18 October 2013

Forgotten Book: GIRL IN WAITING, Georges Simenon

My plan this year for my contributions to Friday's Forgotten Books hosted by Pattinase is to feature books I read 20 years ago - in 1993- from the records I have in my "little green book", which I started in 1975.
In 1993 I read 111 books and was pretty well addicted to crime fiction by then.

This week Friday's Forgotten Books is being hosted by George Kelley. 

My choice is Georges Simenon's GIRL IN WAITING aka CHIT OF A GIRL, originally published in 1938?. An English version (cover to the right) was published in Pan paperback in 1957. I read this book in October 1993.

A problem I have struck before with the early Simenon novels is that it is so hard to find a synopsis. The books are often out of print and have been for some time. It seems from what I have found that the publication may have contained two stories.

How is your French? Check a listing here.

The following synopsis (gleaned from Trove) actually comes from a review in Australia's Sydney Morning Herald in 1949.


CHIT OF A GIRL, by Georges Simenon. Trans, by Geoffrey Sainsbury.

The title story is Richardson's "Pamela, or Virtue Re- warded," in a modern French setting. Its companion piece, "Justice," is a crime story with a satiric flavour. Both are-very satisfying examples of Simenon's peculiar talent.

The Chit is Marie Le Flem, waitress in the cafe at the fishing village of Port-eñ-Bessin. Chateard, once a fisherman, now cafe and cinema owner at Cherbourg, first saw her when he drove her elder sister, Odile, his mistress, to her father's funeral. He was strongly attracted by her

Odile "was plump, pink and tender, with a delicate skin, decile and easy-going." - Marie was "hardly formed ... lean haunches .and hardly any bust She did not bother about other people .. . . looked at them sideways, and what she thought of them she kept to herself."

Chatelard's ardour and exasperation increase as Marie's apparent aversion grows. His brusque technique, successful with other women, fails here and the snaring of Don Juan is achieved amid the smiles and admiration' of the Port.

"Justice" Petit Louis, swindler and souteneur helped Gene and the Marseilles gang in a post-office job, but offended them by blabbing to Constance Ropiquet, on whom he was living in Nice. Returning after two- days' precautionary absence from her flat he found her murdered.



Anonymous said...

Kerrie - Glad you chose a Simenon. I've always liked his realistic, 'just like the rest of us' characters.

Peggy Ann said...

I love the first cover!


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