Georges Simenon
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, 1973, English; originally published in French
ISBN: 9780151551392

From the Publisher. Includes three novels by Georges Simenon in the “Inspector Maigret” series. In Maigret's Failure, the vulgarly rich owner of a chain of butcher shops, “The King of the Meat Trade,” is murdered for motives both understandable and obvious. In Maigret in Society, on the other hand, the inspector confronts a cast of characters so subtle and overbred as to seem unreal. Most remarkable, perhaps, is Simenon's widely praised creation of the thief in Maigret and the Lazy Burglar, in which a risky profession exercised by an eminently cautious man. The common thread to all three novellas is Simenon's astounding virtuosity and, of course, the inimitable Maigret.

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Inga Sempé

In these thrillers, written by a Belgian, the protagonist, Commissaire (“Inspector”) Maigret, displays a typically French character. Very calm, he doesn’t smile a lot. The guilty party is almost always a man who has killed because his wife, sister, mother, or lover—a mean woman—has driven him to become a murderer. Putting aside this caricatural point, I love the description of a France and a Paris that I haven’t really known, the France of my parents. It gives a very precise portrait of France during the 1940s, ’50, and ’60s, that includes rich and poor, Parisian and provincial people, and the smells of heavy cooking smells or bodies in tiny, badly ventilated rooms. Written in a very simple but wonderful way, I can read the Maigret books again and again, even if I remember who the murderer is!

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