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

6 Responses to Maigret

  1. Daniel Pauni says:

    1953. Maigret se trompe. TRO [Y:138] 216 pp , 1st Paris. Presses de la Cité. {“Shadow Rock Farm”, Lakeville (Connecticut), August 31, 1953} 7
    I can not find Maigret mistake in this novel. can you help me?

    • Hi Daniel – sorry, not quite sure what you mean here – do you mean, why is the novel given that title? Must admit, not too sure either now … maybe because he delays speaking to Professor Gouin? It would, potentially, have cleared things up sooner … It has been a while since I read this one though🙂

  2. Daniel Pauni says:

    Thank you so much. I didn´t consider that option. I think it´s essential for this plot Maigret´s unusual delay in interviewing his prime suspect. But, on the other hand, the real murderer, Antoinette, was not caught by him because he goes to the orphanage too late . Maybe the mistake was choosing late to lock or invigilate the kid .
    thanks again.

    • Really interesting Daniel – it’s been so long since I read this one (I think i saw the Bruno Cremer adaptation more recently, but they are not always very faithful unfortunately). Thanks for the reminder!

  3. davidsimmons6 says:

    I had no idea that you had a “collection of Italian translations.” I learned recently that Italy is second only to France in its interest in Maigret and Simenon. You undoubtedly know about this blog site: http://www.simenon-simenon.com/, but perhaps your followers don’t. It offers daily posts, predominantly in Italian, but also in French and English. It’s searching for a good online translator. If anyone knows of one, please speak up!

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