My Book Notes: The Three Daughters of the Lawyer, 1938 (Maigret s.s.) by Georges Simenon (translated by Jean Stewart)

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

The Three Daughters of the Lawyer (original title: Le Notaire du Châteauneuf) is a  short story by Georges Simenon, published in 1938. It is part of Maigret series. This story was written in Neuilly during the winter of 1937-1938 or in Porquerolles in March 1938. A first version was published in the weekly Police-Film/Police-Roman, No. 8 of June 17, 1938. The final version was included in the collection Les Nouvelles Enquêtes de Maigret published by Gallimard in 1944. The first publication in the United Kingdom, entitled Maigret and the Missing Miniatures, was translated by Mary Scudamore in 1965. It first published in the US in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine also entitled Inspector Maigret and the Missing Miniatures, Vol. 59, #3, N° 340, arch 1972, translated by Mary Scudamore. This translation by Jean Stewart, entitled The Three Daughters of the Lawyer, 1977, is included in Maigret’s Pipe: Seventeen Stories (A Harvest Book) Mariner Books; Reissue 1994. Format: paperback. 336 pages.  ISBN-13: 978-0156551465.

chateauSinopsis: The unexpected visit of Maître Motte, the notary of Châteauneuf-sur-Loire, disrupt Maigret’s tranquil retirement at his home in the banks of the Loire. The notary, a collector of miniature carved and engraved ivory statues, has pieces of great value. He recently noticed that some precious items from his collection have disappeared, without there having been a  burglary. And he requests the help of the former police chief to discover the author of these misdeeds.

My take: Maigret goes, rather grudgingly, under a false name, to the home of the notary where he can observe the daily life of the family. The notary has three daughters: Clotilde, Armande and Emilienne. One of the girls, Armande, will soon get married. Her fiancé, Gérard Donavant, is the son of a famous swindler called The Commodore. Is Gérard the thief? Or is there someone who would like to discredit him by making him look suspicious? The notary’s first clerk, Jean Vidier, for instance. He would have liked to marry Armande in order to inherit the notary’s study one day. Or the notary himself. Maybe he shams a theft to prevent welcoming into his family, to which he wants to be kept in perfect concord, to the son of a swindler? (Source: Maigret’s Journeys in France)

It is of interest to highlight the competences of a notary under the Latin Law system.

In “Latin law”- countries the notary is a high-ranking official with considerable legal skills and training. Unlike the U.S. Notary, he drafts documents, provides legal advice, settles disputes and archives documents.
Like an attorney, a notary is a professional legal adviser with clients who pay for his advice, but like a judge, a notary is appointed by the Crown or by the President ‘for life’.

The second important feature: a notary is independent and more importantly, he is impartial. Unlike a legal advisor or an attorney-at-law, a notary does not act for just one party. Instead he is required to weigh up and balance the interests of all the parties in a certain legal matter. A notary stands, as it were, above the parties. When real property is conveyed, a notary for instance acts for both the vendor and the purchaser. A notary who is always academically trained, is a legal expert on family law, the law of inheritance, business law and property law.

A notary does not appear in court. A notary also records agreements, either because the law requires it or at the parties’ request. The formal document drawn up by a notary is a ‘notarial deed’. (Source: Maigret’s Journeys in France)

All in all a rather unusual Maigret mystery in which the investigation revolves around a robbery, rather than a murder. An easy and pleasing reading in which the author provides a fine portrait of an upper class family, in a provincial town.

My Rating: B (I liked it)

About the Author: Georges Joseph Christian Simenon was a prominent twentieth century Belgian-born French language author. He wrote prolifically and produced nearly 200 novels and other works of fiction. The fictional French detective Jules Maigret is one of his best known creations.

Le Notaire du Châteauneuf

Maigret of the Month: September, 2011

Maigret’s Journeys in France

El notario de Chateauneuf, de Georges Simenon

El notario de Chateauneuf (título original: Le Notaire du Châteauneuf) es un relato breve de Georges Simenon, publicado en 1938. Forma parte de la serie Maigret. Este cuento fue escrito en Neuilly durante el invierno de 1937-1938 o en Porquerolles en marzo de 1938. Una primera versión apareció en el semanario Police-Film/Police-Roman, núm. 8 del 17 de junio de 1938. Se incluyó la versión definitiva en la colección Les Nouvelles Enquêtes de Maigret publicada por Gallimard en 1944.

Sinopsis: La visita inesperada de Maître Motte, el notario de Châteauneuf-sur-Loire, interrumpe el tranquilo retiro de Maigret en su casa en las orillas del Loira. El notario, un coleccionista de estatuas de marfil talladas y grabadas en miniatura, tiene piezas de gran valor. Recientemente notó que algunos objetos preciosos de su colección han desaparecido, sin que haya habido un robo. Y solicita la ayuda del ex jefe de policía para descubrir al autor de estas fechorías.

Mi opinión: Maigret va, de mala gana, con un nombre falso, a la casa del notario, donde puede observar la vida cotidiana de la familia. El notario tiene tres hijas: Clotilde, Armande y Emilienne. Una de las chicas, Armande, pronto se casará. Su prometido, Gérard Donavant, es hijo de un famoso estafador llamado The Commodore. ¿Es Gérard el ladrón? ¿O hay alguien a quien le gustaría desacreditarlo haciendo que parezca sospechoso? El primer empleado del notario, Jean Vidier, por ejemplo. Le hubiera gustado casarse con Armande para heredar el estudio del notario algún día. O el notario mismo. ¿Tal vez él mismo simula un robo para evitar acoger en su familia, a la que quiere mantener en perfecta concordia, al hijo de un estafador? (Fuente: Maigret’s Journeys in France)

En general, es un misterio de Maigret bastante inusual en el que la investigación gira en torno a un robo, en lugar de un asesinato. Una lectura fácil y agradable en la que el autor proporciona un retrato excelente de una familia de clase alta, en una ciudad de provincias.

Mi valoración: B (Me gustó)

Sobre el autor: Georges Joseph Christian Simenon fue un destacado escitor del siglo XX en lengua francesa nacido en Bélgica. Escritor prolífico publicó mas de 200 novelas y varias obras mas de ficción. El imaginario detective francés Jules Maigret es una de sus creaciones más conocidas.

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