19 July 2012

Forgotten Book: THE MURDERER, George Simenon

For many of my contributions this year to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books I am focussing on the books I read 20 years ago in 1992. By then my reading diet was almost exclusively crime fiction.

So my recent posts for this meme have largely been about authors that I "discovered" in that year.

One author that I was already familiar with, available here in Australia in the distinctive green Penguin Crime Classics paperbacks, was Simenon.
I don't think that at the time I realised I was reading translated books.

Late in 1992 I read THE MURDERER, first published in 1935.

Synopsis (Amazon)

Not a mystery in the mode that has made Simenon universally famous, this is a classic psychological novel, issued in France in 1935 but like all other works of merit, timeless.

The author's stringent control of his material deepens the reader's feelings for Dr. Hans Kuperus of Sneek, a small town in Friesland. After killing his wife and her lover, Herr Schutter, Kuperus escapes suspicion and the townspeople sympathize with the widower for a time.

Then he begins behaving extravagantly, flaunting his affair with his housekeeper and scandalizing the crabbed, insular community in other ways. Finally, the doctor has no practice, no friends; he and the housekeeper are prisoners in his house.

Faithfully translated by Sainsbury, the narrative hauntingly describes the disintegration of human beings, damned by weaknesses that Simenon compels the reader to recognize and pity.

See also
4.4, MAIGRET & the MAN on the BOULEVARD


Anonymous said...

Kerrie - I've not read a lot of Simenon's "non-Maigret" novels. Thanks for reminding me of this one. I ought to check out his standalones.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Kerrie, I enjoyed reading this short and excellent review of Simenon's novel. I haven't been able to lay my hands on any of his books.


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