MAIGRET'S MEMOIRS by Georges Simenon

MAIGRET'S MEMOIRS

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A beguiling curiosity from 1950 (English translation, 1963) for Maigret fans: brief reminiscences and musings by the Inspector himself--who lightly wrestles with the subtle differences between the fictional Maigret of writer Georges Simenon (himself a supporting character here) and the real Maigret whom the renowned character is based upon. Maigret begins by recalling the late-1920's day when he first met young novelist G.S.--an ""audacious"" fellow who was determined to write ""semi-literary"" fiction about a real, unromanticized policeman, choosing Maigret as his living research library. He tells us of his embarrassment when the Maigret books became famous, of his gentle yet deep annoyance with Simenon's portrait. (""Was it absolutely necessary to simplify me?"" Maigret asks G.S.) Then the ""real"" Maigret offers some memories of youth and early manhood: his young mother's ""unnecessary"" death (the fault, perhaps, of an incompetent family doctor); his childhood in Nantes with a childless aunt and her baker-husband; police-career beginnings (despite early M.D. ambitions); the charming courtship of wife Louise. And the final chapters provide observations and anecdotes from Maigret's years as a very everyday Paris policeman--with crime statistics, Vice Squad vignettes (the police/prostitute camaraderie), compassionate glimpses of the underworld, and an emphasis on the humdrum, red-tape aspects of real police-work. (""Don't you sometimes feel disgusted?"" Maigret is asked constantly. ""No, I don't!"" he always answers--except perhaps when confronted by middle-class crime and hypocrisy, Simenon's specialty.)No plot, no mystery, more a small scrapbook than a full-fledged fictional memoir--but a Pirandello-ish treat for any Maigret maven, gently amusing and oddly touching (especially when compared with Simenon's own inflated, unpleasant memoirs).

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 1985
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich