discover behind the somnambulism of Maigret an implacable logic"51, maintains Jules Bedner, who develops this theory with acuity before concluding: "What we have tried to show, is that for Simenon, investigation remains largely an intellectual activity, and that the character of Maigret doesn't deserve his reputation of anti-intellectualism by half"52. We should recognize that here the art of Simenon intervenes, in not including us in the series of the hero's reflections through "long pages studded with questions which pose detours to still uncertain ideas"53, overwhelming, besides, the whole of the issues raised above, elements which emphasize "the unreasoned aspects, intuitions of the investigator"54, which remain the most original features of Maigret's investigations.
The investigation follows in a faithful enough manner the plan of the mystery novel. And no doubt while imitating this model, Simenon learned to master the detective story. But it is just as obvious that his investigator is not content to borrow the classical manner of leading a mystery to its logical solution. He even has a tendency to despise this path when all other approaches have been eliminated, a fault for which he derides Judge Coméliau. The real strength of Maigret comes from his gift of communication, or even communion with the world. Before the slightest rational analysis-action, he captures some atmospheric impressions: cycles of daily or seasonal changes of time, automatic devices of daily life, the ambiance of a place. In his look are revealed the vitality of a space and a milieu as the detective novel has not previously known50.
Before abandoning this point to examine the popular novels of Simenon's youth, in search of elements which will herald the development of Maigret, we need to mark four details of Simenon's career once more. Let's recall first of all that the young journalist Georges Sim had provided two articles on scientific police work to the "Gazette de Liège", articles that constitute the first witnesses of an interest in this question in the future creator of Maigret. And remember also the police chronicles published in ten chapters of "Ric and Rac" from March 16 to May 25, 1929, under the pseudonym of J.- K. Charles, and titled La Police scientifique [Scientific Police], wherein we are spared no technique of criminal description, secret alphabets, fingerprints, analyses of dust, papers... in short, of all the multiple ways in which a criminal can be brought to hand. These elements allow us to believe that the young Simenon was not insensitive to the latest "scientific" methods of police investigation and that, if he placed them in the second position in the investigations of Maigret, he did so quite deliberately. There is more. At the same moment when Simenon was putting the character of Maigret into focus, he wrote for "Detective" three sets of short stories that insiders call the "three times thirteen" Les Treize Mystères [The 13 Mysteries], Les Treize Enigmes [The 13 Enigmas] and Les Treize Coupables [The 13 Guilty] stories in which the investigators, respectively Jacques Saint-Clair, alias Joseph Leborgne, Inspector G-7, and Judge Froget, "are of the type of omniscient detective with whom all is in the head, and who solve criminal cases according to the traditional deductive method inaugurated by Arthur Conan Doyle with Sherlock Holmes"55. Better still: whereas in 1938, Simenon brings his Commissioner Maigret out of oblivion once again in writing the second set of stories that will form Les Nouvelles Enquêtes de Maigret [The New Investigations of Maigret], he feels the need to write at nearly the same time the 27 stories that will constitute the investigations of Le Petit Docteur [The Little Doctor] and Les Dossiers de l'Agence O [The Agency O Files], stories whose heroes make use of a clairvoyance at a time casual and deductive even though this attitude must be qualified with regard to Jean Dollent, the Little Doctor to the point that this clairvoyance even stuns the policemen keen on scientific methods! Almost as if, at the same time as he launched into the police arena the depth, weight, and mass of Maigret, Simenon had to give in to the temptation of lightness, lucidity and intellectualism.
* * *
Reading the writings of Simenon's youth published under various pseudonyms and particularly reading the popular novels provides great material for those interested in the genesis of the work. With regard to the point of view that concerns us, one can follow there attentively the slow gestation of the police element that too often remains drowned in sentimental stereotypes or adventure, but sometimes attempts a shy emergence in order to escape from itself and to achieve its autonomy. With the passing of time, when we read Simenon's popular police-type novels, we are struck by the fact that the writer is obviously in search of a type, which brought us to write, while reversing the Pirandellian formula, that the young Simenon, during the transition period years of 1929-1930 a period of real police ferment for him was "an author in search of a character"56. As one would guess, investigators are indeed numerous in this vast ensemble of 190 novels, but rare are those who truly foreshadow the "method" of Maigret. Some are even directly opposed to him; for example, the amateur detective Serge Polovzef, expert in the art of solving enigmas, thinks even further, with his logical mind and his deductive methods, than the intellectual investigations of a Dupin, a Holmes or their emulators. In spite of that, at the turn of a page, a common point emerges: "I never have ideas!"57 he exclaims, meaning by that that he doesn't have any preconceived ideas. So can one discover in this group, even in those investigators very distant from what will become Maigret, some trait or another which suddenly brings them closer to it. It is what we tried to do not long ago58, so we will limit the discussion here to some elementary observations touching on only three aspects of the "method" according to Maigret: to identify, to fill oneself, not to think.
Chronologically, the first Simenon hero who attempts to identify with others is the young detective Jackie Smitt, in Les Bandits de Chicago [The Chicago Gangsters], a novel published June 1, 1929. To succeed in recovering the track of his wife, hidden by Scarface Al, the boss of the Chicago gangsters obviously inspired by Al Capone, Jackie tries to get into Al's skin:
This effort of identification having succeeded and we notice how painful the effort was, as it will be later for Maigret Jackie remembers that he made a previous attempt in this direction:
He was in the necessary atmosphere for thinking, or more precisely for trying to reconstruct Al's thoughts [...]
Jackie moaned, so painful was the effort that he had to make [...]
He was in Scarface's skin. He thought with his brain. He even had his grin59.
A certain morning, when Scarface spoke to him, he had made an effort to think with Scarface's mind.
He had put himself into his shoes. He had looked at things with other eyes.
For a few moments, he had been the gangster60.
Among the fictions wherein Inspector Sancette operates, let's consider Captain S.O.S., a novel whose contract was made on July 30, 1929. This young inspector declares readily, "a policeman is a confessor to whom one would not say anything and who would guess everything"61: "A crime is committed? ...I put myself in the place of the one who committed it... I try to think like he did"62, he confides. Inspector Jean Tavernier, in La Victime [The Victim], a novel which went to print October 28, 1929, is similar to Sancette. He maintains, he also, in spite of his young age he's not yet 30 that he puts himself into other's shoes by filling himself with the atmosphere:
The case of the adventurer Yves Jarry poses a problem. Simenon often declared that he saw in this hero of four novels written in 1927 and 1928, an ancestor of Maigret, to the extent that he lived, like the commissioner, the lives of others. Actually, if Jarry had occasion to assume several identities, it was never systematic, but rather in the framework of his adventures, pushed by the needs of the moment, and he was notably adept in the use of disguises, which brings Jarry much closer to Arsène Lupin, unquestionably his master of adventure, than to Maigret, who would never lower himself to such mystifications. In fact, it would seem that while launching the name of Jarry as one of the precursors of Maigret, Simenon was actually confusing him with another character who had more than one point in common with the attractive adventurer: we speak of J.K. Charles, hero of a novel written in 1929, L'Homme à la cigarette [The man with the cigarette]. It is this J.K. Charles, indeed, and not Jarry, who proclaims, not without lyricism, before a dumbfounded Inspector Boucheron, his desire to live multiple lives and especially his dream of living the lives of others all this without reference to the notion of investigation, but there is no doubt that Boucheron and his police progeny will learn the lesson and profit from this profession of faith:
Usually, when he arrived at the scene of a crime, Tavernier, instead of confining himself to material observations, "sniffed up the place," as he put it.
His colleagues mocked him. When they saw him coming and going through a house with the his nose in the air, they said:
"There he goes sniffing around!"
Not denying that he had achieved excellent results time and again. And on top of that, his mania was based on sharp psychology.
Tavernier claimed that to reconstruct a crime, it was necessary to try to think in the same atmosphere as the actors of the drama. In short, to put yourself in their place!63
There are people who cannot be content with only one life...
They are rare. And that is what has always astonished me.
Truly, Boucheron, I can't understand beings who have so little appetite as to confine themselves to a small compartment of the world and at the same time to such a restricted range of sensations.
I'm not speaking of simpletons, but of intelligent people, of those that one calls superior people.
Take a fat banker, who, for his whole life, never savors any but a banker's sensations! ...
As for me, I...
Why shouldn't I say it? I was sailor, like P'tit Louis. I even worked in the engine room. You've seen that I could eat glass.
I was a dishwasher in San Francisco, worked in a canned goods factory in Chicago.
I'm a secret agent, and yet, in Sancerre, I'm a vintner.
Elsewhere, I'm something else, but that doesn't concern you. And elsewhere again...
Heaps of lives!
And even this is not enough! I must live the lives of others, mix myself into their dramas...
My dream? Wait! I'm going to tell you! To be rich and powerful enough to live the lives of about hundred men or more, simultaneously! ...
To really live these lives, without sham, listen well! To suddenly flee a great luxury hotel in Paris, to reach the Brittany coast, and there, to find a hut of gray stone, a simple fisherman's hut, a boat, nets... and to fish...
To be for people of the country a man like them...
Then, after some days or months, to run to the French provinces as a true commercial traveler!...
To leave there, a few days later, to throw a million down on the green cloth, at the Privé in Deauville!
To change personality at will! To know the biting struggle of the poor for their daily bread and to know abundance, the satiety of the rich, to know the chilling dawns in the sea and voluptuous mornings in the alcoves of great coquettes...
To live at the rhythm of the world! To feel the earth throb! All the earth! What can I say? To be the world...64.
The other character in L'Homme à la cigarette we must consider here is Inspector Boucheron, who is tracking J.K Charles... for a crime that he didn't commit. This policeman effectively refuses to base his investigation on the deductive processes: "Did he think? Did he reflect? Not strictly speaking! His brain recorded! The images classified themselves"65. The inspector knew besides this particular state that will often be the one of Maigret about to solve the affair confided in him:
Joseph Boucheron was in a state of jumpiness that he knew well and that was at a time sweet and painful.
He had, indeed, the sensation that his goal was in sight. ...
During every investigation, there are one or several moments of this kind. One nears the goal. One feels that the track is there, very near. ...
Just an effort is necessary, only one...66
And Maigret, himself? He too, as we have mentioned, appears as the investigator in four popular novels. The focus of our investigation here will allow us to ignore Train de nuit [Night Train], and La Femme rousse [The Redheaded Woman], where the commissioner is not more that sketched, and move directly to La Figurante [The Extra] and La Maison de l'inquiétude [The House of Anxiety]. "I don't believe anything! I don't think anything!" 68, exclaims Maigret, for example, in La Figurante before getting settled "at home in the house of the crime"69 as he will sometimes do in the course of his career. In La Maison de l'inquiétude also, he snoops around in this home as he will snoop around in so many others, spending the necessary time close to the concierge to inform himself of the inhabitants of the building. No vague impulse of speed, indeed, in the investigation: this "prehistoric" Maigret takes his time, observes this world that he is no doubt learning to digest. No desire to arrest the guilty quickly: "Maigret had the habit of pushing an investigation as far as possible before allowing any intervention of the prison system"70. Besides, as the Maigret we know well, he declares to those who interrogate him on his opinion that he has no opinion, that he doesn't know anything71. His concern to identify with the victim is well present: here in the beginning of the novel he sat "in the Captain's place"72 the Captain was the victim and at the end of the work, the guilty party having committed suicide, one can see Maigret "astride a chair, his pipe in his teeth, contemplating the dead man. And one could have sworn that they had had a kind of mysterious conversation..."73.
Thus, at the end of La Maison de l'inquiétude, Maigret is ready for the big adventure that will be his: many of his notable characteristics are already very present, and all that is left for Simenon is to exploit this character of a policeman created with small strokes at the end of his twenties. As for us, having begun with La Maison de l'inquiétude, we have returned: the cycle is completed.
1. C. MENGUY, Essai de chronologie rédactionnelle de l'oeuvre romanesque et autobiographique de Georges Simenon publiée sous son propre patronyme, in «Cahiers Simenon», n° 9, Bruxelles, Les Amis de Georges Simenon, 1996, pp. 147- 152.
2. Ibid, pp. 153 et 155.
3. Ibid, p. 167.
4. M. LEMOINE, Evolution et parentés littéraires de Simenon selon la critique de 1931 à 1935, in «Traces», n° 3, Université de Liège, Centre d'Etudes Georges Simenon, 1991, pp. 75-119.
5. J. CABANEL, Georges Simenon, Triptyque, s.l.n.d. (avril 1932 au plus tôt), p. 6.
6. E. VALDEYRON, Sud-Ouest républicain, Bayonne, 6 mars 1931.
7. R.L. (sans doute René LALOU), Les Nouvelles littéraires, Paris, 20 août 1932.
8. J. CHARPENTIER, Mercure de France, Paris, ler octobre 1932.
9. R. LALOU, Nouveautés, Paris, juin 1933.
10. L'Avenir, Arras, 16 avril 1932.
11. J. CHARPENTIER, Mercure de France, Paris, ler août 1932.
12. DANlEL-ROPS, Les Romans policiers de M. Georges Simenon, «Nouvelle Revue des jeunes», Paris, 15 juillet 1932.
13. G. SIMENON, Un Homme comme un autre, Paris, Presses de la Cité, 1975, pp. 140-141.
14. T. NARCEJAC, Le Cas Simenon, Paris, Presses de la Cité, 1950, pp. 18-21.
15. J. BEDNER, Simenon et Maigret, in «Cistre Essais», n° 10, Lausanne, L'Age d'Homme, 1980, p. 113.
16. G. SIMENON, Mon Ami Maigret, in uvres complètes, Lausanne, Rencontre, t. XIV, p. 102. [My Friend Maigret, Penguin Books, 1963, Ch. 6, p.86] Les uvres dont le titre est suivi, dans les notes, d'une simple indication de tome et de pagination sont citées d'après cette édition dont la publication s'est étalée de 1967 à 1973. [Works in which the title is followed, in these notes, by simply an indication of the volume and page number, are from this edition, for which the date of publication was from 1967-1973]
17. G. SIMENON, Maigret et les témoins récalcitrants, t. XXI, p. 81. [Maigret and the Reluctant Witnesses, Harvest/HBJ 1989, Ch. 5, pp 91-92]
18. La ressemblance entre la manière d'écrire de Simenon et la façon d'enquêter de Maigret était déjà présente implicitement dans l'article déjà cité de [The resemblance between Simenon's manner of writing and Maigret's manner of pursuing an investigation was already presented implicitly in an article already mentioned, by] René LALOU (Nouveautés, juin 1933). Pressentie ensuite par Bernard de FALLOIS, Simenon, Paris, Gallimard, 1961, pp. 93-94, Nino FRANK, «Hypothèse à propos de Maigret», in Simenon (sous la direction de Francis LACASSIN et Gilbert SIGAUX), Paris, Plon, 1973, pp. 195-196 et Claudine GOTHOT-MERSCH, «La genèse des Anneaux de Bicétre», in Cistre Essais, n° 10, op. cit., pp. 99-100, cette théorie a été développée par Jean FABRE, Enquête sur un enquêteur. Maigret. Un essai de sociocritique, Montpellier, 1981, pp. 1321 et Jean-Claude VAREILLE, «Roman de la recherche et recherche du roman. L'exemple de Simenon», Richesses du roman populaire (sous la direction de R. GUISE et H.-J. NEUSCHAGER), Actes du Colloque International de Pont-à-Mousson, Université de Nancy II, Centre de Recherches sur le roman populaire, 1986, pp. 189-193, avant d'être affinée par Alain BERTRAND, «Georges Simenon et ses doubles: Jules Maigret et Honoré de Balzac», in Cahiers Simenon, op. cit., n° 3, 1989, pp. 78-83 (argumentation reprise et augmentée dans Maigret, Bruxelles, Labor, 1994, pp. 61-68) et Jacques DUBOIS, «Maigret en images», in Simenon, l'homme, l'univers, la création (sous la direction de Michel LEMOINE et Christine SWINGS), Bruxelles, Complexe, 1993, pp. 88-90.
19. J.-C. VAREILLE, art. cit., p. 193.
20. G. SIMENON, La Guinguette à deux sous, t. III, pp. 361-362. [Maigret and the Tavern by the Seine, Harvest/HBJ 1990, Ch. 8, pp 121-122]
21. A. BERTRAND, Georges Simenon, «Dossiers L», n° 17, Saint-Hubert, février 1988, p. 5.
22. G. SIMENON, Le Voleur de Maigret, t. XXIV, p. 247. [Maigret's Pickpocket, Curtis Books, (ca.1970) Ch. 5, pp 93-94]
23. A. BERTRAND, Georges Simenon, art. cit., p. 8.
24. G. SIMENON, Maigret et la vieille dame, t. XIV, pp. 425 et 428. [Maigret and the Old Lady, Penguin Books, 1963, Ch. 6, pp 107,111]
25. G. SIMENON, Maigret s'amuse, t. XX, pp. 123-124. [Maigret's Little Joke, in: Maigret Cinq, Ch. 7, pp 183-4]
26. G. SIMENON, Maigret et la vieille dame, t. XIV, pp. 419-420. [Maigret and the Old Lady, Penguin Books, 1963, Ch. 6, p.102]
27. J.-C. VAREILLE, art. cit., p. 187.
28. G. SIMENON, Maigret à New York, t. XII, pp. 320-321. [Inspector Maigret in New York's Underworld, Signet, 1964, Ch. 8, pp 98-99]
29. J. BEDNER, Simenon et le jeu des deux histoires. Essai sur les romans policiers, Amsterdam, Institut de Romanistique, 1990, p. 88.
30. G. SIMENON, Félicie est là, t. XI, pp. 314-316, 374 et 382. [Maigret and the Toy Village, Harvest/HBJ Ch. 2, pp.21-23; Ch. 5, p.87; Ch.6, p.96]
31. G. SIMENON, Maigret et l'homme du banc, t. XVII, p. 98. [Maigret and the Man on the Bench, HBJ, 1975, Ch. 5, p. 103]
32. G. SIMENON, L'Inspecteur Cadavre, t. XI, pp. 257-259. [Maigret's Rival, Harvest/HBJ 1984, Ch, 7, pp 132-134]
33. J. FABRE, op. cit., p. 16.
34. J. FOREST, Notre-Dame de Saint-Fiacre ou l'affaire Maigret, Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 1994, pp. 78-84 et 95-97.
35. G. SIMENON, Le Revolver de Maigret, t. XVI, pp. 563-564. [Maigret's Revolver, Harvest/HBJ 1985, Ch 5, pp 91-2]
36. G. SIMENON, Maigret et le corps sans tête, t. XIX, p. 47. [Maigret and the Headless Corpse, Avon 1975, Ch 3, pp 53-4]
37. G. SIMENON, Maigret s'amuse, t. XX, p. 52.
38. M. LEMOINE, Des romans de Maigret aux romans de la destinée: unité de l'oeuvere de Simenon?, in «Traces», op. cit., n° 2, 1990, pp. 63-77.
39. G. SIMENON, Maigret voyage, t. XX, p. 175.
40. T. NARCEJAC, op. cit., pp. 22-28.
41. J. FABRE, op. cit., pp. 12-21.
42. A. VANONCINI, Simenon et l'affaire Maigret, Paris, Honoré Champion, 1990, pp. 75-82.
43. J. BEDNER, op. cit., pp. 12-37 et 75-98.
44. J. FOREST, op. cit., pp. 66-71.
45. A. BERTRAND, Georges Simenon: de Maigret aux romans de la destinée, Liège, C.E.F.A.L., 1994, pp. 21-23 et 41-44.
46. Phase dite aussi compréhension selon A. BERTRAND, Maigret, op. cit., pp. 65-66.
47. A. BERTRAND, Georges Simenon: de Maigret aux romans de la destinée, op. cit., p. 41.
48. M. BONFANTINI' «Le carte di Maigret: l'amusement del musement en amateur», La Semiosi e l'abduzione, Milano, Bompiani, 1987, pp. 117-136. Voir aussi Roberta MONACO, «Sherlock Holmes e Maigret, abduzione e scrittura», Annali della Facoltà di Lingue e Letterature straniere, VI-2, Université de Bari, 1985, pp. 89-103.
49. Salvatore CESARIO, Su Georges Simenon. Conversazionalismo, abduzione, proustismo, schizoanalisi, Naples, Edizioni Scientifiche Internazionali, 1996.
50. A. VANONCINI, Le Roman policier, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1993, pp. 89-90.
51. J. BEDNER, op. cit., p. 28.
52. Ibid, p. 31.
53. Ibid, p.26.
54. Ibid, p 31
55. J.-B. BARONIAN, Simenon, conteur et nouvelliste, in «Traces», op.
cit., n° 1, 1989, p. 92.
56. M. LEMOINE, L'autre Univers de Simenon, Liège, C.L.P.C.F., 1991, p. 449
57. G. SIM, Le Chinois de San Francisco, Paris, Tallandier, 1930, p. 22
58. M. LEMOINE, Maigret en gestation dans les romans populaires, in «Traces», op. cit., n° 1, 1989, pp. 53-79.
59. G. SIM, Les Bandits de Chicago, Paris, Fayard, 1929, p. 54.
61. C. BRULLS, Captain S.O.S., Paris. Fayard, 1929, p. 21.
63. G.-M. GEORGES, La Victime, Paris, Ferenczi, 1929, p. 28.
64. G. SIM, L'Homme à la cigarette, Paris, Tallandier, 1931, p. 102.
65. Ibid, p. 68.
66. Ibid, p. 64.
67. S. CESARIO, L'Homme à la cigarette: J.K Charles + Boucheron >
Sim + Maigret > Georges Simenon, in «Traces», op. cit., n° 8, pp. 9-26
68. C. BRULLS, La Figurante, Paris, Fayard, 1932, pp. 42-43.
69. Ibid, p. 47.
70. G. SIM, La Maison de l'inquiétude, Paris, Tallandier, 1932, p. 25.
71. Ibid, pp. 17 et 19.
72. Ibid, p. 19.
73. Ibid, p. 121