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Maigret of the Month: Maigret tend un piège (Maigret Sets a Trap)
1/1/08 –
For me the book's main interests are first the talk between Maigret and Prof. Tissot where they discuss between men of exprience, experiences in other men's lives, and second, the confrontation between Maigret and Moncin, his wife and his mother. He really plays the two women against each other to let the truth come out. During all the first part of the book, there is a feeling that Maigret is not at ease and cannot do what he likes so much: getting to know the victims, here they lived. There are too many victims and the process does not work. It looks like it is not a "Maigret type of crime" -- serial kilers are not for Maigret.

I went around Paris this morning and took some pictures of the main places of the book. All the places are really near to each other. Each of the streets named does cross another one named in the book.

[click on an image to enlarge]

Ave. Rachel is very short and wide. It has a length of 100 m and at its other end is the entry to the Montmartre cemetery. There is also a stair going up to Rue Caulincourt (near the bridge above the cemetery). It would be difficult to hide in a street like this one. It is between Place de Clichy and Place Blanche which are two very populous places with lots of trafic. The cemetery being closed at night, Avenue Rachel is probably quiet. The picture is taken from Blvd de Clichy toward the entry of the cemetery. (a)

Rue Etex (now called Rue de la Barrière Blanche) is not a very nice street, with a very long wall for the cemetery, and the hospital on the other side. It is only 250 m from the building were Moncin was a kid. You can see it with the hospital on the left of the picture. (c)

This picture of Rue Lepic was taken from the level of the Moulin de la Galette looking up in the direction of the place were the murder took place. (b)
The building on Blvd St Germain where Moncin lived was being restored and hidden by protection so I could not take a picture of it. I took the 232 Blvd St-Germain which is similar. Both buildings are at the corner of Rue St-Thomas d'Aquin (that is the St-Thomas Church in the background). There is a direct connection by subway between Montmartre (station Pigalle, Abesse and Lamark-Caulaincourt) and Rue Solferino by line 12 so it was convenient for Moncin to use it to visit his mother (20 min).

Rue Durantin (below) is an average street, running in 3 parts and crossing Rue Tholoze.

This picture of Rue Tholoze (right) is taken from the crossing with Rue Durantin, looking up toward Moulin de la Galette. So you can see that all the places are really mixed together. (it is tiring to walk up and down all the time in this part of Montmartre). (d) (e)

Avenue Junot is a wide avenue that ends up in Rue Norvins. (f)

At the start of Rue Norvins, there is today the Place Marcel Aymé, for the French writer who wrote "Walker-through-Walls". Marcel Aymé did the preface to "The Yellow Dog", which is the only preface I can remember for a Maigret.

In Rue Norvins, I found only one small alley, a dead end -- Impasse du Tertre, where Moncin could have been hidden to wait for his prey. (f)

Rue Maistre is divied in two parts: one along the cemetery and a short one between Rue Caulaincourt and Rue des Abesses. (g) (h)

This (right) is the corner of Rue Caulaincourt where there is the buidling where Moncin grew up. It is just in front of a large intersection and overlooking the cemetery.

Here is a GoogleEarth picture all the places in the order they appear in the book (from a to h):

A movie was made in 1958 by Jean Delannoy with Jean Gabin playing Maigret. Other well known French actors like Lino Ventura (Inspector Torrence) and Annie Girardot were in the movie, which can be found on DVD.


Wigtown Book Festival - John Simenon - Exciting News!
1/18/08 – I am feeling very guilty that I have not reported on this event, featuring John Simenon, till now. But if you read to the end of this you will find some exciting news!

Wigtown, in Dumfries and Galloway, in South-West Scotland, is the Scottish Book Town, an attempt to emulate the economic success of Hay-on-Wye. Anyone who has been to Hay-on-Wye knows it was founded by an eccentric bookseller, Richard Booth, a real book lover, but that it has been taken over by "luvvies" from the London Media, to the extent that the Festival is sponsored by The Guardian and all the events are London-centric.

Anyway, Wigtown is virgin territory, with about 15 bookshops ranging from the professional to the frankly amateur, but John Simenon's talk was sponsored by the first bookseller who was instrumental in gaining Book Town status for Wigtown.

I drove down on a glorious Autumn day and grabbed a bite to eat in the cafe before attending M. Simenon's talk. His main thesis was that his father had anticipated recent psychological discoveries about such aspects of humanity as empathy and failure, but the most interesting aspects for me were the personal insights into the life of his father and his family.

He revealed that he was to blame for his father's reputation as "the man who slept with 10,000 women" because, as a film publicist, he was asked to arrange for an interview between his father and Federico Fellini, who had just directed "Casanova". When Fellini said that Casanova had only (!) seduced about 300 women, Simenon said, "That's nothing," and said that if you counted them up he himself had had about 10,000 sexual encounters i.e. had had sex 10,000 times. Anyone could achieve that in about 30 years, if one were lucky! Anyway, the figure was probably exaggerated, but it was picked up by the journalist who was present and so the legend was born.

John became very emotional on recalling the suicide of his sister, Marie-Jo, and the effect it had on his father, but he emphasised that his father was a very good father who cared for his children, loved them, helped them with their homework....

In the public session I said I was reading the Maigrets in sequence (which brought a gasp from the audience!) and I said that in the Maigrets of the 1950s (my personal favourites) Simenon was living in America but that the novels of that period seemed to be very atmospheric of Paris, and I wondered if his father was nostalgic about the France he had left.

I didn't get a straight answer, but John said that his father had left France because of the terrible atmosphere which obtained after the war, a sort of witch-hunt against collaborators or even those who were suspected of being collaborators. For the same reason he hated the McCarthy witch-hunts, and he left America for the same reason.

Later, in private, I asked John if he would ever write about his father, and he said he would not, as it would be too painful.

Now for the big news! He indicated that as his father's executor, he was negotiating with the BBC about issuing the Rupert Davies Maigrets on DVD and that this should happen in 2008!

The programme for the 2008 Wigtown Book Festival can be found here.

I stayed at the Bruce Hotel in Newtown Stewart, which I can thoroughly recommend!


Maigret of the Month: Maigret tend un piège (Maigret Sets a Trap)
1/20/08 –


1. Bibliographic Points

The first Maigret written by Simenon after his definitive return to Europe, this novel inaugurates in a way a "turning point" in the career of his character, in the sense that the Chief Inspector's investigations will tend more and more to resemble the author's questionings about the nature of man, his responsibility, and his fate. After the Maigret of the Fayard cycle, a "granite block" sure enough of himself (see LET: "He formed, in a way, a block that the atmosphere refused to absorb.") and the "lighter" Maigret of the Gallimard cycle (see FEL or SIG, for example), the Presses de la Cité cycle, after forming the basis for the reconciliation of the author and his character (PRE, MEM) and reinstalling Maigret in his function of chief investigator (MOR, JEU, BAN, etc.), shows him more and more questioning his métier and his role, taking up in his doubts Simenon's own questionings. We can simply consider the titles of some of the novels appearing in the years 1956-1960, Maigret's Failure, Maigret has Scruples or Maigret Has Doubts. Questioning his métier and the power it actually imparts (ECH, SCR), questioning the justice of man (CON, ASS), leading to the cases which haunt the end of the cycle, on the true responsibility of man – and of the criminal – (HES, TUE, VIN).

Maigret Sets a Trap is the only one in the corpus written at Mougins. The following novels, ECH and AMU, will be written in Cannes; then VOY, SCR, TEM, CON, ASS, VIE, PAR, BRA, CLI, COL, CLO and FAN will be written in Simenon's first Swiss domicile, the Château d'Echandens, called "Noland" in the datings of the writing of the Maigrets. The 13 final novels of the Presses de la Cité cycle will be written in the house Simenon had built in Epalinges.

2. "to see the hallway still filled with journalists and photographers"... (bea)

Among the secondary characters, but nonetheless important, in this novel, are the reporters, in particular "Little Rougin" and The Baron. Maigret has had more than one affair with reporters in the course of his career (see for example PRO, GAI, noy, CEC, MAJ, JUG, VAC; MME, PIC, LOG, MIN, VOY, TEM, ASS, VIE, BRA, PAT, VIC, HES, ENF, TUE, SEU), and he has had a more or less cordial relationship with them, sometimes using them, sometimes irritated by their persistence, while recognizing that they were doing their job. Generally anonymous in the novels, some receive a name, and sometimes Simenon grants them a physical description... thus, in JAU, the reporter Vasco, in golf culottes and red sweater; in PEU, Lomel, a redhead with plump red cheeks, wearing a tan raincoat; in CON, the reporter Pecqueur, with a chubby face, large cheeks, blue-eyed with red hair, smoking a too-big pipe to make himself look important; in AMU, little Lassagne, thin and redheaded, lively as a monkey. We have to wonder whether redheads are a journalistic specialty, for we also find in VIN a nameless reporter, but described as a tall redhead, with his hair unkempt! And we also note in ECO the reporter Albert Raymond, his raincoat cinched with belt, a too-big pipe in his mouth, not more than 22, thin, with long hair... Doesn't that bring to mind a certain young Sim, newly disembarked in Paris, filled with ambition...?

3. "Above all, he needed to understand." (TEN, Ch. 6)

I agree with Jérôme that the interest of the novel resides in the discussion between Maigret and Tissot, and their vision of man, but I also find that the novel is interesting in the rapport which develops between Maigret and Moncin, not exactly their relationship of policeman and prime suspect, but the rapport that Maigret tries to establish with another man, in particular a man who has "crossed the line", who has, in a way, put himself outside the bounds of ordinary social life. It is especially fascinating to discover the almost relentless quest led by Maigret to try to understand: see Ch. 3: "Each time he thought about the murderer, Maigret was overcome with a feverish impatience. ... He needed to know.", Ch. 7: "he didn't understand yet. The "spark" hadn't been produced. At no moment had he the feeling of human contact between himself and the decorator.", and in Ch. 8: "For me, you are still a human being. Don't you understand that it's exactly that that I seek to elicit from you, that human spark?".

4. The plum brandy again!

I've already spoken about plum brandy in the December 2007 MoM, but I'd like to return to it for two reasons... first, to emphasize the importance that this drink takes on in Maigret's investigations. It's particularly striking in this novel, since it appears at three points in the investigation... in Ch. 3, Maigret hesitates to take a little glass of sloe gin before going to Montmartre; at the end of Ch. 4, Maigret returns home from Montmartre, and has a glass as "revenge" for the failure of his trap; and lastly, in Ch. 7, it's Mme Maigret herself who serves it to Maigret, like a "provision" she supplies her husband before he heads to the site of a new murder. Sloe gin is the symbol of the security of his hearth, the reassuring object, the symbol of the life of all the days when Maigret was plunged into an unknown world. In this sense, I'd like to bring together the last sentence of the novel, "She felt confused, like he had returned from far away, that he needed to reaccustom himself to everyday life, to rub shoulders with men who'd reassure him.", with this passage taken from SCR, after Maigret has scanned numerous psychiatric works to try to understand the case of Marton, "In the end, he rose, having had enough, tossed the book on the table and, opening the buffet in the dining room, brought out the carafe of plum brandy, and filled one of the little glasses with the gilt edges. It was like a protest of good sense against all the learned mumbo-jumbo, a way of once more planting his two feet firmly on the ground."

The second reason why I return to the sloe gin, is that in the last MoM, I posed the question of whether the buffet in the Maigrets' dining room contained raspberry brandy as well. Looking through the corpus once more, I found the answser! It's found in VIN: "Towards noon, Maigret murmured, hesitatingly, "I think I'd like for an apéritif a little glass of sloe gin. She didn't disagree, and he opened the buffet. There was a choice between sloe gin and raspberry brandy, both from his sister-in-law's in Alsace."

5. The Attic of the Law Courts (Palais de Justice) or: Moers's Empire

You will have noted the importance given, in the novel, to material clues, like the button torn from Moncin's jacket. Thanks to the work and knowledge of Moers, Maigret can take up the trail of the killer.

"Maigret handed him the button and Moers grimaced.

"That's all?"


Moers turned it over and over in his fingers.

"You want me to take it upstairs and examine it?"

"I'll go with you."

And so, let's do as Maigret, and, following him, climb to the attics of the Palais de Justice...

complete article
original French

Murielle Wenger

Real pré-salé meat?
1/23/08 –
In Maigret and the Pickpocket (chapter 4) the proprietor of the restaurant offers Maigret a lamb dish. His description of this dish is that it is "real pré-salé meat". I can't find this term in my French dictionary and online translators baulk at the "pré" whilst translating the "salé" to mean "salty". Can someone translate this into an English idiom?


My dictionary shows pré-salé as "[salt meadow] lamb".
(A salt meadow is a meadow near the sea.) <ST>

Real pré-salé meat?
1/24/08 –
Regarding Keith's question, "Agneau pré-salé" are lambs raised in meadows not far from the sea. Many are raised in the Mont Saint-Michel Bay between Normandy and Brittany. The meadow is covered by sea water and that brings iodine to the lamb dish. As written, they are difficult to find outside of the main production area. See the Wikipedia article.


Real pré-salé meat
1/28/08 – Many thanks for the answer to the salt-meadow lamb question. Seriously excited about the issue of the Rupert Davies DVDs! Let's hope it comes to fruition.


Maigret’s Paris
1/29/08 – New Year greetings from ‘Down Under’ to all the dedicated Maigretophiles who visit this web site. Special greetings to Murielle, Jerome and other regular contributors; and of course Steven. I have had the intention for some time to post some photos I took in May 2005 on a visit to Paris with my wife. We stayed at the Hotel Beausejour Montmartre in Rue Lecluse (nr Place de Cliché) and tramped the streets of the quarter armed with the article “In the Footsteps of Chief Superintendent Jules Maigret in Montmartre”, by Joe Richards. I can’t compete with Joe’s excellent photos. I was grateful for his learned text. Great news about the Rupert Davies DVD’s. I am enjoying the Bruno Cremer Maigret series at present. All this talk of salty lamb. Don’t forget Gruyère Salé, the delicious salty hard cheese from Switzerland.

(click on an image to enlarge)

To begin, the notorious 67 Rue Caulaincourt. An agreeable street today with cafes and decent beer.

Place Constantin-Pecquer and statue of Eugene Carriere. Together with modern Parisian vehicular transport. It is of course very easy to get around Paris with the Metro and public maps everywhere; and Montmartre is a delight for the stroller.

Rue Lepic, with the Moulin de la Galette prominent over the trees. I had not realised that this was the same place as depicted in a famous Renoir, which one can see at the Musee de Orsay.

Vital food stores on the Rue Lepic: a wonderful cheese shop, next to a chocolate shop, next to a butchery. Pure pleasure. The service was charming. We do have a rudimentary grasp of French, which appears to be appreciated. Just making the effort is very worthwhile.

This well dressed stranger with a pipe visiting the Quai des Orfevres, which I understand is no longer police headquarters.

Here he is again at a bookstall on the bank of the Seine, with a Simenon, Maigret paperback. The bookseller (a little old lady, straight out of Maigret) told me this author was quite popular (“pas mal”). I agreed, and bought a couple.

This magnificent cockerill, presiding at the bird market not far from the Police Headquarters. I can’t recall a bird like this one in the Maigret corpus. I’m sure someone will put me right.

Don Greenfield
Wellington, NZ

Peter Foord's Simenon Collection to be Auctioned
1/31/08 – Peter Foord's large collection of Simenon books is going to be sold. The books will be sold by auction on the 26th February by G E Sworder and Sons at their auction rooms in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex. Their website is at

Martin and Christine Lock

Bruno Cremer Series DVD Set
2/1/08 – I am brand new to Maigret, and judging by the many notations on the Google pages, and in particular, Steve's website, I have a lot to learn about le Commissaire.

I was intrigued by the two episodes, recently aired on PBS, during the past couple of months, and deduced that I would like to watch them again, as the subtitles sped by, and my comprehension of spoken French is poor.

So, I began to search the web for possibilties of acquiring the series, and I was overjoyed to find that indeed, the complete series is available, in one form or another, in several places.

Unfortunately for me, the language barrier cropped up. I've done some business recently in France via the Internet, however the businesses have had a bilingual, or perhaps multilingualist to help me.

Having said ALL that, my question to the devotees, is, do you know where, or who, sells the Bruno Cremer series? And do you know if it is available with English subtitles? (My dvd player is able play any dvd/VHS media from abroad)

Thanks for any help, and I hope to learn much from all of you.

All the best

Goodall's Maigret editions
2/3/08 –
I have just discovered your Maigret site, and have spent the last 48 hours going blind as I devoured as much information as I could take in - j'en suis devenu gourmand!

I have a lot of Simenon paperbacks, mostly bought secondhand on, but some few in bookshops whenever I could find a French version; some I have matched with Penguin translations, in order the better to improve my grasp of French. To that end, one very useful edition I possess is an edition of Maigret et le pendu de Saint-Pholien, published by Macmillan Education Ltd in paperback in 1965 and reprinted 1966, 1969, 1970 (twice) 1971 and 1973. The "editorial arrangement" of the edition, with preface, and a very useful terminal vocabulary, is copyrighted Geoffrey Goodall, Headmaster of Lord Williams's Grammar School, Thame.

Do you know of this edition? And do you know if Mr Goodall undertook any further forays in this initiative?

Yours faithfully,
Niall O'Neill

There are at least a few more, for some short stories:

On ne tue pas les pauvres types, Macmillan/St. Martins Press, London (1966)

Maigret et l'inspecteur malgracieux, Macmillan (1967)

Le Pipe de Maigret, pbk, Saint Martin's Press, Inc., ISBN:0312462352, 70 pp. (1969)


Maigret of the Month: Un échec de Maigret (Maigret's Failure)
2/3/08 – Here are some modern images of the setting of this month's Maigret of the Month, "Un echec de Maigret".

There is no building with number 58 bis in Bd de Courcelles... it goes from 40 to 50 and then 60. The picture shows the Blvd and the Rue de Prony (Blvd Courcelles on the left, Rue Prony in the back).

And here's a view from inside the Parc Monceaux, still a quiet and nice park, with around it, some nice private buildings.

Rue de l'Etoile is indeed not far away when you walk toward Place de l'Etoile, about 1.5 km from the supposed 58bis. It was convenient for Fumal to go and visit his mistress.

There are two hotels just in the pictures... I didn't inquire about the type of rooms nor how they rent.


Maigret in Radio Times and TV Times
2/8/08 –
I recently acquired a number of back issues of the Radio Times and TV Times from Lynda Kelly on and she had taken the trouble to research all the copies she had with a reference to Maigret.

I found when I received the June 28 1962 issue not only a picture of Rupert Davies on the front but the start of a serialisation of Maigret et les vieillards which they intended to serialise over the summer. I will need to research further to see how many episodes this serialisation went over, quite a few I would think given that it was just two facing pages per episode.

I thought as there is no mention of Radio Times under magazines and books that I would include the references here.

Radio Times Oct 29-Nov 4 1960
Oct 27 MAIGRET Murder in Montmartre - Rupert Davies. First broadcast 31st October 1960. This issue was unavailable but Lynda was aware of it.

Radio Times Jun 30-Jul 6 1962
Cover thumbnail of Rupert Davies lighting his pipe on the cover.
Page 4-5 - Read Maigret in Radio Times - An enthralling Simenon story of the Chief Inspector begins in this issue [2 pages].
Sunday afternoon 2.30pm July 1st (50 mins) cast list for "Maigret aux assises" translated as "Raise Your Right Hand"

Radio Times - Jul 21-27 1962
Cover thumbnail of Rupert Davies lighting his pipe on the cover.
Page 4-5 - Read Maigret in Radio Times - Voices From the Past [2 pages].
Sunday afternoon 2.30pm July 22nd (50 mins) cast list for "Le témoins récalcitrants" translated as "The Reluctant Witnesses"

Radio Times Feb 8-14 1969
Cover picture: Play of the Month MAIGRET at Bay (BBC1) Rupert Davies.
Page 3 - Maigret - Rupert Davies says: ‘Maigret still has a considerable grip on me...’
Page 12 - Maigret at Bay - Rupert Davies returns to his most famous role... [half page]
Sunday night Feb 9 8.15pm (90mins) cast list for the play, which from the cast list is clearly Maigret se défend (Maigret on the Defensive).

TV Times 8-14 Feb 1992
MAIGRET (ITV new series) The Patience of Maigret - with thumbnail of Michael Gambon on cover.
Page 12 - Michael Gambon article - The Reluctant Hero.
Page 37 - In View - MAIGRET new series (cast list on February 9).

Radio Times 13-19 Mar 1993
Page 28-29 - The Clement Freud Interview - To Hungary with sausages - Michael Gambon [2 pages] MAIGRET (ITV) Maigret and the Night Club Dancer (cast list on Sunday March 14).

TV Times 13-19 Mar 1993
Page 6 - Moody Maigret cheers up - Michael Gambon’s back...
Cast list for "" on Sunday March 14.

n.b. These are only the ones supplied to me, plus one other edition that Lynda Kelly knows about, so there may be other editions of the two papers with features and, of course, there will certainly be cast lists for all the shows. I can supply the cast lists from the ones above if that's any use to the site.


Inquest on Bouvet
2/10/08 –
I came across your website when trying to find all the translated versions of Maigret into English.

My father is a big fan, and now that he has been making some space in the house, I've taken them over and become hooked!

I've got a copy of a book that does not seem to be on your cover images, as it's not strictly a 'Maigret', more of a 'Lucas'.

The title is 'Inquest on Bouvet'- Penguin Books 1679, originally published in Penguin in 1962. I have the 1963 re-print. The original French title is 'L'Enterrement de Monsieur Bouvet', and the cover states 'No Doubt Maigret was on holiday when...... . At length Lucas, one of Maigret's inspectors.......'

Stuart Murdoch

Thanks, Stuart... This is one of what we've taken to calling on this Forum, the "semi-Maigrets". Comments have appeared on the Forum over the years... 2000, 2002, 2005...


Do You Know this Book?
2/15/08 – I am searching for a book, published I believe in the US in 1960s-70s, that illustrates various locations in France frequented by Maigret.

If you have any details of publisher, title, availability I would appreciate your kindness in letting me know.

Sharon Lawrence
Los Angeles

More Maigret BBC Radio Broadcast Dates (2004)
2/15/08 – Here are the broadcast dates for the following 4 shows on BBC Radio...
2004-04-19 Maigret and the Burglar's Wife
2004-04-26 Maigret and The Yellow Dog
2004-05-03 Inspector Cadaver
2004-05-10 Maigret's Little Joke

Hope this helps the site
Best Regards
Gerry Young

Thanks, Gerry!


Maigret's Faithful Four

by Murielle Wenger

[original French]

"It's Maigret... Please put someone on from my office... It doesn't matter... Janvier, Lucas or Lapointe if possible..." (HES)
  1. Introduction
  2. "The guys who know his methods"
  3. The importance of using "tu"
  4. Portrait of Four Musketeers
    4.1. Lucas
    4.2 Janvier
    4.3 Torrence
    4.4 Lapointe
  5. Conclusion
    graph summarizing appearances of each in the corpus

  1. Introduction

    Maigretphile friends, you may remember that in 2006, I presented a study of Maigret's collaborators, and at that time I promised you an article on the "Faithful Four", Maigret's closest collaborators, those with whom he has the closest bonds, who make up, in a way, his front line... Lucas, Janvier, Lapointe and Torrence. This is the time for me to keep my promise, and – finally! – I can present you my study on these important characters of the Maigret series.

    What's remarkable in the Maigrets, is that this "hero" is rendered so human, so alive, by his creator, endowing him with characteristics very close to "everyday life"; he's given him habits, desires, culinary preferences, an appearance which gives him an extraordinary presence for the reader. It's Simenon's talent to have created a being of flesh, literally and figuratively, and it's rather rare in literature to deal with a character we know so intimately. Further, Simenon had the genius to have endowed him with an entourage serving him as outlet, confidant, and counterbalance. On one side, Mme Maigret, the indispensable component of the Chief Inspector's balance, and on the other, his "front line" of faithful collaborators, thanks to whom he can escape the curse of nostalgia for his lost paternity...

    Moreover, Simenon has created these four characters as different and recognizable entities, endowing them with their own characteristics which make up their individuality (cf. MEM: "Where some 50 or so anonymous inspectors milled around in disorder, I've only kept three or four having their own personality."), which not only permits giving an authenticity to the part of Maigret's life which takes place in his office, but still offers the Chief Inspector a diversity in the manifestation of his feelings. Thus, Maigret will behave with Lucas as with his second, the one who stands in for him, while with Janvier, and then with Lapointe, it's the notion of paternity which will be more in play, Maigret "chaperoning" the two men in their apprenticeships of their métier. The case of Torrence is a little different... in the beginning, second to Maigret at the start of the corpus, after a "chance mishap", as we will see further along, he is replaced in this function by Lucas, and "Fat Torrence" will later take on another role, while not as close to the Chief Inspector, still important however for the touch of humor which he brings to the novels.


  2. "the guys who know his methods" (JUG)

    If I speak of the "Faithful Four", it's not by chance, since it's Simenon himself who uses the qualifier for them:

    "Lucas understood that it was serious... Maigret was phoning for him, was going to take Torrence off the stake-out and pick him up on the way, so automatically Lucas thought of Janvier, the other faithful, as if it would have been abnormal for the operation to take place without him." (LOG)

    It's also Simenon who makes the distinction between these four inspectors and Maigret's other collaborators, qualifying the four men as Maigret's "personal team" (PAR), calling them his favorite inspectors" (TUE), his "closest" collaborators (DEF, NAH, TUE, CHA), "his most intimate" collaborators (HES).

    If Maigret calls all his collaborators by a familiar "mes enfants" [my children], it's to Lucas, Janvier, Torrence and Lapointe that his preferences go without a contest. He has a very close relationship with these four men, at once friendly ("Outside of his closest collaborators, like Lucas, Janvier, Torrence and, more recently, young Lapointe, for whom Maigret had a real affection, the Chief Inspector had no friends except Dr. Pardon" NAH) and paternal, particularly with Lapointe, as we'll see further along.

    Maigret has not only transferred onto them the affection he couldn't give to a son, but he also appreciates them because with them there's no need to use long sentences... a glance is often enough for understanding; no need for the Chief Inspector to give long explanations, and even when sometimes he lets them in on his "cogitations", they appear grateful.

    From their side, the Faithful Four devote to their boss a veritable "worship". The word is Simenon's own, and it appears at least twice from his pen. Thus in VOY:

    "There were three at the Quai ... who granted the Chief Inspector an admiration bordering on worship: Lucas, the eldest, Janvier, who had been, some time back, as young, inexperienced and ardent as Lapointe, the third member, "little Lapointe" as they called him."

    And in NEW:

    "Torrence, who had no less a veritable worship of the Chief Inspector".

    They understood their chief so well that merely by the way he entered their room, they knew what kind of mood he was in. We also note that Maigret often went into their office, not necessarily to give them a job or some orders, but because it was for him a way to "revitalize" himself, to refresh the bonds dear to him. If Mme Maigret represents the affective pole, at once conjugal and "culinary", of Maigret's home, the inspectors are his other affective pole, equally culinary – for Maigret likes to bring them for a glass or to eat at the Brasserie Dauphine – but also that of shared work. And it's striking to note, alongside the paternal references which accompany Maigret's relationship with his inspectors, that Simenon also uses symbolic allusions of a teacher and his students, a "substitute" form of paternity. Thus, we have on one side this passage, taken from MIN, and already cited in my study of Maigret's collaborators, but which I repeat here, for it is a perfect summary of the paternal relationship between Maigret and his men:

    "This was not the first time he'd made such an entrance, less as a boss than as a comrade. He opened the door of the Inspectors' Office, and pushing back his hat on his head, went to sit on the corner of a table, emptying his pipe on the floor by hitting it against his heel before filling another. He looked at them one by one, occupied in various tasks, with the expression of a family father returned home in the evening, happy to recover his own, and taking account of them."

    On the other hand we can cite this extract from FAN, which shows the "teacher-student" side of this relationship:

    As was often the case, he didn't go directly into his office, but passed through the inspectors' room. Under luminous globes, each worked at his table like night-school students. He didn't look at anyone in particular, but it made him feel good to remake contact with the house and its professional atmosphere. No more than college students at the passage of their professor, they didn't look up, yet each one knew that he was serious, anxious, that his face was not just marked with fatigue, but a kind of exhaustion."

    complete article
    original French

    Murielle Wenger

Bruno Cremer Series DVD Set
2/23/08 – Hello, in reading at your forum I see that someone is asking about the Collection of French Maigrets starring Bruno Cremer. I'd like everyone to know that after finding that such things existed I ordered the complete set through It consists of four 10 dvd sets plus two additional dvds and can be found here at

They do have English subtitles, though the special features including an interview with Cremer and a feature on Simenon are not subtitled. The price on the site says the price is 164 euro, but when I put it in a basket and went through checkout they were somehow reduced to 138 euros, so the whole set shipped to me in the US cost about $217 and they are well worth it!

Do be aware that while most would be rated PG there are a few that would receive a more restricted rating for some brief scenes.

I don't speak much French and had to rather 'feel' my way through setting up my account and ordering through the, but their forms are identical to and and I was able to intuitively register and order these without a problem.


Peter Foord's Simenon Collection Auction

2/26/08 – I have just returned from the sale of Peter Foord’s amazing Simenon collection, held in auction rooms near his former home town of Harlow, 30 miles north-east of London. The 84 lots realised some £23,600 against an upper estimate of £15,900. One telephone bidder accounted for more than £14,500 of the total.

It was the high quality stuff that attracted the fiercest bidding. Things got away to a lively start with Lot 1 (four copies of The Patience of Maigret, London, Routledge, 1939) racing from an opening bid of £250, through the upper estimate of £400, and on to £1600. Three copies of Maigret Abroad (London, Routledge, 1940) quickly followed at £1450 (upper estimate £250).

Few lots failed to beat at least their lower estimate. Fifteen hardback Maigrets published by Hamish Hamilton between 1959 and 1978, estimated at £150 to £250, fetched just £50, and the same fate awaited a similar lot of 17 non-Maigrets. My own attention was focussed on Lot 40, the first 19 Maigrets published by Fayard between 1931 and 1934. Just looking at the cover of La Nuit du Carrefour – the face at the window on the front, the single roadside petrol pump on the back – sent shivers down my spine before the sale. They went for £300, the upper estimate, and I believe very good value for the lucky buyer.

Leaving the sale room I chatted to a fellow Simenon enthusiast, a reader rather than a collector, who had been ready to pounce on a collection of over 350 Penguin paperbacks, estimated at £50 to £100. They had gone for £1500. So it’s back to scouring the market stalls and charity shops for those elusive Penguins he has yet to read.

Richard Thomas

Auction Results

[ Sorry this is late... delayed by the translator! ST ]

Maigret of the Month: Un échec de Maigret (Maigret's Failure)
2/29/08 –

1. Introduction

We could analyze this novel from a "psycho-sociological" point of view, in particular the biographical aspects revealed about Maigret. In effect, it returns us to Maigret's youth, and above all to his childhood home, Saint-Fiacre. After the first great disillusionment which had been his return to the château of his childhood (FIA), this novel is another "demolition" of the Chief Inspector's childhood memories... After the death of the Countess, the ideal icon as imagined by the young Maigret, it is in a way the "death of the château" that Maigret sees in this novel... not only had it been sold, not only had it left the sphere of the aristocracy, but furthermore it had been bought by an obnoxious character, Fumal.

However, rather than make a detailed analysis on the profound meaning of the novel, please allow me, Maigretphile friends, to linger over certain elements of details evoked in the text, which are no less important for increasing our understanding of our cherished character.

2. In the office of the Director of the P.J.

"It was not the time for Report. So when the Director of the P.J. called Maigret into his office during the course of the day, it generally meant something important was up." (Ch. 1)

It's effectively with this summons from the Director of the P.J. that the "Fumal affair" begins... Fumal had spoken with the Minister of the Interior to have him arrange for a personal interview with Maigret...

Before diving directly into this matter, let's remain for a moment, if you don't mind, in the office of the Director of the P.J. This character holds, we must say, a relatively unassuming, secondary role in the corpus. We realize that his relative anonymity is due to the fact that the Directors of the P.J. do not hold a stable position, because they are named as high-level functionaries, through a hierarchical path, in a way, and not as any function of their years of service as Chief Inspectors, as "first among equals". Or at least that's the case after a certain period in the corpus: Consider in this regard DEF, "Maigret remembered the time when the Director of the P.J. was chosen from among the Chief Inspectors. His colleagues, at a certain period, had teased him by repeating that he'd finish up in the armchair of the top boss." In reality, the only "top boss" who truly merited the title in the eyes of Maigret, who had seen "nine Directors of the P.J. "(DEF), and the only one described in any detail in the novels, is his first boss, Xavier Guichard, who had arranged for his entry into Quai at the beginning.

If we follow a route through the corpus, we'll notice the following points:

  • In the Fayard period, before Simenon's first visit to the Quai in 1932-1933, at the invitation of Xavier Guichard, the references to a "Director of the P.J." are rather vague... In LET, we meet a "Director of the Investigative Service" – Maigret calls him "Chief", and only encounters him at the Majestic after Torrence's death. We find a "Director of the P.J." in GAL, mentioned once as being away from the Quai, at a conference in Prague. In GUI, he intervenes on only one occasion to complain that Maigret is using too many men in his investigation of Basso. In FOU, the Director is present in the first pages of the book, only used to send Maigret to make verifications at Bordeaux, a good pretext for the author to have Maigret on the train where he will meet "the madman of Bergerac"... In ECL, the conversation between Maigret and his "Chief" is a little longer, marked by a certain melancholy: Maigret is on the point of retirement. Finally, in MAI, their relationship is rather strained, for Maigret, already retired, comes in spite of everything to mix in an affair which only concerns him because his nephew is involved...

  • In the Gallimard period, after several furtive appearances in three stories (amo, sta, hom), in which we learn all the same that their relationship is cordial enough (amo: "the Director of the P.J., who knew as well as anyone the moods of Maigret"; sta: "So you're waiting for a little fact? murmured the Chief with a smile, for he knew his man."). He takes more importance in the novels of this cycle, and we sense from this time the influence of the memories of the author's visit to the Quai. Thus in CEC, for the first time, there is mention of the daily "Report", for which all the section chiefs meet in the Director of the P.J.'s office: "It was the little ceremony of each morning.". It's also in this novel that the Director of the P.J. is described for the first time: "the Chief had long white hair, and a musketeer's goatee." A portrait evidently inspired by that of Xavier Guichard... It's also in this same novel that Maigret is called into the Chief's office to be presented with an admirer of his "methods", a situation which will recur a number of times (AMI, SCR), without counting the episode where Maigret will discover, in the Director's office, a young novelist "without a trace of self-doubt" and who would make of him an immortal novelistic character (MEM) ... In this Gallimard period, we find the Chief of the P.J. again in SIG (among others, in the scene where he reads M. Blaise's telegram), in CAD where he's only mentioned, and in FEL, for a brief scene where Maigret tells him of Pétillon's accident. We note that in the unpublished story Death Threats, written in the same period as these novels, two scenes in the office of the Chief frame the action, and it's mentioned that the Chief has a white goatee. Always Xavier Guichard...

    complete article
    original French

    Murielle Wenger

"Georges Simenon, the existential hack"

3/13/08 –

Paul Theroux on Maigret's creator, the Balzac of blighted lives, who was confident of winning the Nobel Prize

Two startlingly similar short novels appeared in France in 1942, at the centre of each a conscienceless and slightly creepy young man, unattached and adrift, the perpetrator of a meaningless murder. One was Albert Camus’s L’Étranger, the other Georges Simenon’s La Veuve Couderc. Camus’s novel rose to become part of the literary firmament, and is still glittering, intensely studied and praised – to my mind, overpraised. Simenon’s novel did not drop, but settled, so to speak, went the way of the rest of his work – rattled along with decent sales, the occasional reprint, and was even resurrected as a 1950s pulp fiction paperback with a come-on tag line (“A surging novel of torment and desire”) and a lurid cover: busty peasant girl pouting in a barn, her skirt hiked over her knees, while a hunky guy lurks at the door – price twenty-five cents.

Camus had laboured for years on his novel of alienation; his Carnets record his frustration and false starts. “The fewer novels or plays you write – because of other parasitic interests – the fewer you will have the ability to write”, V. S. Pritchett once wrote, lamenting his own small output of fiction. “The law ruling the arts is that they must be pursued to excess.” Simenon had published three other novels in 1942, and six others the previous year. La Veuve Couderc (in English variously The Widow and Ticket of Leave) became another title on the extremely long list of Simenon works, none of them regarded as a subject for scholarship. If reading Camus represents duty, Simenon represents a frivolous indulgence, a greedy satisfaction that shows as self-consciousness in even the most well-intentioned critic: awkwardness over a pleasurable text, together with a shiver of snooty superfluity, and the palpable cringe, common to many introductions to Simenon’s novels, What am I doing here?...

Complete Times Literary Supplement article at Times Online.


BBC - Rupert Davies Maigret

3/21/08 – Whilst working overseas in the Philippines and having finished for the day, I recently found a link to a few minutes of Rupert Davies as Maigret on You Tube... until the BBC issue the series, these few minutes may help in lifting our spirits.

Here is the link:

Best wishes
Steve Beamon

Great stuff! Scenes from "Death in Mind" (La tête d'un homme - 11/26/62) and as a bonus - this month's Maigret of the Month - "Maigret's Little Joke" (Maigret s'amuse - 12/24/63)!


L'Institut Médico-Légal - The Morgue

3/24/08 – I've taken some pictures of "La morgue", as it is often mentioned in the Maigrets, and medical information does help Maigret to solve some of his cases, as in "Maigret s'amuse". It is not often seen on the web...

"La morgue" is located on the bank of the Seine. It was earlier located on the Ile de la Cité but was moved to Quai de la Râpée in 1914.

It is now called "L'Institut Médico-Légal". The building is still as it must have been in the '50s when Maigret was in action.

It is not far from Place de la Bastille and Gare de Lyon, not far from the Quai des Orfèvres.

the rear of the building, where the bodies arrive by ambulance


Maigret of the Month: Maigret s'amuse (Maigret's Little Joke, None of Maigret's Business)

3/25/08 –

1. Time and length of an investigation

  1. The action of the novel begins on a Tuesday morning, based on a number of clues that we find in the text. Other clues scattered through the text permit us to learn the duration of the action – it lasts six days. If we consider the whole of the novels in the corpus, we realize that the author often supplies sufficient points in his text to establish the length of a case.

    The above graph gives the duration of the investigation for each of the 74 novels considered. We can note the following points:

    • the average duration of a case (i.e. average for the 74 novels) is 5 days

    • it is 5 days whichever cycle is considered (i.e. 5 for Fayard, 5 for Gallimard, 5 for Presses de la Cité)

    • if we consider the percentage of cases with lengths varying from 1 to 5 days, we get the following results:

    For the Fayard cycle, 13 cases out of 19, 68% taking between 1 and 5 days; for Gallimard, the ratio is 3 out of 6, 50%; and for Presses de la Cité, it grows to 73%, 36 cases out of 49. So the Chief Inspector has rather a tendency to favor short investigations, probably both because results should be obtained in the shortest time, the principle of efficiency (cf. COL: "he hated to interrupt an investigation, believing that one of the best chances for success was speed. As days pass it becomes more and more difficult to obtain accurate witnesses... He himself needed to keep forging ahead, to stick with the little world in which he found himself plunged."), and because Simenon's method of writing required this "condensation" of the narrative.

  2. Another interesting aspect from the "chronological" point of view of the investigations, is that of the temporal markers given by the author. We already know that the season – and most of the time the month - plays an important role in the novels (I permit myself to remind you of my own study on this subject). But it can also be interesting to learn whether Simenon gives us the precise day or time that a case begins. My first analysis is of the date of the beginning of an investigation. While the author always gives us the season in which a case occurs, and almost always the month, he is less often precise with regard to the day of the month. There are only 28 novels out of 74 (38%) where this is given, either directly, in the introduction of the novel, or where it can be deduced from clues present in the text. In these 28 cases, there seems to be a slight indication that giving the date may be more important for the author depending on the month, in particular for March. Consider the graph below:

    We recall the importance of the month of March as a symbol of the beginning of spring for Maigret. And it's probably for this reason that the date is often mentioned for this month, for the date indicates the debut of the spring season... that's the case in COR: "It was March 23. Spring had officially begun the day before yesterday, and ... you felt it in the air"; in CLO: "Although it was already March 25, it was the first true day of spring"; in HES: "although it was only March 4, you got to thinking of spring".

  3. Let's concern ourselves for the present with the day of the week on which an investigation begins. This day is sometimes mentioned, and sometimes it must be deduced from clues in the text, which is not always easy. Working through the corpus, I've succeeded in identifying the day in 58 novels out of 74, 78% of the cases.

    Here are the results of my analysis:

    Investigations often start at the beginning of the week, either Monday, or more frequently, Tuesday, since Monday is considered a kind of "slack day", a day when, in principle, there shouldn't be a murder (cf. BAN: "it's generally accepted at the Quai des Orfèvres that people are rarely killed on Monday"). Thus Maigret often starts his work week with the opening of a new case. Similarly, it's fairly logical that few investigations begin on the weekend. Of these, we have two novels which begin on Saturday... one is TEN (it isn't, however, expressly mentioned as Saturday, but I've deduced it from clues in the text), and the other is CLI, in which case it's explicit ("Maigret and the Saturday Caller"). We have three novels which open on Sunday... actually for two of them (PRO and ECL), the story begins on Sunday, but Maigret doesn't start his investigation until the next day, Monday. The third is FIA, which opens on the mass of All Soul's Day (November 2)...

    complete article
    original French

    Murielle Wenger

Bruno Cremer Series DVD Set - Yes!
3/28/08 – A special thank you to Flannerygrace. I had also found the Amazon Fr. page with this BIG! Boxed set, but was not able get my order through, and I gave up. After reading Flannerygrace's post, I tried again, discovering that the vender offering the lesser priced coffret (150 euros) did not dispatch to the U S.

So, then I tried by selecting the set priced a fraction higher, and this time, it worked. Or so I thought. A few days later, I received an email from Amazon Fr., and an email from the seller, both in French, basically, telling me there was a foul up. I remembered having similar difficulties, while attempting purchases over the Internet. I decided to try again, only because Flannerygrace made it sound easy. This time I called my bank first to tell them, no, beg them to please allow this transaction. Third time's the charm. After all of that I deserved a break, and I'm thrilled to tell you; that not only have I received my PRIZED coffret, but also arriving nearly simultaneously, were my recent winnings from ebay; a collection of penguin 1960s Maigret reprints.

Thanks again Flannerygrace, and Steve too.
ps I'm learning!

On the German actor Heinz Rühmann
4/2/08 – More information (in English) on the German actor Heinz Rühmann (who played Maigret in "Maigret und sein grosster Fall", 1966) can be found at Wikipedia and here.

Rühmann was without doubt Germany's most famous (and popular) film actor of the 20th century (his film career started as early as 1926 and ended 1993 (one year before his death).

Bernd Fischer

The Old Open-Platform Bus of Paris...
4/4/08 – When I left my office today, I saw this old bus in the street, one with an open space at the end like Maigret liked them. I am not sure if this type of bus was in use before or after WWII.


And see... A Maigret Bus Ride (6/10/06)
Paris Buses (3/20/05)
Platform Bus, 1969 (1/4/03)
Maigret's Favorite Buses (8/24/99)

Maigret of the Month: Maigret voyage (Maigret and the Millionaires)
4/7/08 – Despite bad weather this afternoon, I went around Avenue George V to take some pictures related to "Maigret voyage"...

The pharmacy Anglo-Américaine is at the corner of Avenue Marceau
and Rue de Chaillot very near (300 m) the George V Hotel.

I was not able to find the back entrance of the George V hotel.
I saw the one for Prince de Galles on Rue Q. Bauchard.

The walk from Hotel George V to the Hotel Scribe is about 3 km (around 40 min.)


Inspecting Inspector Maigret: A Tribute to Georges Simenon
4/9/08 – My name is Allison Kirkland and I work for a non profit performing arts center in New York City called Symphony Space. We have a book club called The Thalia Book Club that has been running for a very long time, and we feature a variety of authors and commentators.

We have an event on April 16th that we think might interest fans of Georges Simenon! It’s called Inspecting Inspector Maigret: A Tribute to Georges Simenon. A link to our event can be found on our website at:

“Fellow writers and admirers Colin Harrison (The Finder, just out), Robert MacNeil and Anna Moschovakis (translator of Simenon’s The Engagement) discuss the work of the Belgian mystery master, including some of his psychologically realistic and wonderfully atmospheric Inspector Maigret novels set in the cafés and alleys of Paris, the French countryside and Manhattan, among other places. Fritz Weaver will perform an excerpt from one of the mysteries.”

Tickets can be purchased online at, or by calling 212.864.5400.

Allison Kirkland
Literary Intern
Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street
New York, NY 10025
T 212.864.1414 x 296
F 212.865.8619

Maigret Musique
4/11/08 – I thought I might be able to "return a favor" by letting those interested know that the captivating score for the Bruno Cremer Maigret series can be found here. I purchased my copy from the vender: IMPORTCDS - they ship very fast. Also, there were other versions of MAIGRET scores and soundtracks listed that I am not yet familiar with, take a look...


Hôtel le Provençal - "Liberty Bar"

4/15/08 – I can't find the TV movie from the book "Liberty Bar", "Maigret sur la Riviera". If by any chance you saw this movie, could you tell me if there are some scenes shot in the "Hôtel le Provençal" in Juan-Les-Pins?

Thanks a lot.
Kind regards,
Jean-Paul Woodall

I'm not aware of a telefilm version of Liberty Bar called "Maigret sur la Riviera". There is a Harcourt translation edition entitled "Maigret on the Riviera", but the four telefilm versions of Liberty Bar in the filmography are:

Liberty Bar, Louis Arbessier (1960)
Maigret et le Liberty Bar, Bruno Cremer (1997)
Liberty Bar, Rupert Davies (1960)
Liberty-Bar, Jean Richard (1979)


Maigret of the Month: Maigret voyage (Maigret and the Millionaires)
4/15/08 –

1. Two keys to a novel

This is a fairly unusual novel, with Simenon taking his character into several locales outside of Paris. Why does the author force his Chief Inspector to travel, instead of letting him peacefully lead his investigation in his city? Why does Maigret feel like he's "botching his case", as he says in Ch. 3?

I think that one of the keys to the novel can be found in this sentence in Ch. 5: "What bothered him most was the impression he had that in some way his movement and actions were predetermined. He hadn't come to Lausanne because it was his idea to come, but because he was being led along a path that he followed, like it or not." And we shouldn't forget that this novel is the first of the Maigrets – and the first short novel – that Simenon wrote in Switzerland. He had just moved there in July 1957, to the château at Echandens, which he called "Noland" in the dating of the novels. After having lived on almost every continent, Simenon was in the country where he'd spend the rest of his life. A man who'd always had "wanderlust", he finally settled down more or less definitively, although he did move a few times within Switzerland. And as he brought with him his family, his memories and his ideas for novels, naturally he also brought his character, his Chief Inspector. We recall that when Simenon had "emigrated" to the United States, he'd also brought his Chief Inspector there in a few novels (cf. NEW, CHE). So there's a certain logic in having Maigret also make a stopover in Switzerland, even if it's rather short. It is however, sufficient for the Chief Inspector to discover some essential elements there, such as Simenon himself had discovered, or at least which the author considered essential... the "peaceful inns of Vaud", the "local wines", the "great Swiss hospitality", however vigilant with VIPs, and a certain "Swiss gravity" mixed with "real intimacy". As I'm Swiss myself, I hasten to add, however, that Lake Geneva, the Alps, Geneva and Lausanne only make up a small part of my country, and that Switzerland contains many other regions besides those cited in the book!

Lastly, we note that if Simenon wanted to have his Chief Inspector discover his adopted country, he sends him back "home" again, for the end of the novel takes place in Paris... and in fact it's hard to imagine a "classic" Maigret case that could end anywhere except in the Chief Inspector's office, with the demis and sandwiches brought up from the Brasserie Dauphine, and a suspect confessing his crime at the end of a final interrogation....

Another key to the novel is no doubt the theme of "the naked man", a recurring theme throughout Simenon's work. This search for the naked man, which we find by scraping off surface respectability and appearance... who better to lead it than Maigret, who as a policeman, could gain entry into all levels of society? This theme is also taken up in the novel, with the symbolic images of Ward lying naked in his bath, and Van Meulen, naked also, getting a massage in his hotel room. Simenon wants to show us that social appearances only hide the same basic reality: the same fears inhabit all men, the same need for reassurance, the invention of rites and rituals....

2. "Well, old partner?"

In Chapter 2 an important character in the Maigret saga appears, Dr. Paul. As I haven't yet presented his portrait, this is a fine occasion for it...

complete article
original French

Murielle Wenger

BorisTenine x3 – and yet another screen Maigret
4/15/08 – I have finally managed to unearth more information about the Boris Tenine series hinted at in Peter Haining’s book. It turns out that although it isn’t quite correct to talk about a series, Tenine did actually return to the part twice. The title we have encountered earlier, "Megre i staraya dama" from 1974, was actually his second outing as Maigret; he had essayed the part the year before in a two-parter based on "Maigret et l’homme du banc" which seems to have been popular enough to warrant his return the year after. Perhaps even more interesting is that he returned a third time in 1981 as Maigret in an adaptation of "Maigret hésite". An even bigger surprise was that when the Russians in 1987 decided to film a new Maigret, Tenine did not return. Perhaps he was too ill? (He died in 1990.) Instead, the part went to Armenian Armen Djigarkhanyan.

The irregularity of the "series" is intriguing; the reason cannot have been the difficulty of finding anti-capitalist aspects in the books (they would decidedly not have adapted them at all if this had been the case) what with the rich lady in "Maigret et la vieille dame" and the corrupt politicians in "Maigret chez le minister" that must have been ideal for that kind of thing, so the explanation why they were so far in between must be found elsewhere.

Boris Tenine

Armen Djigarkhanyan

To judge from photos both Tenine and Djigarkhanyan seem quite good choices for Maigret, the former even ideal, though not having seen them "in action" as it were, makes it hard to say much more about them. Actually, all four TV-productions seem to be available on the net from, but not being able to read, not to mention speak, Russian I don’t even know if they deliver abroad. If there is anyone out there who could help me, I would be very grateful if he or she would contact me as I am very anxious to get hold of them, especially since "Maigret hésite" is my favourite.

Мегрэ И Человек На Скамейке
1973 (Megre i Chelovek Na Skameyke) (Maigret et l’homme du banc)
Director: Vyacheslav Brovkin
Length: 2:28:53
Cast: Boris Tenin (Maigret), Tatiana Karpova, Natalya Varley, L. Sukharevskaya, Vera Vasileva, L. Bogdanov, Rolan Bykov, Arkady Peselev, Opisanie
Мегрэ и старая дама
1974 (Megre i staraya dama) (Maigret et la vieille dame)
Director: Vyacheslav Brovkin
Length: 2:33:40
Cast: Boris Tenin (Maigret), Elena Fadeeva (Valentine), Yuri Katin-Yartsev (Doctor), Vanguard Leontiev, Elena Kozelkova (Arlette), Anatoly Romashin (Theo), Igor Yankovsky (Henri), Leonid Satanovsky
Мегрэ Колеблется
1981 (Megre Kolebletsya) (Maigret hésite)
Director: Vyacheslav Brovkin
Length: 2:53:02
Cast: Boris Tenin (Maigret), Tatyana Lavrova, Arcady Peselev, Jury Grigoryan, Natalia Moleva, Nina Arhipov, Ruslanov Vadim, Sergey Skripkin, Irina Yurevich
Мегрэ у министра
1987 (Megre u ministra) (Maigret chez le minister)
Director and script: Vyacheslav Brovkin,
Length: 2:16:22
Cast: Armen Djigarkhanyan (Мaigret), Peter Velyaminov (Minister Point), Boris Khimichev (Mascolin), Igor Vernik (Lapointe), Galiks Kolchitsky (Prime Minister), Lyudmila Arinina (Madame Calame), Vitaly Varganov (Benoît), Igor Kashintsev (Janvier), Gennady Korotkov (Fleury), Yuri Volkov (Chief of Police), Elena Molchenko (Mlle Point), Vladimir Izotov, Radij Afanasyev, Inna Kara-Mosko, Arkady Peselev, Sergei Taraneev, Svetlana Misery, Elena Molchenko, Victor Vishnyak

Mattias Siwemyr

Boris Tenine Maigret series
4/16/08 – Nice work, Mattias! But I don't think it completely rules out the existence of a longer Soviet series with Tenine. Although we've seen many examples of Haining's errors (often found by Mattias!), Haining's listing is for a 1969 series "Detective Maigret" from Studio Leninfilm, with personnel who don't appear in the later films, so there still seems to be a possibility...


Simenon No. 2 on Times Top 50
4/20/08 –

From Times Online April 18, 2008

The 50 Greatest Crime Writers

Our selection of the all-time greats

1. Patricia Highsmith - Rule-breaking master of amorality
2. Georges Simenon - The Trojan horse of foreign crime-writing
3. Agatha Christie - The original Queen of Crime
4. Raymond Chandler - The most profound of pulp writers
5. Elmore Leonard - The Dickens of Detroit
6. Arthur Conan Doyle - Creator of the ultimate hero-and-sidekick team
7. Ed McBain - Thrilling writer of snap-and-crackle dialogue
8. James M. Cain - Godfather of Noir
9. Ian Rankin - Edinburgh’s gritty crime laureate
10. James Lee Burke - American spinner of bleakly lyrical tales

Full list here


Bibliography of Works about Simenon
4/23/08 – Here's an exciting and well-done new resource: Bernd Fischer has compiled a 121-page survey attempting to list all the books on the life and work of Simenon (biographies, critical works, magazines, reportages) in French, English, German, Italian, Dutch and Spanish, along with cover images for many of the items. Below is the introductory note and links to the work as both MS Word and PDF files, which he has made available to us.


Biographies, bibliographies and critical works 1939 - 2007

Compiled by Bernd Fischer, Köln

Note: The following survey covers publications in book form on Simenon´s life and work in French, English, German, Dutch, Italian and Spanish (single articles in magazines or newspapers are not included). There are also sections with Simenon´s reports (reportages) and autobiographical writings and a selection of magazine issues devoted to Simenon.

The cover images are not to scale.

I´m aware that this work-in-progress is incomplete and not without faults. Any comments (corrections, addenda, missing or better cover imagess etc.) are welcome and should be sent to

MS Word file (40 mb)

PDF file (14 mb)

You can also access these files on this site on the Simenon page and the Simenon: Selected Biographies... page.

Great work Bernd! Thank you!


Maigret St. overlooking Diamond Head!
5/2/08 –

Driving high up on St. Louis Drive in Honolulu the other day, I was surprised to find Maigret Street... with a view of Diamond Head!

How did Maigret Street get to Honolulu? I haven't had any luck finding out so far, but it's also interesting that it's at the corner of St. Louis Drive -- Ile Saint-Louis is very close to Maigret's office in Paris...


(Ahh, a little more research reveals the presence of an important missionary, Bishop Maigret, in Honolulu in the mid-19th Century... debunking the rumor of an infamous "Maigret Goes to Waikiki" case which had been purged from the archives...)

New Maigrets in Hungarian
5/7/08 –
Last month two Maigret titles were published by the Park Publ. Co.:

new title: L'inspecteur Cadavre
Maigret és a kiugrott felügyelő

published in a new translation: Maigret
Maigret és a mamlasz unokaöccs

Best wishes,
Viola Bátonyi

Maigret of the Month: Les scrupules de Maigret (Maigret Has Scruples)
5/13/08 –

1. A "backwards" case

This novel starts off a series of somewhat atypical Maigrets, or in any case ones which appear less and less like detective stories, and more and more like examinations of justice, the responsibility of criminals, and Man in general, all thoughts which Simenon gives to his character, but which are reflections of his own questionings. Among the Maigrets more "psychological" than police story, which follow in the cycle, we can mention Maigret Hesitates, Maigret and the Killer, and Maigret in Court.

This novel is also atypical in the sense that the investigation led by the Chief Inspector takes place before the crime, not after it occurs. We will find a similar situation in Maigret Hesitates, and in the two novels Maigret appears hesitant, uneasy, confronted with problems he does not usually encounter in the course of his work. We can see this clearly in Ch. 6 of this novel, when Maigret is thinking of the case,

"If this case was not like the others, and if he didn't know how to get a handle on it, wasn't it because this time it wasn't about a crime that had already been committed, and where he had to reconstruct it, but about a murder which could be committed at any moment? ... What he had to do this time was not to reconstruct the actions and movements of a human being, but to predict his behavior, which was far more difficult."

So why does Simenon put his character into such situations? Besides the fact that it could be a way, more or less unconscious, of putting his character into the role of the author, who must foresee the behavior of his characters to advance the plot, it's also the occasion for Simenon to make of Maigret his "spokesperson", or at least the "bearer" of his own reflections on certain domains, like psychiatry, human responsibility, and justice.

2. Simenon and the "shrinks"

This novel in particular clearly indicates Simenon's rapport with psychoanalysis and psychiatry, areas in which he is very interested. See for example these extracts from "When I was old":

"Psychiatry fascinates me, and perhaps as a result, so does medicine. Maigret wanted to become a doctor. And me? I never thought of it when I was young. Later, yes. But without regret, and as if by chance most of my friends have been or are still doctors."

"A fascinating dinner for me, yesterday, with half a dozen psychiatrists .... Almost all of them seeking to reassure themselves, to be sure that they're on the right track, that they're doing something useful. ... And for me, a chance to reassure myself. I think that more and more, since the beginning, moreover, my characters are sort of heading to the point where the psychiatrists will take over. That is to say, my clients, after a few more steps, will become theirs."

"I ask myself if the essential characteristic of murder isn't its being illogical, which would explain why in the Middle Ages it was blamed on demons who took possession of a human being, and why today we call more and more upon psychiatry. Now psychiatry, concerned less with lesions and trauma than with behavior, doesn't it also escape logic?"

3. Maigret and psychiatry: the victory of good sense

4. A character in the grip of reality

5. Reminiscences

complete article
original French

Murielle Wenger

Maigret and the Maid?
6/6/08 – I have watched Maigret and the Maid, but cannot find it in book form, unless I've read it under a different title and have forgotten (there are so many). Please help. Was Maigret and the Maid ever a book?

Thank you,
West Virginia

Yes, Maigret and the Maid (1993, with Michael Gambon) is based on Félicie est là, which appeared in English translation as "Maigret and the Toy Villiage". To find the original title of a film or tv episode, try the Maigret Films and TV page where there's a link at the top to the Title Index.


The Escape Artist: John Banville on Georges Simenon
6/9/08 – The novel is resilient, and so are novelists. Sometimes, a successful writer is rejuvenated by the works of another. A few years ago, the Irish novelist John Banville was introduced by a friend to the works of the late French auteur Georges Simenon, whose absurdly prolific output included the Inspector Maigret novels, for which he is best known. Banville, himself the author of 16 novels, including the 2005 Man Booker Prize–winning The Sea, is a writer of serious literary intent, but not long after reading Simenon, he began to write mystery novels (Christine Falls, The Silver Swan) under the name Benjamin Black. As he told the Weekly last year, “I was really blown away by this extraordinary writer. I had never known this kind of thing was possible, to create such work in that kind of simple — well, apparently simple — direct style. ... Looking back, I think it was very much a transition. It was a way of breaking free from the books I had been writing for the last 20 years, these first-person narratives of obsessed, half-demented men going on and on and on and on. “I had to break out of that. And I see now in retrospect that Christine Falls was part of that process. Because it’s a completely different process than writing as John Banville. It’s completely action-driven, and it’s dialogue-driven, and it’s character-driven. Which none of my Banville books are.” Banville, then, on his rejuvenator...

complete article

D. J. Greenfield

Jean Richard in the comics
6/9/08 – Nice site. Full of very interesting details. I never realised how many actors have played Maigret, least of all Charles Laughton.

Here is a detail you might like to add to your entry on Jean Richard:

I grew up in France in the 1970s and one of the most popular comic series there was that of Pif the dog [Pif le chien]. Pif's comics ranged from a monthly pocket book to a weekly comic. Jean Richard often featured in these comics as a detective investigating mysteries which the readers also had to solve. They were of course the sort of cases that Maigret would have entrusted to a ticket warden but they could be fun as well.

Just something you might like to know.

A bientot,

Maigret of the Month: Maigret et les témoins récalcitrants (Maigret and the Reluctant Witnesses)
6/9/08 –

1. A novel of nostalgia

Beyond the story it tells, it seems to me that the basic theme of this novel is that of nostalgia, nostalgia for childhood memories, for a world which had disappeared, the nostalgia of a man who sees, little by little, the effects of age...

The entire novel is set under the sign of "decrepitude", symbolized by the decrepitude of the Lachaume house, literally and figuratively (the rooms are old, of another age, but the mentality of the Lachaume family as well, dates from another time). Correspondingly, Maigret in this novel feels strongly the beginnings of age... he recalls childhood memories which seem very far from his present life, he "feels old" in contrast to his young collaborators, to magistrates of another generation, as summed up in the person of Magistrate Angelot, of "insulting youth". Moreover, he thinks of his approaching retirement, two years away (not knowing that, happily for him, Simenon is not yet ready to toss his Chief Inspector onto the scrap heap, and that he will delay his definitive retirement, a least on the level of writing, enough for another 22 novels, and far from his poorest...).

By little touches, the author makes us "feel" this nostalgia... the cold rain of November... the stove that Maigret finds at the Quai de la Gare which reminds him of his old office stove, which had been finally taken from him... the day after All Souls' Day... the bus without a platform... the "bar girls" who were "no longer for him"... the muffler that Mme Maigret almost had to force him to take, whereas he'd been satisfied, over the years, just to put up the collar of his overcoat to keep out the cold... the transformations of Paris with the construction of new buildings...

Happily for Maigret, in the midst of this decrepitude, two female characters float up, who are outside this fallen world... Paulette Lachaume, with a "muted vitality", and above all Veronique Lachaume, whose ample form recalls Maigret to the realities of life, and brings him out of the nostalgia in which he was getting stuck. It's no doubt not an accident that, after hearing concierge's description of Veronique... he found himself standing before the suggestive photos outside the Amazon Bar... and then the Chief Inspector went into an Alsatian brasserie, and ate a copious choucroute, brought by a well-endowed waitress... all speaking volumes about Maigret's unconscious fantasies...

The reality of these two women, the making contact once more with the real, symbolized by the devouring of the choucroute (see Ch. 5: "He needed, on this afternoon, to feel his two feet planted solidly on the ground.") will permit Maigret to cast off his nostalgia and to successfully lead his investigation, guided both by his intuition (assisted by Maigret's dream in Ch. 7) and by the material clues, like the list of objects found in the dead man's room, and above all the incongruity of certain of these objects with regard to the situation such as it should have been as Maigret conceived it. Thus the bedsheet with the monogram P, reserved for Paulette but found on Leonard's bed, the presence of an adjustable wrench in the dead man's room, and, by omission, the absence of a dressing robe...

complete article

2. November

3. A Visit to the Inspectors' Office

original French

Murielle Wenger

New Simenon Collection
6/12/08 –
I saw at that there is a new collection of books from Simenon with some new pictures. The content is mainly related to Simenon's travels in the thirties.

Simenon photo exhibit
For people living on the French Riviera, at Mougins, there is an exhibit of Simenon photos called "L'oeil de Simenon"... see


Maigret Parody
6/13/08 –
A Maigret parody noticed at Amazon... Malgret et l'affaire Saint-Pouacre (by Pierre Veys and Christophe Alvès, 55pp, Robert Laffont, 2007).

"Excédé par les bourdes catastrophiques de ses inspecteurs, le commissaire malgret décide de prendre quelques jours de repos à Saint Pouacre, le village de son enfance. En fait de repos, le pauvre malgret sera confronté à une ancienne maîtresse hystérique, des morts en pagaille, un château hanté, des attentats cauchemardesques, et bien d'autres calamités."

"Exasperated by the catastrophic blunders of his inspectors, Chief Inspector Malgret decides to take a few days rest in Saint Pouacre, his childhood village. In place of his rest, poor Malgret will face a hysterical former mistress, inumerable deaths, a haunted castle, nightmarish attacks, and many other calamities."


And there's also Alain le Bussy's Commissaire Grosset parody series...
  • Grosset et le Spatiandre Percé, Liège, 2003 (24 février), Robert Demeyer Pastiches-1, 48 p., softcover, 16x23 cm.
  • Grosset et le Monstre des Ardennes, Liège, 2003 (31 mai), Robert Demeyer Pastiches-2, 48 p., softcover, 16x23 cm.
  • Grosset dans La Chambre Close, Liège, 2005 (6 avril), Robert Demeyer Pastiches-15, 48 p., softcover, 16x23 cm.


Director Jean Delannoy dies at 100
6/19/08 – Paris - French director Jean Delannoy, who made more than 50 films in a career spanning over 60 years, has died at age 100, his family said Thursday. Born near Paris on January 12, 1908, Delannoy began his movie career in the 1920s as an actor....

Full article here


Lettre à mon juge in Paris Theater

6/21/08 – The show "Lettre à mon juge" based on the Simenon book is going to play up to the end of August in Paris at the Lucernaire theatre.

Web site at:

Review at:


Julian Maclaren-Ross
6/25/08 – Back in March 2006 Bill Rispin asked the forum about Julian Maclaren-Ross, translator of Maigret and the Burglar’s Wife. In his response Peter Foord gave some details about the life and times of Maclaren-Ross and his involvement with both the publisher Hamish Hamilton and Simenon’s second wife Denise.

Recently published is a collection of Maclaren-Ross’s Selected letters (ISBN 978-0-948238-38-3) which includes 16 letters to Hamish Hamilton and Richard Brain (an editor at Hamish Hamilton and also the translator of Maigret s’amuse) relating to his translation.

Maclaren-Ross was also the author of both a fine Maigret parody, ‘Maigret in Oxford’, published (first in Punch for 8 December 1954 and later) in a collection of mostly miscellaneous pieces: The Funny Bone (London, Elek Books, 1956), and a serious critique of Simenon’s work for the TLS. This latter piece has been republished in another recent (2005) collection of Maclaren-Ross’s writings, Bitten by the Tarantula (ISBN 0948238321). Both are worth seeking out.

Matthew Woollard

New Jean Richard / Maigret Website by Murielle Wenger
6/25/08 – Murielle Wenger, well-know to readers of this site for her Maigret of the Month essays and many other enlightening Maigret-related articles, has created a website dedicated to the French television Maigret series starring Jean Richard, the longest-running Maigret series ever, at


You'll find a page for each of the episodes, with full cast lists and episode information, photos, cover images of the dvds, articles on Richard, Simenon and more...

All the best to Murielle!


Maigret Parody
7/1/08 – Reading Matthew Woollard’s contribution to the Forum (6/25/08) led me eagerly to some old back volumes of Punch which I have. Sadly the 'fine Maigret parody' struck me as parody only in the sense of 'a feeble imitation, a travesty (Concise Oxford Dictionary)'. The story borrowed the character of Maigret but nothing of Simenon’s literary style or ability to convey a sense of place. Maclaren-Ross seemed primarily concerned to offer a back-handed swipe at Oxford Dons J.I.M. Stewart and C. Day-Lewis who published detective stories under pseudonyms (Michael Innes and Nicholas Blake respectively).

David McBrien

Simenon on DVD
7/2/08 – I have heard via HMV that last month there were 2 issues of Simenon based films on DVD. The first is really just an adaptation, as you will know, the Man on the Eiffel Tower with Charles Laughton [1952] is available from them for £13, and also Temptation Harbour [1949] at a bit more pricey £20. I've only seen the beginning of the 1952 film, and never seen the other. Just thought the info might be of use to anyone who likes old cinema!

Matt Gibbs

PS - I contacted Sworders yesterday [Tuesday] about the auction results link file being corrupted on their site, the pdf will not download when you go to the page off the one you link to, and in the post this morning was a copy of the results and a copy of the catalogue from the Foord sale, all gratis! I've been unwittingly been buying several first editions from a dealer without knowing they mostly came from this source, but had a really nice chat with him today about the auction which elicited some interesting stuff.


I can't find Temptation Harbour at HMV today... but it was directed by Lance Comfort, starring Simone Simon and Robert Newton... According to Claude Gauteur (Simenon au Cinéma), it was made in 1946, "the first foreign adaptation of a Simenon, in this case, British. A remake of Homme de Londres, with, notably, Marcel Daliio as Inspector Dupré".


Jean Delannoy - in memoriam (Le Monde)
7/08/08 – Here is a very nice article about Jean Delannoy, published in Le Monde last week.

Jean Delannoy, in memoriam

Le Monde June 28, 2008
Jules Maigret, c'est d'abord une lenteur, une pesanteur. Ensuite seulement, on distingue le pardessus, la pipe. On sent l'odeur du tabac, le goût aigrelet du vin blanc servi au bar, très tôt le matin, la sciure de bois répandue sur le sol dans les bistrots d'autrefois.

Georges Simenon a mis des années avant d'en faire le commissaire divisionnaire que l'on connaît. Jean Delannoy, mort le 18 juin à l'âge de 100 ans ( Le Monde daté dimanche 22 - lundi 23 juin), a fait plusieurs « Maigret » avec Gabin. En hommage au réalisateur disparu, Arte rediffusait, jeudi 26 juin, l'un d'entre eux, L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre, qui date de 1959. C'est du cinéma cousu main, à l'ancienne, fidèle à la littérature et féru de détails réalistes, celui-là même dont se moquait Jean-Luc Godard et ses amis de la Nouvelle Vague. Mais qu'est-ce que c'est bien ! Et cela dès que le film commence, lorsque Gabin regarde le paysage défiler par la fenêtre du train qui l'emmène à Moulins.

Le célèbre commissaire Maigret retourne, pour la première fois depuis plus de quarante ans, dans le village de son enfance, près de Moulins, dans l'Allier, où son père était le régisseur du comte de Saint-Fiacre. Il est parti adolescent, à la mort de son père, secrètement amoureux de la comtesse, qu'il observait à la dérobée dans les allées du parc. Il revient à la demande de cette dernière, qui a reçu une lettre anonyme lui annonçant qu'elle mourrait le mercredi des Cendres. Elle meurt, de fait, dans l'église du village, dès que le curé a prononcé la formule sacramentelle : « Tu es poussière et tu retourneras en poussière. » Pour les besoins de l'enquête, Maigret se fait passer pour un marchand d'art.

« Il paraît que Monsieur est antiquaire. Il n'y a plus rien à prendre ici, sauf le train de midi douze », lui crie le régisseur, lointain successeur de son père. « Vous avez un genre qui ne me plaît pas, Lulu, mais qui pourrait plaire au juge d'instruction. C'est pourquoi je vous conseille de mettre votre avocat en veilleuse et votre montre à l'heure », lance le commissaire au secrétaire de la comtesse, un pâle gigolo qu'il a convoqué à 7 heures du soir au château. On reconnaît, à ces dialogues, la patte de Michel Audiard. La distribution est superbe, elle aussi. Outre Gabin/Maigret, il y a Valentine Tessier (la comtesse), Michel Auclair (le fils du comte), Robert Hirsch (le secrétaire) et Paul Frankeur (le docteur). On est dans la France rurale, catholique, avec des restes d'Ancien Régime, dont Simenon a la nostalgie. Les passants retirent leur casquette au passage du jeune comte de Saint-Fiacre, qui n'est pourtant qu'un mauvais fils doublé d'un escroc. Ne comptez pas sur moi pour vous donner le nom de l'assassin. Il y aura des rediffusions au moins cent ans encore.

Jules Maigret... first there's a slowness, a heaviness. Only afterwards do we notice the overcoat, the pipe. We smell the odor of tobacco, the sharp taste of white wine served at the bar, very early in the morning, the sawdust scattered on the floors of bistros of times past...

Georges Simenon put in years before creating the well-known Chief Inspector. Jean Delannoy, who died June 18 at the age of 100 (Le Monde Sunday-Monday, June 22-23), produced numerous Maigrets with Gabin. In homage to the passing of this director, Arte reran one of them on Thursday, June 26, L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre, from 1959. This is high-quality cinema, in the old style, faithful to the story and filled with realistic detail, the very thing mocked by Jean-Luc Godard and his friends of the New Wave. But how good it is! And right from the start of the film, when Gabin regards the passing countryside from the window of the train bringing him to Moulins.

The famous Chief Inspector Maigret is returning, for the first time after more than 40 years, to his childhood village, near Moulins, in the Allier, where his father was the steward for the Count de Saint-Fiacre. He left as an adolescent, at the death of this father, secretly enamored with the Countess, who he watched surreptitiously on the paths of the park. He returned at her request, for she'd received an anonymous letter announcing that she would die on Ash Wednesday. She did die, in fact, in the village church, after the curé had pronounced the sacramental formula: "You are but dust, and to dust you will return." To facilitate his investigation, Maigret took on the role of an art dealer.

"It seems that Monsieur is an antique dealer. There's nothing more to take here, except the train at 12:12", said the steward, distant successor to his father. "You have a look which doesn't please me, Lulu, but which might please an examining magistrate. That's why I advise you to put your lawyer aside and set your watch", lanced the Chief Inspector to the Countess's secretary, a pale gigolo whom he had summoned at 7:00 in the evening to the château. We recognize, in these dialogues, the hand of Michel Audiard. The cast is superb as well. Besides Gabin/Maigret, there is Valentine Tessier (the Countess), Michel Auclair (the Count's son), Robert Hirsch (the secretary) and Paul Frankeur (the doctor). We are in rural France, Catholic, with the remains of the Ancien Régime, for which Simenon felt nostalgia. Passers-by remove their hats at the passing of the young Count de Saint-Fiacre, who is, however, but a bad son doubling as a crook. Don't expect me to give you the name of the murderer. There will be reruns of this for at least another 100 years...

Dominique Dhombres


Times archives on line
7/09/08 – The Times is putting all its content online for free at the moment, with many articles on Simenon and/or Maigret:

Simenon = 424 entries
Maigret = 464 entries
both = 148 entries

Perhaps other keywords are worth looking at as well. Some entries go back to the '30s. You just have to register.


Thanks, Jérôme! Let's hope it stays available for some time. Meanwhile, if anyone finds articles of particular interest, please let me know...


Maigret of the Month: Une confidence de Maigret (Maigret Has Doubts)
7/10/08 –

1. Maigret confides... and so does Simenon...

As I've already written in other MoMs, we recognize that in this final stage of the Presses de la Cité cycle, Simenon confers more and more often on his character the task of expressing his own cogitations on justice, the role of the police, the responsibility of Man – and his eventual guilt. This novel is typical in the sense that the actual police investigation is completely a "flash-back", told – whether by Maigret himself, or by the narrator (see below) – as if "pre-recorded", if we can say that, with regard to the action of the novel. It is not so much the "mechanics" of the investigation that are important here, but rather the memories left in Maigret's mind. We could say that Simenon evokes in this novel a sort of "distillation" of an investigation, only keeping the essential aspect, Maigret's reactions to a suspect, and his musings on his métier.

2. A masterly demonstration of the novelist's art

What it seems important to highlight in this novel, besides the issue mentioned above, is the stylistic construction of the text, and the technique used by Simenon to present a Maigret investigation in "flash-back".

Indeed, we can remark on the great skill with which the author mixes the "present" time of the action (i.e. the evening with the Pardons) and the "past" time evoked by Maigret's memories of an old case. I found it interesting to "dissect" the text a little to understand the construction. Here, in graphic form, are the essential aspects:

(click to enlarge)

The x-axis shows the progress of the text by chapter. The pagination is that of the volume from Editions Rencontre. The y-axis shows the chronological time of the action. 1 corresponds to the "present", that is, the evening at the Pardons' and, for the last chapter, at the Maigrets'. 2 corresponds to moments when the description of the past is given by Maigret himself (i.e. in the first person). 3 corresponds also to the description of the past, but when it is given by the narrator, i.e. Simenon himself. We note the following points:

  • The author uses a fairly regular system of transition, moving from the presentation of the "present" (at the Pardons') to Maigret's narration, then "resumed" by the narrator, who describes in his turn Maigret's interrogation of Josset.

  • This system works for the four initial chapters of the novel (to about the middle of the book), then the three following chapters are uniquely told by the narrator. There are two possible reasons for this. First, we feel that Simenon "retakes" his novelist's rights and that he wants to describe Maigret's investigation himself, which would also allow him other points of view beyond that of the Chief Inspector (consider, for example in Ch. 5, the telling of Annette's father's return to Fontenay, or in Ch. 6 the appearance of Me Lenain), which would have been much more difficult to do if Maigret had taken up the story. It also permits the telling of the follow-up to the case, that is, to make "jumps" in time. No longer is it just the interrogation of Josset (who is about to lose confidence in Maigret), but that which follows... Maigret's visits to Annette and M. Jules. We note then that after Ch. 5, Simenon uses the simple past tense in his narrative, while in other chapters it was the imperfect and pluperfect tenses...

    complete article
    original French

    Murielle Wenger

Maigret at Oxford - J. Maclaren-Ross
7/13/08 – Thanks to Matthew Woolard, I've gotten a copy of Maclaren-Ross's Maigret pastiche, reproduced here...


The Funny Bone
J. Maclaren-Ross
London, Elek Books Ltd.


A Maigret pastiche

by J. Maclaren-Ross

(Translated from the French, Maigret chez les Don)

IT WAS DROLL! Maigret could scarcely keep from smiling. And yet had the word Don really conjured up in his mind the image of a Spanish hidalgo, proud and dignified, wrapped in a black cloak and sporting a flat-topped hat with a wide brim, like the figure advertising that brand of port he understood these English professors sipped after dinner at their hautes-tables or in their chambres communes? Perhaps not really. And how unlike this conception, anyway, that smiling young man who had conducted him through the empty streets of Oxford after his arrival from London late the night before! Too young, at a glance, to hold such a title at the Varsité, as Maigret knew it to be called by its inmates. And yet... Was there a mocking glint, almost of irony, in the eyes behind his spectacles? Was his deference assumed, as he pattered along, glancing up every now and again at the black reassuring bulk of the formidable commissaire? Maigret couldn't quite make out.

'And you think you'll find the solution, monsieur le commissaire?'

In perfect French too! Why not, though, since he was a Professor of French? It was his métier!

Ignoring the question, Maigret growled, puffing tranquilly at his pipe: 'They certainly economize on lighting in your town.'

'But that's just it. A great help to the criminals...'

'Criminals?' Was there, again, an undertone of mockery in the other's voice?

'The problem you're here to investigate, monsieur.'

'Oh, that!'

The street they were walking down was certainly dark, and very long. Called Merton, if Maigret properly understood. Thick barred windows ran along one side of it; a grim stone building like a prison on the other. And his guide soon confirmed this impression, for, pointing at a solitary light burning behind a pane on the left, he exclaimed in a hushed tone: 'The Warden!'

Maigret jerked his head. He remembered his recent visit to New York....

Complete story

Pronunciation of "Maigret"?
7/20/08 – I have recently discovered the excellent mysteries of Georges Simenon. I am almost done with my first Maigret novel, Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett. Even before I began the book, I had wondered how to pronounce the name. I am not a skilled French scholar (no training whatsoever), and so I thought I'd ask a Maigret expert. Also, I wanted to know how you pictured Maigret. I am really enjoying the novel, but I can't seem to get it right. I think it's the brown hair under the hat that throws me off. Thanks for your help!


It's pronounced like May-Gray.
As for what he looks like... see Murielle's articles about Maigret's physical appearance, what he wears, etc...


Pronunciation of "Maigret"?
7/21/08 – Well, "May-Gray" is close enough for a lot of us, but if you want to delve into the mysteries of spoken French, you have to understand that there really are two different vowel sounds, here.

The "et", identical to "é", is a pure vowel sound, which we don't quite have in English -- it's the long "a" in our "care" or "dane" but without any hint that it is a diphthong. If you know Spanish, it's the same sound as their "e", pretty much. Whereas the long "a" sound in "Mai" (as in Maigret) is a sound that is more like a diphthong, and it can vary depending on where in France you come from. It's usually softer than our "May" as in the month, but there are places where it really does sound like "May" and also places where it sounds closer the "a" in "hand". I was taught to pronounce "ai" as a kind of cross between short "a" and short "e" as pronounced in standard American English.

Oz Childs

Simenon Films in English or Subtitled?
7/28/08 – Thanks again for an excellent website. The work you do on it is the best. I have another question. I have read over 100 Simenon books and have seen just 1 film, Red Lights, based on his books, other than some Michael Gambon Maigret's (12 of those, I think). Can you direct me in how to find an English or English-subtitled film to purchase that is based on any of his other books? I've looked on the internet. It seems like it would not be too hard, but I'm having difficulty. I'd love to find Account Unsettled or The Man from Archangel if they are on film or there's one with Brigitte Bardot, but any help would be appreciated on any.

Thank you very much,

Simenon in Le Monde
7/31/08 – Here is an article on Simenon from today's Le Monde (in French). They say that starting August 9th for 4 weeks, they will write in the weekend edition about Simenon. They have an add-on called "le monde 2" and the have a "dossier" each week. I'll keep you up to date on them...


Dick Bruna, Maigret cover illustrator, in The Telegraph

7/31/08 –
"Bruna was delighted by a letter he got from one of the authors he collaborated with, Georges Simenon: 'I see that you are trying to make your covers still simpler and simpler,' he wrote. 'You are doing the same in designing as I try to do in writing.'"

Read the article here.


Maigret, Brittany and Normandy... A photographic mini-report
8/13/08 – Cet été, j'ai passé mes vacances au bord de la mer (Bretagne et Normandie), et j'en ai profité pour ramener quelques clichés de lieux évoqués dans les romans de Maigret. Ce mini-reportage se veut sans prétention, juste pour le plaisir de partager avec vous ces quelques photos...

This summer I spent my vacation at the seashore (Brittany and Normandy), thanks to which I was able to bring back serveral shots of places evoked in the Maigret novels. This little report is unpretentious, just for the pleasure of sharing with you several photos...

Amis Maigretphiles, j'espère que vous trouverez autant de satisfaction à découvrir ces images que j'en ai éprouvé à parcourir ces lieux maigretiens par excellence...

Fellow Maigret fans, I hope that you'll find as much pleasure in these images as I had in discovering these marvelous Maigret sites...

1. Voici tout d'abord Concarneau, qui se montre, en juillet, sous un jour évidemment différent de celui de novembre dans Le chien jaune...
1. Here, first of all, is Concarneau, shown in July, a day obviously different from that of November in The Yellow Dog...

(click any image to enlarge)

L'hôtel de l'Amiral existe toujours!
The Hotel Admiral is still there!

L'horloge de la vieille ville aussi! A droite sur la photo, le pont qui permet d'entrer dans la "ville close".
And the clock of the Old Town too! On the right of the photo, the bridge which allows you to enter the "enclosed town"

"L'horloge lumineuse de la vieille ville, qu'on aperçoit au-dessus des remparts, marque onze heures moins cinq." (JAU, début du chapitre 1). Bien sûr, l'heure ne correspond pas à celle de la photo, mais ça permet tout de même de se faire une idée!
"The illuminated clock of the Old Town, which could be seen above the ramparts, showed five minutes to eleven." (JAU, beginning of chapter 1). Of course the time doesn't correspond to that in the photo, but it still gives you the idea!

Une vue, prise depuis les remparts, sur le port de plaisance.
A view, taken from the ramparts, of the yacht harbor.

Deux photos prises au crépuscule. Au-dessous, on devine au fond, derrière le voilier, les remparts de la vieille ville et la fameuse horloge.
(above and below) Two photos taken at dusk. Below, you can make out at the bottom, behind the sailboat, the ramparts of the Old Town and the famous clock.

" - Où sommes-nous ? - Nous venons de quitter la ville... A partir d'ici, la côte est à peu près déserte... Il n'y a que des rochers, des bois de sapins, quelques villas habitées l'été par des gens de Paris... C'est ce que nous appelons la Pointe du Cabélou..." (JAU, chapitre 5)
"Where are we?" "We're just leaving the town... From here, the coast is more or less deserted... There're only rocks, fir woods, and a few summer houses for Parisians... We call this Cabelou Point..." (JAU, chapter 5)

Vue sur Concarneau, prise depuis la Pointe du Cabélou.
View of Concarneau, taken from Cabelou Point.

2. Un petit tour par Etretat:
2. A little tour of Etretat:

"Il n'était que dix heures du matin, et Maigret, qui avait emporté seulement une valise légère, se dirigea à pied vers l'hôtel, proche de la plage. Mais, avant d'y entrer, et malgré sa valise, il alla regarder la mer, les falaises blanches des deux côtés de la plage de galets [...]" (Maigret et la vieille dame, chapitre 1). Et qui sait, peut-être Maigret a-t-il marché sur les traces d'Arsène Lupin à la découverte de l'Aiguille creuse...
"It was just ten in the morning, and Maigret, who had only brought a light suitcase, walked towards the hotel, near the beach. But before going in, and in spite of his suitcase, he went to look at the sea, the white cliffs on the two sides of the pebbled beach..." (Maigret and the Old Lady, chapter 1). And who knows, maybe Maigret walked in the footsteps of Arsene Lupin in the discovery of the Hollow Needle...

"Maigret préféra se promener dans les rues ensoleillées" (ibid.): une rue d'Etretat, qu'on découvre depuis l'esplanade de la plage.
Maigret prefered to walk in sunny streets" (ibid.): an Etretat street, which you come to from the esplanade of the beach.

3. Enfin, Fécamp:
3. Finally, Fécamp:

"Le port était à peu près vide. L'été, tous les bateaux sont à Terre-Neuve, sauf les barques de pêche qui font le poisson frais le long de la côte." (Au Rendez-Vous-des-Terre-Neuvas, chapitre 2)
The harbor was almost empty. In the summer, all the boats are at Terre-Neuve, except for small fishing boats, catching fresh fish along the coast." (The Sailors' Rendez-vous, chapter 2)

ambiances du port fécampois...
(above and below) Scenes of Fecamp harbor...


Death of Francis Lacassin

8/17/08 – I just read in Le Monde that Francis Lacassin died the 12th August. He was well known for his interest in the detective novel world and was an "érudit" on the subject. He wrote "Mythologie du roman policier" published by 10/18 with an interesting study "Maigret ou l'art de raccommoder les destinées". He published also "Maigret et l'enfant de coeur" in 10/18 with many documents like "Le matin des trois absoutes", a first version of "Le témoignage de l'enfant de coeur" where Maigret was not present. He published also "La vraie naissance de Maigret" (various editions).


Francis Lacassin, spécialiste des littératures populaires

L'éditeur et historien Francis Lacassin, spécialiste des littératures populaires et de la bande dessinée, est décédé dans la nuit de lundi à mardi à Paris à l'âge de 76 ans, des suites d'une intervention chirurgicale, a-t-on appris hier dans son entourage.

Chercheur boulimique aux multiples passions, Francis Lacassin a été conseiller littéraire de la collection « Bouquins » (1982-2000) chez Robert Laffont et de « 10-18 » chez Christian Bourgois (1971-1990), où il a notamment publié l'intégrale de l'oeuvre de l'écrivain américain Jack London. Il a également contribué pendant près de 50 ans à faire découvrir des textes peu connus de nombreux auteurs populaires, comme Georges Simenon, Maurice Leblanc ou Léo Malet. Passionné de bande dessinée, Francis Lacassin a occupé à partir de 1971 la première chaire d'histoire de la BD à l'université Paris I.

Né le 18 novembre 1931 dans le Gard, Francis Lacassin s'est également passionné pour le cinéma et a notamment contribué à faire redécouvrir des cinéastes du muet, comme Louis Feuillade. Il avait publié en 2006 le premier tome de ses mémoires, « Sur les chemins qui marchent » (Le Rocher).

Dernières nouvelles d'Alsace, Édition du Ven 15 août 2008

Francis Lacassin, specialist in popular literature

The publisher and historian Francis Lacassin, specialist in popular literature and graphic novels (bande dessinée), died Monday night in Paris at the age of 76, following an operation, it was learned yesterday.

Insatiable investigator of multiple passions, Francis Lacassin had been literary adviser for "Boquins" (1982-2000) from Robert Laffont, and "10-18", from Christian Bourgois (1971-1990), where he notably published the complete works of the American writer Jack London. He contributed as well for nearly 50 years at publicizing little known works of numerous popular authors like Georges Simenon, Maurice Lablanc and Leo Malet. A great fan of graphic novels, Lacassin held since 1971 the first chair of History of the Graphic Novel at the Universtiy of Paris.

Born November 18, 1931 in Gard, Francis Lacassin was equally passionate about the cinema, and notably contributed to fostering the rediscovery of silent film makers like Louis Feuillade. He published in 2006 the first volume of his memoirs, "Sur les chemins qui marchent" (Le Rocher).

Dernières nouvelles d'Alsace, Édition du Ven 15 août 2008

Maigret of the Month: Maigret aux Assises (Maigret in Court)
8/19/08 –

1. Simenon, Maigret and the Law

Ten years after a session in court in America (Maigret at the Coroner's), Maigret again finds himself confronted with the legal world – this time called as a witness and not just as a simple spectator. But while in CHE, the Chief Inspector's investigation resembles more a dilettante's game, where the author amuses himself by plunging his character in the New World, the relationship in ASS, of Maigret and the legal system, will tend much more towards questioning. Questioning in the sense of an interrogation of the reality borne by this Justice of men, as it is ritualized in court. Simenon has written it many times: he questions this Justice, because he does not believe one can judge someone. In the end, for him, there is no "guilty" in the sense understood by the court, because on the one hand Man is never completely responsible for what happens to him, and on the other, because there is no "universal criterion" according to which one can judge someone's guilt. Consider this extract from [The Little Men] (in [My Dictations]):

"We must replace [the word "man"] by the individual word, at least if we can find another, since for each one the cells are different and function differently.

If that's the case... what can we say, for example, about the Civil Code or the Penal Code, laws which are the same for everyone?

I am not the first to be astonished, if not infuriated, by the exchanges we hear in court, the questions asked, the definitive decisions made with a "clear conscience".

With a clear conscience and clear ignorance.

They judge two beings completely different from each other, with the same measures, the same prejudices, the same laws.

What will happen when the savants who are today studying the human brain, discover that certain hehavior, certain tendencies, certain actions, are predetermined?

This is not my affair. I don't know anything about it. I am content to think that the most important science is not nuclear physics, that's it's not how to learn to sell some object or another under the most profitable conditions possible, but to finally understand why one man is not another; why his behavior is truly his own and not that determined by more or less rigid rules."

Depersonalized, the accused finding himself before the court participates – and Maigret along with him – in a ritual as unchangeable as that of the Mass (see the comparisons scattered throughout the novel), as rigid, implacable, as inhumane. And it's certainly this that troubles the Chief Inspector... he tries, alongside his strictly "police work" investigation, to understand the accused, to seek, behind the motives which led to his act, the "man" at his deepest level. The officers of the court act as instruments of the law, Maigret, for himself, is engaged in hand-to-hand combat in search of human truth...

Things go even further... Not only doesn't Maigret trust this Justice, but he substitutes for it, we may say, "mender of destinies". Recognizing during the course of his investigation that the Gaston – Ginette couple were not made to live together, he "allows" (or even provokes?) Meurant's fate by not intervening in his act of vengeance on Millard. Consider, at the end of the novel, "Hadn't he taken, at a certain moment, while the telephone was ringing ceaselessly in his office, from which he held, in a way, the strings of all his characters, a responsibility difficult to explain?" He had gone very far... he was not content to "repair" a destiny, he had, in a way, "provoked" a change in that destiny by revealing to Meurant the truth about himself...

complete article
original French

Murielle Wenger

Sept Petites Croix dans un Carnet
9/5/08 – Allow me first to congratulate you on the web site you have created. I am in awe of the detail you have organised about Simenon which I have used extensively in trying to compile my own library of Maigret and non-Maigret books.

When looking in your extensive lists to determine what titles I still lack, I am finding difficulty in locating Sept Petites Croix dans un Carnet (Seven Little Crosses in a Notebook) as a separate title. I have this story in the Penguin "Maigret’s Christmas" book of short stories but cannot see it listed as a separate title in its own right in your list of 103 Maigret novels and short stories.

There is also some ambiguity which results from the apparent publishing of Maigret in Retirement (under the same French title of Maigret se fache) first in 1947 as a novel and second in 1949 as a short story. Again, the latter is included in my Penguin "Maigret’s Christmas" book of short stories but is not listed as such in the web page address above. Thus, I can identify 75 novels (including Maigret in Retirement), 28 short stories (those in your list above, titles in green) plus Maigret in Retirement as a short story and Seven Little Crosses in a Notebook (both omitted from your list).

If there is a specific reason for the omission of these two short stories, I would be interested to know what it is. Thank you once again for your web site. I have found it invaluable.

Yours Sincerely
Alfred Moule

Thanks, Alfred. There's been some discussion in the Forum about Sept Petites Croix dans un Carnet... We've taken to calling it one of the "semi-Maigrets"... a story in which Maigret never appears, but where members of his team are present, and/or Maigret may be mentioned. Since Maigret isn't in the story, it's not counted as one of the Maigrets. It was, however, made into a Maigret in the Rupert Davies television series as Seven Little Crosses, and in the Bruno Cremer series (Maigret et les sept petites croix).

As for Maigret in Retirement (Maigret se fache), although it's included with a collection of stories, it's counted as a novel – one of the shortest, but not as short as the stories. (See How Many Maigrets?).


"Hello, is that you, Madame Maigret?"
9/5/08 –

"Hello, is that you, Madame Maigret?"

"He called her to say that he wouldn't be back for lunch or dinner, sometimes that he'd spend part of the night in his office or elsewhere..." (CLO)

by Murielle Wenger

original French

1. Introduction

It was while concocting a column for Jacques-Yves Depoix's site that I came up with the idea of this mini-study on the forms of exchange between the Chief Inspector and his wife. When Jules and Louise aren't actually with each other, when they're not, for example, at their apartment on Boulevard Richard-Lenoir, or spending their vacation together (see VAC, VIC), their communication is fairly often by telephone. It seemed interesting to examine these telephone exchanges, because they provide a good reflection of the quality of the rapport which exists at the heart of the Maigret couple.

2. Frequency of telephone calls in the corpus

In this chart, only novels are considered. (We can find mention of a phone call in four stories (amo, eto, mal and pau), and an allusion in MEM ("For example, up until now, you still don't have a family life, although the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir and Mme Maigret constitute a good half of your existence. You have thus far only telephoned, but we will see you there..."), but these are not indicated on this chart.)

Two elements can be emphasized. First, these phone calls occur fairly frequently in the corpus, in 42 novels out of 74, some 57%. And second, more interesting, is the significant increase in these calls in step with the years of writing. In the Fayard cycle, phone calls are found in only 4 novels out of 19, 21%; in the Gallimard cycle, 3 novels out of 6, 50%; and finally, in the Presses de la Cité cycle, there are calls in 35 novels out of 49, 71%. The more years of writing that pass, the more Simenon describes in depth the relationship of the Maigret couple. As a consequence, their phone calls, symbolizing the link between Jules and Louise, are more frequently used to illustrate this connection.

3. Contents of the calls

  1. To analyze the contents, I've categorized the calls into four groups, according to the purpose of the call, which seemed to me most meaningful in light of the calls collected:

    Group 1: calls from Mme Maigret to her husband

    Group 2: calls from Maigret to give news (in general, these are cases when Maigret is away from Paris)

    Group 3: calls from Maigret to notify his wife that he won't be back (for lunch, dinner, or even to sleep)

    Group 4: various calls, not covered by the above three

    complete article
    original French

    Murielle Wenger

Simenon's "200th" Novel... 40 years ago in Paris Match
9/6/08 –
Paris Match   (N° 1017)
November 2, 1968, p 7-9


The Simenon factory produces its 200th novel in Switzerland

original French

It's 8:00 a.m., the factory awakes.

The dozen employees, the 27 telephones, the master's 50 yellow pencils finely sharpened by electric pencil sharpener... on his desk all is ready for production, in the great white building emitting neither sound no smoke, and which a passer-by could easily take for one of those modern dairies or ultra-chic clinics the Swiss are noted for. The passer-by won't know that it's the Simenon factory, the factory which will produce its 200th novel, the extraordinary house filled with electronic equipment that the father of Maigret has had built on the shores of Lake Geneva.

This time, the publisher who announces the news kills three birds with one stone. He announces the title: "[There are still some hazel trees]" but he immediately adds that it won't appear until March, 1969. That's to clarify that the 198th ("The Man on the Bench in the Barn") will appear in a few days and that in December the 199th ("[The Establishment of Maigret1]") will appear.

But the number 200... is it authentic? That's not certain. Simenon, who is a man who knows how to count, is in a better position than anyone to know the truth. Simenon's 200th novel is like Maurice Chevalier's 80 years... passed long ago, but still celebrated.

And isn't it perhaps a little unsatisfying that the period when Georges Simenon was known as Georges Sim, a pseudonym, is ignored? And not only as Georges Sim but also as Aramis, Christian Brulls, Germain d'Antibes, Georges d'Isly, Poum et Zette, Plick et Plock, Kim, Jean Sandor, Gaston Violis, Jacques Dossage, Jean Dorsange, Jacques Dersonne, Luc Dorsan, Georges Caraman, Georges Martin Georges, Jean du Perry, Maurice Pertuis2, and Gom Gut. All names which hid for a long time a single man... Georges Simenon. One writer in 19 authors...

complete article
original French

French Police Ranks?
9/7/08 – In the Parisian police, is a sergeant senior to an inspector? Is Maigret a chief inspector or a commissioner?

Maigret fan

Peter Foord wrote in his Maigret of the Month for May 2006, Maigret et son mort:
In the French system in the Police Judiciaire at the time, Sergeant (Brigadier) was a higher rank than Inspector (Inspecteur). In the English and American police forces it was the other way around.
Maigret is a Commissaire, which, as I understand it, is translated as "Chief Inspector".


Simenon pseudonym error in Paris Match article
9/7/08 – The list of pseudonyms [in the 11/2/68 Paris Match article] contains one mistake. Maurice Pertuis is NOT one of Simenon's pseudo's. Pertuis existed as a writer of police novels. This is confirmed by experts such as Menguy and Lemoine.

Philippe Proost

Thanks, Philippe. And I checked with Mattias Siwemyr on the "Danish, German, and Norwegian" television series, which he assures us never existed. I've added footnotes (to the translation) about these and a few other errors in that article.


9/8/08 – As an addition to the answer to Alfred Moule (9/5/08), in the Forum of 10/14/05 were listed the 19 semi-Maigrets:

  * Le petit restaurant des ternes
  * Seven little crosses in a notebook
  * Les dossiers de l'agence O (1943) a collection of (14) stories featuring Torrence

  * Inquest on Bouvet
  * The Man who Watched the Trains Go by
  * The Mouse (Monsieur La Souris)


Soul Inspector - Luc Sante essay on Simenon
9/13/08 – June/July/August 2007

Soul Inspector

By Luc Sante.

Georges Simenon pushed his characters to emotional extremes, exposing the criminal within, a shadowy core he believed we all share.

In 1927, Georges Simenon, the phenomenally prolific Belgian author of crime novels, helped engineer a publicity stunt that sounds like a forecast of reality TV: He sat in a glass booth and wrote a novel in a week, in full view of the public. Simenon was all but unknown then, a journeyman author of indifferent pulp novelettes under a variety of pseudonyms. The feat made him famous, became the first thing many people knew about him. It was certainly the first thing I ever knew about him—I heard the story from my father, who at the time of the performance was growing up a few miles from Simenon’s hometown of Liège. No one who witnessed the feat forgot it. Pierre Assouline, in his 1997 biography of Simenon, quotes from no fewer than four memoirs by acquaintances of the novelist, recalling the surging crowds, the writer’s concentration, how he did not once look up from his typewriter . . .

The trouble is that the stunt never actually took place...

Simenon wasn’t the first writer to feel impatient with and perhaps a bit jealous of his recurring lead character, but Maigret provides the key to his work. Jules Maigret—large, deliberate, slow moving, taciturn—is a cop, not a sleuth. He does not engage in fancy clue sifting or pyrotechnic displays of ratiocination, and he does not bed clients in low-cut dresses or administer justice with his sidearm. He does, rather often, take the law into his own hands, but when he does, it is usually to let obviously guilty parties go free—there are extenuating circumstances. What Maigret does best is understand human beings. Generally, a crime has been committed, in whatever setting—he is a quintessential Parisian but manages to spend a great deal of his career either following cases out of town or happening upon them while visiting far-flung police departments—and Maigret moves onto the scene, apparently doing little or nothing. He walks around, takes aperitifs and meals with this one and that one, and sends off the odd telegram, while invariably the local powers are frantic over his inertia. What Maigret is actually doing, though, is getting acquainted with all the personalities involved. His impassivity itself sometimes causes the guilty party to jump out of his skin with anxiety, precipitating some stupidity that gives him away, but most of the time he deduces the identity of the killer by thinking like a writer—by inhabiting each of the suspects in turn before deciding on the one who makes the most psychological sense....

complete essay


Maigret of the Month: Maigret et les vieillards (Maigret in Society)
9/23/08 –

It's not easy to tackle a novel like this... no doubt one of the finest in the corpus, with the subject itself prompting respect, and a certain reserve. This story of a love enduring across time must certainly awake an echo for more than one reader...

Classed by "specialists" as one of the best of the series, the novel also holds a special place in Simenon bibliography. It was completed just before the author started to write the first of the three notebooks which would form the text of When I Was Old, one of the works forming a part of the ensemble of Simenon's Memoirs. And it can't be an accident that the title he gave to his notebooks, evoking the theme of old age, is in the same province as that of the novel, literally, Maigret and the old people. Indeed, if one side of the novel is built on the theme of love, the other is concerned with the theme of old age, and everything this subject can evoke... physical decay, nostalgia for the past, taking stock of a life...

And it is interesting to see how the adaptation of the novel was treated in the two television series, the one with Jean Richard, and that with Bruno Crémer. In both cases, they're particularly successful episodes, even though the adaptations rather differ in their choice of themes. Which tends above all to show that we can find in Simenon's novels – and in this one in particular – more than one subject for reflection... The titles of the episodes speak for themselves. The episode with Jean Richard is entitled Maigret and the Ambassador, and we see Maigret meeting Saint-Hilaire before his death, the two men exchanging their thoughts on life, death, and old age. That is the side which is essentially treated in the episode. The episode in the Bruno Crémer series is entitled, Maigret and the Princess, putting the accent rather on the romantic relationship between Saint-Hilaire and Isabelle.

Here is how the first notebook of When I Was Old, dated June 25, 1960, begins:

"Four days ago – on the 21st – I finished a novel, number hundred-eighty-something, that I had wanted to be easy. Now on the first day I started to write, towards the 9th or 10th page, I'd had the sensation that it would be futile to go on to the end, that it would never come to life.

I was alone, as always when I write, in my office with the curtains closed. I walked around the room five or six times, and if it hadn't had a sort of humanness, I would have torn up those few pages and waited a few days to begin a different novel.

This happens two or three times a year. This particular time, I was moved to tears. Then, without too much confidence, I returned to my machine. I think it may be the best of the Maigrets. I'll know when I start editing. Since the Cannes Festival, I've wanted to write a novel filled with sun and tenderness. I had one in my head, for which the characters, the setting, were ready. Of that, I've only written three pages. It wasn't a Maigret. The main characters were in their 30s. I realized later that in "Maigret in Society", which in a sense replaced the abandoned novel, I expressed the same tenderness, put in as well the sun, but with characters who were all between 65 and 85."

complete article
original French

Murielle Wenger

Simenon in Best Mysteries of All Time

9/24/08 – I became aware of yet another 100 best-mysteries list, 100 Best Crime Stories for the London Sunday Times, chosen by Julian Symons in 1958. The list goes from 1794 all the way to 1957, and it includes two novels by Georges Simenon, one non-Maigret, THE LODGER, and one Maigret, MAIGRET IN MONTMARTRE.

Best Mysteries of All Time

12/15/05 – I have been looking at several different lists of the 100 best mysteries of all time. They were put together by several mystery experts, which included mystery writers, critics, publishers and others. I combined ten of those lists and wound up with 790 mystery titles appearing in one or more of those lists. Simenon has five titles in the combined list; three Maigrets, one-half Maigret and one non-Maigret:
  1. Maigret in Court
  2. Maigret Stonewalled
  3. My Friend Maigret
  4. The Man Who Watched the Trains Go By
  5. The Stain on the Snow; The Snow Was Black


Maigret in Vietnamese
9/25/08 – Thanks to Jérôme we can add a new language to the multi-language Maigret list! He found a 2-in-1 copy containing these two:

Thanh tra Me-grê ở chỗ
  Maigret et la jeune morte

Thanh tra Me-grê bộ trưởng
  Maigret chez le ministre

That makes 33 languages on our list!


Maigret at the Palais-Royal?
10/17/08 – Does anyone know if in any of the Maigret books he goes to the Palais Royal? I'd love to know and any help is appreciated,


Maigret goes to the Palais-Royal with his sister-in-law from Alsace, Philippe's mother, Mme Lauer, in Chapter 8 of Maigret Returns. And at the end of the novel she writes to her sister, Mme Maigret, "Tell your husband too, that they put on the show here yesterday that I saw with him at the Palais-Royal. But I didn't enjoy it as much as I did in Paris..."

Palais-Royal is mentioned in at least three other Maigrets...

A Man's Head (ch. 1) - "Half an hour later they were on the other side of the river by the Palais-Royal."
Maigret's Memoirs (ch. 7) - The dead man had sold pornographic postcards "in the neighborhood of the Tuileries and the Palais-Royal."
Maigret and the Nahour Case (ch. 6) - Fouad Ouéni said Félix Nahour had seen his wife and Vicente Alvaredo coming out of a restaurant in the Palais-Royal.


Maigret of the Month: Maigret et le voleur paresseux (Maigret and the Lazy Burglar, Maigret and the Idle Burglar)
10/21/08 –

1. In the private life of a character...

The novel opens with a telephone call which awakens Maigret in the middle of the night, as he sleeps next to his wife. I have already treated elsewhere the question of the start of a novel, and the location where the action begins. In the 15 novels where the action begins in Maigret's home, we find the following... Maigret is at home because he's on vacation (AMU, noe) or about to leave (REN), or the action begins in the morning, before Maigret leaves for his office (BAN, TRO, TEM, PAT), or it's evening, and he has returned home (MIN). If we set aside the two special cases of MAI and FAC, where the Chief Inspector is already retired, and the case of MME, where the action begins with Mme Maigret going out, the other novels (PAR, BRA, NAH and IND) show us the Maigrets surprised in the privacy of their bedroom.

It's interesting to note that as we advance in the corpus chronologically, more of this private life is revealed. In the Fayard cycle, the descriptions of Maigret's apartment are still rare. In the Gallimard cycle, we learn a little more (and in the story Jeumont, 51 minutes stop! that Maigret is awakened for the first time by a phone call while he's asleep in his bed), but we must await the novels of the Presses de la Cité to learn more of the private life of the couple. We see Maigret at home much more often... at mealtime, in the evening, or during the night. We find Maigret already awakened by a telephone call in the middle of the night, in MOR, and in TEN. And it's really in the last part of the third cycle that Simenon risks showing us, at the beginning of the novel, the Maigrets in bed... with, of course, all the restraint and propriety that we expect from them. Simenon never makes the slightest overt allusion to the sexuality of the couple, which exists, beyond any doubt (see for example in AMU, when Maigret recalls to his wife a certain "little woods, in the Chevreuse valley"...), but of which the relation is imprinted with tenderness and complicity. We understand that the Maigrets are united, and there's no need to show it further. The "deep, serious kiss" (REN) that Maigret plants on his wife's forehead before going to sleep, is sufficient for us to understand the intensity of their relationship...

2. Maigret and the judicial system

We find also in this novel one of the themes which become more and more frequent toward the end of the corpus, that of the antagonism between the police, as conceived of by Maigret, and the judicial system, represented by the juges d'instruction – Examining judges/magistrates – and deputies, substituts and procureurs of the Parquet – the Public Prosecutor's office. I've already analyzed the relationships between Maigret and the Examining Magistrates, and now I'd like to do a brief study on the substituts – deputy public prosecutors/assistant district attorneys – and procureurs – public prosecutors – encountered by Maigret during his investigations.

First, here's a little explanation I found on the Net about the various attributions and their respective functions. This may be useful for understanding the functioning of the judicial apparatus...

"The substitut and the procureur make up the Parquet. When it's a case for the Court of Appeals, they are referred to as procureur général and substitut général.

The procureur de la République – Public Prosecutor – participates from one end of the penal chain to the other , as well as in the domain of civil law.

The substitut du procureur intervenes from the time an infraction is noted. If he pursues the case, he directs the activities of the services of the Police Judiciaire. If he brings the charges before the court, he submits a sentence to the hearing.

The Examining Magistrate is charged with the most complex penal affairs. He is a judge of the county court. He intervenes when a serious or complex offense has been cited by the police, when an individual complains of having been a victim, or in the case of murder. During the investigation, he assembles and examines the evidence of the crime; he directs the action of the Police Judiciaire; he takes all useful measures to determine the truth; he conducts the hearing of witnesses, interrogations and confrontations."

On the whole, we meet fewer procureurs and substituts than Examining Magistrates in the Maigret series, or in any case the relationships that the Chief Inspector has with the former are more distant – or less conflictive – than with the latter. Substituts and procureurs function most often at the beginning of an investigation, at the famous "invasion of the Parquet" – which Maigret hardly cares for, and he impatiently waits for them to finish so that he can finally proceed with his investigation in peace – since they must affirm that a murder has been committed. It could be said that they're only there to conform to the legal rules regarding the development of an investigation, and to give the novel a sense of judicial veracity...

complete article
original French

Murielle Wenger

Maigret of the Month: Maigret et le voleur paresseux (Maigret and the Lazy Burglar, Maigret and the Idle Burglar)
10/26/08 – Some photos for Maigret et le voleur paresseux...

The restaurant "Le Petit Saint-Paul" really exists, on Rue Saint-Paul near the corner of Rue Neuve St-Pierre.

The Allée des Poteaux, where the body was found.

Rue Lafayette, from the intersection of Rue Taitbout. In the background, one of the largest French banks, and the roof of the Opera, both mentioned in the book.



10/31/08 –

New at Murielle's site,


Maigret's outfits

Maigret cover images

If it had only been so...
10/31/08 – Hello everyone,
I am enjoying both the novels and the Cremer series. But I've noticed something, after watching several films, and reading a few books now, there has been no mention of either WW1, or WW2. Not that this disappoints me in the slightest, but I've been expecting a nazi spy, or two, or a few collaborators sprinkled in, or a hero of the resistance or a Senegalese soldier who stayed in France etc. Not even a rumor of war thus far, I've assumed that even though many of the copyrights are wartime, they must have been penned much earlier. That would almost explain a lack of reference to WW2, but what about the omissions of WW1? Maybe by coincidence, I've only read the cases that have made no mention of either, or is there some other reason? Could it be that horrors of war were so painful to himself and those he loved that Simenon refused to acknowledge it's existence? If it had only been so! Everything I've read so far about Simenon says that he was a very unique writer and man. Perhaps this is just one of many things that make him unique.


Yes, there are only a few references to war in the Maigrets, for example, in MIN, the waritme history of the minister, and PAT, the wartime history of Jef Claes. The major discussion of this in the Forum was in September, 2001...


Maigret of the Month: Maigret et les braves gens (Maigret and the Black Sheep)
11/10/08 – Photos of locations where some of the action takes place in Maigret et les braves gens...

Rue du Saint-Gothard, running along the RER B line, previously a railway line from Denfert-Rochereau to Sceaux.

A building that looks like an industrial building converted into an apartement.

Rue Dareau, just near by, running under the RER B line (the bridge in the back).

Rue Notre-Dame des Champs, in the 6th arrondissement, a wealthy part of Paris with many shops. The buildings offer a high quality of life.


Maigret Recommendations?
11/15/08 – Hello, I've seen some of the movies on a DC-area PBS station with international programming. Do you have any specific recommendations on novels (in English)? I know Simenon wrote a whole lot. So far all of his I've read is Belle and Brothers Rico.


"Death of a Nobody"
11/21/08 – Hi! I'm a third year English student at the University of Mulhouse, France. I'm working on Simenon's "Death of a Nobody" as I will be giving a lecture on this short story at a conference on Simenon.

I have been told by an American teacher of mine that this short story had been translated under another title (sticking a lot more to the French one, something like "One does not kill the xxxxxxx" or "the xxx ones don't get killed,...), but he couldn't quite remember the exact title. As far as he could remember, this other translation was a kind of American First Edition.

The possibility to compare both translations could prove really interresting in my presentation, and I am actively looking for this 'hidden' edition.

Hidden, as since then I have been searching for it in numerous biographies before spending hours on the internet without finding it anywhere.

I was wondering if by any chance you could be of any help, although I have little hope as I have already checked all the links on your website, and I doubt you have any other references.

Anyway, thanks a lot for your time!


It appears in the main list of the Maigret Bibliography. You can find that via the Bibliography link at the top of any page. Also, clicking on Plots at the top of a page brings up a list on which "Death of a Nobody" is a link that takes you to its plot page, which includes a link to the story's bibliography entry, where it's the top item:
1947. "Not the Sort to Get Murdered". in: Picture Post, Jan. 25 (36pp); Feb. 1 (40pp); Feb. 8 (36pp). 1947. 10¼" x 13¼". Hulton Press. UK.
Apparently it's the first English translation to appear, and by coincidence, a copy of the Jan. 25 issue - the first of the three issues - is up for auction on eBay this week.


Subtitles on Maigret DVDs
11/22/08 – Just found your site and bookmarked it. Thank you.

I bought the Maigret DVD Set from Amazon France this time last year. A big Christmas present to myself! I purchased the set after finding out by chance that the whole set of 42 stories were subtitled, both in French and English. Though I have spent many a long vacation in France,up to 4 months sometimes and lived in Paris at one time, my French is not the best, though I do understand the spoken and written word quite well. My spoken French comes out garbled and I often used German words to make up the sentence. German being my second language. That goes over badly with some of the older folk!

I notice someone suggesting that Maigret does not mention the war? He does sometimes though rather vaguely. I watched 'Un meurtre de première classe' last night and the object of the murder was a Vermeer painting stolen during the war.*

This note is to alert folk who have looked at Maigret on Amazon and not realised, as they don't tell you,that the series is subtitled. I found out by going to the 'One Plus One' website. Maybe someone told you this aready?

Anyway I look forward to enjoying your site, thanks again.

With regards,
Ken Horne

*In Simenon's original story, "Jeumont, 51 minutes d'arrêt!" (1936), which appears in the Hamish Hamilton, UK edition of Maigret's Pipe as "Jeumont, 51 minutes stop!", (but not in the Harcourt Brace American edition), it's not a Vermeer, but his own securities (titres) he's trying to smuggle out as the Nazis are taking over pre-WWII Germany...


Cremer Series on BBC4
11/22/08 – BBC4 are now starting to broadcast some of the Bruno Cremer Maigrets . On Saturday November 29 there is "The Shadow in the Courtyard" and on Monday December 1 "Maigret at the Doctor". Both start at about 10'oclock in the evening.

David Cronan

Maigret of the Month: Maigret et les braves gens (Maigret and the Black Sheep)
11/26/08 –

1. A crime in a familiar milieu

After a foray into the world of the aristocracy (VIE) and an investigation revolving around a tranquil burglar and a gang of hold-up specialists (PAR), this time Maigret plunges into a world closer to his own social class, that of these "good people" that the Chief Inspector might entertain in his own home, or meet at a dinner at the Pardons. And if Maigret is often disconcerted when he enters a world previously unknown to him (that of diplomats, bankers or business lawyers, for example), he is equally ill at ease when he encounters a murder in a milieu with which he is familiar from the outset. If murder was not unexpected among the "young toughs" of Montmartre, or the consequence of sordid interests of the upper class, a murder was not impossible in the "simple" milieu of good people. This is what the Chief Inspector discovers in this investigation... murder knows no boundaries, no social barriers. You can find a "skeleton in the closet", even at your next-door neighbor's...

2. A microcosm in an apartment

As Simenon can well present the many-faceted world of Paris, he enjoys creating a "condensed version" of this world in describing the residents of an apartment... More than once Maigret is led to traverse from cellar to attic a Parisian apartment, whose inhabitants comprise a complete universe... We can think, for example, of the apartment where Couchet had his laboratories in OMB: 61 Place des Vosges accommodates, besides the inescapable concierge, on the second floor, an aristocrat whose wife is in the process of giving birth, on the third, two young girls who love music, a couple where the husband is a civil servant, and two spinsters. Still at Place des Vosges, but this time 17-bis (amo), the second floor is occupied by a couple where the husband is – ostensibly – in import-export. We don't know about the third, but on the other hand the fourth, in the roof, is that of maids' rooms, occupied by a beautiful blonde spy, a composer of music, and an elderly fashion designer.

Let's leave the center of Paris and head for the suburbs, to Bourg-la-Reine, and a large six-story apartment building (CEC). On the ground floor we find a bicycle shop and a grocery store. On the second, a family where the husband is a traveling salesman and the wife is awaiting her fifth child. On the third, a bus conductor and a spinster piano teacher. The fourth is empty. On the fifth, an elderly attorney, disbarred because of a sex scandal. On the sixth, on elderly invalid and her niece, and on the other side, a Hungarian family whose two provocative-looking daughters are always on the stairs.

We return to Paris, more precisely, to Montmartre. 66-bis Rue Lamarck (mal), an old seven-story building... On the fourth floor lives a couple and the sister of the wife... who also goes up to the fifth to see her lover. At 42-B, Rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette (PIC), the building is guarded by a concierge married to a policeman. A woman's hairdresser lives on the mezzanine floor, a masseuse on the second, and on the third we find an artificial flower business, a litigator, and a fortune-teller. The fourth floor is inhabited by a young strip-tease artist, a fat blonde woman who runs a checkroom in a theater, and a girl working in a brasserie. A little further into the quarter, another apartment house, inhabited on the fifth floor by an old countess, fallen and addicted to morphine, and on the sixth by a widower who works for the Tax Office. 113-bis Rue de Clichy (JEU), on the third floor, a widow sublets a room to young girls visiting Paris. On the same floor, a couple with the husband working in insurance... they have three children and a young maid from Normandy. Rue Caulaincourt (PAR), we find a dentist on the third floor, a midwife on the fourth and a milliner on the sixth. In ENF, we return to Rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, to 17-bis. On the first floor, next to the lodge of a "monumental" concierge, we find a lingerie shop and a shoe store. On the second, a dentist, a retired couple, and another couple who work as caterers. On the third, a corset-maker and a woman with three children. On the fourth, a young kept woman, and next door, a middle-aged woman. On the fifth, a couple with two children, a retired trainman who lives with his grandson, and an elderly woman, half deaf...

complete article
original French

Murielle Wenger

Coincidence or Influence?
11/26/08 –

Mon fils, grand amateur des romans d'Arsène Lupin, m'a signalé cette curiosité. Dans le roman de Maurice Leblanc, L'aiguille creuse, écrit en 1908, on trouve au chapitre 1 la mention d'un chapelier de Dieppe au nom pour le moins prédestiné...

– Oui, l'homme atteignait la pierre tombale presque enfouie sous les ronces, à gauche du cloître. -

Mais il s'est relevé?

– A moitié seulement. Victor est aussitôt descendu pour garder la petite porte, et je l'ai suivi, laissant ici en observation notre domestique Albert. »

Albert à son tour fit sa déposition, et le juge conclut :

« Par conséquent, d'après vous, le blessé n'a pu s'enfuir par la gauche, puisque votre camarade surveillait la porte, ni par la droite, puisque vous l'auriez vu traverser la pelouse. Donc, logiquement, il est, à l'heure actuelle, dans l'espace relativement restreint que nous avons sous les yeux.

– C'est ma conviction.

– Est-ce la vôtre, mademoiselle?

– Oui.

– Et la mienne aussi », fit Victor.

Le substitut du procureur s'écria, d'un ton narquois :

« Le champ des investigations est étroit, il n'y a qu'à continuer les recherches commencées depuis quatre heures.

– Peut-être serons-nous plus heureux.

M. Filleul prit sur la cheminée la casquette en cuir, l'examina, et, appelant le brigadier de gendarmerie, lui dit à part :

« Brigadier, envoyez immédiatement un de vos hommes a Dieppe, chez le chapelier Maigret, et que M. Maigret nous dise, si possible, à qui fut vendue cette casquette. »

« Le champ des investigations », selon le mot du substitut, se limitait à l'espace compris entre le château, la pelouse de droite, et l'angle formé par le mur de gauche et par le mur oppose au château; c'est-a-dire un quadrilatère d'environ cent mètres de cote, ou surgissaient çà et là les ruines d'Ambrumésy, le monastère si célèbre du Moyen Age...

My son, a great fan of the novels of Arsene Lupin, pointed out this curiosity to me. In Maurice Leblanc's novel, The Hollow Needle, written in 1908, we find mention in Chapter 1, of a hatmaker from Dieppe with a name with a great future...

"Yes, the man reached the tombstone almost buried under the brambles, to the left of the cloister."

"But was he standing?"

"Just barely. Victor immediately went down to guard the little door, and I followed him, leaving here on watch our servant Albert."

Albert, in his turn, made his deposition, and the judge concluded,

"Consequently, according to you, the wounded man couldn't escape to the left, since your comrade was watching the door, nor to the right, since you would have seen him crossing the lawn. Thus, logically, he is, at the present moment, in the relatively confined space that we are watching."

"That is my conviction."

"And yours too, Mademoiselle?"


"And mine also, added Victor."

The Prosecutor's Deputy exclaimed, in a mocking tone, "The field of investigation is narrow, we must simply continue the investigations we began at 4:00."

"Maybe we'll be happier."

M. Filleul took from the mantle the leather cap, examined it, and calling the gendarme aside, told him,

"Brigadier, send one of your men to Dieppe immediately, to the hatmaker Maigret, and have M. Maigret tell us if possible, to whom he sold this cap."

"The field of investigation", according to the Deputy's words, was limited to the space between the château, the lawn on the right, and the angle formed by the wall on the left and the wall opposite the château, in other words a quadrilateral of about 100 yeards on a side, wherein loomed up here and there the ruins of Ambrumésy, the famous medieval monastery...


re: "About those new Penguin Maigrets..." from the designer

11/27/08 – Stumbled upon your website rather by accident and was impressed to find the analysis you'd detailed for the covers of the Penguin Mystery (USA) series of 2006-2007 that I designed--and thank you, it was quite thoughtful and comprehensive. Sorry to chime in so late, two years on, but these things happen... I also saw the rather heavy-handed critique (that preceded it) by Peter Young. From what little I gathered from his post, I take it he has something of a design background and his tastes tend toward the conservative in British design (?). One can assume that the career oeuvre of, in particular, Louise Fili, must have passed him by.

"Clumsy and poorly realised." "Poor man's Poirot graphics." You gotta be kidding me.

Simenon began the series in the 1930s, so that was my starting point. We tend to be products of our respective eras, and I viewed Simenon/Maigret in the same light. The detective would be a product of his time--certainly, he would age into succeeding decades adding aspects--experiences, knowledge--along the way, and I don't mean the fictional man so much as the character being launched in the time period mentioned. Secondly, looking at Maigret's milieu--Paris of the '30s, the cafes, the streets--I tried to approximate the graphic influences of the places he traveled, a suggestion of time and place--though nothing specific. I looked at tobacco packaging, matchbooks, even cigarette boxes (an indirect reference to Maigret being an avid smoker, albeit a pipe smoker)--both the over-the-counter packages as well as the sleeker, metallic personal cases that individuals would carry when they went to the nightclubs. Also, posters and entertainment ephemera, menus, even magazine and book covers. Thusly the decision to create a cover package that was something of a confection--an art deco-era object.

The primary typographic elements--the author and title--were reproduced from vintage alphabet cuts, current to the '30s. The support typography (everything else) had to be, for practical reasons, an available digital font--but still typefaces that had their origins or were in use during the time period (mostly Futura).

To set the different books in the series apart would be done with the photos and the color patterns. The approach to color was initially, to use a more obvious art deco/modernist look, in keeping with the basic concept and the cosmopolitan idea of Paris. However, as the series "aged" ("Maigret and the Man on the Boulevard") or moved out of Paris ("My Friend Maigret," "Inspector Cadaver"), the color patterns could be suggestive of place or just changing times. Later, it was decided that dropping a suggestion of a given color from the pattern into the title treatment would help make each title stand apart to the casual viewer (the first three titles used white, but would be changed in reprint). The art deco template would remain, but elements would advance over time. Like a person adding experiences.

The photos were a slightly different wrinkle. I wanted to use a photographer that would be synonymous with not only the specific environment featured in each story, but someone who would be as much an icon as I felt Simenon, and by extension Maigret, to be. Who better than the author of "Paris By Night" himself? Noting that this would be a limitation once the stories progressed beyond the time and places documented by Brassaï, I felt that other (and I hate this phrase, but...) brand-name Parisian chroniclers would be acceptable later on--once the tone was set by the look of Brassaï's work. As you noted, Brassaï had been used in other Simenon/Maigret instances before--so a familiarity was implied, though at the time of conception, I was not quite as aware of this usage and more concerned with Brassaï being used on other detective novels (ultimately it was agreed that whatever other usage was extant, it was how I was using the work that would set it apart). So, the photos have a tip-in or pasted-on quality as you observed. Again, the illusion of creating an "object." A little jewel case. A pack of cigarettes. A limited edition portfolio. A piece of evidence.

Of the ten covers, seven featured photographs by Brassaï. I also used Andre Kértesz, Willy Ronis and Robert Doisneau.

Perhaps there is too much going on for Mr. Young's taste, but my personal umbrage notwithstanding perhaps this excerpt from Marilyn Stasio's Crime column (The New York Times Book Review, Sunday, July 13, 2008) can reveal a different independent opinion:

Honestly, the ideas some people try to put in our heads. Like the absurd notion that you shouldn't choose a book by its cover. What better reason to reach for one of the compact, beautifully designed, irresistibly tactile Penguin paperback editions of Georges Simenon's great Inspector Maigret mysteries than the pure desire to hold such a pretty thing in your hand? And then, maybe open it. Read a page or two. Get lost. I confess I made my first two selections ("The Hotel Majestic" and "The Bar on the Seine," $12 each) on the sheer basis of looks because, regardless of the fact that classic Maigret is an incomparable pleasure even in a ratty edition, this particular series is a work of art. As executed by Jesse Marinoff Reyes, each cover is black, with the silvered lines and squared-off typography of Art Deco, and edged in color with a different geometric design. Many also have period cover photographs by Brassaï that are their own invitation to step inside a long-lost Parisian world. To look is to lust; to touch is to swoon. So? Kindle that, people!

Sure, it's praiseworthy of me, but it came as a complete surprise. Someone was paying attention and perceived my intent--and liked it!

Speaking of paying attention, "Clearly, much thought and energy went into the design of this series... there is creative attention to detail in all areas... We're subjected to a certain complexity of atmosphere... novel shapes and trompe l'oeil printing style, art deco graphics and type faces, period photographs in monochrome..." To paraphrase Yogi Berra,"you can see a lot by observing."

Can't please everyone, but coming up with something different--especially as a departure from Penguin UK's Modern Classics by Jamie Keenan--that would be true to the books and the writer, was a challenge I did not take lightly. ...

Glad to have discovered your site. Working on the books made me a fan. I don't know if Penguin USA intends to carry on with the series. If they do, I hope they want me to continue what I'd started.

Jesse Marinoff Reyes
Brooklyn, NY

Cremer Maigret on BBC4
11/29/08 – BBC4 in the UK are showing the Bruno Cremer film of "The Shadow in the Courtyard" on Saturday 29 November and Monday 1 December, in French with English subtitles.

I don't know whether this is the start of a series, but let's hope so!


re: Cremer Maigret on BBC4
12/1/08 – Turns out the two episodes were separate stories, the second being "Mr. Monday". No sign of any more according to next week's Radio Times unfortunately. Equally unfortunate is their decision not to make them available for download on iPlayer.

Here's hoping there might be more. I like the atmosphere of the second episode in particular.



Maigret on the Radio
12/2/08 – They're starting a re-run of the Nicholas Le Prevost Maigrets on BBC7. Starting with A Man's Head at 9.15pm on Friday December 12. Radio Times says there's four episodes so I imagine it will be the four stories from that particular cassette (A Man's Head, The Bar on the Seine, My Friend Maigret and Madame Maigret's Own Case).

Nicholas Le Prevost makes for an unusual Maigret but I think his thick Cornish accent works well if you think of the great man as a country boy made good in the city.


Bruno Cremer's Maigret Series
12/3/08 – The 42 episodes issued on DVD include 4 non-Maigret stories reworked as Maigret stories. There were 54 episodes broadcast; anyone know the reason why the 12 missing episodes have not been issued on DVD?

With regard to these stories, does anyone have any comment with regard to the fact that Lucas, Janvier, Lapointe, and even Torrence do not appear to figure hardly at all? It seems to be the French way of interpretation, as the English try to include these characters extensively and they are an integral part of the Maigret atmosphere.

M. Cooke

re: Bruno Cremer's Maigret Series (12/03/08)
12/7/08 –

A propos des 12 épisodes manquants, on peut consulter le forum du site de Jacques-Yves Depoix sur la série avec Bruno Crémer: voir en particulier la discussion n°11143771 et la discussion n°1852236123.

A propos de l'apparition de Lucas, Janvier, Lapointe et Torrence dans la série, il faut noter les points suivants:

  • Dans les débuts de la série avec Crémer (années 1991-1997 environ), ces inspecteurs apparaissent plus ou moins régulièrement dans les épisodes: Janvier, joué par Jean-Claude Frissung, apparaît dans 8 épisodes; Lucas, lui, n'apparaît que dans deux épisodes (l'acteur, Jean-Pierre Gos, ne semble pas s'être imposé dans le rôle); Torrence apparaît d'abord dans deux épisodes, joué par Serge Beauvois, et ensuite dans 5 épisodes sous les traits d'Eric Prat; Lapointe n'apparaît que dans deux épisodes, joué par Serge Polet. Je n'ai pas d'explication définitive sur le fait que l'on ait abandonné ces personnages dans la suite de la série, mais on peut imaginer plusieurs raisons: peut-être que les acteurs n'ont pas convaincu les producteurs dans leur rôle; quoique personnellement, je trouve que Jean-Claude Frissung est un Janvier convaincant, et j'aime aussi beaucoup l'interprétation de Torrence par Eric Prat. Peut-être aussi que ces acteurs ont préféré d'autres engagements et qu'ils n'ont pas voulu se cantonner dans ces rôles sur une trop longue période. N'oublions pas que Bruno Crémer, lui aussi, au début, ne voulait pas jouer plus qu'une quinzaine d'épisodes de Maigret, et c'est sans doute parce que le personnage s'est peu à peu imposé à lui (on ne laisse pas tomber Maigret comme cela !) qu'il a continué jusqu'au 54e épisode...

  • Une autre raison est sans doute à voir dans le fait que bien des épisodes des débuts de la série se passent ailleurs qu'à Paris, et dans ces enquêtes "étrangères", Maigret est amené à collaborer plutôt avec les inspecteurs "locaux" – ce qui arrive aussi d'ailleurs dans les romans, en particulier dans la période Fayard: voyez à ce propos ce graphique qui indique l'apparition, selon la chronologie du corpus, de chacun des inspecteurs favoris de Maigret: on voit que ceux-ci prennent beaucoup plus d'importance dans la période Presses de la Cité. Et il se trouve que – par hasard ? – nombre des épisodes des débuts de la série avec Bruno Crémer sont, soit des adaptations des romans de la période Fayard ou Gallimard, soit, lorsque ce sont des adaptations de la période Presses de la Cité, les romans choisis sont souvent ceux où Maigret enquête hors de Paris (par exemple, Maigret et la vieille dame, Les vacances de Maigret, Maigret a peur). D'où aussi une présence moindre des fidèles inspecteurs autour de Maigret.

  • Dans la seconde partie de la série, Lucas, Janvier, Lapointe et Torrence disparaissent complètement du paysage, mais le rôle de "proches collaborateurs" de Maigret, avec qui le commissaire a une relation privilégiée, est endossé par d'autres inspecteurs, c'est-à-dire par des inspecteurs qui portent un autre nom, mais dont le rôle est proche de celui des "quatre fidèles": c'est d'abord le cas dans les années 1999 à 2002, où ce rôle est tenu par Alexandre Brasseur qui joue l'inspecteur Lachenal, neveu de Maigret, dans 9 épisodes. Puis entre 2002 et 2005, c'est l'inspecteur Christiani, joué par Pierre Diot dans 8 épisodes, qui reprend cette fonction. On peut déplorer bien sûr que les "quatre fidèles" ne soient pas des personnages importants de la série, mais la fonction qu'ils occupent dans les romans est plus ou moins rendue quand même par les différents inspecteurs que croise Maigret-Crémer.

  • Enfin, on peut aussi penser qu'il n'est pas toujours forcément évident de trouver un acteur qui s'impose dans le rôle d'un inspecteur assez bien pour pouvoir "fonctionner en osmose" avec l'acteur qui joue le rôle de Maigret. Et plus une série est longue et contient de nombreux épisodes, plus il est probablement difficile de demander à un acteur de tenir sur toute la durée de la série. En cela, le cas de Lucas, joué par François Cadet dans la série avec Jean Richard, est assez exceptionnel, puisque l'acteur est apparu dès les débuts de la série, il a joué dans au moins 55 épisodes sur les 88 que compte la série, et il est resté jusque dans les derniers épisodes le seul acteur à avoir interprété le rôle, alors que Janvier, Torrence et Lapointe ont été joués chacun par plusieurs acteurs différents.

  • Dans les films adaptés des romans, on ne retrouve pas non plus forcément les inspecteurs de Maigret: si on songe par exemple aux trois films tournés avec Jean Gabin, le rôle attribué aux quatre fidèles est vraiment moindre dans l'intrigue. Si n'importe quel fan de cinéma des années cinquante sait que Gabin a interprété Maigret, qui serait capable de dire quel acteur a interprété un de ses inspecteurs ? Aucun n'a vraiment laissé une trace impérissable dans un des trois films. Exception faite peut-être – et elle est de taille – du Torrence joué par Lino Ventura dans Maigret tend un piège: le rôle est d'ailleurs peu mis en valeur dans le film, et on peut le regretter: c'est une fameuse scène d'anthologie que de voir le solide Torrence – alias Lino Ventura – projeté au tapis par la prise de judo d'une frêle demoiselle auxiliaire de police !

  • D'ailleurs, je remarque que d'après les renseignements donnés sur ce site, dans la série anglo-saxonne avec Rupert Davies, l'inspecteur Janvier (pourquoi lui ?) semble aussi avoir disparu du casting. Alors que dans la série avec Michael Gambon, c'est Torrence qui est absent...Finalement, il semble que les Anglais aussi semblent avoir fait un choix parmi les personnages à disposition !
With regard to the 12 missing episodes, see the forum on Jacques-Yves Depoix's site on the Bruno Crémer series, particularly the discussions N° 11143771 and N° 1852236123. [indicating various sources for the missing 12]

As for the presence of Lucas, Janvier, Lapointe and Torrence in the series, consider the following points:

  • In the beginning of the Crémer series (around 1991-1997), these inspectors appear more or less regularly in the episodes... Janvier, played by Jean-Claude Frissung, appears in eight; Lucas in only two (the actor, Jean-Pierre Gos, does not seem to particularly take to the role); Torrence first appears in two episodes played by Serge Beauvois, and then in five played by Eric Prat; Lapointe only appears in two, played by Serge Polet.

    I can't find any clear explanation for why these characters were abandoned in the remainder of the series, but we might imagine several. Possibly the producers didn't find the actors convincing as their characters. Personally, I find Jean-Claude Frissung a convincing Janvier, and I enjoy Eric Prat's interpretation of Torrence. Maybe too, these actors preferred other engagements and didn't want to confine themselves to these roles for too long a period. Remember that Bruno Crémer himself, in the beginning, didn't want to make more than 15 Maigret episodes, and it's no doubt because the character little by little imposed himself on him (it's not so easy to just drop Maigret!) that he continued to the 54th episode...

  • Another explanation is no doubt the fact that many of the episodes in the beginning of the series take place outside of Paris, and in these "foreign" cases, Maigret is brought into collaboration with the "local" inspectors – which also happens in the novels, particularly in the Fayard period. Consider this graph which shows the appearance, according to the chronology of the corpus, of each of Maigret's favorite inspectors. We see that they become much more important in the Presses de la Cité period. And we find that – by chance? – a number of the episodes from the beginning of the Bruno Crémer series are, whether based on novels from the Fayard or Gallimard periods, or those from the Presses de la Cité period, adaptations chosen from Maigret cases set outside of Paris (for example, Maigret and the Old Lady, Maigret on Holiday, Maigret Afraid). And so there's less of a presence of the faithful inspectors surrounding Maigret.

  • In the second part of the series, Lucas, Janvier, Lapointe and Torrence disappear completely from the scene, but the role of Maigret's "close collaborators", with whom the Chief Inspector has a special relationship, is carried by other inspectors... inspectors with different names, but whose role is close to that of the "faithful four". This begins in the years 1999 - 2002, where the role is held by Alexandre Brasseur, who plays Inspecteur Lachenal, Maigret's nephew, in nine episodes. Then, from 2002 to 2005, it's Inspecteur Christiani, played by Pierre Diot in eight episodes, who takes on this function. Much as we may deplore the fact that the "faithful four" are not important characters in the series, their function in the novels is more or less rendered all the same by the different inspectors who work with Maigret-Crémer.

  • Finally, we might consider that it's not so easy to find an actor who can put himself into the role of an inspector well enough to be able to "work in harmony" with the actor who plays the role of Maigret. And the longer the series, the more numerous the episodes, the more difficult it must be to ask an actor to remain for the duration. (As for that, the case of Lucas, played by François Cadet in the Jean Richard series, is rather exceptional, since the actor appeared from the beginning of the series, and played in at least 55 episodes out of the total 88, and he was, until the final episodes, the only actor to have interpreted the role, while Janvier, Torrence and Lapointe had been played by a number of different actors.)

  • In the film adaptations of the novels, we also don't find Maigret's inspectors particularly prominent. If we consider, for example, the three films made with Jean Gabin, the role given to the faithful four is much smaller than in the novels. If any fan of cinema of the '50s knows that Gabin was Maigret, who would be able to say which actor interpreted one of his inspectors? None of them truly left an indelible trace from the three films. Perhaps one exception – and that of degree – Torrence played by Lino Ventura in Maigret Sets a Trap. The role is not emphasized in the film, which is regrettable - there's a famous anthologized scene where we see the solid Torrence – alias Lino Ventura – thrown to the floor with a judo throw, by a petite miss from the Auxiliary Police!

  • Further, I found based on the information given on this page, in the UK series with Rupert Davies, Inspector Janvier (why him?) seems also to have disappeared from the cast. And in the Michael Gambon series, it's Torrence who is missing... So it seems that the English too have apparently made a choice among the characters at their disposal!


Maigret of the Month: Maigret et le client du samedi (Maigret and the Saturday Caller)
12/07/08 – Photos of locations where some of the action takes place in Maigret et le client du samedi...

Place des Abbesses... Planchon called M from a café on the Place des Abbesses, near a house where he'd been working all day.

Place des Abbesses, with its métro station, Théâtre de l'Atelier, which looked like a toy or stage set, and its bistros and small shops, seemed to M to be far more genuine working class Montmartre than Place de Tertre...

Rue Tholozé... They went by métro, got out at Place Blanche and began to walk slowly up Rue Lepic, which makes a large bend to the left where it meets Rue des Abbesses....

and straight ahead Rue Tholozé climbs up a steep slope, then rejoins Rue Lepic by the Moulin de la Galette.


re: Crémer - "missing" episodes (12/03/08)
12/12/08 – The 12 episodes that weren't released on the DVD:s were previously released on VHS by Warner Home Video. I suppose they still own the rights and wouldn't part with them.

Mattias Siwemyr

re: Crémer - "missing" episodes (12/03/08)
12/14/08 – Thank you for your response regarding the above. Am I right in assuming the VHS releases do not have English sub-titles?

Martin Cooke

New input
12/14/08 – I found your site only a few days ago. It is very impressive and I appreciate the serious research carried out by some of the contributors.
    I came to Simenon in about 1960 via the excellent BBC series starring Rupert Davies. Like many, I wish there was a DVD edition available.
    I studied French and German at Oxford University and only much later I managed to purchase the entire Tout Simenon by the Presses de la Cité. I read many of the novels in both French and German before acquiring Tout Simenon. Since then, this has been my bedside reading. I am now reading the collected works in French for the third time and am making my own notes and commentaries as I go along.
    I have seen many television and cinema adaptations of Simenon's works. None of these come anywhere near to the pleasure of reading the original text in French.
    Once I got into the collected works, I discovered that the best of Simenon's writing is to be found in the non-Maigret works. These should be given more prominence. Simenon was a writer capable of conjuring up a tremendous atmosphere in very few words. Many of the Maigret novels are spoiled, in my opinion, because of convoluted plots. In spite of this I continue to read them!
    I hope that your site will continue to thrive.

John Palliser

Davies Maigret at National Media Museum
12/21/08 – One episode of the original series with Rupert Davies can be viewed at the National Media Museum, Bradford, Yorkshire, UK (TV Heaven section). It is 'The Old Lady' [Maigret et la vieille dame].

C. Sherrard

Maigret of the Month - December 2008: Maigret et le client du samedi (Maigret and the Saturday Caller)
12/28/08 –

Are the Maigrets detective stories?

Here we find Maigret battling an unusual case, in the sense that he is consulted more as a confessor than a policeman, before a crime has been committed. Once more, Simenon deviates from the classic rules of the detective story – and moreover we can ask whether the Maigrets actually are detective stories in the traditional sense... where we expect the investigator, policeman or detective, to be presented with a corpse whose murderer he must discover. Here, Maigret is confronted by a character, banal in appearance, who seeks him out at home on the Boulevard Richard-Lenoir, to confess, not to a murder, but to his intention to commit one. As in Maigret Has Scruples [SCR], the Chief Inspector will intrude into a milieu where he is not only not obligated to, at first, but not authorized to, since he hasn't the right to act until a crime has been committed.

Moreover, in this regard, we can find similar cases in more than one novel in the corpus, justifying the opinion that these novels are not detective stories in the strictest sense. Ignoring Maigret and the Gangsters [LOG] (where there is just an unsuccessful attempt at murder) and Maigret and the Minister [MIN] (the crime is a theft), we can find a number of novels where the murder becomes, in a way, the background, and the object of the plot is less the search for the guilty person than a search for the victim's past (Maigret and the Young Girl [JEU], Liberty Bar [LIB], Maigret in Montmartre [PIC], for example), or an attempt to understand the motives of the murderer (Maigret and the Killer [TUE], Maigret and the Headless Corpse [COR], Maigret and the Wine Merchant [VIN], for example). We also note that often Maigret, led by his innate gift of empathy, tries not only to understand the criminal, but sometimes takes things to the absurd (consider, for example Maigret and the Flemish Shop [FLA], where the Chief Inspector doesn't have Anna arrested, or Inspector Cadaver [CAD], where Maigret plays "mender of destinies" by obliging the murderers to expiate their crime through an arranged marriage). And when Maigret must, in spite of everything, deliver the guilty to justice, he does so almost reluctantly (see for example, Maigret and the Millionaires [VOY]), or he arranges to be in some way relieved of the task... he arranges for Peter the Lett [LET] to get a revolver with which he can kill himself, he transforms the attempted murder of his inspector into a bungled burglary (Maigret Rents a Room [MEU]), or he allows the guilty one to escape (Maigret's Failure [ECH]).

Maigret's attitudes towards crime and criminals are simply a reflection of the actual attitudes of the author. Simenon, in his novels, tries to show that man is never completely responsible for his actions, and that (almost) all murders are, if not excusable, at least explainable by an almost unconscious logic which has pushed the perpetrator to the enactment. Just limiting ourselves to the Maigret novels, we can make an interesting analysis of the motives for the crimes described, and we discover that they all have motives to explain, and often almost justify them. Further, Maigret's attitude toward the guilty differs according to the motives which led them to act.

Considering the 74 novels (without the short stories and Maigret's Memoirs [MEM]), we find 87 murders exposed, which I have attempted to regroup into 10 categories:

  1. Murders where the perpetrator acts in revenge or because of humiliation (examples: Peter the Lett [LET]: Peter kills his brother who has humiliated him; Maigret in Holland [HOL]: Any kills her brother-in-law who chose the young Beetje over her; Maigret's Mistake [TRO]: Mme Gouin avenges her humiliation by Louise; Maigret and the Nahour Case [NAH]: Oueni kills his boss to avenge his humiliation and have suspicion fall on the one that replaced him; etc.)

  2. Murders committed by the underworld, often linked with theft (examples: Little Albert killed by the Polish Gang in Maigret's Special Murder [MOR], the fortuneteller killed by Justin in Maigret and the Fortuneteller [SIG], the Goldbergs in Maigret at the Crossroads [NUI])

  3. Murders committed by "complicity" (a single example: Mortimer killed by Anna in Peter the Lett [LET])

  4. A special category, that where the supposed murder is actually a suicide (three cases: Maigret Stonewalled [GAL], Maigret in Society [VIE], Maigret in Retirement [FAC])

  5. Murder "by accident", where the murderer didn't actually have the intention to kill, but he felt forced by circumstances (Maigret at the "Gai Moulin" [GAI]: Delfosse surprised by Graphopoulos, Maigret's Boyhood Friend [ENF]: Lamotte kills Josée when firing at Florentin)

  6. Murders committed "out of necessity" which the murderer feels compelled to commit, either to eliminate a witness of an earlier crime (Lock 14 [PRO], Maigret on Holiday [VAC]) or to hide other actions (Maigret Loses His Temper [COL])

  7. "Gratuitous" murder (a single example: Radek's murders in A Man's Head [TET])

  8. Murders for profit, either to appropriate or keep a fortune (The Hotel Majestic [MAJ], Maigret and the Old Lady) [DAM], or to maintain a sort of power (Death of a Harbormaster [POR])

  9. Murders committed through a type of madness (Maigret Afraid [PEU], Maigret and the Killer [TUE])

  10. Murders which do not easily fit into one of the above categories (Maigret Sits it Out [ECL]).

We see that some murders could possibly be assigned to more than one category (for example, we might ask whether Radek's murders aren't also resulting from humiliation).

Here, summarized in the form of a graph, the results of the analysis:

complete article
original French

Murielle Wenger

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