Re: RARA-AVIS: Simenon

From: Etienne Borgers (
Date: 18 Aug 2003

At 08:49 17-08-03 -0500, you wrote:
>About the only Simenon I had around the house was a story in THE MAMMOTH
>BOOK OF GREAT DETECTIVE STORIES. The story is "The Evidence of the Altar
>Boy," and it's about 30 pages long, translated by Jean Stewart. It's an OK
>story, in which Maigret deals with an old man, a boy, and various versions
>of the truth. The boy reminds Maigret of his own childhood, so we get a
>little (certainly not much) about Maigret's past. Maigret has a bad cold in
>the story, and there's an amusing little sub-plot about how he manages to
>sneak in a few smokes without his wife finding out. I didn't find anything
>noir or hardboiled in the story.
>Bill Crider


The Maigrets (approx. 80 novels and 30 shorts) are not Noir or HB, and Simenon himself admitted that a lot of them were not really well written. At the most, some of the Maigret series are "greyish", mainly due to some ambiances Simenon recreated by a few lines referring to the weather, the surroundings (old buildings, chenals...etc) or by some somber traits attributed to some of the characters. We discussed these points on RA in a recent past.

Noir is to be found in *some* of his non-Maigret novels (total:approx 120 of them) and Simenon declared many times that hte non-Maigres were the novels he tried to give a better litterary treatment.


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