Maigret

Simenon_Latvian_penguin2013In late 2013 Penguin publishers started an ambitious project – to reprint all the Maigret novels in new translations, in chronological order, at a rate of one a month. Details of these can be found on their website here.

Thus, in this context, you would think that coming up with the exact number of novels and short stories by Georges Simenon that feature Jules Maigret should be straightforward. After all, the stories are very well documented (there are many, many books devoted to the character and his creator and several websites) and it’s been 40 years since the series ended. However, nothing is ever quite that easy, especially in the early days of the series …

A strict reading of the canon tells us that between 1931 and 1972 Simenon published a total of 75 Maigret novels and some two-dozen short stories (28 to be exact). However, to complicate matters, the character had also appeared in four novels written in 1929, before he made his first ‘official’ appearance in 1931’s Pietr-le-letton (Pietr the Latvian). These are not considered canon, not least as they were published under a pair of pseudonyms – they are: Train de nuit and La jeune fille aux perles published as by ‘Christian Brulls'; and La femme rousse and La Maison de l’inquiétude as by ‘Georges Sim.’

It is also occasionally hard to keep the titles straight as they appeared, in English, under  a variety of translations over the decades, which makes this new uniform edition from Penguin particularly welcome. I plan to try and keep up with the Penguin reprints and compare these with my collection of Italian translations and see how well they compare with a view to reporting back and post the occasional review. The complete list of novels have been grouped by decade based on the order of first publication – you can jump there through the following links:

Maigret – the 1930s

Maigret – the 1940s

Maigret – the 1950s

Maigret – the 1960s and 70s

Anyone interested in finding out more about Simenon and his novels should seriously consider checking out Steve Trussel’s massive Maigret web resource at: www.trussel.com/f_maig.htm

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