Monday, 2 December 2013

Pietr the Latvian by Georges Simenon

When Detective Chief Inspector Maigret is alerted by the International Police that the criminal known as Pietr the Latvian is headed towards Paris by train it looks like a simple case of observing his movements.  However, things do not turn out as expected and Pietr proves to be an elusive character whom Maigret pursues around Paris.  Maigret is confounded by a mountain of circumstantial evidence and mixed identities in this novel which is set in Paris between the wars.

This is very much an introduction to Maigret and the main intention of the book is for us to learn about him as a character.  The plot felt secondary to this but was enjoyable enough to keep my interest and I was certainly intrigued to find out how it would end and I wasn‘t disappointed by it.  It’s a short book which does not take itself too seriously.  It’s also good fun to read and serves as an enjoyable introduction to the main character who has the ability to “impose himself just by standing there.”

I have a soft spot for the Maigret series as when I first graduated from the children’s library and became the proud owner of a ticket to the adult library, one of the Maigret novels was the first book I ever borrowed from the adult library.  Of course, I felt incredibly grown up and sophisticated and I’m not going to admit just how long ago that was, but suffice to say, that a few decades have passed since I first discovered the taciturn Detective Chief Inspector Maigret and I thoroughly enjoyed my re-acquaintance with him in this book.

This is a new translation by David Bellos.  Penguin are re-releasing the whole set of Maigret books at a rate of one per month.  George Simenon wrote 70 books in this series so this is quite an undertaking on their part but one that I am sure will be worthwhile as the Maigret books are well worth reading.  I am certainly looking forward to my further acquaintance with them.  New readers to these books will also enjoy watching the development of Maigret.  A good book for old and new audiences alike.

ISBN:  9780141392738

Publisher:  Penguin Classics

Price (based on today’s price on   £5.24
This was a review copy from Penguin.

Total saving so far:   £68.81

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