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Maigret-of-the-Month lists

Penguin Maigret - The Saint-Fiacre Affair
2/18/17 –
The Saint-Fiacre Affair

a review by Andrew Walser

The Saint-Fiacre Affair (1932) is one of the best early Maigrets. As Proust had shown a few years earlier, memory – even feigned memory, even memory that belongs to someone else – gives a depth and intensity to a narrative that mere invention can seldom match. Although barely 50,000 words, The Saint-Fiacre Affair somehow manages to suggest Proust’s seven-volume magnum opus, if only in the way that eddies of lost time keep pulling the protagonist beneath the surface of the story.

Inspector Maigret has returned to Saint-Fiacre, the village of his childhood, where his father worked as the estate manager of the chateau. This position – intermediary between the working people and the gentry – helps to explain a puzzling aspect of Maigret’s personality. Even as he recoils from the bourgeoisie and identifies with the common man, he nonetheless retains a surprising fondness for a certain kind of aristocracy – the kind grounded in behavior, rather than in rank. (Think of his admiration for Sir Walter in The Carter of La Providence.) The relevant aristocrat here is the Countess of Saint-Fiacre, “a young woman who had personified . . . femininity, grace, [and] nobility” for the young Maigret. After an anonymous letter prophesies her death “during first mass on All Souls’ Day,” Maigret is shaken enough to investigate.

Throughout the novel, the past seeps in unpredictably, uncontrollably, often stopping Maigret in his tracks. Waking on a November morning with “frozen fingertips.” The “smell of candles and incense” in church. The curtains in the confessionals, the communion wafers. An oak table with carved lions. His father’s “little office, near the stables.” The “linen maids” and “day labourers” waiting to get paid. The guests at the chateau during hunting season . . .

Yet The Saint-Fiacre Affair is hardly an exercise in nostalgia. Surrounded by the past, Maigret “ache[s], both emotionally and physically.” If the chateau had once “represented everything inaccessible in the world,” it is now all too accessible, with the crass doctor smoking in the Countess’s bedroom and assorted nobodies tramping through the hallways. At the village cemetery, even Maigret’s father’s gravestone is “blackened.” Maigret seems most disturbed by the revelations about the Countess’s descent into libertinism: “And there she was, a batty old lady who kept gigolos!” Is it because she played a formative role in the creation of his own erotic imagination?

Uncharacteristically for Simenon, there is a happy ending to this tale of crime and cowardice. It comes about through the moral resurrection of Maurice Saint-Fiacre, heir to the estate. A scene around a dinner table is one of the more spectacularly tense in Simenon’s oeuvre, and the behavior of the Count leaves even Maigret impressed:

Maigret felt he was in the presence of an irresistible force. Some individuals, at a given point in their lives, experience a moment of plenitude, a moment in which they are somehow elevated above the rest of humanity, and themselves . . . Maurice de Saint-Fiacre was master of the situation, and he was up to the task.

The end of the novel is peaceful and serene. Early in the book, Maigret had questioned and befriended an altar boy whose humble background and sneaky desires reminded him of his youthful self. At the conclusion, he shares a secret smile with Saint-Fiacre – a fellow aristocrat of the spirit, and one who seems to have restored his faith in the superiority of the chateau.

Simenon, Georges. The Saint-Fiacre Affair. trans. Shaun Whiteside. London: Penguin, 2014.

Death of Dick Bruna
2/18/17 – Dick Bruna, Dutch artist and children's author, who designed numerous covers for the Dutch editions of Maigret and other Simenon novels, has died at 89.


Bruna Maigret covers on a Netherlands stamp sheet

re: Maigret in the 13th arrondissement?
2/18/17 –

Simenon, Maigret, and the 13th arrondissement

In response to Cara's question, the best reference is Michel Lemoine's Paris chez Simenon. Here's what he wrote with regard to the XIIIe arrondissement:
"The Gobelins district is 'one of the saddest in Paris, with its great avenues neither old nor modern, its monotonous barracks-like houses, cafés full of a crowd neither rich nor poor' (L'homme qui regardait passer les trains). ...we must recognized that this part of Paris is hardly favored in the work of the novelist, who never lingers there long, except in one novel (Le Chat)."
Lemoine lists, among others, the following (which are usually simple mentions, and rarely true scenes of the action):

  • Avenue des Gobelins in La patience de Maigret (the packing house Gelot et Fils)
  • Place d'Italie in Les fiançailles de M. Hire
  • Hôpital de la Salpêtrière in La mort d'Auguste
  • Quai d'Austerlitz in La guinguette à deux sous (Marcel Basso's work site)
  • Quai de la Gare in On ne tue pas les pauvres types and Maigret et les témoins récalcitrants
  • Porte d'Italie mentioned in passing in numerous novels
  • Avenue d'Italie in Les fiançailles de M. Hire
  • Square Sébastien-Doise in Le Chat
  • Boulevard Arago is only mentioned in passing, but Rue de la Santé is more frequently (because of the Santé prison); however, this street and the prison are mostly in the XIVe arrondissement
  • no reference to "Butte aux Cailles" in Lemoine's book…



Maigret in the 13th arrondissement?
2/17/17 – I follow your site and appreciate all the details about Maigret. Is there Maigret or other Simenon novel that takes mainly or has some portions of the 13th arrondissement in Paris?

Maybe featuring or mentioning Buttes aux Cailles, Hopital Pitie Salpertriere, Blvd Arago, or the Gobelins?

Thanks in advance for any help

Maigret in Polish
2/17/17 – I haven't reported for long time about progress in publishing the complete Maigrets in Polish. Here's what the past 2 years produced:

Maigret szuka obrony
Maigret se defend
(June 2015)

Maigret i sprawa Nahoura
Maigret et le affaire Nahour
(November 2015)

Maigret i porządni ludzie
Maigret et les braves gens
(May 2016)

Zwierzenia Maigreta
Une confidence de Maigret
(October 2016)

all the best from Toruń

re: Guide to Maigret?
2/17/17 – No, I do not think we need to learn French law of the last century - or law at all - to enjoy Maigret. Newer translations shall remove out-of-use words and replace them with current words. In the French original, this may be more difficult, as no one except the author is qualified to correct the original. But footnotes on each page where arcane words appear with modern equivalents is possible.


Guide to Maigret?
2/11/17 – I've been looking through your site, hoping to find a sort of Guide to Maigret, and the world he lived in. I read the novels in French, so I have no problem with the language. What I don't understand are the 1940s police terms, like "hôtel garni", a hotel for single night sleepovers where you had to fill out an identity slip which was then passed on to the police daily (can you imagine the effort and bureaucracy?).

If you know of a resource that might help, I'd appreciate it.

Lee Creighton

I think that's a pretty tall order. For example, I took a quick look at the French Wikipedia article on hôtel garni, and it seems it's a term not in current use with a long legal history, apparently concerned with guaranteeing the character of a lodger...
(Administration) (Désuet) Hôtel doté de toutes les choses nécessaires pour loger. Que ces dispositions du Code pénal sont fondées sur la confiance nécessaire que le voyageur doit accorder durant son voyage, tantôt à un aubergiste, tantôt à un loueur d’hôtel garni ; qu’elles ne lui ont pas refusé dans un lieu, la garantie qu’elles lui ont accordée dans un autre ; qu’elles n’ont pas voulu que le loueur d’hôtel garni, coupable du Vol des effets d’un voyageur soit puni d’un simple emprisonnement, tandis que l’aubergiste, dans le même cas, doit subir une peine afflictive et infamante […] — (Philippe-Antoine Merlin, Répertoire universel et raisonné de jurisprudence, 1828)
Do we want to study 19th French law to read a Maigret? I suppose it's a question of how deep an understanding you require to be able to enjoy the story... As you say, it's not so much a problem of understanding the language, as it is the early-to-mid-20th-century world of Paris... For that, I'd suggest reading more novels of the era... such as more Maigrets!


Le petit chien repèrè [The little spotted dog]
1/29/17 – I just watched "The French Connection II" with commentary by producer Robert Rosen and Gene Hackman, and earlier in the week I watched the Crémer "La Maison De Félicie".

I couldn't help but to notice a little white dog with black spots and a curly tail walking and running in many of the outdoor sequences.

The supplements on the Maigret disc included several interviews regarding Georges Simenon's novels, and included clips from a vintage French film in black and white, AND in a sequence... a little dog with the same characteristics and markings in the foreground.

And in "The French Connection II" at 31mins/45secs, one of the little dog's lineage is filmed trotting alongside Hackman!

I wondered if John Frankenheimer had intentionally added a tribute to Simenon... I was hoping that it would be mentioned in their comments, but no such luck.

Kinnon Mack

re: Atkinson's "Dead Man"
1/28/17 –I'm responding to Vladimir's question (1/21) about the Atkinson Maigret.

Vladimir has asked if I would elaborate on what I mean by the Atkinson Maigret's Dead Man being "slow'? (Is it boring? Predictable? Without suspense? Does it not hold viewer attention or include scenes that make no contribution to the story line? Would I want to watch it again?)

Before I answer let me note that I have now received the DVD of this film (British, still unavailable in American format) and it also includes the first Rowan Atkinson Maigret, Maigret Sets a Trap, and I've now watched that, too. Also on the DVD are interviews with Atkinson, various people associated with the films, and with Simenon's son.

By using the word 'slow' (which I admit was an unhelpful choices of words) I meant to distinguish the film from tv mysteries that are filmed with more attention to pace than to character or setting, films in which the editing might switch rapidly among camera angles, or might include unnecessary but extravagant shoot-outs or chase scenes, or which infest the screen with fast-paced distracting details. For example, 'Sherlock,' with it's rapid language, computerized images and words appearing and moving around and disappearing, the use of successive, quick-cut, close-ups of people talking rather than a longer shot with several people in the scene, and some many things happening all at once that your adrenaline pumping so hard that maybe you've just forgotten just what the story is about. Pulse-racing, but to me artificial, action. Watching the Atkinson films felt more like reading a book that you couldn't put down. They held my attention; I might say I was riveted to the screen -- even when Maigret was just standing there, reflecting, nothing happening except a twitch of the lip. This is Atkinson's genius. I thought the way the films were made reflected Maigret's thoughtful nature, not unlike the Bruno Cremer films. That is to say, watching the films felt like reading Simenon's novels.

That's not to say there was no action. A family hacked to death in a farm house: the fact is chilling even if the action is implied from the aftermath, whereas spending a few minutes recreating the killings is to me contrived and an example of a scene unnecessary to the plot, included to extend the length of the film and raise your blood pressure. A man running down an alley who is suddenly shot in the back; a body dumped out of a car; a woman attacked on a dark street in Montmartre; a woman screaming in childbirth in a seedy hotel room. But the choices made in filming and editing seemed to me to be driven by a respect for Simenon's writing rather than just to manipulate your heart-rate. I often found myself asking not "what happens next" but "who happens next." And that's Simenon, isn't it? The extraordinary becomes part of the ordinariness of life, rather than the extraordinary being italicized so you don't miss it. If you've seen the Australian "Dr. Blake Mysteries" you'll know what I mean.

There were no scenes that did not contribute to the story line, or to developing the sense of character and atmosphere. There was no excess, nothing I think might have been cut. I've had that experience of thinking "hey! good film! too long, though -- maybe 20 minutes shorter?" Not these.

Would I watch them again? Already have. In fact, after watching Maigret Sets a Trap, I immediately watched the Cremer Maigret Tend un Piege. As Audrey Hepburn says in "Roman Holiday:" "Each, in its own way, was . . ." I've watched the Cremer multiple times; I've now watched the Atkinson three times. Similarities, differences, each in its own way excellent. Or so I think.

And after watching both, I felt like ordering a beer and a ham sandwich and having them sent up and starting in all over again . . . except I was the one who had to go down to get the beer and make the sandwich.

Steve C.

re: Bruno Crémer - subtitles
1/27/17 – As Steve mentioned, there was an exhaustive discussion regarding sub-titles or the lack thereof some time ago [2/6/2012..., 7/27/2012, 9/12/2012...]. I recall working out which US sets (all of which had sub-titles) one had to purchase to get a complete English sub-titled collection of the 54 episodes. I had purchased the 5 French produced coffret. Coffret 5 presented the problem as it provided sub-titles for 2 episodes only (Maigret et les plaisirs de la nuit and Maigret et l'Etoile du Nord). If you purchase US sets 1,2,3 and 4 you are covered.

Cheers all.
Don Greenfield

Bruno Crémer - early episodes - subtitles
1/26/17 – MHz Networks released the early episodes in the USA with subtitles, and the sets can still be obtained via I purchased the DVDs in 2012 - the picture quality is a little subdued and you need a Region 1 player of course.

Well worth the purchase.

David Lax
Whitley Bay

How many Crémer episodes are there?
1/25/17 –I'm getting back into my Crémer Maigret box set, after five years, it's like seeing them for the first time again. I'm trying to figure out, if the actual number of Crémer episodes is greater than the 54 that are both on the Maigret website, and the newer box set (coffret)

Seems that my set only has 42 episodes, and I did notice that the earlier episodes from the 1990's weren't included for some reason. Has anyone else mentioned this?

It's such a shame too, because the 42 episode set comes in such a nice box...

D. Dahl

The Bruno Crémer Maigret site lists 54 episodes... Most of the discussion on the Forum has been about the absence of English substitles on the DVDs available for the remaining 12 episode...


Additional information on the Crémer series is avaliable here.


re: Atkinson's "Dead Man"
1/21/17 –Thanks to Steve C. for his review of Atkinson's 'Dead Man' (1/16/17). Maybe he can elaborate on what he means by "slow'? Is this movie boring? Predictable? Has no suspense? Does not hold viewer attention? Does it include many scenes that make no contribution to the story line and only add time to the movie length? Finally, would he want to watch this movie again?


Maigret on Radio
1/18/17 – Gary Marsa has just updated and corrected a few of the CBC listings for Maigret on the Radio, and provided an interesting new discovery of his - a listing of French language Maigret serial broadcasts by BBC Radio 4 in England in 1969 of Le chien jaune and Félicie est là, for people learning French.

He also pointed out that it was very difficult to locate the Maigret on the Radio page. You either had to use the search form or go to Reference and click on radio to get to the link. I've now added a link at the top of the Film page as well, as that seems like an easy-to-remember place to find it...


Atkinson's "Dead Man"
1/16/17 – First of all, congratulations on Maigret's World. Wish it were out now!

Secondly, I was in London over Christmas and watched the Atkinson's Maigret's Dead Man. I thought it brilliant, for these reasons: when Rowan Atkinson's face is expressionless it remains full of meaning; high marks on atmosphere and attention to original story line (easy to forgive substituting Mr and Mrs M for the police barkeep and his wife and also high marks for not dwelling on the sordid sexual relationships and undertones); and two heartbreaking moments, one carried off by Atkinson without a word, the other by Atkinson's voice off-camera: replacing the shoe of Maigret's Dead Man and the (albeit non-canonical) telephone question to his wife "we have a happy home, don't we?"

Much of the criticism of this film was its slowness, but that's Simenon's novels: for all their brevity, they are slow. That's the point. Maigret is the eye that sees and absorbs and does not rush to judgment. There's a contemplative rhythm to most of the novels, and I thought the film captured that. But it wants a commitment to paying attention to the smallest detail, such as Atkinson's expressionless face that is not expressionless underneath. Unfortunately, I think most viewers are more attuned to the pace of a "Sherlock," something I find boring precisely because of its lack of depth and focus.

Again, congratulations on the book!

Steve Cribari

re: Maigret's World!
1/6/17 –

Congratulations on your book!

I can't wait to read it!


Maigret's World!
1/5/17 –

En proposant à la fois une vue panoramique inédite et une mise en relief des moindres détails du Monde de Maigret, Murielle et Steve m’ont tout d’abord donné la très grande joie de redécouvrir, sous un angle différent, cet univers que j’aime tant. Et puis, cet ouvrage est très vite devenu un instrument de travail, une référence indispensable pour moi et tous ceux qui, comme moi, travaillent sur cette prodigieuse saga.
Je remercie les auteurs du fond du cœur et souhaite à tous leurs lecteurs le même plaisir.

By offering this original panoramic view, while highlighting the smallest details of Maigret's World, Murielle and Steve have first of all given me great joy in rediscovering, from a different angle, this universe that I love so much. And moreover, this work has quickly become a working tool, an indispensable reference for me and all those who, like me, work with this prodigious saga.
I thank the authors from the bottom of my heart, and wish all their readers the same pleasure.

John Simenon

2017 is here!
1/1/17 – Happy New Year to all Maigret Fans!


Maigret's Dead Man - ITV
12/31/16 –

Maigret: Dead Man was a curiously cold case for Christmas - review
By Ben Lawrence - 25 December 2016 - 11:00PM

Last year, the final episode of Downton Abbey was the most-watched programme on Christmas Day. It is hard to imagine that Maigret: Dead Man will deliver the same sort of festive cheer for ITV.

This was the second outing for Rowan Atkinson’s Parisian detective, created by Georges Simenon in the Thirties and immortalised by Rupert Davies on British television in the Sixties. We first saw the comedian take on the role at Easter and reviews were unkind with headlines that predictably veered towards schoolboy French (“Zut alors! C’est terrible!” screamed one).

In truth, Maigret, and indeed Atkinson are not catastrophique (sorry!) but the production remains a curiously cold affair and, in the time it took the inspector to solve last night’s mystery, you could have jumped on the Eurostar and been pampering yourself in the Hotel Georges V....

complete review at The Telegraph

Penguin Maigret - The Shadow Puppet
12/31/16 –
The Shadow Puppet

a review by Andrew Walser

Certain lines jump out of literary texts, as if they were hidden messages from the author’s unconscious, hints on how to understand the work beyond the writer’s own comprehension. In The Shadow Puppet, such a line appears relatively early in the book, in the middle of an otherwise unexceptional description of an apartment building: “There are impressions that cannot be explained: something felt wrong, something that emanated from the facade itself.”

The line refers literally to the Place des Vosges, where Inspector Maigret has gone to investigate the murder of Couchet, the wealthy owner of what the narrative calls a “serum factory.” In this quiet, conventional locale, Maigret discovers an intricate family drama and a homicidal nihilism behind the closed blinds.

The early pages of this novel are all about imperfect concealment, about information leaking through and unsettling the recipient, as at a puppet show that has been shabbily staged. When Maigret first arrives to investigate the crime, he finds a kind of shadow world, without “proper lighting,” so that the lives inside the apartments remain disturbingly ill-defined, resistant to even the most general speculation. The dead body itself is a blurry shape behind “frosted-glass panes”; it resembles a “Chinese shadow puppet,” a phrase that gives the book its French title, L’ombre Chinoise.

Yet the phrase “something felt wrong” also points to a more general condition – a malaise that underlies not just bourgeois existence in all its “syrupy greyness,” but also existence itself, as if the universe were a “facade” behind which something unpleasant lurked.

The idea of an absurd cosmos was in the air in the Thirties, particularly in the Francophonic world. (Both Camus and Sartre published their first works later in the decade.) Critics have tended to pay more attention to the philosophical underpinnings of Simenon’s romans durs – works like Dirty Snow and The Man Who Watched Trains Go By – but I would suggest that existentialism is relevant to the Maigret novels as well. What “emanate[s] from the facade” in these books is the knowledge that there is only facade – that all of these “comical gesticulating shadow[s]” have no puppet-master to pull their strings. In this context, the behavior of Maigret – his patient immersion in the mundane, his resolute refusal to invent invisible motives – becomes a kind of replacement for metaphysics, a way to find meaning amid “all this day-to-day unpleasantness.”

In The Shadow Puppet, and in the other seventy-four novels in which he figures as protagonist, Maigret shows us something important behind his facade – what it means to be “good” in a world where the category is as shadowy as the courtyard of the Place des Vosges.

Simenon, Georges. The Shadow Puppet. trans. Ros Schwartz. London: Penguin, 2014.

More Alsatian Simenon/Maigret
12/30/16 – Here's an article by the University Library of Strasbourg including references to François Hoff's article...

November 2016: Simenon's Fictional Alsace

After a tour of France on the canals which began in 1929 and provided material for various reports, Georges Simenon (1903-1989) moored his boat, the Ostrogoth, at the quai d’Anjou in Paris. It was there, in July 1931, that he wrote Le Relais d’Alsace, published several months later... The series that he himself called his "romans durs", his "hard novels" had just been launched. With the romans durs, Simenon sought to escape the constraints of his Inspector Maigret series, to vary the themes and plots of his texts as well as the characters and settings, to eventually leave strictly detective stories, and to experiment with other styles.

In an interview with Richard Dupierreux published in Le Soir, Dec. 6, 1936, Maigret's creator unveiled his method of writing: "How do I make a novel? It's very simple. I think of a place where I've lived, and I feel its atmosphere. I live in it. In my mind I reconstruct the odors, the colors, the climate... Then I think of a person, one I'd seen there. I ask myself, 'What was he like? What did he do? What did he become?' I sit myself down at my typewriter at 6:00 in the morning, and I type steadily until 8:00. Twenty pages are written. That's enough for the day. I take it up again the next day. In the meantime his life has become clearer, other characters have appeared, existing along with him. The atmosphere, the climate, the odors, the colors... they haven't changed..."

With Le Relais d’Alsace, things proceeded differently. Indeed, in spite of his many travels, nothing in Simenon's biography indicates a passage through Alsace... And François Hoff, in his article "Le Relais d’Alsace et ses mystères", published in Le Carnet d’écrou n° 8, suggests that Simenon may have decided to set his plot at the Schlucht pass after reading some newspapers... In fact, the 25th Tour de France passed through the Vosges pass for the first time in 1931. This lack of knowledge of the terrain provides an explanation for Hoff of the topographical improbabilities... "If the beginning of the novel gives the impression of a true report, the illusion quickly dissipates... Suddenly, midway between the Schlucht and the Hohneck, at the top of the ridge (!?), and thus in the Hautes-Vosges, appears a splendid "chalet in the pines," surrounded by "a small park with gravel pathways, with masses of roses and hydrangeas", the existence of which the reader can hardly believe. The Hautes-Vosges are covered with meadows and small shrubs at that altitude... which, while it hardly prevents you from continuing with the novel, makes it nonetheless harder to believe. It would have been preferable for Simenon to have placed his chalet a few hundred meters lower...""

Readers will experience for themselves whether this approximate geography detracts from the novel; the suspension of disbelief required of all fiction varies from one reader to another, and natives or connoisseurs of the Vosges will no doubt be more demanding of topographical credibility. For Simenon the essential was elsewhere, probably in the understanding of the human soul of which each of his texts endeavors to explore a hidden recess. And thus neither was he embarrassed by internal inconsistencies in the secondary aspects of his voluminous work (75 novels and some 30 short stoires for Maigret, 117 "romans durs"). The meticulous reader will note, for example, that Madame Maigret, originally from Alsace, returns to her native region every summer to visit her sister, sometimes called Hortense, but sometimes Odette or Elise, and a brother-in-law with an equally changeable name (Emile, André, Charles). These inlaws sometimes welcome them in Colmar, sometimes near Mulhouse. They also have a chalet in Schlucht pass, which they lend to the Maigrets, but nothing is said about its exact location...

Schlucht Pass, 1889

original article:

Novembre 2016 :  L'Alsace Fictive de Simenon

Après un tour de France des canaux commencé en 1929 et qui fut matière à divers reportages, Georges Simenon (1903-1989) amarra son bateau l’Ostrogoth quai d’Anjou à Paris. C’est là qu’il écrivit en juillet 1931 Le Relais d’Alsace, publié quelques mois plus tard : la série qu’il qualifiait lui-même de « romans durs » venait d’être lancée. Avec les « romans durs », Simenon cherchait à se soustraire aux contraintes de la série du commissaire Maigret, à varier les thèmes et les intrigues de ses textes autant que les personnages et les décors, en définitive à sortir du roman strictement policier et à expérimenter d’autres styles.

Dans un entretien accordé à Richard Dupierreux et publié dans le journal Le Soir le 6 décembre 1936, le créateur de Maigret dévoilait sa méthode d’écriture : « Comment je fais un roman ? C’est bien simple. Je pense à un lieu où j’ai vécu et j’en ressens l’atmosphère. Je vis en elle. Je recompose les odeurs, les couleurs, le climat, dans mon esprit. Puis je pense à un être humain, que j’ai vu là-bas. Je me dis : « Comment était-il ? Que faisait-il ? Qu’est-il devenu ? » Je prends place devant ma machine à six heures du matin, et je tape, régulièrement, jusqu’à huit heures. Vingt pages sont écrites. Cela suffit pour ce jour-là. Je recommence le lendemain. Dans l’entre-temps, la vie du personnage s’est précisée. D’autres personnages sont venus d’eux-mêmes, s’ajouter à lui. L’atmosphère, le climat, les odeurs, les couleurs n’ont pas changé… »

Avec Le Relais d’Alsace, les choses en allèrent autrement. En effet, malgré de nombreux voyages, rien dans la biographie de Simenon n’indique un passage par l’Alsace... Et François Hoff de suggérer, dans son article « Le Relais d’Alsace et ses mystères », publié dans Le Carnet d’écrou n° 8, que Simenon décida peut-être d’installer son intrigue au col de la Schlucht en lisant les journaux – de fait, le 25e Tour de France passa pour la première fois le col vosgien en 1931. Cette méconnaissance du terrain expliquerait pour Hoff ses invraisemblances topographiques : « si le début du roman donne l’impression d’un véritable reportage, l’illusion se dissipe bien vite : tout à coup, à mi-chemin entre la Schlucht et le Hohneck, ?à la limite de la crête?, donc dans les Hautes-Vosges, apparaît un splendide « Chalet des pins » entouré d’ « un petit parc aux allées de gravier, avec des massifs de roses et d’hortensias », qui donne sur une route carrossable, à l’existence duquel le lecteur peine à croire. Les Hautes-Vosges sont couvertes de prairies d’altitude et de petits arbustes. Cela n’empêche en rien la lecture du roman, mais enfin, on y croit un peu moins. Il aurait suffi que Simenon plaçât son chalet quelques centaines de mètres plus bas. »

Chaque lecteur expérimentera pour lui-même si cette géographie approximative constitue une insuffisance du roman ; la suspension d’incrédulité propre à toute fiction varie d’une personne à l’autre et les natifs ou les connaisseurs des Vosges seront sans doute plus exigeants sur sa crédibilité topographique. Pour Simenon l’essentiel était ailleurs, probablement dans la compréhension de l’âme humaine dont chacun de ses textes s’efforçait d’explorer un recoin. Aussi ne s’embarrassait-il pas de cohérence interne pour les aspects secondaires de son œuvre volumineuse (75 romans et une trentaine de nouvelles pour Maigret, 117 romans « durs »). Le lecteur méticuleux remarquera par exemple que Madame Maigret, originaire d’Alsace, retourne chaque été dans sa région natale pour retrouver une sœur qui s’appelle tantôt Hortense, tantôt Odette ou Elise et un beau-frère au prénom tout aussi changeant (Emile, André, Charles). Cette belle-famille les accueille parfois à Colmar, parfois du côté de Mulhouse. Ils possèdent également un chalet au col de la Schlucht, qu’ils prêtent aux Maigret, mais rien n’est dit sur son emplacement exact…

Happy New Year!

Exposition: Détective Magazine
12/28/16 – Exposition : Détective, fabrique de crimes ?

An interesting exhibit coming in January in Paris about Détective Magazine, published when Maigret began...

Exposition : Détective, fabrique de crimes ?


re: Simenon's French
12/27/16 – Thank you, Murielle, I will study it all with pleasure. [see 12/9/2016]
ps Meant to say Simenon repeated himself much more in the later books (eg La Chambre Bleue).


Mme Maigret's Alsatian Investigation
12/25/16 – Here's a short article by François Hoff, published in Le Carnet d'Ecrou No. 23, November 2016, the newsletter from the Strasbourg Sherlock Holmes Association, about Maigret and Alsace...

François Hoff

Maigret et le clochard was published in 1963.

Two boatmen pull a clochard from the Seine who'd been beaten and tossed into the water. Maigret goes to see him at the Hôtel-Dieu hospital, where the man is in a coma with a fractured skull. He is François Keller, a doctor from Mulhouse, who'd left his family and moved to Gabon, "some hundreds of kilometers from Libreville", but had upset the colonial administration. Alone, bitter, alcoholic, he'd returned to France, where, on the fringe of society, he'd wound up living with a group of clochards under the bridges of Paris. They called him "Doc".

In the Alsatian Revue of Literature1, Jean-Paul Sorg, who presents this novel, sees him as "an inverted figure of Dr. Schweitzer", too rigid, too inflexible to keep strictly to his medical mission.

Maigret is sympathetic to this pure idealist incapable of making concessions, but Doc remains silent, and it's Louise, Mme Maigret, who provides the most useful information about him to the Chief Inspector.

We know that Louise is originally from Alsace, and she calls her married sister in Mulhouse, who informs her that Dr. Keller had been a doctor for the poor, who couldn't handle the sudden change in his life: his wife had suddenly become rich as a result of a large inheritance. They'd moved into a private mansion, but François Keller had been unable to adapt to the fashionable life which so pleased his wife .

Some details will trouble the regional reader... Simenon puts Mulhouse in the Bas-Rhin, and the Keller's mansion on the "cathedral square". He has confused Mulhouse with Strasbourg. Jean-Paul Sorg states that "to write his novel, he hadn't bothered to visit the site of the action". Simenon wrote quickly, and much...

We've already noted this casualness with regard to Le Relais d'Alsace (1931)2... Simenon describes the Schlucht pass without having seen it, probably from a picture postcard, reversing east and west, and surrounding the chalet with "roses and hydrangeas" in the Hautes-Vosges, between Schlucht and Hohneck.

Moreover, Louise Maigret's sister (once called Henriette, it seems) appears several times in the Maigret "Canon". But she is called variously Florence, Hortense, Élise (in Colmar) and Odette. In a search worthy of the best pages of "Holmesolgy", a scholar has endeavored to provide biographies of the "four sisters": "(Madame Maigret’s Four Sisters").

One last point, which, this time, illuminates and enriches our reading of the novel: Mme Keller's inheritance. Mme Maigret's sister carries out a parallel investigation to that of the police, and she discovers the actual reason for the doctor's departure for Gabon.

Mme Keller had a maternal aunt, a nurse at the Strasbourg hospital. A little before the war, this sister married a rich scrap metal dealer, with a bad reputation. He made a fortune during the war, through usury and metal trafficking with the Germans. Sought by the FFI, French resistance fighters, in 1945, he fled to Spain, then to Argentina, and died with his wife in a plane crash. Mme Keller inherited without concern for the source... We now understand that it was not just the sudden enrichment of his wife that had led her husband, a doctor of the poor, to leave, but the origin of the fortune.

The Maigrets à table. Maigret et le clochard,
telefilm with Annick Tanguy and Jean Richard, 1982

original article:

François Hoff

Maigret et le clochard a été publié en 1963.

Deux bateliers tirent de la Seine un clochard qui a été battu et jeté à l’eau. Maigret va le voir à l’Hôtel-Dieu. L’homme est dans le coma ; il a une fracture du crâne. Il s’appelle François Keller et c’est un médecin mulhousien. Il avait quitté sa famille pour s’installer au Gabon, « à des centaines de kilomètres de Libreville », mais il s’est mis l’administration coloniale à dos. Solitaire, aigri, devenu alcoolique, il a été rapatrié, s’est marginalisé, et a fini par rejoindre un groupe de clochards qui vit sous les ponts : on l’appelle le « Toubib ».

Dans la Revue alsacienne de littérature, Jean-Paul Sorg, qui présente ce roman, voit en lui une « figure inversée du Docteur Schweitzer », trop rigide, trop intransigeant pour s’en tenir strictement à sa mission médicale1.

Maigret se prend de sympathie pour ce pur idéaliste incapable de concessions. Mais le Toubib se tait, et les renseignements les plus utiles sur lui, c’est Louise, madame Maigret, qui les fournit au commissaire.

On sait qu’elle est d’origine alsacienne. Elle appelle sa sœur, mariée à Mulhouse, qui l’informe. Le docteur Keller était un médecin des pauvres, qui n’a pas supporté le changement soudain apporté à sa vie : son épouse s’est brusquement enrichie en faisant un gros héritage. Ils ont déménagé dans un hôtel particulier, mais François Keller n’a pas pu s’adapter à cette vie mondaine, qui faisait le bonheur de madame.

Quelques détails gênent le lecteur régional... Simenon situe Mulhouse dans le Bas-Rhin, et place l’hôtel particulier des Keller « place de la cathédrale ». Il confond Mulhouse et Strasbourg. Jean-Paul Sorg constate que « pour écrire son roman, il n’a pas pris la peine de visiter les lieux de l’action ». Simenon écrit vite, et beaucoup...

Nous avions déjà relevé cette désinvolture à propos du Relais d'Alsace (1931) : Simenon décrit le col de la Schlucht sans l’avoir vu, probablement à partir d’une carte postale, en inversant l’est et l’ouest, et situe un chalet entouré de « roses et d’hortensias » dans les Hautes-Vosges, entre Schlucht et Hohneck2.

D’autre part, la sœur de Louise Maigret (qui s’appelle une fois Henriette, paraît-il) apparaît à plusieurs reprises dans le « Canon » maigrettien. Mais elle s’appelle tour à tour Florence, Hortense, Élise (sise à Colmar) et Odette. Dans une recherche digne des meilleures pages de la holmésologie, un érudit s’est efforcé de donner des biographies aux « quatre sœurs » : « Madame Maigret ’s Four Sisters » (

Un dernier point, qui, cette fois, éclaire et enrichit notre lecture du roman : l’héritage de madame Keller. La sœur de Madame Maigret a poursuivi une enquête parallèle à celle de la police, et elle a découvert la vraie raison du départ du docteur pour le Gabon.

Madame Keller avait une tante maternelle, infirmière à l’hôpital de Strasbourg. Peu de temps avant la guerre, cette sœur épousa un riche ferrailleur, de mauvaise réputation. Il fit fortune pendant la guerre, en pratiquant l’usure et en trafiquant des métaux avec les Allemands. Recherché par les FFI en 1945, il s’enfuit en Espagne, puis en Argentine, et mourut avec son épouse dans un accident d’avion. Madame Keller hérita sans états d’âme... On comprend que ce n’est pas seulement l’enrichissement soudain de sa femme qui a poussé son mari, le médecin des pauvres, à la quitter : c’est l’origine de cette fortune.

1 Jean-Paul Sorg, « La figure inversée du Docteur Schweitzer dans un roman de Simenon, Maigret et le clochard », Revue alsacienne de littérature, n° 119,1er semestre 2013, p. 132-134.
2 « Le Relais d’Alsace et ses mystères », Le Carnet d'écrou, n°8, février 2008, p. 31-32.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!

re: La patience de Maigret
12/20/16 – With regard to Oz's remarks, while désormais and dorénavant are considered to be synonymous, we can detect a small shade of difference. For my part, intuitively, I would rather use dorénavant when the action is described in the present, while désormais could be used when the action is in the present or past. For example: "the Chief Inspector could have questioned him as much as he wanted, désormais he wouldn't have answered his questions"; "the Chief Inspector can question him as much as he wants, désormais/dorénavant he won't respond to his questions". I wouldn't use "dorénavant" in the first sentence, but it's more a question of "feeling" than grammatical logic…

Etymologically, désormais means "from now and more", and dorénavant "from now on", so just about synonyms. Following an explanation found on the internet, we could say this: "The moment in a narrative which serves as the reference point could be the present or a moment in the past, where désormais is thus a synonum for dès lors. According to certain authors, dorénavant is more in the present than désormais. This is probably why désormais is used more often than dorénavant when the event is in the past.

It seems to me that in the text of La patience de Maigret, these nuances also appear: "it was the beginning of an affair that would be called, désormais, at the Quai des Orfèvres, Maigret's longest case" (Ch. 1): we envision the action more in the future, i.e. the case will be called this way; "Désormais, you're alone, you understand?" (Ch. 2): Maigret is talking to Aline to make her understand that in the future she will be alone, without Palmari; "As for his phone, it is désormais being tapped, like yours." (Ch. 5): Maigret tells Aline that from now on her phone will be tapped; "Fear of being dorénavant harassed by the police" (Ch. 5): Maigret reflects on Pernelle's behavior, and imagines that from now, from the time he speaks with Maigret, he will be afraid of being harassed in the future.

Naturally, all these are subtleties, and it's difficult to know if Simenon knowingly used "dorénavant" in this phrase in Ch. 5, or if he was simply looking for a synonym for "désormais"…

As for Oz's question about the English translation of the two terms, I believe it's the context which will determine whether "henceforth" or "from then on" is more appropriate… At first glance I'd say that "henceforth" is closer to "désormais" and "from then on" to "dorénavant". But once again, it's a subtle question.

As for the remark, "Certainly no suspects that one can admire in any way," I think it must be qualified. It's true that Barillard is particularly odious, but Aline is not regarded on the same level. Simenon notes several times in the text Maigret's somewhat ambiguous feelings about her... on the one hand, he considers her and Barillard a "couple of savage beasts", and he's no doubt unable to forgive her for being an accomplice to Palmari's murder; but he still can't help feeling a certain sympathy for her, or at least something a little unclear.

We can find a number of examples, but the most striking one is from the last chapter, when Aline says to Maigret: "Confess that you had a weakness for Manuel", and when Maigret replies, "In a way, yes," Aline adds, "And for me as well, no?" and Maigret replies, "In a way..." And I think it's important not to lose sight of the fact that Aline also appears in Maigret se défend [DEF], and that there too, Maigret's attitude toward her shows a certain ambiguity.

In the episode adapted for the Bruno Crémer TV series, the Chief Inspector utters this phrase (not found in the novel, but striking)... To Judge Ancelin who is asking Maigret's opinion about Aline's guilt, Maigret answers: "in your position, I would be wary of the sympathy that certain police officers may have to certain accused..."

Désormais et dorénavant sont considérés comme des synonymes, mais on peut y voir une petite nuance. Pour ma part, intuitivement, j'utiliserais plutôt dorénavant lorsque l'action est décrite au présent, alors que désormais pourrait être employé lorsque l'action est décrite au présent ou au passé. Exemple: "le commissaire pouvait l'interroger tant qu'il voulait, désormais il ne répondrait plus à ses questions"; "le commissaire pourra l'interroger tant qu'il voudra, désormais/dorénavant il ne répondra plus à ses questions". Je n'utiliserais pas "dorénavant" dans la première phrase, mais c'est plus une question de "feeling" que de logique grammaticale…

Etymologiquement, désormais signifie "dès maintenant et plus", et dorénavant "dès maintenant en avant", donc quasi synonymes. D'après une explication trouvée sur internet, on peut dire ceci: "Le moment qui sert de repère peut être le présent ou un moment du passé, dans un récit, où désormais est alors synonyme de dès lors. Selon certains auteurs, dorénavant insisterait davantage sur le moment présent que désormais. C’est peut-être pour cette raison qu’on emploie plus souvent désormais que dorénavant lorsqu’il est question d’un événement du passé."

Et il me semble que dans le texte de La patience de Maigret, ces nuances apparaissent aussi: "c'était le commencement d'une affaire qu'on appellerait désormais, au Quai des Orfèvres, la plus longue enquête de Maigret" (chapitre 1): on envisage l'action plutôt dans le futur, i.e. on appellera cette affaire de cette façon; "Désormais, vous êtes seule, vous entendez ?" (chapitre 2): Maigret parle à Aline et lui fait comprendre que son futur est d'être seule, sans Palmari; "Quant à son téléphone, il est désormais branché comme le vôtre sur la table d'écoutes." (chapitre 5): Maigret dit à Aline que dès à présent son téléphone est sur écoutes; "Peur d'être dorénavant harcelé par la police" (chapitre 5): Maigret réfléchit au comportement de Pernelle, et imagine que dès maintenant, dès le moment qu'il a parlé avec Maigret, il a peur d'être harcelé dans le futur.

Naturellement, tout ceci sont des subtilités, et c'est difficile de savoir si Simenon a sciemment utilisé "dorénavant" dans cette phrase du chapitre 5, ou s'il cherchait simplement un synonyme de "désormais"…

Quant à la question de Oz à propos de la traduction en anglais des deux termes, je crois que c'est le contexte qui déterminera si "henceforth" ou "from then on" est plus approprié… A première vue, je dirais que "henceforth" est plus proche de "désormais" et "from then on" de "dorénavant". Mais encore une fois, c'est une question de subtilité…

Quant à la remarque à propos de "Certainly no suspects that one can admire in any way.", je crois qu'il faut nuancer: c'est vrai que Barillard apparaît comme particulièrement odieux, mais Aline n'est pas traitée sur le même plan. Simenon note à plusieurs reprises dans le texte le sentiment un peu ambigu que Maigret ressent vis-à-vis d'elle: d'un côté, il est conscient qu'elle appartient au "couple de fauves" formé avec Barillard, et le commissaire ne lui pardonne probablement pas d'être la complice du meurtre de Palmari; mais d'un autre côté, il ne peut s'empêcher de ressentir pour elle une certaine sympathie, ou du moins quelque chose d'un peu trouble. On pourrait citer plusieurs exemples, mais l'un des plus parlants est celui du dernier chapitre, lorsque Aline dit à Maigret: "- Avouez que vous aviez un faible pour Manuel", et que Maigret répond: "-Dans un certain sens, oui." Puis Aline ajoute: "- Pour moi aussi, non ?" et Maigret répond "Dans un certain sens." Je crois aussi qu'il ne faut pas perdre de vue que le personnage d'Aline apparaît également dans Maigret se défend, et que là aussi, l'attitude de Maigret envers elle comporte cette ambiguïté. Dans l'épisode adapté pour la série avec Bruno Crémer, le commissaire a cette phrase (qu'on ne trouve pas dans le roman, mais qui est parlante): au juge Ancelin qui veut solliciter son avis sur la culpabilité d'Aline, Maigret répond: "à votre place, je me méfierais de la sympathie que certains policiers peuvent avoir pour certains accusés…"


La patience de Maigret
12/18/16 – Although this is a later novel [1965 PAT] in the Simenon oeuvre, it strikes me as a franc homage to the noir era. I had fortunately forgotten the plot before I reread it just now, and it struck me in the end as being a story that could have come from 1938 or 1947. Well crafted of course and the references to the Holocaust date it to a postwar era. But the overall flavor is very dark. There is no one to fall in love with other than the juge d'instruction, who I think never appears again. Certainly no suspects that one can admire in any way.

It did leave me wondering if there is a difference between "dorenavant" and "desormais" both of which my dictionary translate as "henceforth" or as I might say "from then on". I think Simenon felt they were not total synonyms since he used both words.

Oz Childs

Maigret Title Index
12/16/16 –There have been a few requests since the new Penguin series started to appear, for a list of correspondences between the new titles and existing translations... of the "Have I already read this one under a different title?" variety.

The title index on the Bibliography page was unfortunately out-of-date and needed to be reprogrammed to answer those questions. It's now back up-to-date (at least the Simplified index so far), and can be accessed from the Bibliography page by simply clicking the Indexes link at the top center of the page. I'll work on getting the other indexes updated, but for now, the simplified index will answer these questions.

Click on the title in the Index and you'll get to the list of all the English titles, and most of the English editions for that book.


Merry Christmas!
12/16/16 –And A MERRY CHRISTMAS to you, Helen Shingler! In addition to many other remarkable roles you were the perfect Madame Maigret at Rupert Davies' side in the sixties, chosen out of many photos of actresses by Denise and Georges Simenon personally. In the present German DVD edition of that series we have the chance to admire you again and again. We simply love you!

Your fan

(This photo was published, for example, in "The Australian Women's Weekly", October 16, 1963)

re: Simenon / Loustal "Un nouveau dans la ville"
12/12/16 – There was a significant error in my report on the new edition of Simenon's (non-Maigret) story "Un nouveau dans la ville"" [12/7]. I wrote, incorrectly, that it had been translated by Bernard Lechtman as The Novel of Man, and appeared as a limited edtion in 1964 (Harcourt, Brace & World, 59pp), "a lecture delivered in the Main Auditorium of the Brussels World Fair on October 3, 1958... published as a New Year's greeting to friends of the author & the publisher."

Actually, Lechtman's book was a translation of Simenon's "Le roman de l'homme", which was in fact the text of a lecture delivered by Simenon in the Main Auditorium of the Brussels World Fair on October 3, 1958, published by Presses de la Cité, 1959 (not the edition shown above). Un nouveau dans la ville has apparently never been translated into English.

My mistake was the result of believing an ad for a copy of The Novel of Man, in which it was described as a translation of "Un nouveau dans la ville." I ordered a copy and it just came in. When I compared it with the French text of "Un nouveau dans la ville," the error was obvious.

My apologies.


re: Simenon - Loustal - Maigret
12/12/16 – One more famous Loustal drawing from the 11/22/14 Forum... drawn and autographed by Loustal for Jérôme:


Maigret en Meublé
12/12/16 – (Or "moobles" as my daughters loved to say when we took them to France when they were 11, 10 and 7). And if you have children or grandchildren there really is no better place on Earth for you to take young children to. We divided our time between Paris and Provence, with a huge car in Provence and no car in Paris except for a Renault Espace to take a quick trip to Normandie, Chartres, and Mont-St. Michel. And yes we danced on the Pont d'Avignon and went to at least one beach where the women were topless.

I have just re-read "Maigret en Meublé" and did notice at first that there was a differently-named sister for Mme Maigret. But I do think that one of the potential "sisters'" in a later work, set when Maigret had retired was in reality a niece or perhaps a cousin once removed. Eventually, Mme Maigret would have had relatives in the younger generation.

Oz Childs

Mᵐᵉ Maigret's family

On the family side, Mᵐᵉ Maigret is originally from Alsace, where the couple sometimes spends their vacations, near Colmar, where she happily helped make jams and liqueurs. The family includes a number of cousins, one of whom lives in Nancy, and eleven aunts, one living in Quimper. Mᵐᵉ Maigret also has family on the Isle of Ré. A good part of the Alsatian branch worked for the Highways department. But the family relationship that is of most interest in the novels is Mᵐᵉ Maigret's sister. For the Maigret researcher, this sister continues to raise questions, for she has, depending on the novel, different names, as does her husband, whose family name also changes with the texts… One way to clarify (?) the situation is to say that Simenon wasn't always overly concerned about consistency with regard to the name of Mᵐᵉ Maigret's sister. Another possibility is that the "sister" of Mᵐᵉ Maigret is actually "sisters", in other words, that there are more than one. This is the premise of the little game that we've played below, in examining the texts concerning this character… Get your pencil ready!

We learn, in L'ombre chinoise, that Maigret's sister-in-law arrived from Alsace with the plum brandy, along with her husband André, who ran a brickyard. In Mon ami Maigret, the couple, on a visit to the Maigrets, has the last name Mouthon. Apparently they have no children. In Maigret en meublé, Mᵐᵉ Maigret is in Alsace caring for her sister Hortense, who's recovering from an operation. In La danseuse du Gai-Moulin, the Maigrets receive a card from a sister who's about to have a new baby. In Le fou de Bergerac, the sister-in-law in Alsace gives birth to a daughter... she's had three children in four years. In Maigret, we have the appearance of Philippe Lauer, a police inspector, who comes from the Vosges and is Mᵐᵉ Maigret's nephew. In the same novel, the sister-in-law's husband is named Emile, and he works in an office. In Félicie est là, the sister-in-law, Elise, comes from Epinal (in the Vosges) with her husband and children. In Maigret et l'inspecteur Malgracieux, mention is made of Maigret's nephew, Daniel, who has a wife and daughter, and who works at Police Emergency Services. He could be Philippe's brother, and in this case, the baby announced in the card in La danseuse du Gai-Moulin could be either Philippe or Daniel. In Maigret et son mort, Mᵐᵉ Maigret's niece is called Aline (possibly the baby born in Le fou de Bergerac?).

In Maigret s'amuse, the sister-in-law lives in Colmar with her husband Charles and their children, while in Maigret et le clochard, Mᵐᵉ Maigret's sister, Florence, lives in Mulhouse, her husband works in the Highways department, and they also have children. There's no reason why this couldn't have been one couple who moved from Colmar to Mulhouse…In Jeumont, 51 minutes d'arrêt!, we find another nephew, Paul Vinchon, an Inspector on the Belgian border. Could he be Florence's son? In Mademoiselle Berthe et son amant, there's yet another nephew, Jérôme Lacroix, an inspector in the PJ, who has a wife and a son. In L'homme dans la rue, Mᵐᵉ Maigret sister comes from Orléans (could she be Jérôme's mother?). In L'amoureux de Mᵐᵉ Maigret, Mᵐᵉ Maigret has gone to meet her sister who lives in Paris, and in Maigret et son mort, the sister, Odette, apparently single, is invited to dinner. But, in Une confidence de Maigret, the Maigrets have no family in Paris (has Odette moved? And if so, does she live in Orléans?)

Got it?!

Here's the situation as we can imagine it... Mᵐᵉ Maigret has four sisters... Hortense, who lives in Alsace, married to André Mouthon, with no children; Elise, who lives in Epinal, married to Emile Lauer, with three children, Philippe, Daniel and Aline; Florence, who lived in Colmar and then moved to Mulhouse, married to Charles Vinchon, with a number of children, of whom one is Paul, an inspector on the Belgian border; and Odette Lacroix, who lived in Paris then moved to Orléans, probably a widow, and who has a son, Jérôme… Voilà!

Murielle and Steve
Maigret's World

Maigret's Jurisdiction
12/11/16 –

Maigret's Jurisdiction

by Elliott Colla, Los Angeles Review of Books, Feb. 15, 2015.

THESE MIGHT BE Jules Maigret’s best years ever. It is not hard to picture the sardonic hero of Georges Simenon’s best-selling novels smiling down on us from policier heaven. And why wouldn’t he? Contemporary American mass culture is awash with procedurals, and Maigret’s jurisdiction now covers the entire world.

Police stories are so ubiquitous today that it is hard to remember back to when detectives tended not to be police. It’s even harder to imagine that the police hero had to be invented in the first place. But that is more or less what Simenon did back in 1930 when he created the jaded, savvy Maigret, dressed always in an overcoat, his pipe in one hand, a beer in the other, and his wife half-forgotten at home. Seventy-five titles and 80 years later, Maigret’s literary DNA pervades crime fiction from Paris to Hollywood. Maigret’s descendants are by now a motley squad spanning from the 87th Precinct of Ed McBain to the LAPD of Dragnet and James Ellroy. From Ian Rankin’s Rebus to Henning Mankell’s Wallander — from The Wire to CSI, from Dexter to True Detective — the precincts of our imagination are staffed with Maigret’s heirs...

complete article

English film version of "Maigret et le fantôme"?
12/10/16 – Wow! Thank you so much for your work on the Maigret series. I am no slouch in English but prefer watching Bruno Cremer. However, I am at a loss to find the equivalent title -- preferably on YouTube -- using an English-speaking cast, but equivalent to "Maigret et le fantôme." Is it possible there actually is such an equivalent? Or have I used half the day searching in vain?

I am assuming you cannot possibly be stateside to have undertaken such a remarkable work with your site. I am a dreary colonist hoping to enrich her life on the border of Mexico by studying various languages, one of which is NOT Spanish. If you could direct me to a film in English that would better and more clearly help my comprehension of the apparition film, I would be very happy. Thank you kindly, and assuming you are in the UK, my best to HRM.

Emma Peel in EP

I can't find any trace of an English version, but the Cremer version is available with English subtitles...
many copies on eBay at about €11 with shipping...

(Mahalo! This site was born in Tokyo, but is now resides in Honolulu...)


re: Simenon's French
12/9/16 – In response to Jane's question, here's a link to a rather scholarly article about Simenon and "belgicism"... Georges Simenon et le français de Belgique by Christian Delcourt and Janine Delcourt-Angélique. (in: Revue Belge de philologie et d'histoire / Année 2006 / volume 84 / Numéro 3 / pp. 799-827)

The introductory paragraph...

1. Objectif et méthode
Georges Simenon se trouve vingt-huit fois appelé à la barre dans le Dictionnaire du français de Belgique (Delcourt : 1998 et 1999). Ses divers témoignages n'y reflètent toutefois qu'imparfaitement sa profonde belgitude linguistique. Soucieux de décrire une réalité nationale, le dictionnaire en question ne pouvait, en effet, ni convoquer trop souvent un meme témoin, ni recenser des particularités trop régionales. En outre, une attestation n'est propre à servir d'exemple dictionnairique que si elle est parlante et, sans nécessiter un complexe exposé des motifs, probante. L'obligation d'être bref, enfin, interdisait la redondance des citations alléguées et n’autorisait qu'à titre exceptionnel de mettre une citation en perspective (biographie et esthétique de l'auteur ou contexte fictionnel).
C'est cette belgitude linguistique que nous voudrions examiner ici...

1. Objective and Methodology
Georges Simenon is cited twenty-eight times in the Dictionary of Belgian French (Delcourt: 1998 and 1999). These various examples, however, only imperfectly reflect his profound linguistic "Belgian-ness". In an attempt to describe a national reality, the dictionary in question could neither summon a single witness too often, nor identify too many regional particularities. Furthermore, a dictionary example is only suitable if it is self-explanatory and, without requiring complex exposition, convincing. Lastly, the obligation to be brief, restricted the redundancy of the citations and only exceptionally allowed a quotation to be put into the perspective of biographical or aesthetic aspects of the author, or fictional context.
It is this linguistic Belgian-ness which we would like to examine here...

I hope Jane's French is sufficient to the task...


Simenon's French
12/8/16 – I wonder if Murielle has any thoughts on any differences between Belgian French and French French as I usually have to use the dictionary more often with the earlier books. This may also be because Simenon repeats himself less as he got older (no criticism as he also was building suspense).

12/27 ps Meant to say Simenon repeated himself much more in the later books (eg La Chambre Bleue).

Jane Gwinn

Simenon - Loustal - Maigret
12/7/16 – A new edition of Simenon's (non-Maigret) story "Un nouveau dans la ville" has just been issued by Omnibus, illustrated by Loustal, in which Loustal gets equal billing with Simenon on the cover...

The story, written at Desert Sands, Tucson, Arizona in 1949, and published the following year, was apparently never translated into English

Maigret fans are no doubt familiar with Jacques de Loustal's illustrations, which have been reported on these Forum pages a number of times... The Forum article of May 2, 2003 included links to the 2000 Figaro Magazine article on Loustal's Simenon/Maigret illustrations.

In addition to two Yantchevsky (see 11/19, 11/30) Maigret covers, the covers of four Loustal Maigrets appeared in the Sept. 7, 2005 Forum, Maigret et l'inspecteur malgracieux (2002) [mal], Le témoinage de l'enfant de choeur (2002) [cho], Le client le plus obstiné du monde (2000) [obs], and On nu tue pas les pauvres types (2000) [pau].

Two other Loustal Maigrets, Ceux du Grand Café [ceu] and Menaces de Mort [men] were published in 2001, and all six were published in a single volume in 2014, Six enquetes de Maigret.

From Oct. 15, 2014 - Feb. 28, 2015 there was a Loustal/Simenon Exhibition at BILIPO in Paris, attended by Jérôme, who reported to the Forum on Oct. 7, 2014, and sent several of his photos of the exhibition on Oct. 18.

A postage stamp designed by Loustal was issued by France (on my birthday!) in 2013, portraying 36 Quai des Orfèvres, the site of Maigret's office...


re: Maigret se trompe
12/7/16 – Vladimir, ten copies of "Maigret's Mistake" in paperback are currently offered on at a price of one American cent, plus $3.99 postage and handling.

With cordial regards,
John H. Dirckx

Rowan Atkinson's Maigret on Christmas Day TV
12/6/16 –

"Rowan Atkinson is set to return as French detective Jules Maigret on ITV on Christmas Day, facing off with BBC big hitters including Call The Midwife and EastEnders...""


ITV Sets Premiere Date For ‘Maigret’s Dead Man’

"Maigret’s Dead Man – the second film in the new series of Maigret adaptations – will premiere on ITV on Christmas Day (Sunday December 25th) at 9pm, it has been announced..."


re: Maigret se trompe
12/6/16 – Oz is fortunate he can read Maigret in the original language, just as Simenon wrote it. I agree with his praise of Simenon's writing style. I'm not sure Simenon resembles Hemingway, for two reasons. First, Simenon is only four years younger, and lived far apart in Europe. By the time Hemingway became popular in Europe, my guess is Simenon had already developed his writing style. Second, I like Simenon; but I tried and could not 'get into' Hemingway.

When on this forum someone names a 'best' Maigret, I get curious. (My best is "M. and Saturday night caller").

Unfortunately, none of local libraries has "Maigret's mistake" as a book. But they have the Bruno Cremer DVD with this episode, in French with English subtitles. I will keep trying to find the book, in a used book store, maybe. I am a strong follower of Gambon Maigret. I find reading subtitles interferes with appreciating the movie.


More about Yantchevsky Maigret covers
11/30/16 – More Maigret covers by Nicolas Yantchevsky, along with information about them (in French) can be found at Murielle's site...

Maigret se trompe
11/29/16 – I am gradually rereading the Maigret opus. I always read the French version, and I strongly felt that Simenon was imitating Hemingway in this one. Hardly a wasted word anywhere, and a very tight construction too, with the resolution only at the very end. And of course, the good doctor was second only to Simenon himself when it came to sexual activity with an amazing number of women. "Trompe" is, I think, Simenon at his very best, from a literary point of view.

Oz Childs

Maigret covers exhibit
11/26/16 – The exibit described by Jerome looks interesting. What does it say in that oficial-looking letter? I can understand one word - manuscript - and the title. The photographer Nicolas Yantchevsky must have been tallented artist and could understand Simenon well if he produced so many of his book covers.


[The letter requests Yantchevsky to create a cover for Maigret chez le ministre, probably this one from 1955.]

Happy Thanksgiving!
11/25/16 – I just had a family dinner where I met Sandy, the 93-year-old father of my 2nd cousin's wife.... At some point he mentioned Simenon and I joined in the conversation to say that he was my favorite author. After dinner, Sandy enthusiastically climbed 3 flights of stairs to show me his collection of about 250 Simenon books, Maigret's, pulp novels and everything else! A holiday miracle!


Suze : answer to Dirk
11/20/16 – One more about Suze... I agree with Dirk, but you can see this:

Whatever the origin, what's important is the fact that in the novels, the only time Maigret drinks a Suze is when he tries to act as "little Albert" in Maigret and his dead man:

In Chapter 3, "Little Albert", while trying to escape his followers, goes into a number of bistros, and there "orders a Suze-citron, as was his habit". In Chapter 4, when Maigret discovers Albert's café, the Chief Inspector serves a drink to Lucas, and "since he wanted to indentify strongly with the patron, he served himself a Suze."

Best regards,

Maigret : covers from Presse de la Cité
11/19/16 – I went this morning to visit the exhibition at Bibliothèque Nationale François Mitterand, about the photographer Nicolas Yantchevsky [1924-1972]. He produced around 30 covers for Simenon books during the Presse de la Cité period in the years 1950-1960.

The exhibition show various versions of pictures he took for Maigret covers. The process was usually for him to receive the manuscript from the editor, propose some covers and then let Simenon choose. Simenon always had the final choice. These three photos should give you some idea of the exhibit. The Maigret books on display are in pristine condition, a pleasure to look at. There is no exhibition catalogue, just a short article in the BNF monthly review.


Rowan Atkinson spends Night At The Crossroads...
11/18/16 – ATV Today - Nov. 14, 2016

Rowan Atkinson spends Night At The Crossroads with latest Maigret episode

"ITV has commenced filming Night At The Crossroads, the first of two new films in the Maigret series, featuring the legendary French fictional detective Jules Maigret, played by Rowan Atkinson. Night At The Crossroads, adapted by Stewart Harcourt, features Aiden McCardle, Shaun Dingwall, Lucy Cohu and Leo Starr. Further cast includes Kevin McNally, Tom Wlaschiha, Mia Jexen, Stephen Wight, Mark Heap and Robin Weaver..." more...


Swiss Pride
11/9/16 – I understand the Swiss pride from Murielle, but some Googling shows the following at and My idea isn't to start a controvery about the origin of the apéritifs. In my analysis, Murielle is correct about the origin, but the commercialized apéritif is certainly French, and so if Maigret ever tasted it, it was surely the commercial version.

[L’idée n’est pas d’ouvrir une polémique sur l’origine des apéritifs :-). Dans mon analyse, Murielle à bien raison sur l’origine, mais l’apéritif commercialisé est bien français, et si jamais Maigret en a goutté, c’est bien la version commercialisé.]

So, Murielle is right on its origin, but the (old-fashioned) commercial version seems to be French.

[J’ajouterai bien au liste des apéritifs nostalgiques Lillet (, depuis 1872 et qui a fait les dernières années une remonte.]

And I'll add a list of nostalgic Lillet apéritifs -- since 1872, and recently making a return...

Dirk Soenen

Swiss Pride
11/8/16 – With regard to the previous message on this forum, regarding Maigret's apéritifs, a correction: Suze is a Swiss drink (and not from Auvergne), and I want to clarify this, because this alcohol was invented in my home region. It bears the name of the river that crosses our area...


re: Aperitifs...
11/7/16 – Regarding Keith Marr's question about "aperitifs old people drink"... it is not easy to answer.

"La Patience de Maigret" was written in 1965, so we need to find what was no longer in fashion at that time. As the bar has specialties from Massif Central, I can suggest Gentiane from Salers, or Suze, as both are from Auvergne... but this is seen from today in 2016.


re: Aperitifs...
11/7/16 – This might be one.... In Maigret se défend, [Maigret on the Defensive] after the Chief Inspector had been suspended from his functions, he goes into a bar where he orders the same apéritif he had drunk when he'd been appointed to the Homicide Squad (see Maigret's Memoirs):
"He remembered his first days in Paris. A new drink was being introduced then, and it had been his favorite apéritif for one or two years. 'Does Mandarin-Curaçao still exist?' 'Yes. It's not much in demand and the young people don't know what it is, but whe've still got a bottle on our shelves..."


Aperitifs in The Patience of Maigret?
11/5/16 – In Chapter Two of Maigret Bides His Time [La Patience de Maigret] M lunches with Magistrate Ancelin at Chez l'Auvergnat across from the scene of the murder. Simenon's evocative description of the bistro makes you wish you could go there for lunch now!

Question: He describes the bistro "with its aperitifs which only old men drink now." What might these aperitifs be, does anyone know?

Keith Marr


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film and tv '97-'01   title index '97-'04  

Maigret of the Month - 2012

JanuaryVente à la bougie - Sale by Auction (1939)
FebruaryLa pipe de Maigret - Maigret's Pipe (1945)
MarchMaigret et l'inspecteur malgracieux - Maigret and the Surly Inspector (1946)
AprilLe témoignage de l'enfant de chœur - The Evidence of the Altar-Boy (1946)
MayLe client le plus obstiné du monde - The Most Obstinate Man in the World (1946)
JuneOn ne tue pas les pauvres types - Death of a Nobody (1946)
JulyMenaces de mort - Death Threats (1942)
AugustTrain de nuit - Night Train (1930)
SeptemberLa jeune fille aux perles - The Girl with the Pearls (1932)
OctoberLa femme rousse - The Redhead (1933)
NovemberLa maison de l'inquiétude) - The House of Anxiety (1930)


Maigret of the Month - 2011

JanuaryUne erreur de Maigret - Maigret's Mistake (1936)
FebruaryL'Amoureux de Madame Maigret - Madame Maigret's Admirer (1939)
MarchLa vieille dame de Bayeux - The Old Lady of Bayeux (1939)
AprilL'Auberge aux noyés - The Drowned Men's Inn (1938)
MayStan le tueus - Stan the Killer (1938)
JuneL'Étoile du Nord - At the Étoile du Nord. (1938)
JulyTempête sur la Manche - Storm in the Channel (1938)
AugustMademoiselle Berthe et son amant - Mademoiselle Berthe and her Lover (1938)
SeptemberLe Notaire du Châteauneuf - The Three Daughters of the Lawyer (1938)
OctoberL'improbable Monsieur Owen - The Unlikely M. Owen (1938)
NovemberCeux du Grand Café - The Group at the Grand Café. (1938)
DecemberL'Homme dans la rue - The Man in the Street (1939)


Maigret of the Month - 2010

JanuaryLa Folle de Maigret - Maigret and the Madwoman (1970)
FebruaryMaigret et l'homme tout seul - Maigret and the Loner (1971)
MarchMaigret et l'indicateur - Maigret and the Informer (1971)
AprilMaigret et Monsieur Charles - Maigret and Monsieur Charles (1972)
MayLa Péniche aux deux pendus - Two Bodies on a Barge (1944)
JuneL'Affaire du Boulevard Beaumarchais - The Mysterious Affair in the Boulevard Beaumarchais (1944)
JulyLa Fenêtre ouverte - The Open Window (1944)
AugustMonsieur Lundi - Mr. Monday (1944)
SeptemberJeumont, 51 minutes d'arrêt - Jeumont, 51 Minutes' Stop! (1944)
OctoberPeine de mort - Death Penalty (1944)
NovemberLes Larmes de bougie - Death of a Woodlande (1944)
DecemberRue Pigalle - In the Rue Pigalle (1944)


Maigret of the Month - 2009

JanuaryMaigret et le clochard - Maigret and the Bum (1963)
FebruaryLa Colère de Maigret - Maigret Loses His Temper (1963)
MarchMaigret et le fantôme - Maigret and the Ghost (1963)
AprilMaigret se défend - Maigret on the Defensive (1964)
MayLa Patience de Maigret - Maigret Bides His Time (1965)
JuneMaigret et l'affaire Nahour - Maigret and the Nahour Case (1966)
JulyLe Voleur de Maigret - Maigret's Pickpocket (1967)
AugustMaigret à Vichy - Maigret in Vichy (1968)
SeptemberMaigret hésite - Maigret Hesitates (1968)
OctoberL'Ami d'enfance de Maigret - Maigret's Boyhood Friend (1968)
NovemberMaigret et le tueur - Maigret and the Killer (1969)
DecemberMaigret et le marchand de vin - Maigret and the Wine Merchant (1970)

Maigret of the Month - 2008

JanuaryMaigret tend un piège - Maigret sets a trap (1955)
FebruaryUn échec de Maigret - Maigret's Failure (1956)
MarchMaigret s'amuse - Maigret's Little Joke (1957)
AprilMaigret voyage - Maigret and the Millionaires (1958)
MayLes Scrupules de Maigret - Maigret Has Scruples (1958)
JuneMaigret et les témoins récalcitrants - Maigret and the Reluctant Witnesses (1959)
JulyUne confidence de Maigret - Maigret Has Doubts (1959)
AugustMaigret aux assises - Maigret in Court (1960)
SeptemberMaigret et les vieillards - Maigret in Society (1960)
OctoberMaigret et le voleur paresseux - Maigret and the Lazy Burglar (1961)
NovemberMaigret et les braves gens - Maigret and the Black Sheep (1962)
DecemberMaigret et le client du samedi - Maigret and the Saturday Caller (1962)

Maigret of the Month - 2007

JanuaryMaigret au "Picratt's" - Maigret in Montmartre (1951)
FebruaryMaigret en meublé - Maigret Takes a Room (1951)
MarchMaigret et la grande perche - Maigret and the Burglar's Wife (1951)
AprilMaigret, Lognon et les gangsters - Maigret and the Gangsters (1952)
MayLe Revolver de Maigret - Maigret's Revolver (1952)
JuneMaigret et l'homme du banc - The Man on the Boulevard (1953)
JulyMaigret a peur - Maigret Afraid (1953)
AugustMaigret se trompe - Maigret's Mistake (1953)
SeptemberMaigret à l'école - Maigret Goes to School (1954)
OctoberMaigret et la jeune morte - Maigret and the Young Girl (1954)
NovemberMaigret chez le ministre - Maigret and the Calame Report (1954)
DecemberMaigret et le corps sans tête - Maigret and the Headless Corpse (1955)

Maigret of the Month - 2006

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

Maigret of the Month - 2005

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

Maigret of the Month - 2004

JanuaryLe chien jaune - The Yellow Dog
FebruaryM. Gallet décédé - Maigret Stonewalled
MarchLa nuit du carrefour - Maigret at the Crossroads
AprilLe charretier de la Providence - Maigret Meets a Milord
MayLa tête d'un homme - A Battle of Nerves
JuneUn crime en Hollande - Maigret in Holland
JulyPietr-le-Letton - Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett
AugustLe pendu de Saint-Pholien - Maigret and the Hundred Gibbets
SeptemberAu rendez-vous des Terre-Neuvas - The Sailor's Rendezvous
OctoberLa danseuse du Gai-Moulin - Maigret at the Gai-Moulin
NovemberLa guinguette à deux sous - Maigret and the Tavern by the Seine
DecemberL'ombre chinoise - Maigret Mystified



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