The first audiobook which appeared in Georges Simenon's famous Maigret series, in a gripping new translation by David Bellos.
Inevitably Maigret was a hostile presence in the Majestic. He constituted a kind of foreign body that the hotel's atmosphere could not assimilate. Not that he looked like a cartoon policeman. He didn't have a moustache and he didn't wear heavy boots. His clothes were well cut and made of fairly light worsted. He shaved every day and looked after his hands. But his frame was proletarian. He was a big, bony man. His firm muscles filled out his jacket and quickly pulled all his trousers out of shape. He had a way of imposing himself just by standing there. His assertive presence had often irked many of his own colleagues.
In Simenon's first novel featuring Maigret, the laconic detective is taken from grimy bars to luxury hotels as he traces the true identity of Pietr the Latvian. Georges Simenon was born in Liège, Belgium, in 1903. Best known in Britain as the author of the Maigret books, his prolific output of over 400 novels and short stories have made him a household name in continental Europe. He died in 1989 in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he had lived for the latter part of his life.
David Bellos is Director of the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication at Princeton University and has won many awards for his translations including the Man Booker International Translator's Award (2005).
Audible will be producing all 75 Maigret titles. The next two in the series are:
The Late Monsieur Gallet on 5th Dec 2013
The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien on 2nd January 2014
©2013 Georges Simenon (P)2013 Audible Ltd
"Compelling, remorseless, brilliant" (John Gray)
"One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.... Simenon was unequalled at making us look inside, though the ability was masked by his brilliance at absorbing us obsessively in his stories" (Guardian)
"A supreme writer... unforgettable vividness" (Independent)
Painter, musician, bibliophile...
I've been disappointed with so many new, highly acclaimed books lately that I find myself turning back to the classics once again. (As usual, curmudgeon that I am). Now I'm working my way back through the Simenon canon and enjoying every minute. I'd almost forgotten how much I loved Maigret! A big, strong, man of few words who can take a bullet and keep on working, never complaining or blaming. For me, that's old school sexy and I'd like to see it come back into style!
The stories are edgy, sometimes raw, and always realistic. Paris is not idealised as it is so often, but shown with all its flaws and very much anchored in that particular postwar time. Simenon knows how to choose just the right detail in his description, saying volumes in a simple but compelling observation. Such simplicity is a great gift, and much appreciated.
In short, you can't go far wrong. The translation is good, the story fast-paced and interesting, and Gareth Armstrong has fantastic pacing, a beautiful voice, and gives us an excellent narration. May you enjoy taking a trip into the old days with the unforgettable, highly original character that is Maigret.
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
Georges Simenon, a Belgian writer in early 20th century, wrote many novels--perhaps most notably the Commissaire Jules Maigret series. Maigret is a detective in the French police, and he seems to find his criminal without using the customary procedural methods, but just following his own instincts.
In this book, the first in the series, Maigret is seeking a criminal who eludes him most cleverly. He seems to appear everywhere, only to be elsewhere instead. It begins with Maigret examining a body in the lavatory of a train, who looks like the man he is chasing, but he finds that Pietr has escaped, which begins his pursuit of him in many cities.
The writing is plain, lacking some of the exciting twists and turns of later detective stories, but fun because Simenon has created a character with a distinct personality (his pipe, his hat, his individualized way of pursuing his adversary). He tends to seek "the crack in the wall," meaning he uses a bit of psychology--waiting until he can observe his criminal in a way that shows the parts the man would not have liked to reveal about himself.
This is a very good translation of this book. And the narration is excellent. Recommend to those who enjoy books from the early era of detective fiction.
Georges had a very structured approach in writing his stories, adhering to a formula in writing much of his work. Living on a houseboat, he might research his story over a long, if fragmented duration. When ready to start the story, he might type the tale sitting outside (presumably weather allowing) on his boat. The writing of the novel would occur over a roughly two week period, typing each morning three hours from 7 to 10 o'clock. Each day, the work would thus advance maybe a chapter a day, with the conclusion and plot structure not determined until actual composition.
No this genre, but certainly this Audible series as they are all narrated in an English accent
Mr Armstrong is a wonderful narrator. But Audible should have chosen someone with a French accent to narrate this French story. This was like listening to Sherlock Holmes with a Spanish accent.
Why in the world would Audible take a classic French detective series and have it narrated with an English accent? So much of the atmosphere and locality is completely missed when the characters of a French detective novel speak with English accents (except, oddly enough, the Latvian).
"At last the book not the play."
Great to see the books out and translated well - not the BBC plays which are good but not good enough - well paced and full of character and texture. Old school investigation, gritty Gaelic noir!
Crime mystery at its intricate best.
Really well read - the many voices are all distinct and played with conviction
AT LAST A DECENT FILM
"Greatr performance, flawed story"
Excellent entertainment provided you gloss over some infelicities in the story itself. The reading is spot on.
"I couldn't stop listening!"
I love these tales & this didn't disappoint.
This was an excellent listen, an easy and undemanding listen & the characters were already known to me. In spite of that or maybe because of it, it made me listen. Gareth Armstrong will definitely see me listening to more of his reads. Inspector Maigret and the other characters here, but especially him, come to life.
"Easy Reading of a classic cop"
I am not likely to listen to this story again, though it was enjoyable enough first time around. Story was a bit thin and didn't engage me very much - but good enough as background to doing the gardening or going to sleep.
All tied up nicely at the end, though no great surprise, if a bit contorted.
First time I have heard Gareth, but an enjoyable reader within plenty of 'character'.
"A memory of times past"
I remember watching Maigret as a child on the television and I can remember the signature tune and opening titles vividly but I don't think I was aware that it was about drugs and violence. I enjoyed listening to this classic but I think it illustrates how far crime fiction has come. I will probably purchase the next in the series for nostalgic reasons.
Not the best Maigret story. The character of the detective shines through. The descriptions are good but the plot is thin.
"Brilliant as always"
Excellent story. Excellent narrator very good characterisation thoroughly good read as it were. two words
"Loved the TV series, now loving the audio books"
I was almost put off by other reviews saying these translations made Maigret less likable but I am glad I took a chance on what is a relatively short audio book in exchange for one of my precious credits. I have listened to this twice and really love the story and the narrator. He does a great job with accents, men's voices and women's. Maigret is a touch 'harder' than the TV series from the 80s but not so much that this couldn't be Michael Gambon still. The story is interesting and has Maigret travelling around, talking to different ranks and interacting with Madame Maigret. I would definitely recommend this.
"Margaret the 1st"
My 1st Maigret in a form other than tv was very interesting a complex plot kept one one involved all the way through. A good listen.
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