Search Results for: Georges Simenon

My Book Notes: Maigret and the Killer, 1969 (Inspector Maigret #70) by Georges Simenon (translated by Shaun Whiteside)

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Penguin Classics, 2019. Format; Kindle Edition. File Size: 2107 KB. Print Length: 1184 pages. ASIN: B07NBZTNHB. ISBN: 978-0-241-30427-3. A pre-original version was published in the daily Le Figaro between 31 July and 29 August 1969 (23 episodes).  First published in French as Maigret et le Tueur by Presses de la Cité 1969. The story was written between 15 and 21 April 1969 in Épalinges (Canton of Vaud), Switzerland. The first English translation came out as Maigret and the Killer in 1971 translated by Lyn Moir published in the US by Harcourt Brace Jovanovic and was followed by its publication in the UK by Hamish Hamilton the same year. It was subsequently published six times with the same translation. This new translation by Shaun Whiteside was first published in 2019.

imageFirst lines: For the first time since they had been going for dinner with the Pardons once a month, Maigret had a memory of the evening at Boulevard Voltaire that it was almost painful. It had started in Boulevard Richard-Lenoir. His wife had phoned for a taxi, because for three days it had, according to the radio, been raining harder than any time in the past thirty-five years. The rain was coming down in sheets, frozen, lashing people’s hands and faces, making their wet clothes stick to their bodies.

Les premières lignes…: Pour la première fois depuis qu’ils dînaient chaque mois chez les Pardon, Maigret devait conserver de cette soirée boulevard Voltaire un souvenir presque pénible. Cela avait commencé boulevard Richard-Lenoir. Sa femme avait commandé un taxi par téléphone, car il pleuvait, depuis trois jours, comme, selon la radio, il n’avait pas plu depuis trente-cinq ans. L’eau tombait par rafales, glacée, vous fouettant le visage et les mains, collant les vêtements mouillés au corps.

Book description: A young man is found dead, clutching his tape recorder, just streets away from Maigret’s home, leading the inspector on a disturbing trail into the mind of a killer.

My take: While Maigret and his wife are dining with the Pardons, the quiet evening is interrupted by the sudden arrival of a neighbour, Gino Pagliati, to tell the doctor that not far away, in Rue Popincourt, there is a man seriously injured, on the pavement. The man has been stabbed several times and dies on arrival at the hospital. According to witnesses he was attacked by one man who was fast to flee away and could not be identified. The victim is Antoine Batille, son of the owner of Mylène Perfumes and Beauty Products. The young Batille was carrying a tape recorder hanging around his neck as if it were a camera. Apparently, his pastime was to record and collect voices and conversations. In the absence of a motive that could explain the crime, the police examine the last recordings. In one a conversation has been recorded wherein some voices appear to be preparing a robbery. Once the voices have been identified, the police keeps the potential burglars under intense surveillance. And, with the help of Superintendent Grojean of the CID, they are caught red-handed while they are plundering a mansion in the outskirts of Paris. However, it doesn’t seem probably one of them could have been the murderer. It is also not clear they would have realise they were being recorded. Besides, none of them took the recorder away and that would have been the only reason to kill the young Batille.

Maigret and the Killer is a good example of a late Maigret novel. The most interesting aspect of this instalment is, perhaps, that, contrary to Maigret usual procedure, in stead of placing the emphasis on the life of the victim, he places the attention here on the life of the murderer, even if not identified yet. I particularly would not recommend it, if you are not familiar with other books in the series, and even though in my view it isn’t among Simenon bests, it is still quite a pleasant read. 

My rating: B (I liked it)

Maigret and the Killer has been reviewed, among others, at Crime Review UK,

About the Author: Georges Simenon (1903-1989) was one of the most prolific writers of the twentieth century, capable of writing 60 to 80 pages per day. His oeuvre includes nearly 200 novels, over 150 novellas, several autobiographical works, numerous articles, and scores of pulp novels written under more than two dozen pseudonyms. Altogether, about 550 million copies of his works have been printed. He is best known, however, for his 75 novels and 28 short stories featuring Commissaire Maigret. The first novel in the series, Pietr-le-Letton, appeared in 1931; the last one, Maigret et M. Charles, was published in 1972. The Maigret novels were translated into all major languages and several of them were turned into films and radio plays. Two television series (1960-63 and 1992-93) have been made in Great Britain. During his “American” period, Simenon reached the height of his creative powers, and several novels of those years were inspired by the context in which they were written. Simenon also wrote a large number of “psychological novels”, as well as several autobiographical works. (Source: Goodreads).

About the Translator: Shaun Whiteside (born in County Tyrone in Northern Ireland in 1959) is a Northern Irish translator of French, Dutch, German, and Italian literature. He has translated many novels, including Manituana and Altai by Wu Ming, The Weekend by Bernhard Schlink, and Magdalene the Sinner by Lilian Faschinger, which won him the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for German Translation in 1997. He graduated with a First in Modern Languages at King’s College, Cambridge. After he finished his studies, he worked as a business journalist and television producer before translating full-time. As he said in a brief interview, “Did I always want to be a translator? I certainly wanted to do something that involved travel and languages, but even when my work in television took me to far-off places, I kept coming back to translation, first for fun, and eventually as a way of earning a living.” Whiteside is the former Chair of the Translators Association of the Society of Authors. He currently lives in London with his wife and son, where he sits on the PEN Writers in Translation committee, the editorial board of New Books in German, and the Advisory Panel of the British Centre for Literary Translation, where he regularly teaches at the summer school.

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Maigret and the Killer 

Maigret of the Month: November, 2009

Tout Maigret

Maigret y el asesino de Georges Simenon

50220459Maigret y el asesino es una novela policíaca de Georges Simenon publicada en 1969. Forma parte de la serie de Maigret. Su escritura se desarrolló entre el 15 y 21 de abril de 1969. Hubo una publicación de una edición preoriginal en el diario Le Figaro entre el 31 de julio y 29 de agosto de 1969 (23 episodios). Traducción al español de Silvia Ruiz. Editorial Luis de Caralt, Barcelona 1972. 158 páginas. (Las novelas de Maigret; 73)

Les premières lignes…: Pour la première fois depuis qu’ils dînaient chaque mois chez les Pardon, Maigret devait conserver de cette soirée boulevard Voltaire un souvenir presque pénible. Cela avait commencé boulevard Richard-Lenoir. Sa femme avait commandé un taxi par téléphone, car il pleuvait, depuis trois jours, comme, selon la radio, il n’avait pas plu depuis trente-cinq ans. L’eau tombait par rafales, glacée, vous fouettant le visage et les mains, collant les vêtements mouillés au corps.

Primeras líneas…: Por primera vez, desde que iban a cenar una vez todos los meses a casa de los Pardon, Maigret conservaría durante tiempo un recuerdo bastante desagradable de aquella velada. Todo comenzó en el bulevar Richard-Lenoir. Su mujer había pedido un taxi por teléfono, ya que llovía desde hacía tres días, como no había llovido, según la radio, desde hacía treinta y cinco años. El agua caía a raudales, helada, azotando el rostro y las manos, llegando a pegar la ropa empapada al cuerpo. (Traducción de Sylvia Ruiz)

Descripción del libro: La intriga se desarrolla en París. Antoine Batille, que acaba de ser asesinado de siete cuchilladas en la calle Popincourt, tenía la manía de coleccionar conversaciones con la ayuda de un magnetófono portátil, como otros hacen fotos. ¿Lo mataron porque sorprendió una conversación comprometedora? En todo caso, la escucha de la última casette grabada por el joven pone a la policía sobre la pista de una cuadrilla de ladrones de cuadros entre los que cuatro miembros son detenidos. (Fuente: Goodreads)

Mi opinión: Mientras Maigret y su esposa cenan con los Pardon, la tranquila velada se ve interrumpida por la llegada repentina de un vecino, Gino Pagliati, para decirle al médico que no muy lejos, en la Rue Popincourt, hay un hombre gravemente herido, en la acera. El hombre ha sido apuñalado varias veces y muere al llegar al hospital. Según testigos, fue atacado por un hombre que se apresuró a huir y no pudo ser identificado. La víctima es Antoine Batille, hijo del propietario de Mylène Perfumes and Beauty Products. El joven Batille llevaba una grabadora colgada del cuello como si fuera una cámara. Al parecer, su pasatiempo era grabar y recopilar voces y conversaciones. A falta de un motivo que pudiera explicar el crimen, la policía examina las últimas grabaciones. En una se ha grabado una conversación en la que algunas voces parecen estar preparando un robo. Una vez que se han identificado las voces, la policía mantiene a los posibles ladrones bajo una intensa vigilancia. Y, con la ayuda del superintendente Grojean del CID, son sorprendidos in fraganti mientras saquean una mansión en las afueras de París. Sin embargo, no parece probable que uno de ellos haya sido el asesino. Tampoco está claro que se hubieran dado cuenta de que estaban siendo grabados. Además, ninguno se llevó la grabadora y esa habría sido la única razón para matar al joven Batille.

Maigret y el asesino es un buen ejemplo de una novela tardía de Maigret. El aspecto más interesante de esta entrega es, quizás, que, contrariamente al procedimiento habitual de Maigret, en lugar de poner el acento en la vida de la víctima, pone aquí la atención en la vida del asesino, aunque aún no esté identificado. Particularmente no lo recomendaría, si no está familiarizado con otros libros de la serie, y aunque en mi opinión no está entre los mejores de Simenon, sigue siendo una lectura bastante agradable.

Mi valoración: B (Me gustó)

Acerca del autor: Georges Simenon (1903-1989) fue uno de los escritores más prolíficos del siglo XX, capaz de escribir de 60 a 80 páginas al día. Su obra incluye cerca de 200 novelas, más de 150 novelas cortas, varias obras autobiográficas, numerosos artículos y decenas de novelas baratas escritas con más de dos docenas de seudónimos. En total, se han hecho alrededor de 550 millones de copias de sus obras. Sin embargo, es más conocido por sus 75 novelas y 28 cuentos con el comisario Maigret. La primera novela de la serie, Pietr-le-Letton, apareció en 1931; la última, Maigret et M. Charles, se publicó en 1972. Las novelas de Maigret se tradujeron a los principales idiomas y varias de ellas se convirtieron en películas y obras de teatro para la radio. En Gran Bretaña se han realizado dos series de televisión (1960-63 y 1992-93). Durante su período “americano”, Simenon alcanzó la cúspide de su capacidad creadora, y varias novelas de esos años se inspiraron en el contexto en el que fueron escritas. Simenon también escribió una gran cantidad de “novelas psicológicas”, así como varias obras autobiográficas.

Maigret and the Informer, 1971 (Inspector Maigret #74) by Georges Simenon (trans.: William Hobson)

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Penguin, 2019. Format; Kindle Edition. File Size: 2234 KB. Print Length: 162 pages. ASIN: B07R7FF1PB. ISBN: 978-0-241-30439-6. First published in French as Maigret et l’indicateur by Presses de la Cité 1971. It was written between 5 and 11 June 1971 in Epalinges (Canton of Vaud), Switzerland. This translation by William Hobson was first published in 2019. It has been published before as Maigret and the Informer in the US and as Maigret and the Flea in the UK, in 1972. The translator then was Lyn Moir.

image (1)First lines… ‘When the telephone rang, Maigret groaned with annoyance. He hadn’t the slightest idea what time it was, and it didn’t occur to him to look at the alarm clock. He was emerging from a deep sleep and still felt a tightness in his chest.
He shuffled over the to the telephone in bare feet like a sleepwalker.’

Les premières lignes… ‘Quand le téléphone sonna et que Maigret manifesta son déplaisir par un grognement, il n’avait pas la moindre idée de l’heure qu’il pouvait être. Il ne pensa pas à regarder le réveille-matin. Il sortait d’un sommeil lourd et ressentait encore un poids sur la poitrine. Pieds nus, d’une démarche de somnambule, il se dirigea vers l’appareil.’

Book description: An anonymous tip-off regarding the death of a restaurant owner sends Maigret into the world of Parisian nightlife, a notorious criminal gang and a man known as ‘the Flea’.

My take: In the middle of the night, a man is found shot dead in Avenue Junot. Maigret is informed immediately. The victim, Maurice Marcia, is the owner of La Sardine, a trendy restaurant on Rue Fontaine. Apparently he wasn’t killed there. The first impression is he was dumped there once dead. Maigret knew him well, everyone in Paris did know him. Back when Maigret was a plain inspector, before Marcia became a respectable citizen, he had him in his office on several occasions for questioning. Maigret himself takes care of breaking the news to Maurice’s wife, Lina, a woman some twenty years younger than her husband, who used to act as a dancer at the Canary before she married him some four years ago. Next, Maigret heads towards La Sardine, where he learns Marcia left the restaurant at around midnight after receiving a phone call. The odd thing about this matter is that Marcia didn’t seem to have any known enemies, no one believes someone would have wish him death.

The following morning Inspector Louis from the ninth arrondissement wants to see Maigret in person. A regular but anonymous informant has just call him to tell Monsieur Maurice was shot by one of the Mori brothers. The Mori brothers, Manuel and Jo have a wholesale fruit and vegetable business on Rue du Caire, but they are suspects of running a criminal gang specialised in burglary of large country villas or mansions within a 150 kilometres radius from Paris. Known as the “chateau  gang”, they are well informed. They know the value of the objects in the houses and when the owners are absent. Maigret decides to keep both brothers and also Madame Marcia under close surveillance waiting for one of them to take a false step.

Maigret and the Informer is one of the last novels featuring Chief Inspector Maigret. It contains most of the elements that we may find regularly in his novels, particularly in the last period. It certainly is not among the best books in the series, though it is not bad either. The outcome, though highly predictable, is very much in line with what could be expected. Perhaps the characters are not as well-defined as on previous novels. I got the impression that, maybe, Simenon found himself already tired of his character and, in my view, some passages are not up to his usual level. However, it is a rather short novel that can be read in one sitting and is apt to spend an entertaining time with no further hassle.

My rating: B (I liked it)

Maigret and the Informer has been reviewed, among others, at Crime Review,

About the Author: Georges Simenon (1903 – 1989) was born in Liège, Belgium. At sixteen he began work as a journalist on the Gazette de Liège. He moved to Paris in 1922 and became a prolific writer of popular fiction, working under a number of pseudonyms. In 1931 he published the first of the novels featuring Maigret, his most famous and enduring creation. (Source: Fantastic Fiction)

About the Translator: Former Contributing Editor at Granta Books, Will Hobson is a critic and translator from the French and German. (Source: English Pen)

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Maigret et l’Indicateur 

Maigret of the Month: March, 2010

Tout Maigret

Maigret y el confidente, de Georges Simenon

Primeras líneas … ‘Cuando sonó el teléfono Maigret manifestó su disgusto con un gruñido. No tenía idea de qué hora sería, ni pensó en mirar el despertador. Estaba saliendo de un sueño profundo y todavía sentía un peso sobre su pecho. Descalzo, con paso de sonámbulo, caminó hacia el aparato.’ (Mi traducción libre)

Descripción del libro: Un comunicado anónimo sobre la muerte del dueño de un restaurante envía a Maigret al mundo de la vida nocturna de París, a una conocida banda criminal y a un hombre conocido como ‘la Pulga’.

Mi opinión: En medio de la noche, un hombre es hallado muerto a tiros en Avenue Junot. Maigret es informado de inmediato. La víctima, Maurice Marcia, es propietario de La Sardine, un restaurante de moda en la Rue Fontaine. Aparentemente no fue asesinado allí. La primera impresión es que fue arrojado allí una vez muerto. Maigret lo conocía bien, todos en París lo conocían. Cuando Maigret era un simple inspector, antes de que Marcia se convirtiera en un ciudadano respetable, lo tuvo en su oficina en varias ocasiones para interrogarlo. El propio Maigret se encarga de darle la noticia a la mujer de Maurice, Lina, una mujer unos veinte años menor que su esposo, que solía actuar como bailarina en el Canary antes de casarse con él hace unos cuatro años. A continuación, Maigret se dirige a La Sardine, donde descubre que Marcia salió del restaurante alrededor de la medianoche después de recibir una llamada telefónica. Lo extraño de este asunto es que Marcia no parecía tener enemigos conocidos, nadie cree que alguien le hubiera deseado la muerte.

A la mañana siguiente, el inspector Louis, del noveno distrito, quiere ver a Maigret en persona. Un informante regular pero anónimo acaba de llamarlo para decirle que monsieur Maurice recibió un disparo de uno de los hermanos Mori. Los hermanos Mori, Manuel y Jo tienen un negocio mayorista de frutas y verduras en la Rue du Caire, pero son sospechosos de dirigir una banda criminal especializada en el robo de grandes villas o mansiones en un radio de 150 kilómetros de París. Conocidos como la “banda del castillo”, están bien informados. Conocen el valor de los objetos en las casas y cuándo los propietarios están ausentes. Maigret decide mantener a ambos hermanos y también a Madame Marcia bajo estrecha vigilancia esperando que uno de ellos dé un paso en falso.

Maigret y el conficente es una de las últimas novelas protagonizadas por el inspector jefe Maigret. Contiene la mayoría de los elementos que podemos encontrar regularmente en sus novelas, particularmente en el último período. Ciertamente no se encuentra entre los mejores libros de la serie, aunque tampoco está mal. El resultado, aunque altamente predecible, está muy en línea con lo que podría esperarse. Quizás los personajes no están tan bien definidos como en novelas anteriores. Me dio la impresión de que, tal vez, Simenon ya se encontraba cansado de su personaje y, en mi opinión, algunos pasajes no están a la altura de su nivel habitual. Sin embargo, es una novela bastante corta que se puede leer de una sentada y es apta para pasar un rato entretenido sin mayores problemas.

Mi valoración: B (Me gustó)

Sobre el autor: Georges Simenon (1903 – 1989) nació en Lieja, Bélgica. A los dieciséis años comenzó a trabajar como periodista en la Gazette de Lieja. Se trasladó a París en 1922 y se convirtió en un prolífico escritor de novelas populares, publicadas bajo varios seudónimos. En 1931 publicó la primera de las novelas protagonizadas por Maigret, su creación más famosa y duradera.

My Book Notes: Maigret and the Nahour Case, 1966 (Inspector Maigret #65) by Georges Simenon (tr. William Hobson)

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Penguin Classics, 2019. Format; Kindle Edition. File Size: 3170 KB. Print Length: 165 pages. ASIN: B07GRC3M66. ISBN: 978-0-241-30416-7. A pre-original version was published in the daily Le Figaro from 22 November to 23 December 1966 (27 episodes). First published in French as Maigret et l’affaire Nahour by Presses de la Cité in December 1966. The story was written between February 2 and 8, 1966 in Épalinges (Canton of Vaud), Switzerland. The first UK edition came out as Maigret and the Nahour Case in 1967, the first American edition was published as Maigret and the Nahour Case in 1982. The translator, in both cases, was Alastair Hamilton. This translation by William Hobson was first published in 2019.

imageOpening sentence: ‘Il se débattait, acculé à se défendre puisqu’on l’empoignait traîtreusement par l’épaule. Il tenta même de frapper du poing, avec l’humiliante sensation que son bras ne lui obéissait pas et restait mou, comme ankylosé. – Qui est-ce ? cria-t-il en se rendant vaguement compte que cette question n’était pas tout à fait adéquate. Émit-il réellement un son ? – Jules !… Le téléphone…’

‘He was struggling, forced to defend himself because someone had unexpectedly grabbed hold of his shoulder. He even tried to throw a punch and had the humiliating feeling that his arm wasn’t responding but just lay limp at his side as though paralysed.
‘Who’s that?’ he shouted, vaguely aware that it wasn’t the right question exactly.
Had he even really made a sound?
‘Jules! The telephone . . . ‘

Book description: Maigret is called to the home of professional gambler, Felix Nahour, who has been found shot dead by his chambermaid. Maigret is shocked to recognise a photo of the man’s wife who becomes the main suspect. All signs point to her guilt but Maigret suspects there might be more to this complicated affair.

My take: The story unfolds one cold January night in Paris. The telephone awakes Maigret at 1.30 a.m. Dr Pardon urges him to come and see him at the earliest, what seems pretty strange since just a few hours before, Maigret and his wife were having dinner with the Pardons. Anyhow, he rushes to get to his friend’s house and finds him worried for something that has just happened to him. A moment ago, a young couple presented themselves unexpectedly to his house. The woman was displaying a gunshot injury of little significance on her back, but she doesn’t speak a word. The young man relates him such an absurd story that seems obviously invented, however, Dr Pardon agrees to treat her first and ask them afterwards. Once completed the cure, the couple takes advantage of a distraction by Dr Pardon, and disappears without leaving their personal details, as requires in such cases. Maigret reassures his friend that he has nothing to fear. The next morning, Felix Nahour, a professional gambler, is found murdered in his house by the cleaning lady. At his desk Maigret finds the portrait of his wife, Lina Nahour. Her description fits the one given by Dr Pardon of the young woman who came to his practise that very same night and she becomes the main suspect of her husband’s murder.

Maigret and the Nahour Case is one of the novels that belongs to the last part of the saga and I was pleasantly surprised. I had been under the impression that the quality of Maigret stories tended to decrease over the time, and this book has proved me I was wrong. Besides, it had been quite a while since I read my last Maigret  and I was eager to meet up with an old friend. In this instalment, Maigret has to deal with suspects and witnesses who, systematically, refuse to collaborate in the investigation, answering with monosyllables, not telling the truth, and somehow hiding all they know. Besides, Maigret finds himself misplaced, in a milieu with which he is not familiar and in which he doesn’t feel comfortable. Maigret and the Nahour Case, on account of its brevity, can be easily read in one sitting. Almost everything in it, the characterisation, the atmosphere, the pace, the plot and the dialogues, are very close to perfection. Maigret’s  humanity becomes evident when, at the end, he can’t hold to his promise when he must testify under oath during the trial. 

My rating: A (I loved it)

Maigret and the Nahour Case at Georges Simenon & Maigret International Dailyblog, Crime Review UK,

About the Author: Georges Simenon was born on 12 February 1903 in Liège, Belgium and died in 1989 in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he had lived for the latter part of his life. Between 1931 amd 1972 he published seventy-five novels and twenty-eight short stories featuring inspector Maigret.

Simenon always resisted identifying himself with his famous literary character, but acknowledged that they shared and important characteristic:

My motto, to the extent that I have one, has been noted often enough, and I’ve always conformed to it. It’s the one I’ve given to old Maigret, who resembles me in certain points . . . . ‘Understand and judge not.’

Penguin is publishing the entire series of Maigret novels. (Source: Penguin)

About the Translator: Former Contributing Editor at Granta Books, Will Hobson is a critic and translator from the French and German, whose translations include Viramma: A Pariah’s Life, Viramma (Verso); The Battle, Patrick Rambaud (Picador); Sans Moi, Marie Desplechin (Granta); Benares, Barlen Pyamootoo (Canongate); and The Dead Man in the Bunker, Martin Pollack (Faber). He writes for the Independent on Sunday, the Observer and Granta magazine, and translated Greenpeace’s presentation to the Pope before the Kyoto Summit into Latin. (Source: English Pen)

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Maigret and the Nahour Case 

Maigret of the Month: June, 2009

Tout Maigret

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Georges Simenon’s Maigret Books by Helen MacLeod

Maigret y el caso Nahour, de Georges Simenon

Frase inicial: ‘Luchó, acorralado para defenderse ya que fue agarrado traicioneramente por el hombro. Incluso trató de golpear con su puño, con la humillante sensación de que su brazo no lo obedecía y permanecía flácido, como anquilosado. – Quién es ? gritó, dándose cuenta vagamente de que esta pregunta no era del todo adecuada. ¿Realmente emitió el un sonido? – ¡Jules! … El teléfono … ” (Mi traducción libre)

‘Estaba luchando, obligado a defenderse porque alguien lo había agarrado inesperadamente del hombro. Incluso trató de lanzar un puñetazo y tuvo la humillante sensación de que su brazo no estaba respondiendo, sino que simplemente yacía inerte a su lado como paralizado.
“¿Quién es?”, Gritó, vagamente consciente de que no era exactamente la pregunta correcta.
¿Realmente había emitido un sonido?
‘Jules! El telefono . . . ‘ (mi traducción libre)

Descripción del libro: Maigret acude a la casa de Felix Nahour, un jugador profesional, que fue encontrado muerto por su señora de la limpieza. Maigret se sorprende al reconocer una foto de la esposa de éste que se convierte en la principal sospechosa. Todas los indicios señalan su culpabilidad, pero Maigret sospecha que podría haber más en este complicado asunto.

Mi opinión: La historia se desarrolla una fría noche de enero en París. El teléfono despierta a Maigret a la 1.30 de la mañana. El Dr. Pardon le ruega que vaya a verle lo antes posible, lo que parece bastante extraño ya que solo unas horas atrás, Maigret y su esposa estaban cenando con los Pardon. De todos modos, se apresura a llegar a casa de su amigo y lo encuentra preocupado por algo que le acaba de suceder. Hace un momento, una joven pareja se presentó inesperadamente a su casa. La mujer mostraba una herida de bala de poca importancia en la espalda, pero no dice una palabra. El joven le cuenta una historia tan absurda que parece obviamente inventada, sin embargo, el Dr. Pardon acepta tratarla primero y preguntarles después. Una vez completada la cura, la pareja aprovecha una distracción del Dr. Pardon y desaparece sin dejar sus datos personales, como se requiere en tales casos. Maigret le asegura a su amigo que no tiene nada que temer. A la mañana siguiente, Felix Nahour, un jugador profesional, es encontrado asesinado en su casa por la señora de la limpieza. En su escritorio, Maigret encuentra el retrato de su esposa, Lina Nahour. Su descripción se ajusta a la que le dio el Dr. Pardon de la joven que acudió a su consulta esa misma noche y se convierte en la principal sospechosa del asesinato de su esposo.

Maigret y el caso Nahour es una de las novelas que pertenece a la última parte de la saga y me sorprendió gratamente. Tenía la impresión de que la calidad de las historias de Maigret tendía a disminuir con el tiempo, y este libro me ha demostrado que estaba equivocado. Además, había pasado bastante tiempo desde que leí mi último Maigret y estaba ansioso por encontrarme con un viejo amigo. En esta entrega, Maigret tiene que lidiar con sospechosos y testigos que, sistemáticamente, se niegan a colaborar en la investigación, respondiendo con monosílabos, sin decir la verdad, y de alguna manera ocultando todo lo que saben. Además, Maigret se encuentra fuera de lugar, en un entorno con el que no está familiarizado y en el que no se siente cómodo. Maigret y el caso Nahour, debido a su extensión, se pueden leer fácilmente de una sentada. Casi todo lo que contiene, la caracterización, la atmósfera, el ritmo, la trama y los diálogos, están muy cerca de la perfección. La humanidad de Maigret se hace evidente cuando, al final, no puede cumplir su promesa cuando debe testificar bajo juramento durante el juicio.

Mi valoración: A (Me encantó)

Sobre el autor: Georges Simenon nació el 12 de febrero de 1903 en Lieja, Bélgica y murió en 1989 en Lausana, Suiza, donde vivió la última parte de su vida. Entre 1931 y 1972 publicó setenta y cinco novelas y veintiocho relatos breves protagonizados por el inspector Maigret.

Simenon siempre se resistió a identificarse con su famoso personaje literario, pero reconoció que comparten una característica importante:

Mi lema, en el caso de que tenga uno, se ha destacado a menudo, y siempre me he adaptado a él. Es el que le di al viejo Maigret, que se parece a mí en ciertos aspectos. . . . “Comprende y no juzgues”.

Penguin está publicando toda la serie de las novelas de Maigret. (Fuente: Penguin)

Georges Simenon (1903 – 1989) Last Updated 6 March 2020

This blog entry was first intended as a private note, but I thought it may be of some interest to regular or occasional readers of this blog. Most of the information has been taken from the excellent blog site The Maigret Forum and from Maigret’s World: A Reader’s Companion to Simenon’s Famous Detective by Murielle Wenger and Stephen Trussel. In bold I have highlighted the books that are my favourites. Some believe that Maigret’s bests can be found in The Gallimard cycle but my personal preference tend towards the Fayard cycle and, more recently, among the ones written after his return to Europe, particularly those written on Swiss soil, in Noland, Echandens (Canton of Vaud). Please bear in mind that this is a work in progress, you may read my reviews of the books I’ve read so far clicking on the books’ titles. Comments are welcome.

simenon_georgesAbout the Author: Georges Simenon, in full Georges-Joseph-Christian Simenon, (born Feb. 13, 1903, Liège, Belg.—died Sept. 4, 1989, Lausanne, Switz.), was a French-speaking Belgian novelist whose prolific output surpassed that of any of his contemporaries, and who was perhaps the most widely published author of the 20th century. He began working on a local newspaper at age 16, and at 19 he went to Paris determined to be successful.

Simenon was one of the most prolific writers of the twentieth century, capable of writing 60 to 80 pages per day. His oeuvre includes nearly 200 novels, over 150 novellas, several autobiographical works, numerous articles, and scores of pulp novels written under more than two dozen pseudonyms. Altogether, about 550 million copies of his works have been printed. He is best known, however, for his 75 novels and 28 short stories featuring Commissaire Maigret. The first novel in the series, Pietr-le-Letton [The Case of Peter the Lett], was serialized in 1930 and appeared in book form in 1931; the last one, Maigret et Monsieur Charles [Maigret and Monsieur Charles], was published in 1972. The Maigret novels were translated into all major languages and several of them were turned into films and radio plays. Three television series (1960–63, 1992–93 and 2016-), have been made in Great Britain (the first with Rupert Davies in the title role, the second with Michael Gambon and the third with Rowan Atkinson), one in Italy in four different seasons for a total of 36 episodes (1964–72) starring Gino Cervi and two in France: (1967–1990) starring Jean Richard and (1991–2005) starring Bruno Cremer. Simenon also wrote a large number of “psychological novels” (what the French refer to as “romans durs”), such as Coup de Lune (1933) [Tropic Moon], L’homme qui regardait passer les trains (1938) [The Man Who Watched the Trains Go By], Les Inconnus dans la maison (1940), [The Strangers in the House], La Veuve Couderc (1942) [The Widow], La Fuite de Monsieur Monde (1945) [Monsieur Monde Vanishes], Trois Chambres à Manhattan (1945)[Three Bedrooms in Manhattan], La Neige était sale (1948) [Dirty Snow], Feux Rouges, (1953) [Red Lights], as well as several autobiographical works, in particular Je me souviens (1945), Pedigree (1948), Mémoires intimes (1981).

Despite these other works, Simenon remains inextricably linked with Inspector Maigret, who is one of the best-known characters in detective fiction. Unlike those fictional detectives who rely on their immense deductive powers or on police procedure, Maigret solves murders using mainly his psychological intuition and a patiently sought, compassionate understanding of the perpetrator’s motives and emotional composition. Simenon’s central theme is the essential humanity of even the isolated, abnormal individual and the sorrow at the root of the human condition. Employing a style of rigorous simplicity, he evokes a prevailing atmosphere of neurotic tensions with sharp economy.

In 1966, Simenon was given the MWA’s highest honour, the Grand Master Award. Simenon, who travelled to more than 30 countries, lived in the United States for more than a decade, starting in 1945; he later lived in France and Switzerland. At the age of 70 he stopped writing novels, though he continued to write nonfiction. He died on 4th September 1989, in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The ‘proto-Maigrets’. Although Simenon himself proclaimed that “Pietr-le-letton” was “the first Maigret”, the character Maigret had appeared before in four novels written under pseudonyms, and which are referred to as the ‘proto-Maigrtes’. ‘Train de Nuit’, ‘La figurante’ aka ‘La jeune fille aux perles’, ‘La femme rousse’ and ‘La maison de l’inquiétude’. Particularly one can wonder why La maison de l’inquiétude [The House of Anxiety], considered by Simenon scholars as the best of the ‘proto-Maigrets,’ is not included among the official novels of the saga. The answer can be found on Maigret’s World: ‘A Reader’s Companion to Simenon’s Famous Detective’ by Murielle Wenger and Stephen Trussel, ‘… above al, what makes it different from the novels of the saga, is that while Maigret is at the front of the stage, it’s still describe by a narrator –and therefore seen by the reader–“from outside.” Simenon “tells” how the Chief Inspector feels things, how he imagines them, how he tries to understand. That’s the difference in the novels which follow, where Maigret’s impressions are described “from inside”, as if the world of the story were seen through the eyes of its main character. In the official saga, the reader “sees and thinks” through Maigret, he experiences things as Maigret experiences them, and its Simenon’s talent that he succeeds at moving from a neutral and “objective” narration of a detective story, into a “subjective” view of an investigation, where the reader finds himself taking the part of the hero.’

The Early Maigrets, (The 19 novels of the Fayard cycle): Pietr the Latvian (Inspector Maigret #1), The Late Monsieur Gallet (Inspector Maigret #2), The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien (Inspector Maigret #3), The Carter of ‘La Providence’ (Inspector Maigret #4), The Yellow Dog (Inspector Maigret #5), Night at the Crossroads (Inspector Maigret #6), A Crime in Holland (Inspector Maigret #7), The Grand Banks Café (Inspector Maigret #8), A Man’s Head (Inspector Maigret #9), The Dancer at the Gai-Moulin (Inspector Maigret #10), The Two-Penny Bar, (Inspector Maigret #11), The Shadow Puppet (Inspector Maigret #12), The Saint-Fiacre Affair (Inspector Maigret #13), The Flemish House (Inspector Maigret #14), The Madman of Bergerac (Inspector Maigret #15), The Misty Harbour (Inspector Maigret #16), Liberty Bar (Inspector Maigret #17), Lock Nº 1 (Inspector Maigret #18), and Maigret (Inspector Maigret #19)

“In April 1933, Simenon wrote L’écluse nº1, with the intent that it be the last in the series. In this novel Maigret is getting ready to retire professionally, as his author was getting ready to retire him literarily. And as Simenon has decided to leave Fayard, too dedicated to “popular novels and detective stories,” in October 1934 he signs a contract with a new publisher, Gallimard. But Simenon received numerous appeals … from readers …, and from the editor of the daily Le Jour, asking him for one more Maigret. And so he agreed to revive his hero.”

The Gallimard cycle (6 novels): “At the insistence of Gallimard, contemplating the substantial revenues the Maigret texts could generate, Simenon yielded in October 1936, and wrote a first series of nine stories featuring the Chief Inspector. And he will turn him back again in 1938, writing another series of ten stories in which Maigret is the hero. Eight of these ten stories will from, along with the nine of 1936, the collection published in 1944 by Gallimard under the title Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret. Between 1939 and 1943 Simenon wrote first two stories with Maigret again on active duty, then six novels published in two collections by Gallimard –Maigret revient in 1942, containing the novels: Cécile is Dead (Inspector Maigret #20); The Cellars of the Majestic (Inspector Maigret #21); and  The Judge’s House (Inspector Maigret #22); and the collection Signed Picpus, published in 1944, containing the novels: Signed, Picpus (Inspector Maigret #23); Inspector Cadaver Inspector Maigret #24), and Félicie (Inspector Maigret #25).”

The Presses de la Cité cycle (50 novels). “In June 1945 Simenon wrote a short story entitled La pipe de Maigret. Then in August he wrote another short novel to appear in France-Soir, Maigret se fâche, where his hero is, once more retired. Simenon was probably thinking of relieving himself of his character, at the same time as he left “old Europe” to discover the New World. But most likely his new editor, Les Presses de la Cité, was also counting on Simenon to bring his renown, and a few novels on the investigations of Maigret. And so Simenon wrote a new Maigret in which the Chief Inspector is once more retired, Maigret à New York. But this will be the last time he portrayed him as retired. Henceforth, and until the last novel of the saga, Maigret will be on active duty at the Quai des Orfèvres. First Simenon will put his Chief Inspector back into service in the four short stories which appeared in the collection Maigret et l’inspector Malgracieux, then, in November 1947 will have him lead an investigation while the Chief Inspector is on holiday, Les vacances de Maigret. It is of interest to note that his novella, Un Noël de Maigret and his novel Les mémories de Maigret are situated exactly in the centre of his chronology (May and September 1950), as if he wanted to do an update of his hero, before launching him on a series of new investigations. In 1953, with Maigret a peur, there appears a first hint of what will become a constact in the rest of the saga, Maigret’s reflections on aging and the approach of retirement. Maigret se trompe, Maigret à l’école (both in 1953), Maigret et la jeune morte, Maigret chez le ministre (both in 1954), and Maigret et le corps sans tête (1955) are the last Maigret novels written in American soil.

Chronologically I’m going to divide this cycle in three groups:

a) The United States and Canada Period, 1945 – 1955: Maigret Gets Angry (Inspector Maigret #26), Maigret in New York (Inspector Maigret #27), Maigret’s Holiday (Inspector Maigret #28), Maigret and His Dead Man (Inspector Maigret #29), Maigret’s First Case (Inspector Maigret #30), My Friend Maigret (Inspector Maigret #31), Maigret at the Coroner’s (Inspector Maigret #32), Maigret and the Old Lady (Inspector Maigret #33), Madame Maigret’s Friend (Inspector Maigret #34), Maigret’s Memoirs (Inspector Maigret #35), Maigret at Picratt’s (Inspector Maigret #36), Maigret Takes a Room (Inspector Maigret #37), Maigret and the Tall Woman (Inspector Maigret #38), Maigret, Lognon and the Gangsters (Inspector Maigret #39), Maigret’s Revolver (Inspector Maigret #40), Maigret and the Man on the Bench (Inspector Maigret #41), Maigret is Afraid (Inspector Maigret #42), Maigret’s Mistake (Inspector Maigret #43), Maigret Goes to School (Inspector Maigret #44), Maigret and the Dead Girl (Inspector Maigret #45), Maigret and the Minister (Inspector Maigret #46), Maigret and the Headless Corpse (Inspector Maigret #47).

“Maigret tend un piège (1955) is the first written by Simenon after his definitive return to Europe, and it inaugurates in a way a “turning point” in his character’s career, in the sense that the Chief Inspector’s investigations will tend more an more to approach the author’s questions with regard to Man, his responsibility and fate, and the legitimacy of the judiciary and the police machine. The titles of the upcoming novels reflect well this evolution: Un échec de Maigret (1956), Les Scrupules de Maigret (1958) and Maigret hésite (1968). After two novels with a little “lighter” (a lightness also felt in the titles Maigret s’amuse (1956) and then Maigret voyage (1958), the first written on Swiss soil, at Echandes, and in which the author “amuses himself” by leading his character from one corner of France to another, and to Switzerland, as he himself has just done) Les Scrupules de Maigret(1957) is not only a novel where the Chief Inspector ask himself questions about the responsibility of criminals, and of Man in general, but it’s also atypical in the sense that the investigation the Chief Inspector leads is made before the crime rather than after. The following novels will reflect anew all these questions: the effects of aging (Maigret et les témoins récalcitrant 1958), the position of Man in the face of the judiciary Une confidence de Maigret and Maigret aux assises, both 1959). Themes we will see taken up again, supplemented by others, in the novels of the last part of the saga, like the deepening relationship between Maigret and his wife, the refined culinary tastes of the Chief Inspector, and the reminiscence of his childhood. And sometimes Simenon, wanting to treat a theme in a “psychological novel,” doesn’t do so, and uses his Chief Inspector to accomplish his project (as is the case of Maigret et les vieillards, written in 1960).”

b) The Return to Europe, 1955 – 1963: Maigret Sets a Trap (Inspector Maigret #48), Maigret’s Failure (Inspector Maigret #49), Maigret Enjoys Himself (Inspector Maigret #50), Maigret Travels (Inspector Maigret #51), Maigret`s Doubts (Inspector Maigret #52), Maigret and the Reluctant Witnesses (Inspector Maigret #53), Maigret’s Secret (Inspector Maigret #54), Maigret in Court (Inspector Maigret #55), Maigret and the Old People (Inspector Maigret #56), Maigret and the Lazy Burglar (Inspector Maigret #57), Maigret and the Good People of Montparnasse (Inspector Maigret #58), Maigret and the Saturday Caller (Inspector Maigret #59), Maigret and the Tramp (Inspector Maigret #60), Maigret’s Anger (Inspector Maigret #61), and Maigret And The Ghost (Inspector Maigret #62).

c) The Last Part of the Saga, 1964 – 1972: Maigret Defends Himself (Inspector Maigret #63), Maigret’s Patience (Inspector Maigret #64), Maigret and the Nahour Case (Inspector Maigret #65), Maigret’s Pickpocket (Inspector Maigret #66), Maigret Hesitates (Inspector Maigret #67), Maigret in Vichy (Inspector Maigret #68), Maigret’s Childhood Friend (Inspector Maigret #69), Maigret and the Killer (Inspector Maigret #70), Maigret and the Wine Merchant (Inspector Maigret #71), Maigret’s Madwoman (Inspector Maigret #72), Maigret and the Loner (Inspector Maigret #73), Maigret and the Informer (Inspector Maigret #74) and Maigret and Monsieur Charles (Inspector Maigret #75).

“In December 1963 Simenon relocated to Epalinges, and it wasn’t until July of 1964 that the author once more took up his pen and began with Maigret se defend. In 1965, he wrote La patience de Maigret, which forms, in a way, a diptych with the preceding novel….. In February 1972 Simenon wrote Maigret et Monsieur Charles, He didn’t know it, but that was the final novel in the Maigret saga, and his last novel of all..… Chance or irony of fate –or perhaps a premonition?–in Maigret et Monsieur Charles, he tells how Maigret, in the evening of a fine career, was offered the position of Director of the PJ, and how the Chief Inspector refused, because he wanted to remain a man of the earth, to continue his infinite quest in search of the human.

The 28 Maigret short stories: The majority of Maigret short stories translated into English are available in two books: Maigret’s Pipe: Seventeen Stories by Georges Simenon and Maigret’s Christmas: Nine Stories. Three of this stories, previously untranslated into English, are now available at the excellent website Maigret Forum: The Group at the Grand Café (1938); The Unlikely Monsieur Owen (1938) and Death Threats (1942). The maths doesn’t work, there’re actually eighteen stories in the first book and in the second there’s a non-Maigret story and another listed now among Maigret novels.”

Following the order suggested at Maigret Forum, the 28 short stories are: Two Bodies on a Barge (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Pipe: Seventeen Stories; The Mysterious Affair in the Boulevard Beaumarchais (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Pipe: Seventeen Stories; The Open Window (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Pipe: Seventeen Stories; Mr. Monday (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Pipe: Seventeen Stories; Jeumont, 51 Minutes’ Stop! (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Pipe: Seventeen Stories; Death Penalty (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Pipe: Seventeen Stories; Death of a Woodlander (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Pipe: Seventeen Stories; In the Rue Pigalle (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Pipe: Seventeen Stories; Maigret’s Mistake (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Pipe: Seventeen Stories; Madame Maigret’s Admirer (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Pipe: Seventeen Stories; The Old Lady of Bayeux (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Pipe: Seventeen Stories; The Drowned Men’s Inn (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Pipe: Seventeen Stories; Stan the Killer (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Pipe: Seventeen Stories; At the Étoile du Nord (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Pipe: Seventeen Stories; Storm in the Channel (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Pipe: Seventeen Stories; Mademoiselle Berthe and her Lover (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Pipe: Seventeen Stories; The Three Daughters of the Lawyer (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Pipe: Seventeen Stories; The Unlikely M. Owen (tr. Stephen Trussel); The Group at the Grand Café (tr. Stephen Trussel); The Man in the Street (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Christmas: Nine Stories; Sale by Auction (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Christmas: Nine Stories; Death Threats (tr. Stephen Trussel); Maigret’s Pipe (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Pipe: Seventeen Stories; Death of a Nobody (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Christmas: Nine Stories; The Evidence of the Altar-Boy (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Christmas: Nine Stories; The Most Obstinate Customer in the World (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Christmas: Nine Stories; Maigret and the Surly Inspector (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Christmas: Nine Stories, and Maigret’s Christmas (tr. Jean Stewart) in Maigretʻs Christmas: Nine Stories.

As a footnote, I would like to add that “the length of the novels varies between 78 and 121 pages, while the short stories size is much more varied. It ranges from the 47 pages of Maigret’s Christmas to the 8 pages of stories such as Mr. Monday, Death Penalty, Death of a Woodlander, In the Rue Pigalle and Maigret’s Mistake. In fact, very few novels may be considered novels strictly speaking, that is to say with an extension of more than 40.000 words. The majority are novellas in size (between 17.000 and 40.000 words). Sixteen of the so-called short stories are novelettes (between 7.500 and 17.000 words) and the rest are short stories (between 3.500 and 7.500 words).” 

2970

(Source: Facsimile Dustjacket The Crime of Inspector Maigret, by Georges Simenon. Covici-Friede Publishers (USA), 1932)

The Crime of Inspector Maigret is a novel by the Belgian writer Georges Simenon. The original French-language version Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien appeared in 1931: it is one of the earliest novels by Simenon featuring the detective Jules Maigret. The first English translation, by Anthony Abbot, entitled The Crime of Inspector Maigret, appeared in 1932, published by Covici, Friede in New York. In 1963 a translation by Tony White, Maigret and the Hundred Gibbets, was published by Penguin Books. A translation by Linda Coverdale, The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien, appeared in 2014, published by Penguin Classics. (Source: Wikipedia)

Read more at: Mike Grost on Georges Simenon; The Maigret Forum

My Book Notes: Maigret’s Childhood Friend, 1968 (Inspector Maigret #69) by Georges Simenon (tr. Shaun Whiteside)

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

Penguin Classics, 2019. Format; Kindle Edition. File Size: 4928 KB. Print Length: 177 pages. ASIN: B07MBRGYDR. ISBN: 978-0-241-30424-2. A pre-original version was published in the daily Le Figaro between 3 and 31 December (25 episodes).  First published in French as L’Ami d’enfance de Maigret by Presses de la Cité in 1968. The story was written between 18 and 24 June 1968 in Épalinges (Canton of Vaud), Switzerland. The first English translation came out as Maigret’s Boyhood Friend in 1970. Six subsequent editions followed through 2003, all with the same title. The translator for all was Eileen Ellenbogen. This translation by Shaun Whiteside was first published in 2019.

imageOpening sentence:The fly buzzed around his head three times before settling on the top left-hand corner of the page of the report he was annotating.’ Original version: “La mouche tourna trois fois autour de sa tête et vint se poser sur la page du rapport qu’il était en train d’annoter, tou en haut, dans le coin gauche.”)

Book description: A visit from a long-lost schoolmate who has fallen on hard times forces Maigret to unpick a seedy tangle of love affairs in Montmartre, and to confront the tragedy of a wasted life. This novel has been published in a previous translation as Maigret’s Boyhood Friend.

My take: Maigret’s Childhood Friend takes place during the month of June in Paris. The story unfolds within the course of approximately one week. It begins when Maigret receives the unexpected visit of a fellow pupil of his at the Lycée Banville in Moulins, Léon Florentin, who finds himself in an awkward situation that afternoon. That’s why he came to see him. It has occurred to him that Maigret would be the only person to understand him. He was sitting quietly in the living room after having had lunch with his girlfriend for four years, Joséphine Papet, but she prefers Josée, at her place in Rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, when the doorbell rang. They weren’t expecting anybody and he hurried to hide himself in a wardrobe, something he had already done in other occasions. Though he is her lover, her friend and her confident, Josée has other lovers who come and see her regularly, without getting to know each other among them. In fact, neither of them, except Florentin, is aware of the existence of the others, and each one believes to be the only one to maintain her. Barely a quarter of an hour has passed when he heard a sound like a gunshot, but he didn’t get out of his hiding place until realising that the door to the apartment had opened and closed again. Coming out of the wardrobe he found Josée’s body, lying on the floor. There was no doubt she has been murdered. Florentin swears Maigret it was not him who murdered Josée. Maigret would like to believe him, but the circumstances suggest the opposite.  Besides, Florentin happens to be a pathological liar and cannot offer a coherent account why he waited so long to notify the murder, nor even of what he did in the mean time.

During the course of the investigation Maigret realises that neither Florentin, nor Madame Blanc, the concierge at Rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, are telling the truth and that they hide something. Eventually, Maigret finds out who are Josée Papet’s other four lovers, though neither seem to have any motive for having murder her. Madame Blanc denies having seen anyone entering or leaving the house at the time the crime was committed. Despite the circumstances suggesting the opposite, Maigret wants to believe in Florentin innocence. After all, he was a former classmate, but he wonders whether this is not the reason why he has not yet proceed to formally charged him.

Maigret’s Childhood Friend is the 97th Simenon’s book in order of publication, and this novel makes the 69th in Penguin’s modern series of translations. Despite the amount of time gone by since the publication of the first novel in the series, Pietr-le-Letton in 1931, it is comforting to discover that Simenon has not lost a whit of his storytelling mastery. For my taste, Maigret’s Childhood Friend can easily be included among his best Maigrets, perhaps by its apparent simplicity. I have really enjoyed it very much. An excellent example of a late Maigret that I thoroughly recommend, though it might no be the best Maigret to begin reading if you are not yet familiar with the series. The story is nicely crafted and the resolution of the mystery turns out spotless, at the purest Maigret style.

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

Maigret’s Childhood Friend at Georges Simenon & Maigret International Dailyblog, The Budapest Times,

About the Author: Georges Simenon (1903-1989) was one of the most prolific writers of the twentieth century, capable of writing 60 to 80 pages per day. His oeuvre includes nearly 200 novels, over 150 novellas, several autobiographical works, numerous articles, and scores of pulp novels written under more than two dozen pseudonyms. Altogether, about 550 million copies of his works have been printed. He is best known, however, for his 75 novels and 28 short stories featuring Commissaire Maigret. The first novel in the series, Pietr-le-Letton, appeared in 1931; the last one, Maigret et M. Charles, was published in 1972. The Maigret novels were translated into all major languages and several of them were turned into films and radio plays. Two television series (1960-63 and 1992-93) have been made in Great Britain. During his “American” period, Simenon reached the height of his creative powers, and several novels of those years were inspired by the context in which they were written. Simenon also wrote a large number of “psychological novels”, as well as several autobiographical works. (Source: Goodreads).

About the Translator: Shaun Whiteside (born in County Tyrone in Northern Ireland in 1959) is a Northern Irish translator of French, Dutch, German, and Italian literature. He has translated many novels, including Manituana and Altai by Wu Ming, The Weekend by Bernhard Schlink, and Magdalene the Sinner by Lilian Faschinger, which won him the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for German Translation in 1997. He graduated with a First in Modern Languages at King’s College, Cambridge. After he finished his studies, he worked as a business journalist and television producer before translating full-time. As he said in a brief interview, “Did I always want to be a translator? I certainly wanted to do something that involved travel and languages, but even when my work in television took me to far-off places, I kept coming back to translation, first for fun, and eventually as a way of earning a living.” Whiteside is the former Chair of the Translators Association of the Society of Authors. He currently lives in London with his wife and son, where he sits on the PEN Writers in Translation committee, the editorial board of New Books in German, and the Advisory Panel of the British Centre for Literary Translation, where he regularly teaches at the summer school.

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Maigret’s Childhood Friend 

Maigret of the Month: October, 2009

Tout Maigret

El amigo de la infancia de Maigret, de Georges Simenon

Primera frase: “La mosca giró tres veces alrededor de su cabeza y se detuvo en la página del informe que estaba anotando, hacia arriba, en la esquina izquierda”. (Versión original: “La mouche tourna trois fois autour de sa tête et vint se poser sur la page du rapport qu’il était en train d’annoter, tou en haut, dans le coin gauche.”)

Descripción del libro: Un antiguo condiscípulo de Maigret del instituto Banville, en Moulins, León Florentin, se presenta en la Policía Judicial para contarle al comisario que Josée, su amante, ha sido asesinada de un disparo ese mismo día, en su apartamento. Le cuenta que Josée mantenía relaciones con cuatro hombres que recibía regularmente en su casa, sin que ninguno de ellos sospechara la existencia de los otros, creyéndose los únicos amantes de Josée.

Mi opinión: El amigo de la infancia de Maigret tiene lugar durante el mes de junio en París. La historia se desarrolla en el transcurso de aproximadamente una semana. Comienza cuando Maigret recibe la inesperada visita de un compañero suyo en el Lycée Banville en Moulins, Léon Florentin, quien se encuentra en una situación incómoda esa tarde. Por eso vino a verlo. Se le ha ocurrido que Maigret sería la única persona que lo entendería. Estaba sentado en silencio en la sala de estar después de haber almorzado con su novia, Joséphine Papet, pero ella prefiere a Josée, en su casa en la Rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, cuando sonó el timbre. No esperaban a nadie y él se apresuró a esconderse en un armario, algo que ya había hecho en otras ocasiones. Aunque él es su amante, su amigo y su confidente, Josée tiene otros amantes que vienen a verla regularmente, sin conocerse entre ellos. De hecho, ninguno de ellos, excepto Florentin, es consciente de la existencia de los demás, y cada uno cree que es el único que la mantiene. Apenas pasó un cuarto de hora cuando escuchó un sonido como un disparo, pero no salió de su escondite hasta que se dio cuenta de que la puerta del departamento se había abierto y cerrado nuevamente. Al salir del armario encontró el cuerpo de Josée, tendido en el suelo. No había duda de que había sido asesinada. Florentin le jura a Maigret que no fue él quien asesinó a Josée. A Maigret le gustaría creerle, pero las circunstancias sugieren lo contrario. Además, Florentin resulta ser un mentiroso patológico y no puede ofrecer una explicación coherente de por qué esperó tanto tiempo para notificar el asesinato, ni siquiera de lo que hizo mientras tanto.

Durante el curso de la investigación, Maigret se da cuenta de que ni Florentin, ni Madame Blanc, la conserje de la Rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, están diciendo la verdad y que ocultan algo. Finalmente, Maigret descubre quiénes son los otros cuatro amantes de Josée Papet, aunque ninguno parece tener ningún motivo para haberla asesinado. Madame Blanc niega haber visto a alguien entrar o salir de la casa en el momento en que se cometió el crimen. A pesar de las circunstancias que sugieren lo contrario, Maigret quiere creer en la inocencia de Florentin. Después de todo, él era un ex compañero de clase, pero se pregunta si esta no es la razón por la que aún no ha procedido a acusarlo formalmente.

El amigo de la infancia de Maigret es el libro número 97 de Simenon en orden de publicación, y esta novela ocupa el puesto 69 en la serie moderna de traducciones de Penguin. A pesar del tiempo transcurrido desde la publicación de la primera novela de la serie, Pietr-le-Letton en 1931, es reconfortante descubrir que Simenon no ha perdido ni una pizca de su dominio de la narración. Para mi gusto, El amigo de la infancia de Maigret se puede incluir fácilmente entre sus mejores Maigrets, quizá por su sencillez aparente. Realmente lo he disfrutado mucho. Un excelente ejemplo de un Maigret tardío que recomiendo encarecidamente, aunque podría no ser el mejor Maigret para comenzar a leer si aún no está familiarizado con la serie. La historia está muy bien elaborada y la resolución del misterio resulta impecable, al más puro estilo Maigret.

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

Sobre el autor: Georges Simenon (1903-1989) fue uno de los escritores más prolíficos del siglo XX, capaz de escribir de 60 a 80 páginas diarias. Su obra incluye casi 200 novelas, más de 150 relatos, varias obras autobiográficas, numerosos artículos y decenas de novelas baratas escritas con más de dos docenas de seudónimos. En total, se han realizado unos 550 millones de copias de sus obras. Sin embargo, es más conocido por sus 75 novelas y 28 relatos cortos protagonizados por el comisario Maigret. La primera novela de la serie, Pietr-le-Letton, apareció en 1931; La última, Maigret et M. Charles, se publicó en el 1972. Las novelas de Maigret se tradujeron a todos los idiomas principales y varias de ellas se convirtieron en películas y obras radiofónicas. En Gran Bretaña se hicieron dos series para la televisión (1960-63 y 1992-93). Durante su período “americano”, Simenon alcanzó la cima de su capacidad creativa, y varias novelas de esos años se inspiraron en el contexto en el que fueron escritas. Simenon también escribió una gran cantidad de “novelas psicológicas”, así como varios relatos autobiográficos.

El amigo de la infancia de Maigret / Georges Simenon: traducción de Carmen Soler Blanch. – Barcelona: Luis de Caralt, 1969. – 160 p.; 18 cm. – (Las novelas de Maigret; 72)