Georges Simenon – Maigret collection

I believe I mentioned before that I borrow/buy books and just forget about them. Well, this year I decided to read as many books as I can from my bookcase. What I would do with them after I finish reading them, well I haven’t decided yet.

I don’t remember reading so many books in such a short period of time, not even in school.

But then again, I didn’t read huge novels that never end (The Fellowship of the Ring doesn’t count), I actually read detective books.

Nope, no Agatha Christie books this time, but Georges Simenon books.

The Maigret Novels

 I still had 3 more books from the Jules Maigret series that I haven’t read and I was actually missing the French detective. The thing that I like most about Georges Simenon detective is that he isn’t a snob like you see in most detective books. So, in no particular order here are the three novels by Georges Simenon:

~~~Maigret Loses His Temper~~~

The plot: a nightclub owner is murdered and the police doesn’t have any suspects in the case. The owner of the nightclub is an Italian with a respectable family and who doesn’t have any enemies.

Basically, the owner vanishes one might and his family reports him as missing. Two days later his body is found in a cemetery. Maigret tries to find out if anyone from the other nightclubs might’ve had quarrels with him, but none hated him enough to kill him.

In the end I realized why the book was named “Maigret Loses His Temper“. The killer is actually the least expected person: the lawyer of the nightclub owner. The reason is actually simple: the lawyer used to pick his cases depending on the type of crime people committed. Then he used to ask “protection” money promising that the criminals wouldn’t be prosecuted and the police won’t be bothering them. But the money was never shared with the police. In reality, he was smart enough to know that the people won’t be indicted and would’ve gotten away even if they didn’t pay up. The nightclub owner was getting suspicious of the lawyer and his methods and that’s why he was killed.

In the end, the lawyer commits suicide in his cell being to afraid to face the harsh reality.

  • Rating: 2 stars out of 5.
  • Reason: it was interesting but not captivating enough.

~~~Maigret on the Riviera or Liberty Bar~~~

Plot: A murder takes place on the Riviera. Maigret is called in to investigate because the person murdered was actually a spy and the authorities want the case to be solved as soon as possible and without any complications.

The main suspects are the dead man’s lover and her mother who are caught in the act of fleeing the house their shared together.

The entire atmosphere of the book is that of a lazy vacation. Maigret cannot concentrate on the case, but in the end he finds the guilty person and guess what he lets that person go.

Basically his resolve of the case is that a stranger is guilty. Easy fix and with no complications. I won’t actually spoil this book because I really found it fascinating.

  • Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
  • Reason: it was interesting, made me yearn for the summer days at the sea side and for good food.

~~~ The Friend of Madame Maigret~~~

Plot: Inspector Maigret attempts to prove that a murder has actually been committed without a corpse anywhere to be found. As the investigation becomes increasingly complex, seemingly unconnected characters are drawn into the case, and Maigret begins to wonder if his wife’s earlier strange encounter with a woman and her baby may be the missing link.

This is the first book where Maigret wife is actually shown as being more than a housewife. She actually helps Maigret with his investigation and puts him on the right track.

It’s actually funny when a taxi driver questioned by Maigret says he saw a fat lady looking after a small child, the “fat lady” in question being Maigret wife. Again, I shall not spoil the ending. It was funny, interesting and it showed that even without an body you can still prove that a murder was committed.

  • Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
  • Reason: again it made me hungry, it was captivating, the Maigret family unites in solving a case.

My first try at reading and translating hiragana

Normally, at this point I would drop everything and forget about learning Japanese. I would just give up!

I’m just stunned how difficult it is to learn a foreign language as an adult. Now I regret even more giving up so easily when I was still in school. If I would’ve kept going maybe today I wouldn’t feel so disappointed with myself.

But enough of that.

I tried the impossible today aka reading and translating a childrens story. Needless to say, it was a futile attempt on my part, considering I still haven’t learned all the Hiragana characters. But I tried. Learning from error is better than not trying to learn at all.

With this opportunity I also practiced my writing. What can I say, I barely managed to read the words, translating the text is another story. So here is how I read the text:

Itsusunboushi

Mukashi mukashi kodomoga inai ojiisanto obaasanga kamisamani ongaio muruto koyubikuraino otokonokoga umawamashita.

“Mamaeha itsusunboushinishimashou”

Futariga takusan gohano tabesasetanode itsusunboushiha totemo genkini sodasamashita.

That doesn’t feel right at all! The words are way to long even for Japanese. Even I can tell that it’s wrong but the question here is how wrong am I. The original text:

いっすんぼうし

むかし むかし こどもが いない おじいさんと おばあさんが かみさまに おねがいを すると こゆびくらいの おとこのこが うまれました。

And it’s reading in Romaji:

Issunboushi

Mukashi mukashi kodomo ga inai ojiisan to obaasan ga kamisama ni onegai wo suruto koyubikurai no otokonoko ga umaremashita.

I can only think of one thing right now, and that is that I still have a lot to learn about how the Japanese form their sentences, about particles and all the other things related to grammar. But I can recognize some words like “ojiisan” and “obaasan” which are stuck in my mind thanks to watching anime for so many years.

Oh well, back to my Hiragana characters.