22 October 2009

Forgotten Books: MAIGRET and THE MADWOMAN, Georges Simenon

This week's contribution to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books.

There was a time when Maigret books were part of my staple diet, and I have included a couple before in previous contributions to Friday's Forgotten Books. I guess it was almost my first experience of translated crime fiction, and I read them avidly not realising they were (translated that is).
MAIGRET AND THE MADWOMAN was one of Simenon's later novels published in 1970.

Clicking on the cover image to the right will let you read the first chapter online.

One of the Amazon reviews says
Imagine drinking a glass of Calvados. The title is ambiguous. She was a tiny woman insisting upon seeing Chief Inspector Maigret personally. Madame Antoine, aged, having lived in her apartment for a long time, reported that her things had been moved. There is only the key she keeps in her bag. A niece and her son are her only relatives. She is pefectly aware that a young person might consider her mad. The concierge says she is very much like any other old person living by herself. Her clear gray eyes make an impression on Maigret. Then she is murdered, suffocated, and an investigation ensues. The police search and question, after all this is a police procedural. Maigret discovers that the victim had practiced twenty five years of thrift. A character named Le Grand Marcel is brought into the picture.

The fineness of the writing (translated?) transcends the genre. Picking up a Maigret novel is a matter of dealing in a brand name consumer good. One is never disappointed. The storytelling is simple, classical, felicitous. Simenon used masterful economy in his art. The short bursts of information create an almost Raymond Carverish style. One is transported to Paris in the Spring. Time spent in the company of Maigret and his gifted inspectors Lapointe, Lucas, and Janvier is a pleasure.

Various people have played Maigret, but I thought you might enjoy this opening from the 1992 television series with Michael Gambon.

Furthermore, if you are looking for more information there is an "official" Maigret website. Click on the image below to be taken there.

Interestingly, it is a Chorion company site, the same that owns Agatha Christie, and other "literary estates" such as Enid Blyton.


Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Thanks for sharing this Simenon. I like the Maigret mysteries and Maigret's character, so it was nice to see that this was your choice. Thanks for the video clip, too - what a rich site you have! I always find something interesting.

pattinase (abbott) said...

What a lovely post, Kerrie. Thanks so much.

Eni said...

You mention Enid Blyton. I am glad to inform you that Stephen isabirye has published a book titled The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage (www.bbotw.com)


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