Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Georges Simenon

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 08 Jul 2003

<<What are they like? Can you give a summary? I speak as someone who has never even read a Maigret novel, though I have a certain picture of them in my mind.>>

The Maigrets are concise procedurals, often about unusual crimes, and dominated by the Inspector's formidable laconic figure -- imagine a Mario Balzic with a tight mouth and working the colorful French scene. These novels have a realistic intent. There's very little glamor and plenty of existential angst. Simenon wrote brilliantly. I find this series addictive.

I've read several of the nonseries books, including an excellent one about a seemingly absurd crime on a train. Unfortunately, my Simenon reading is not recent and I cannot give titles. To make things worse, I read some in French and some in English translation. I wouldn't be the right person to recommend titles...

I'm glad we're finally paying full attention to this giant of crime literature. In the US he has readers (he must have lots of them, to judge by the number of his books that remain in print) but relatively few critics paid serious attention to him.



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