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Sunday, 23 February 2020

Maigret et moi

On of my abiding passions is reading crime stories, and amongst my favourites are those written by Georges Simenon about the Parisian detective, Jules Maigret.

I first became aware of the Maigret stories as a child, when I watched Rupert Davies portraying the character on BBC TV from 1960 to 1963.

Rupert Davies as Maigret.
Since then he has been portrayed on UK TV by Sir Michael Gambon ...


... and Rowan Atkinson.


Jules Amedée François Maigret is a Commissaire (Commissioner or Chief Inspector) of the Brigade Criminelle (Direction Régionale de Police Judiciaire de Paris). As such, he investigates major crimes in and around Paris (and sometimes outside that region) under the direction of an Examining Magistrate. He is married to Louise Maigret (who is usually just referred to in the books as Madame Maigret), and was born in the village of Saint-Fiacre in the Allier Department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of central France, where his father (Evariste Maigret) was the bailiff and land agent for the local landowner.

In 2013 Penguin Books announced that they were going to re-publish new translations of all the Maigret novels, a task that was completed in January this year. Over the past few years I have been reading (or in some cases, re-reading) the novels in no particular order, and so far, I have finished those shown in bold below:
  1. Pietr the Latvian
  2. The Late Monsieur Gallet
  3. The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien
  4. The Carter of La Providence
  5. The Yellow Dog
  6. Night at the Crossroads
  7. A Crime in Holland
  8. The Grand Banks Cafe
  9. A Man's Head
  10. The Dancer at the Gai Moulin
  11. The Two-Penny Bar
  12. The Shadow Puppet
  13. The Saint-Fiacre Affair
  14. The Flemish Shop
  15. The Madman of Bergerac
  16. The Misty Harbour
  17. Liberty Bar
  18. Lock No. 1
  19. Maigret
  20. Cecile is Dead
  21. The Cellars of the Majestic
  22. The Judge's House
  23. Signed, Picpus
  24. Inspector Cadaver
  25. Félicie
  26. Maigret Gets Angry
  27. Maigret in New York
  28. Maigret's Holiday
  29. Maigret's Dead Man
  30. Maigret's First Case
  31. My Friend Maigret
  32. Maigret at the Coroner's
  33. Maigret and the Old Lady
  34. Madame Maigret's Friend
  35. Maigret's Memoirs
  36. Maigret at Picratt's
  37. Maigret Takes a Room
  38. Maigret and the Tall Woman
  39. Maigret, Lognon and the Gangsters
  40. Maigret's Revolver
  41. Maigret and the Man on the Bench
  42. Maigret is Afraid
  43. Maigret's Mistake
  44. Maigret Goes to School
  45. Maigret and the Dead Girl
  46. Maigret and the Minister
  47. Maigret and the Headless Corpse
  48. Maigret Sets a Trap
  49. Maigret's Failure
  50. Maigret Enjoys Himself
  51. Maigret Travels
  52. Maigret's Doubts
  53. Maigret and the Reluctant Witnesses
  54. Maigret's Secret
  55. Maigret in Court
  56. Maigret and the Old People
  57. Maigret and the Lazy Burglar
  58. Maigret and the Good People of Montparnasse
  59. Maigret and the Saturday Caller
  60. Maigret and the Tramp
  61. Maigret's Anger
  62. Maigret and the Ghost
  63. Maigret Defends Himself
  64. Maigret's Patience
  65. Maigret and the Nahour Case
  66. Maigret's Pickpocket
  67. Maigret Hesitates
  68. Maigret in Vichy
  69. Maigret's Childhood Friend
  70. Maigret and the Killer
  71. Maigret and the Wine Merchant
  72. Maigret's Madwoman
  73. Maigret and the Loner
  74. Maigret and the Informer
  75. Maigret and Monsieur Charles
I've also read some of the short stories including:
  • Maigret's Pipe
  • Maigret's Christmas
  • Seven Little Crosses in a Notebook
  • The Little Restaurant in Les Ternes
I still have some way to go before I have read all the books, but I seriously hope to manage this task over the next few years.

6 comments:

  1. I remember the old black and white version - striking a match on the wall to light his pipe - many many years ago .

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    Replies
    1. The Good Soldier Svjek,

      The opening motif of striking a match against a wall to light his pipe set the tone for the programme that followed ... rather like the naked swinging lightbulb did some years later for CALLAN.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Prolific writer. I never cottoned to the Rupert Davies shows back in the day, probably because I was too young to appreciate them in the 1960s, but have been very impressed with the more recent Rowan Atkinson stories. Never saw the Michael Gambon ones.

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    Replies
    1. Archduke Piccolo,

      I think that most of the episodes featuring Rupert Davies are now ‘lost’, but I understand that the Michael Gambon ones are available on DVD.

      I like the way Rowan Atkinson portrays Maigret’s personality, but he seems to lack Maigret’s physical presences. (Maigret is often described as being tall and heavily-built, with peasant features.)

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. Maigret is an utter joy... I discovered him last year (Christmas of 2018 actually) when I was in Bath and just happened to pick up Maigret's Christmas, as I wanted something to read while I was in the pub waiting for my wife.. absolutely hooked, and am very much enjoying collecting the new versions which have beautiful covers.. currently up to and reading at the moment #13.... for interest, which is your favourite TV portrayal...?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steve-the-Wargamer,

      I find the books addictive ... and MAIGRET’S CHRISTMAS is a great book to start with. The writing is so good that I can almost smell the Gauloise cigarettes and Pernod whilst I am reading!

      For me, Sir Michael Gambon looks like I imagine Maigret would look, but Rowan Atkinson’s portrayal captures the personality of the man. He doesn’t just want to catch the criminal; he wants to understand why the crime was committed and to explore its effects on everyone who is touched by it.

      All the best,

      Bob

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