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The music in Denham's BBC radio Maigret?|
Le Fou de Bergerac - which shoulder?|
9/17/17 It's clear that his left arm was too painful to move. He could not even fill his pipe. So it's strange that just after the telegram to Algiers was sent, "Il écrivait de la main gauche"! [He wrote with his left hand] (page 101, Le livre de poche, 1984).
But at that time the discussion centered around the original English translation by Geoffrey Sainsbury, based on which Peter Foord had commented that Maigret had received "a bullet in his right shoulder".
Jérôme pointed out a few days later that the French version clearly indicated the left shoulder: "Que Maigret, debout, qui tient son épaule de la main droite. Au fait, c'est l'épaule gauche! Il essaye de bouger le bras gauche... mais le bras retombe, trop lourd."
The discussion continued with the eventual "resolution" that Sainsbury had once again taken liberties with the original text, and that the error had been corrected in Penguin editions after 2003.
However, none of the correspondents at the time noticed what Carl has just brought up (Thanks, Carl!), that later on in the book, about midway through Ch. 6, Maigret has to write with his left hand. And so, in fact, it seems that Sainsbury's "faulty" translation was more consistent than Simenon's French original!
Clearly, the inconsistency was noticed at Penguin, however, for in Ros Schwartz's new translation, the problem is avoided:
Simenon: "Il écrivait de la main gauche, ce qui rendait les caractères encore plus gras que d'habitude."
Maigret's World - Congratulations!|
Maigret's World is outstanding! Congratulations!
Maigret and Donald Duck?|
9/8/17 In the Donald Duck story "No such Varmint" by Carl Barks (originally in Dell Comic #318/1951) a professor examines Donald to find out, which talents he has for a profession, if any. The surprising result: Donald should be a great detective! His nephews react enthusiastically: "A detective! A Sherlock Holmes!"
That comic was published in Germany (ehapa, "Donald Duck", special issue #5/1966), a few months after the Rupert Davies Maigret series in German TV. In this version of the comic, the nephews are shouting: "Ein Detektiv! Wie Monsieur Maigret! [A detective! Like Monsieur Maigret!]"
(PS: In the Spanish version it's also Sherlock Holmes.)
Maigret's World is out!|
My copy of the book arrived yesterday. Superb! Just love it! Thank you both for taking the time to write this book.
Steve and Murielle
Joseph or Jules? Blvd Edgar-Quinet or Richard-Lenoir? A daughter?|
In the Livre de Poche edition (1353) of L'écluse no. 1 [ECL], on page 78 there is:
 Isn't le commissaire's prenom 'Jules'?
In the same edition on page 92 there is:
 I have thought he only lived on the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir.
On page 62 does le commissaire say he and Mme Maigret had a daughter?
 I have thought they never had children.
Penguin Maigret - The Misty Harbor|
Like most mysteries, The Misty Harbor is all about uncertainty and resolution.
A “milky mist” has descended on Ouistreham, a port town in lower Normandy. This “wall of fog” is literal, but it also has several metaphorical analogues – the memory of the harbormaster, Captain Joris, for instance, who was discovered wandering through Paris with severe amnesia and a bullet hole in his head, and the perplexity of the people in town, none of whom can imagine why the man had gone missing for a month or what might have happened in the interval.
At first Maigret too can only guess at what the fog hides – whether the “teeming mysterious life” that carries on around him is “sinister” or benign or simply alien. A sense of “nebulous danger” has engulfed Ouistreham and, like a real fog, radically isolates each person there: “Because they were afraid! All of them! Martineau, the woman, the mayor... It was as if each of them were alone with that fear... Each one afraid in a different way!”
After someone finally manages to kill Joris, the patrons of the local tavern react in irrational ways, spinning stories and trying to dispel the fog through “sheer imagination” – through the combined powers of rumor, resentment, and conspiracy. Only Maigret keeps his cool. His habits of mind allow him to think his way into the mystery and “to piece together his scattered clues floating in a formless mass.” This leads to a book rich in figures for revelation – a cat brushing one’s leg in the fog, the morning light “inadvertently revealing” the real condition of Joris’s house, the “dreamlike tableau” of Ouistreham appearing outside the window of the bedroom in which the harbormaster lies dying.
The entire process – the initial fog, the gradual clarification, the sudden epiphanic breakthroughs – should remind us once again how much Maigret resembles a writer. People “take over his life... for days, weeks, months,” and he can only wonder – as Simenon must have at the start of each novel – “Would this investigation be challenging or dull? Thankless and demoralizing, or painfully tragic?” Both Maigret and Simenon may “hate... the first steps,” but they also both make the journey from words to truth, from a simulacrum constructed out of secondhand reports – maps, guidebooks, news stories – to some sense of what a place really is.
They seek a story like the one Julie the housekeeper tells – a tale of “frank simplicity” with the “troubling ring of truth.” In this context, the dispersal of the fog means the attainment not of justice or theoretical insight, but of a particular kind of concrete knowledge. Such concreteness does not mean the novels are all surface – merely that they live up to William Carlos Williams’s famous dictum, “No ideas but in things.”
In the end, it is the rich particularity of the prose that makes The Misty Harbor one of the most memorable Maigrets. Locks, harbors, and crossroads always seem to bring out the best in this writer. The new Penguin edition has the added advantage of Linda Coverdale’s translation, which renders Simenon’s narrative into a subtle and efficient English. Look, for instance, at the way she weaves together the hard k sounds, the long i, and the explosive p’s in this passage:
The steady humming of the fire gradually joined with the tick-tock of the pendulum clock into a kind of music. Safe from the chilly winds outside, their cheeks grew pink, and their eyes shone brightly. And the pungent aroma of calvados perfumed the air
Few readers will be conscious of this music, but it gives pleasure nonetheless. More important, it creates a sense of order that the unconscious mind perceives and takes as a promise that some kind of truth lies within the flow of words. This is the way of all “atmosphere” – it is that which we do not notice, but which we inevitably feel.
Simenon, Georges. The Misty Harbor. trans. Linda Coverdale. London: Penguin, 2015.
Maigret, the fame of a Chief Inspector|
Maigret, the fame of a Chief Inspector
by Murielle Wenger
re: Second cover for ... The Two-Penny Bar|
8/11/17 With regard to the second cover Dennis noted... The cover image shown (The front room of Maxims restaurant 1978) is from Magnum Photos, like the others, but taken by Burt Glinn not Harry Gruyaert. Thus, it seems improbable that this is an actual Penguin-issued cover.
re: BBC Rupert Davies Maigret DVD??|
8/8/17 In response to Alan's comments on Peter's question about the BBC Maigret DVDs...
The Pidax DVDs were made from ZDF copies, and not the BBC originals, and so far no one has managed to get accurate information on whether these originals still exist. Some Maigret fans have attempted to write to the BBC, but the answers they got were rather elusive…
There are 5 Pidax sets, with each box containing 9 episodes, as the ZDF copies contained 45 episodes out of the original 52 of the series. The episode The old lady only exists in a copy with poor image quality, and it was added as a bonus in the first Pidax set. The 5 sets present the episodes in their original BBC release order. There are 6 episodes for which no copy at all could be found in the ZDF archives: High Politics, The Crooked Castle, Seven Little Crosses, The Trap, The Lost Life, The Cellars of the Majestic.
Maigret's World coming soon!|
Steve & Murielle
Penguin Maigret Short Stories?|
8/6/17 In response to Dennis Larson (7/5/2017) Penguin UK are publishing a book to be called "A Maigret Christmas" in late November. It will contain three cases related to the Christmas period, so I imagine these will include some of the short stories published by Hamish Hamilton in the UK in 1976 as "Maigret's Christmas". I don't know of any plans to publish the other short stories.
In answer to Peter Colvin's question (7/8/2017), I believe that all the original BBC TV Maigret plays have been issued, but they are over dubbed in German, and don't feature the original haunting theme. They are available from Amazon and eBay.
Many thanks Steve for continuing to host this excellent site, and I can't wait to read your and Murielle's book "Maigret's World" when it's published later this year.
Second cover for Penguin The Two-Penny Bar|
BBC Rupert Davies Maigret DVD??|
Are there any plans to have the BBC Rupert Davies Maigret put onto DVD?
Penguin Maigret short stories?|
7/5/17 Just a quick question for you and the forum. I am new to Georges Simenon and Maigret. Got started about a year ago.
Lots to figure out and I enjoy the checklists.
Is Penguin going to publish the 28 short stories? and if so, will it be after or before, the 75 novels are published. Possibly using your translations of the three unpublished in book or magazine form in english titles?
Let's hope they do complete the series. Often publishers, give up along the way when a series isn't financially worthwhile. This happened with the Rex Stout Nero Wolfe Library some years back, while lacking only three titles for a uniform set of paperbacks.
Speaking of Maigret...|
6/13/17 Here's one for the "Speaking of Maigret" page...
"We could go back to Vientian, tell everyone Inspector Maigret and his faithful lieutenant have solved yet another dastardly crime, and know deep down that we haven't..."
from: Disco for the Departed (2011) by Colin Cotterill (Dr. Siri Paiborn Mystery) p. 202 - Soho Press
Thanks for your great site,
Penguin Maigret - The Flemish House|
The Flemish House is a novel about borders. A key passage early in the book interrogates the notion of such boundaries, but also declares them “unmistakable” in their force:
But how exactly could you tell that you were at the border? Was it the transition to Belgian-style houses with their ugly brown brickwork, their freestone doorsteps and their windows decorated with copper pots?
The most obvious border here is political – the line between France and Belgium. The Flemish house itself lies midway between the outskirts of the village of Givet and a border checkpoint and thereby marks a zone of transition, a place no longer France but not quite Belgium. Simenon was well-qualified to write about such liminal matters, of course. Given his Belgian background, his status as the quintessential chronicler of 20th-century French life is an interesting paradox, but hardly an unprecedented one in a society that also adopted Van Gogh and Chopin.
Stranded in that cartographic no-man’s land, the Peeters family also suffers from a pronounced cultural isolation. The grumblings of the French are mostly petty – “They don’t think the same way as we do,” “They consider themselves a cut above,” and so on – but at times escalate into something more sinister. These insinuations and whisperings are oddly reminiscent of the anti-Semitic rhetoric of the early Thirties – a discourse with which Simenon would have been quite familiar, even if he did not mean to evoke it.
Anna Peeters has recruited Maigret because her brother is under suspicion for the disappearance and possible murder of a French girl from Givet. She sees Maigret as a neutral party, one whose position as an outsider she can exploit to form a kind of coalition against the locals. Yet Maigret himself has little interest in the case, and only the incompetence of local officials leads him to continue investigating. About the Peeterses he feels the same subdued horror he always feels at the grubby lives of the bourgeoisie – the ugliness of their homes, the muted respectability of their manners, the petty meanness of their ethics.
So why does he stay?...
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