Fred Vargas, Princess of Asturias Award for Literature

French writer Fred Vargas has been granted the 2018 Princess of Asturias Award for Literature, as announced today in Oviedo by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award.

Minutes of the Jury: At its meeting in Oviedo, the Jury for the 2018 Princess of Asturias Award for Literature, composed of Xosé Ballesteros Rey, Blanca Berasátegui, Luis Alberto de Cuenca, Lola Larumbe Doral, Antonio Lucas, Ángeles Mora, Leonardo Padura, Laura Revuelta Sanjurjo, Carmen Riera, Fernando Rodríguez Lafuente, Ana Santos, Sergio Vila-Sanjuán, Juan Villoro, chaired by Darío Villanueva Prieto and with José Luis García Delgado acting as secretary, has decided to confer the 2018 Princess of Asturias Award for Literature on French writer Fred Vargas (Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau). Trained as an archaezoologist, she envisages society as a mysterious and complex ecosystem. What stands out in her narrative work are the originality of her plots, the irony with which she describes the characters, the depth of her cultural insights and her overflowing imagination, which opens up unprecedented literary horizons to readers.

Her writing combines intrigue, action and reflection at a pace that recalls the characteristic musicality of fine French prose. In each of her novels, history emerges as a metaphor of an unsettling present. The vicissitudes of time and the exposure of evil are combined in a solid literary architecture, set against a disquieting backdrop that, for the reader’s enjoyment, is always solved as a logical challenge. For all this, Fred Vargas embodies the renewal of a genre, the thriller, to which she has brilliantly contributed original pieces, atmospheres and settings that make up an oeuvre of universal scope.

18874_2Biography: Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau (Paris, 7th June 1957), known by the pseudonym Fred Vargas, is a French writer, archaeozoologist and medievalist, and author of crime fiction novels. The daughter of writer Philippe Audoin (surrealist, a friend of Breton), has a twin sister, Jo Vargas, who is a painter, while her brother is the historian Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau. She studied for her baccalaureate at the Molière Institute in Paris and earned her PhD in History with a thesis on the plague in the Middle Ages. She has worked as a researcher at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS, for its acronym in French) and at the Pasteur Institute, and is specialized in archaeozoology. She has also worked at the archaeological excavations in Rue de Lutèce, in front of the Palais de Justice in Paris, and in the monastery of La Charité-sur-Loire.

She wrote her first crime fiction novel, Les Jeux de l’amour et de la mort, in the mid-80s, in parallel with her work at an archaeological excavation in Nièvre, winning first prize at the Cognac Festival with this book. She chose the pseudonym Vargas, as did her twin sister Jo, in homage to María Vargas, the character played by Ava Gardner in The Barefoot Contessa. The main series of novels by Vargas, and the one that has been the most successful, is that of Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg. She has also published other novels not including this character and some works of nonfiction. Vargas gives great importance in her texts to the characters, subplots and dialogues. She also highlights in her writing the presence of legends and historical events and the importance of humour and poetry.

She has written the series featuring police chief Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg: L’Homme aux cercles bleus (1991) [The Chalk Circle Man, 2009], L’Homme à l’envers (1999) [Seeking Whom He May Devour, 2004], Pars vite et reviens tard (2001) [Have Mercy on Us All, 2003], Sous les vents de Neptune (2004) [Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand, 2007], Dans les bois éternels (2006) [This Night’s Foul Work, 2008], A lieu incertain (2008) [An Uncertain Place, 2010], L’Armée furieuse [The Ghost Riders of Ordebec, 2013), Temps glaciaires [A Climate of Fear, 2016] and Quand sort la recluse (2017), in addition to the volume of three short novels featuring Adamsberg entitled Coule la Seine (2002) and the series Les Trois Évangélistes [The Three Evangelists]: Debout les morts (1995) [The Three Evangelists, 2014], A peu plus loin sur la droite (1996) [Dog Will Have His Day, 2014] and Sans feu ni lieu (1997) [The Accordionist, 2017]. Her other novels are: Les Jeux de l’amour et de la mort (1986), L’École du crime(1987, unpublished) and Ceux qui vont mourir te saluent (1994). In collaboration with Boudoin, she has published the comics Les Quatre Fleuves (2000) and Le Marchand d’éponges (2010). She is also the author of the essays Petit traité de toutes vérités sur l’existence (2001), Critique de l’anxiété pure (2003) and La Vérité sur Cesare Battiste (2004). In her real name, she has published the studies Ossements animaux du Moyen Âge au monastère de la Charité-sur-Loire (1986), Hommes et animaux en Europe: corpus de données archéozoologiques et historiques (1993), Les Chemins de la plage, le rat, the puce et l’homme (2003) and Un aliment sain dans un corps sain: Perspectives historiques (2007). Part of her work has also been adapted for film and television.

Holder of the Prix Landerneau (2015), the International Dagger Award on three consecutive occasions, the Prix Mystère de la critique (1996 and 2000), the Grand Prix for Crime Fiction at the Cognac Festival (1999), the French Bookstore Award and the Trophée 813 for Best Novel in French, among other awards.

Previous award-winners

Source: Princess of Asturias Foundation

You can see A Crime is Afoot reviews of Fred Vargas’ books using the blog search option.

Maigret New Titles

The following is a list of the Maigret books that will be published in the coming months:

Maigret and the Old People: Inspector Maigret #56 by Georges Simenon, Shaun Whiteside (Translator) June 2018

Maigret and the Lazy Burglar: Inspector Maigret #57 by Georges Simenon, Howard Curtis (Translator) July 2018

Maigret and the Good People of Montparnasse: Inspector Maigret #58 by Georges Simenon, Ros Schwartz (Translator) August 2018

Maigret And The Saturday Caller: Inspector Maigret #59 by Georges Simenon, Sian Reynolds (translator) September 2018

Maigret And The Tramp: Inspector Maigret #60 by Georges Simenon, Howard Curtis (Translator) October 2018

Maigret’s Anger: Inspector Maigret #61 by Georges Simenon, William Hobson (Translator) November 2018

Maigret And The Ghost: Inspector Maigret #62 by Georges Simenon, Ros Schwartz (Translator) December 2018

Maigret Defends Himself: Inspector Maigret #63 by Georges Simenon, Howard Curtis (Translator) January 2019

Maigret’s Patience: Inspector Maigret #64 by Georges Simenon, David Watson (Translator) February 2019

A Review Revisited: Liberty Bar, 1932 (Inspector Maigret #17 ) by Georges Simenon (Trans: David Watson)

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Penguin Classics, 2015. Format. Paperback. 160 pages. ISBN: 978-0141-39609-5. First published in French as Liberty Bar by Fayard, 1932. Translated by David Watson in 2015. First translated into English in 1940 as Liberty Bar by Geoffrey Sainsbury, apa Maigret on the Riviera in 1988

First paragraph: It all began with a holiday feeling. When Maigret stepped off the train, half of the railway station at Antibes was bathed in sunlight so intense that the people coming and going were reduced to shadows. Shadows n straw hats and white trousers, carrying tennis racquets. The air was humming. There were palm trees and cactuses along the quayside, a strip of blue sea beyond the street-lamps.

cover.jpg.rendition.460.707Book description: Dazzled at first by the glamour of sunny Antibes, Maigret soon finds himself immersed in the less salubrious side of the Riviera as he retraces the final steps of a local eccentric.

My take: The story opens when Commissaire Jules Maigret from the Paris Judicial Police arrives at Antibes in the French Riviera. At the train station, he is immediately recognised by Inspector Boutigues. A man named William Brown has been killed in Cap d’Antibes. It so happens that Brown had served during the war at the Deuxième Bureau (the secret service of the French Army). Consequently it is considered that the matter requires a certain dose of prudence. It is understood, that this is the reason why Maigret was sent there.

Brown had been living in Antibes a dozen years or so with his two women. His lover, Gina Martini, and her mother. On Monday night the butcher observed how Brown’s car was going stumbling around before smashing into some rocks. The two women got off the car and started to run towards the city carrying with them three suitcases. During their flight they threw away one suitcase. When they were stopped, it was found that they were carrying in the suitcases some securities issued to the bearer and some banknotes. They were both arrested. The next day, Brown’s body was found buried in the garden of his house. He had been stabbed in the back with a knife. The two women had tried to run away with the money.

Maigret has a conversation with the two women. Thus he finds out that, each month, Brown was in the habit of vanishing for several days, returning dirty and soaked in alcohol. He was bringing with him 2,000 francs, that barely served them to pass the month. The two women were thinking that Brown had a higher income that he preferred to misspend, giving them only a paltry amount. Brown was married in Australia and his wife is still alive. But she had always refused to divorce him. Maigret lets the two women go free.

The next day Maigret goes to Cannes where, according to Gina, Brown used to leave his car in a garage. And although he manages to find out the garage, nobody there knows where he was going. After visiting several bars Maigret arrives at the ‘Liberty Bar’. The bar has no customers and is run by a fat woman that undoubtedly was expecting the visit from the police. ‘It has taken you long to arrive!’, the woman says.

The fat woman is known as Jaja and she lives with a young prostitute named Sylvie who claims to be William’s goddaughter. Jaja has not customers but friends like William who come to drink and chat with her. According to Jaja, she had met William a long time ago, but she did not know his name until last week, when she recognised his picture in the newspapers. One day William appeared and, since then, they got used to get drunk and to tell stories together. Some times William slept on the couch since he wasn’t able to stay upright. He used to spend several days there and used to bring some food and money with him. Last Friday he left at two but she didn’t know where he lived or where he was going. Upon leaving, Maigret is very much intrigued by what William could have done between two in the afternoon when he left the Liberty Bar and five in the evening when he arrived at Antibes in his car. Apparently William had been extremely rich, maybe he was still rich. He had had a yacht and lots of servants.

When Maigret is back in Antibes, inspector Boutigues informs him of the new developments. The judge does not want to do anything without consulting with Maigret before. One of Brown’s sons has arrived from Amsterdam and is staying at the best hotel in Antibes. The Browns are the largest landholders of Australia. They breed lambs and sell their wool in Europe. William’s legal wife lives in Australia and they had three sons. One of them is in charge of their land, another one lives in Sydney where he monitors the shipments of wool to Europe, and the third one lives in Europe travelling from port to port depending on the final destination of their shipments. Harry Brown tells Maigret that he needs to bury his father as soon as possible, with very little noise. After all his father was leading a scandalous life. He also confirms to Maigret that he was the one who was sending his father 5,000 francs a month.   

William’s burial takes place the next day at seven in the morning. The night before Maigret had bothered to inform the four women of the hour of the ceremony. Maigret believes that William Brown had been killed and Boutiques wonders who could have had any interest in his death. But Maigret is worried about what Brown could have done from two to five in the afternoon, the day he was murdered.

I understand that Maigret on the Riviera is the seventeenth novel in the series and it’s considered one of the best ones. I have no opinion yet in this sense since I have only read a few of Maigret books. Anyhow I can say that I have enjoyed very much reading this one. This is an excellent story, very well measured, and with the right extension. It’s quite incredible how much can be said in just a few pages. I was delighted how Maigret handles the investigation. He only listen what others have to say without jumping into quick conclusions. He’s meticulous, tenacious and able to read very well the human soul. The mystery is solved in the most satisfactory way that one can imagine. At the end, everything fits perfectly well. I’m quite convinced that this book will delight all fans of the genre. A fascinating story by a master storyteller.

This review was previously posted on my blog here. Now I have read it again superbly translated by David Watson and I have really enjoyed it once again.

My rating: A+ (Don’t delay, get your hands on a copy of this book)

About the Author: Georges Simenon (Liège, Belgium, 1903 – Lausanne, Switzerland, 1989) wrote one hundred and ninety-one novels with his name, and an undefined number of novels and stories published under different pseudonyms, as well as memorabilia and dictated texts. The Commissaire Maigret is the protagonist of seventy-five of these novels and twenty-eight short stories, all published between 1931 and 1972. Famous throughout the world, already recognized as a master storyteller, today no one doubts he is one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.

About the Translator: David Watson is a freelance translator from French. He also speaks German and has a PhD in French.

Liberty Bar a review by Andrew Walser

Penguin UK publicity page

Penguin US publicity page

Liberty Bar 

Maigret of the Month: May, 2005

Tout Maigret


Maigret y el Liberty Bar, de Georges Simenon

Primer párrafo: Todo comenzó con una sensación de vacaciones. Cuando Maigret bajó del tren, la mitad de la estación de ferrocarril de Antibes estaba bañada por una luz solar tan intensa que las personas que iban y venían quedaban reducidas a sombras. Sombras con sombreros de paja y pantalones blancos, llevando raquetas de tenis. El aire resonaba. Había palmeras y cactus a lo largo del muelle, una franja de mar azul más allá de las farolas.

Descripción del libro: Deslumbrado al principio por el glamour del sol de Antibes, Maigret pronto se encuentra inmerso en la pasrte menos saludable de la Riviera conforme rememora los últimos pasos de un excéntrico de la localidad.

Mi opinión: La historia comienza cuando el comisario Jules Maigret de la Policía Judicial de París llega a Antibes, en la Riviera francesa. En la estación de tren, es reconocido inmediatamente por el inspector Boutigues. Un hombre llamado William Brown ha sido asesinado en Cap d’Antibes. Se da la circunstancia de que Brown había servido durante la guerra en el Deuxième Bureau (los servicios secretos del ejército francés). En consecuencia, se considera que el asunto requiere una cierta dosis de prudencia. Se sobreentiende, que esta es la razón por la Maigret fue enviado allí.

Brown llevaba viviendo en Antibes una docena de años más o menos con sus dos mujeres. Su amante, Gina Martini, y su madre. La noche del lunes el carnicero observó cómo el coche de Brown iba dando tumbos antes de estrellarse contra unas rocas. Las dos mujeres se bajaron del coche y comenzaron a correr hacia la ciudad llevando consigo tres maletas. Durante su huida tiraron una maleta. Cuando se detuvieron, se comprobó que llevaban en las maletas algunos valores emitidos al portador y algunos billetes. Ambas fueron arrestadas. Al día siguiente, el cuerpo de Brown fue encontrado enterrado en el jardín de su casa. Habia sido apuñalado por la espalda con un cuchillo. Las dos mujeres habían tratado de huir con el dinero.

Maigret tiene una conversación con las dos mujeres. Así se entera de que, cada mes, Brown tenía la costumbre de desaparecer durante varios días, volviendo sucio y empapado en alcohol. Traía con él 2.000 francos, que apenas les alcanzaban para pasar el mes. Las dos mujeres pensaban que Brown tenía mayores ingresos que prefería malgastar, dándoles sólo una cantidad insignificante. Brown estaba casado en Australia y su mujer vive todavía. Pero ella siempre se había negado a divorciarse de él. Maigret deja a las dos mujeres en libertad.

Al día siguiente Maigret va a Cannes, donde, según Gina, Brown solía dejar su coche en un garaje. Y aunque consigue encontrar el garaje, allí nadie sabe a dónde iba. Después de visitar varios bares Maigret llega al “Liberty Bar”. El bar no tiene clientes y está dirigido por una mujer gorda que, sin duda, estaba esperando la visita de la policía. “¡Ha tardado mucho tiempo en llegar!”, le dice la mujer.

La mujer gorda es conocida como Jaja y vive con una joven prostituta llamada Sylvia que dice ser ahijada de William. Jaja no tiene clientes, sino amigos como William que vienen a beber y charlar con ella. Según Jaja, ella había conocido a William hace mucho tiempo, pero no supo su nombre hasta la semana pasada, cuando reconoció su foto en los periódicos. Un día William apareció y, desde entonces, se acostumbraron a emborracharse y contar historias juntos. Algunas veces William dormían en el sofá, ya que no era capaz de mantenerse en pie. Solía ​​pasar varios días allí y solía traer algo de comida y dinero. El viernes pasado se fue a las dos, pero ella no sabía dónde vivía o dónde iba. Al salir, Maigret está muy intrigado por lo que William pudo haber hecho entre las dos de la tarde cuando salió del Liberty Bar y las cinco de la tarde cuando llegó a Antibes en su coche. Al parecer, William había sido muy rico, tal vez aún era rico. Había tenido un yate y un montón de criados.

Cuando Maigret está de vuelta en Antibes, el inspector Boutigues le informa de las novedades. El juez no quiere hacer nada sin consultar con Maigret antes. Uno de los hijos de Brown ha llegado de Amsterdam y se aloja en el mejor hotel de Antibes. Los Browns son los mayores propietarios de tierras de Australia. Crían ovejas y venden su lana en Europa. La legítima esposa de William vive en Australia y tuvieron tres hijos. Uno de ellos es el responsable de sus tierras, otro vive en Sydney, donde supervisa los envíos de lana a Europa, y el tercero vive en Europa viajando de un puerto a otro en función del destino de sus envíos. Harry Brown le dice a Maigret que tiene que enterrar a su padre tan pronto como sea posible, haciendo muy poco ruido. Después de todo su padre llevaba una vida escandalosa. También le confirma a Maigret que él era el que enviaba a su padre 5.000 francos al mes.

El funeral de William tiene lugar al día siguiente, a las siete de la mañana. La noche anterior Maigret se había molestado en informar a las cuatro mujeres de la hora del entierro. Maigret cree que William Brown había sido asesinado y Boutigues se pregunta quién podría haber tenido algún interés en su muerte. Pero Maigret está preocupado por lo que Brown pudo haber hecho de dos a cinco de la tarde, el día que fue asesinado.

Entiendo que Maigret y el Liberty Bar es la decimoséptima novela de la serie y está considerada una de las mejores. No tengo ninguna opinión todavía en este sentido ya que sólo he leído un par de libros de Maigret. De todos modos, puedo decir que he disfrutado mucho leyendo este libro. Esta es una excelente historia, muy bien medida, y con la extensión correcta. Es bastante increíble lo mucho que se puede decir en unas pocas páginas. Me ha encantado cómo Maigret maneja la investigación. Sólo escucha lo que otros tienen que decir sin saltar a conclusiones precipitadas. Es meticuloso, tenaz y capaz de leer muy bien el alma humana. El misterio se resuelve de la manera más satisfactoria que uno se puede imaginar. Al final, todo encaja perfectamente. Estoy bastante convencido de que este libro hará las delicias de todos los amantes del género. Una historia fascinante por un narrador magistral.

Esta reseña apareció anteriormente en mi blog aquí. Ahora lo he leído de nuevo magníficamente traducido por David Watson y realmente lo he vuelto a disfrutar. 

Mi valoración: A+ (No se demore, consiga un ejemplar de este libro)

Sobre el autor: Georges Simenon (Lieja, Bélgica, 1903 – Lausana, Suiza, 1989) escribió ciento noventa y una novelas con su nombre, y un número indefinido de novelas e historias publicadas bajo diferentes seudónimos, así como recuerdos y textos dictados. El comisario Maigret es el protagonista de setenta y cinco de estas novelas y veintiocho relatos cortos, todos publicados entre 1931 y 1972. Famoso en todo el mundo, reconocido como un narrador consagrado, hoy nadie duda de que es uno de los mejores escritores del siglo XX.

Review: Maigret’s Revolver, 1952 (Inspector Maigret #40) by Georges Simenon (Trans: Siân Reynolds)

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Penguin Classics, Reprint edition, 2017. Format. Paperback. 192 pages. ISBN: 978-0241277430. First published in French as Le Revolver de Maigret by Presses de la Cité, 1952. Translated by Siân Reynolds in 2017. First translated into English in 1956 as Maigret’s Revolver by Nigel Ryan.

First paragraph: When, in later years, Maigret looked back on this particular investigation, it would always strike him as something a little out of the ordinary, associated in his mind with the kind of illness that does not declare itself clearly but begins with vague twinges, feelings of unease, symptoms too mild to take seriously.

cover.jpg.rendition.460.707 (3)Book description: When Maigret’s prized gun goes missing, he must travel to London on the trail of a troubled young man on the run…

My take: A young man, who later turns out to be Alain Lagrange, tries to visit Maigret at his house when he is out, but the young man leaves before Maigret returns, taking with him a revolver that Maigret has in great esteem, a gift from his colleagues at the FBI. That same night M. et Mme Maigret are invited to dinner at M. et Mme Pardon’s house. But another guest, a certain François Lagrange, Alain’s father and former classmate of Pardon, does not show up, despite his keen interest to get to know the famous Commissaire Maigret. Intrigued, the next day Maigret decides to visit Lagrange, who excuses himself claiming he was sick. However, when Maigret leaves, he finds out from the concierge that, the night before, Lagrange was perfectly fine. In fact he left his house with a heavy trunk on his back. As the story unfolds, the police finds Lagrange’s trunk at the Gare du Nord left-luggage office,  with a corpse inside. The body turns out to be that of a politician, the Deputy André Delteil,, but Lagrange refuses to speak by pretending to be insane. Meanwhile, Maigret travels to London in search of Lagrange’s son, Alain.

Probably this instalment is one of the last occasions when Maigret, in order to investigate a case, has to travel outside France. More precisely to London where  the stiff English timetables will get him totally by surprise. But getting back into the story in question, I’ve found this book quite engaging and Simenon, in full form, is as able as no one to keep the intrigue and suspense of the plot, even when barely nothing noteworthy happens. Simenon’s sober style and the good pace of the narration, help to increase the reading pleasure. The following article on Maigret and the translators did whet my appetite to read it, and although I enjoyed it, I need to recognise as well it has not make me as thrilled as I was expecting. In any case my keenness for the series remains intact and I’m looking forward to reading a new instalment.

My rating: B  (I liked it)

About the Author: Georges Simenon (Liège, Belgium, 1903 – Lausanne, Switzerland, 1989) wrote one hundred and ninety-one novels with his name, and an undefined number of novels and stories published under different pseudonyms, as well as memorabilia and dictated texts. The Commissaire Maigret is the protagonist of seventy-five of these novels and twenty-eight short stories, all published between 1931 and 1972. Famous throughout the world, already recognized as a master storyteller, today no one doubts he is one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.

About the Translator: Born in Cardiff, Siân Reynolds taught at the universities of Sussex and Edinburgh before being appointed to the Chair of French at Stirling (1990-2004). Since taking early retirement, she has acted as consultant for the School, while continuing with research and translation. Among recent publications, she was co-editor of the Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women (EUP, 2005), and authored Paris-Edinburgh: cultural connections in the Belle Epoque (Ashgate, 2007, shortlisted for the Saltire Society History Prize). Her latest book is a double biography of two French revolutionaries: Marriage and Revolution: Monsieur and Madame Roland (OUP 2012). She has translated many books on French history, including most of the works of Fernand Braudel. Recent translations include fiction by Virginie Despentes, Antonin Varenne and French crime novelist, Fred Vargas. Four Vargas translations have been awarded the Crime Writers’ Association International Dagger (2006, 2007, 2009, 2013). She is currently Chair of the Scottish Working People’s History Trust, honorary vice-president of the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France, and honorary Fellow of the IGRS. In 2010 she was promoted Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, and in 2013 elected Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. She is a member of the editorial board of the journal Clio, Femmes, Genre, Histoire, currently taking responsibility for the online English version. (Source: University of Stirling)

Maigret’s Revolver has been reviewed at Crime Review, and John Grant has also reviewed it at Goodreads.

Penguin UK publicity page

Penguin US publicity page 

Le Revolver de Maigret 

Maigret of the Month: May, 2007

Tout Maigret


El revolver de Maigret, de Georges Simenon

Primer párrafo: Cuando, años mas tarde, Maigret vuelva la vista atrás sobre esta investigación en concreto, siempre le parecerá algo fuera de lo común, asociada en su mente con el tipo de enfermedad que no se manifiesta claramente sino que comienza con punzadas imprecisas, sensaciónes de malestar, síntomas demasiado leves para ser tomados en serio.

Descripción del libro
: Cuando el arma que Maigret apreciaba especialmente desaparece, éste debe viajar a Londres siguiendo el rastro de un joven problemático a la fuga …

Mi opinión: Un joven, que más tarde resulta ser Alain Lagrange, intenta visitar a Maigret en su casa cuando él está fuera, pero el joven se marcha, antes de que Maigret regrese, llevándose consigo un revólver que Maigret tiene en gran estima, un regalo de sus colegas en el FBI. Esa misma noche, M. y Mme Maigret están invitadas a cenar a la casa de M. et Mme Pardon. Pero otro invitado, un tal François Lagrange, padre de Alain y ex compañero de clase de Pardon, no aparece, a pesar de su gran interés por conocer al célebre comisario Maigret. Intrigado, al día siguiente Maigret decide visitar a Lagrange, quien se excusa diciendo que estaba enfermo. Sin embargo, cuando Maigret se marcha, se entera por el conserje de que, la noche anterior, Lagrange estaba perfectamente bien. De hecho, salió de su casa con un pesado baúl a la espalda. A medida que se desarrolla la historia, la policía encuentra el baúl de Lagrange en la consigna de la Gare du Nord, con un cadáver dentro. El cuerpo resulta ser el de un político, el diputado André Delteil, pero Lagrange se niega a hablar fingiendo estar loco. Mientras tanto, Maigret viaja a Londres en busca del hijo de Lagrange, Alain.

Probablemente esta entrega es una de las últimas ocasiones en que Maigret, para investigar un caso, tiene que viajar fuera de Francia. Más precisamente a Londres, donde los rígidos horarios ingleses lo sorprenderán por completo. Pero volviendo a la historia en cuestión, he encontrado este libro bastante interesante y Simenon, en plena forma, es tan capaz como nadie de mantener la intriga y el suspense de la trama, incluso cuando apenas pasa nada digno de mención. El estilo sobrio de Simenon y el buen ritmo de la narración, ayudan a aumentar el placer de la lectura. El siguiente artículo sobre Maigret and the translators despertó mi apetito por leerlo, y aunque lo disfruté, debo reconocer que no me ha emocionado tanto como esperaba. En cualquier caso, mi entusiasmo por la serie permanece intacto y estoy deseando leer una nueva entrega.

Mi valoración: B (Me gustó)

Sobre el autor: Georges Simenon (Lieja, Bélgica, 1903 – Lausana, Suiza, 1989) escribió ciento noventa y una novelas con su nombre, y un número indefinido de novelas e historias publicadas bajo diferentes seudónimos, así como recuerdos y textos dictados. El comisario Maigret es el protagonista de setenta y cinco de estas novelas y veintiocho relatos cortos, todos publicados entre 1931 y 1972. Famoso en todo el mundo, reconocido como un narrador consagrado, hoy nadie duda de que es uno de los mejores escritores del siglo XX.

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