The first novel 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.
'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
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). He is the author of Is that a Fish in
your Ear: The Amazing Adventure of Translation.