Simenon, Georges (Joseph Christian) (b. Feb. 13, 1903, Liège, Belg. – d. Sept. 4, 1989, Lausanne, Switz.), Belgian-French novelist whose prolific output surpassed that of any of his contemporaries, and who was perhaps the most widely published author of the 20th century.
Simenon began working on a local newspaper at age 16, and at 19 he went to Paris determined to be successful. Typing some 80 pages each day, he wrote, between 1923 and 1933, more than 200 books of pulp fiction under 16 different pseudonyms, the sales of which soon made him a millionaire. The first novel to appear under his own name was Pietr-le-Letton (1931; The Case of Peter the Lett), in which he introduced the imperturbable, pipe-smoking Parisian police inspector Jules Maigret to fiction. Simenon went on to write about 80 more detective novels featuring Inspector Maigret, as well as about 130 psychological novels. His total literary output consisted of about 425 books that were translated into some 50 languages and which sold more than 600 million copies worldwide. In 1967 the publication of Simenon’s complete works began in France and Italy.
Simenon’s Inspector Maigret is one of the best-known characters in detective fiction. Unlike those fictional detectives who rely on their immense deductive powers, Maigret solved murders using mainly his psychological intuition and a patiently sought, compassionate understanding of the perpetrator’s motives and emotional makeup. Besides psychological novels and detective stories, Simenon’s other books include short-story collections and autobiographical works. Simenon’s central theme is the isolated existence of the neurotic, abnormal individual. Employing a style of rigorous simplicity, he evokes a prevailing atmosphere of neurotic tensions with sharp economy.
Simenon lived in the United States for more than a decade from 1945, and later in France and Switzerland.
UK & US
Assistant: Tessa David
Germany, Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania,
Israel, Portugal, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Baltic countries
Assistant: Ellis Hazelgrove
Japan, Korea, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan, Italy, France, Spain
Assistant: Laura Otal
Greece, China, Netherlands
Film and TV Rights
Assistant: Zoe Sharples
The great detective writer Georges Simenon escaped France at the end of World War Two, and arrived in the USA to start again. With his American wife, he settled at Shadow Rock Farm in Lakeville.
Years later, he wrote La Main, a psychological thriller set in a New England farmhouse. David Hare (Skylight, Pravda) has taken this novel, and forged from it a startling new play directed by Olivier Award-winning Robert Icke (1984, Oresteia).
MAIGRET SETS A TRAP: TV TIE-IN (INSPECTOR MAIGRET) – Buy it here.
‘High up in Montmartre, there was a festive atmosphere, people were crowding round the little tables where rosé wine was being served … Yet a hundred metres further on, the little alleyways were deserted, and the killer might find it easy to pounce’
Detective Chief Inspector Maigret is known for his infallible instinct, for getting at the truth no matter how complex the case, but when someone starts killing women on the streets of Montmartre, he finds himself confounded. In the sweltering Paris summer heat, with the city in a state of siege, Maigret hatches a plan to lure the murderer out …
Penguin is publishing the entire series of Maigret novels in new translations.
‘The most addictive of writers’ Observer
‘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
PUBLISHER: Penguin Classics
PUBLICATION DATE: 24th March 2016
THE SAINT-FIACRE AFFAIR: INSPECTOR MAIGRET, BOOK 13 — Buy it here
Maigret savoured the sensations of his youth again: the cold, stinging eyes, frozen fingertips, an aftertaste of coffee. Then, stepping inside the church, a blast of heat, soft light; the smell of candles and incense.
The last time Maigret went home to the village of his birth was for his father’s funeral. Now an anonymous note predicting a crime during ‘All Souls’ Day mass draws him back there, where troubling memories resurface and hidden vices are revealed.
“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)
PUBLISHER: Penguin Classics
PUBLICATION DATE: November 2014