18 November 2013

Review: PIETR THE LATVIAN, Georges Simenon

  • Format: Kindle (Amazon) - read an extract at this site
  • File Size: 537 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (November 7, 2013) - originally published in 1931
  • translation into English by David Bellos.
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

My Take

The recent decision by Penguin to republish fresh translations of all of Simenon's Maigret novels, in the original order of publication, provides a real opportunity for readers to catch up on titles that have been out of print for some time. Apparently the 75 novels will be published at the rate of one a month. There is even an accompanying 24 page brochure available giving biographical details about Simenon and the characters he created.

I've been a Simenon reader for decades and could not pass up the opportunity to read, on my Kindle, the very first of the Maigret titles.

Maigret comes over as a mountain of a man, with enormous energy, and the ability to push himself to the limits of human endurance.
    Inevitably Maigret was a hostile presence in the Majestic. He constituted a kind of foreign body that the hotel's atmosphere could not assimilate.

    Not that he looked like a cartoon policeman. He didn't have a moustache and he didn't wear heavy boots. His clothes were well cut and made of fairly light worsted. He shaved every day and looked after his hands.

    But his frame was proletarian. He was a big, bony man. His firm muscles filled out his jacket and quickly pulled all his trousers out of shape.

    He had a way of imposing himself just by standing there. His assertive presence had often irked many of his own colleagues.
In many ways PIETR THE LATVIAN gave a good idea of the style that readers could expect in future novels, as well a structure that makes the reader work hard to follow the plot lines.It introduces both Maigret and the long suffering Madame Maigret who at one stage cooks meals for three days without knowing whether her husband will be home to eat them, indeed not knowing what he is up to.

In his exploration of international crime rings that manipulate world-wide economies Simenon shared similar concerns to his contemporary Agatha Christie who was also convinced of the control of world economies and politics by evil forces.

My rating: 4.3

Another review to check:
Mrs Peabody Investigates


Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - I'm so pleased that some of these classic books are coming out again. And it is nice to see 'how it all began' with Maigret. Thanks for the review.

Rebecca Bradley said...

I haven't read any of these, so I may be interested in checking them out. Thank you.

David P. Simmons said...

Not only the first in the Maigret series, it is in my opinion one of the best, so it's a great way to start. It sounds like the translation is excellent, too.

Nan said...

I'm really excited about this project. They don't start over here for a couple months. I love the cover. I think I've read only one or two in my life.


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