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Thursday, 2 July 2020

Maigret et moi: Part 4

I have continued to work my way through Georges Simenon's Maigret books, and to date I have read the books shown in bold:
  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 House
  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. FĂ©licie
  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 have also read the following short stories:
  • Maigret's Pipe
  • Maigret's Christmas
  • Seven Little Crosses in a Notebook
  • The Little Restaurant in Les Ternes

The most interesting of the recent books that I have read was MAIGRET’S MEMOIRE. It tells the story of the relationship between a young Belgian author called Georges Sim (who is later revealed to be Georges Simenon) and Chief Inspector Jules Maigret. They are introduced to each other by Maigret’s boss, the head of the Police Judiciare, when the author wants to write about the more unusual crimes that Maigret works on. He follows Maigret around, listening to and watching him whilst he works. Over the years, the two become friends.

In his memoir, the ‘real’ Maigret tries to correct some of the inconsistencies told in the stories about the ‘fictional’ Maigret and his team. For example, in some of the stories the ‘fictional’ Maigret wears a bowler hat, but this disappears in later ones ... and the ‘real’ Maigret explains why. Likewise, the ‘real’ Maigret explains that Simenon used a limited number of ‘real’ names for the Inspectors who worked for the ‘fictional’ Maigret, and this is why some of them seem to change during the course of the stories. In particular, Inspector Torrence is killed in PIETR THE LATVIAN ... and then reappears in later stories.

The ‘real’ Maigret also explains that Simenon did not always retell the stories in the correct chronological order, and that real names and locations were changed for the purpose of the storytelling process.

In fact, the whole book is a wonderful artifice by Georges Simenon to explain away the inconsistencies in the Maigret books ... and it is extremely enjoyable to read. It also tells how Maigret met his wife Louise ... or as she is usually just referred to, Madam Maigret.

6 comments:

  1. This is quite a project! Sorry if I have missed an earlier explanation, but can I assume the list is in order of publication date? And would you recommend starting at the top, to follow their development? Are they more or less 'chronological' in terms of Maigret's career? But most likely it doesn't matter! I have read precisely one - 'Maigret's Holiday', which I found in the 10p rack in a charity shop!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. David in Suffolk,

      It is something that I always promised myself that I would do ... and the lockdown provided a perfect opportunity to do it.

      The books are listed in publication order ... which is not in chronological order with regard to Maigret’s career. My personal feeling is that it doesn’t matter where you start in the series as they all differ from each other in style and complexity ... which is one of the joys of reading this series of books.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  2. In a similar vein I have re read the Bernie Gunther series by the late Philip Kerr and I can highly recommend them. I recently read Piotr the Latvian and thoroughly enjoyed it. I may follow your example and continue with the series.
    Take Care, Tony Jones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Toby Jones,

      Over the years I’ve read much of the output of quite a few authors, including John Le Carre, Martin Cruz Smith, Boris Akunin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, John Buchan, and Agatha Christie ... to name but a few.

      I’ve not - however - read any of a Philip Kerr’s books ... yet! Having looked at a list of his output, I think that I might enjoy them.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. I think you would, the setting runs from the late '20s to the late '50s (not necessarily in that order) and are a fairly well researched blend of fact and fiction. Bernie himself comes across as a Berlin based Sam Spade.
      Take Care, Tony Jones.

      Delete
    3. Toby Jones,

      I’ve added him to my list of authors whose books I want to read!

      Many thanks for the recommendation.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete

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