Jules Maigret

Jules Maigret
Maigret statue by Pieter d'Hont in Delfzijl. The unveiling was made by Simenon himself on September 3, 1966, at the place where he had written the first Maigret novel, and was attended by Maigret actors from various countries.[1]
Jules Maigret memorial plaque

Jules Maigret, (titled Commissaire) Maigret to most people, including his wife, is a fictional police detective, actually a commissaire or commissioner of the Paris "Brigade Criminelle" (Direction Régionale de Police Judiciaire de Paris), created by writer Georges Simenon.

Seventy-five novels and twenty-eight short stories about Maigret were published between 1931 and 1972, starting with Pietr-le-Leton (Latvian Pete) and concluding with Maigret et Monsieur Charles (Maigret and Monsieur Charles). The Maigret stories were also adapted for television and radio.



Some of his trademark features are his pipes, his mixed approach to detecting (at times relying on pure intuition, at times on method), and his fondness for alcohol. Often during an investigation, he will step into a small cafe or bar for a drink and possibly a light lunch. His drink of choice is beer or cider, though he has also been known to drink pastis as well as wine at dinner or when it is the only thing available. This is not to say that he is a drunk, as it is a matter of personal pride that he can hold his liquor, and would be deeply embarrassed if he allowed himself to get intoxicated. Maigret often wears a heavy overcoat, even when traveling to the Riviera — a fact which leads people unfamiliar with him to mark him instantly as a policeman.

In the books he is described as a stocky man of average height, slightly overweight but not obese. He dislikes climbing stairs, and usually uses a police driver or cab to travel around during his investigations, though he has been known to walk occasionally.

Maigret was supposedly born in 1884 at Saint-Fiacre in the Allier department (where there is no such village), although different birth dates can be concluded from different books. He is married to Louise, who is almost exclusively referred to as Madame Maigret in the books. They had a daughter who died at birth.[2]

While not having any children of his own, Maigret has shown himself to be fond of children, treating them with kindness and patience, and often indulging them. He is shown as living with his wife at 132 Boulevard Richard-Lenoir in most books but, in Maigret in Retirement, he is said to have retained his apartment on the Place des Vosges in the 4th arrondissement of Paris.

He is usually successful. His relationship with his sidekicks, usually junior Metropolitan officers or the local constabulary (when he is away from Paris), is most often portrayed as a mentor-pupil relationship. Maigret is genuinely proud and happy when one of his junior officers meets with some professional success. The role of mindless puppet, only there to contrast with the brilliance of Maigret, is reserved for the public prosecutor or more frequently the Juge d'instruction or Examining Magistrate.

Television adaptations

There have been numerous incarnations of Maigret on the small screen all around the world. He has been portrayed by French, British, Irish, Austrian, Dutch, German, Italian, and Japanese actors.

In France, Jean Gabin played the part in three films and is seen by many as the best Maigret. Arguably, the most celebrated French version stars Bruno Cremer, who has played him in 54 adaptations from 1991-2005. Jean Richard had an earlier long-running series playing the character on French television — however, Simenon himself is said to have disliked Richard's Maigret because he would not take his hat off when entering a room.

Actor Rupert Davies as Maigret in Murder on Monday

The Italian actor Gino Cervi played the character on Italian television, starting from 1964 up to 1972; Simenon himself considered Cervi's interpretation of the character to be possibly the best.

In Japan, Kinya Aikawa played Megure, a Japanese-born equivalent to the French Maigret, reinvented in a modern Japanese setting, in Tōkyō Megure Keishi[3], a 25-episode TV Series aired from April 14 to May 29, 1978 on Asahi TV. Megure/Maigret's wife was played by Tomomi Sato, who earned the praises of Simenon himself: "The best 'Madame Maigret' in my opinion, even including the French ones, was the 'Madame Maigret' on Japanese television. She was exactly right"[4].

One of the most popular versions of the Chief Inspector was that played by British actor Rupert Davies who made his debut on October 31, 1960. Davies took over the part after Basil Sydney who appeared as Maigret in the original transmitted pilot proved unavailable due to ill-health. Davies went on to star in 52 adaptations for BBC TV in the 1960s. His portrayal won two of the highest accolades: his versions were dubbed into French and played across the Channel; and Simenon himself presented Davies with a novel inscribed to his "perfect Maigret".

The British television channel ITV produced an adaptation of Maigret in 1992 and 1993, in which Michael Gambon starred as Maigret. A less successful earlier version (1988) on ITV cast Richard Harris in the lead role, with a somewhat idiosyncratic reading of the character.

Radio adaptations

Maurice Denham played Chief Inspector Maigret in a series of half-hour dramatizations of the novels on BBC Radio 4 from 1992 to 2002, with Michael Gough playing Georges Simenon.

The format of each play would begin with Maigret and Simenon sitting together discussing some fact or event which would then lead into Maigret's recounting a particular case, with Simenon asking questions or commenting from time to time.

After Denham's death, the series was continued in 2003 with Nicholas Le Prevost playing a gruffer, more earthy Maigret and Julian Barnes playing Simenon.

Other appearances

Maigret, as he appeared in volume 5 of Case Closed

Inspector Joseph Meguire/Jozo Megure from Case Closed is loosely based on Maigret, in both appearance and name. Both are police inspectors, and are known for wearing hats and overcoats. The rendering in the Japanese syllabry for Megure and Maigret is the same (me-gu-re, in other words, the names are pronounced the same in Japanese).

Maigret himself was also highlighted in volume 5 of the Case Closed manga's edition of "Gosho Aoyoma's Mystery Library, a section of the graphic novels (usually the last page) where the author introduces a different detective (or occasionally, a villain) from mystery literature, television, or other media.

List of novels

List of Maigret novels by date of French-language publication.

Title Date English title(s)
Train de nuit 1930 Night Train
La maison d'inquiétude 1930 The House of Unease
Pietr-le-Letton 1931 The Strange Case of Peter the Lett
The Case of Peter the Lett
Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett
Le Charretier de la Providence 1931 The Crime at Lock 14
Maigret Meets a Milord
Lock 14
M. Gallet décédé 1931 The Death of Monsieur Gallet
Maigret Stonewalled
Le Pendu de Saint-Pholien 1931 The Crime of Inspector Maigret
Maigret and the Hundred Gibbets
La Tête d'un homme
(L'Homme de la Tour Eiffel)
1931 A Battle of Nerves
Maigret's War of Nerves
A Man's Head
Le Chien jaune 1931 A Face for a Clue
Maigret and the Concarneau Murders
Maigret and the Yellow Dog
The Yellow Dog
La Nuit du carrefour 1931 Maigret at the Crossroads
Un Crime en Hollande 1931 A Crime in Holland
Maigret in Holland
Au Rendez-vous des Terre-Neuves 1931 The Sailor's Rendezvous
Maigret Answers a Plea
La Danseuse du Gai-Moulin 1931 At the Gai Moulin
Maigret at the Gai Moulin
La Guinguette à deux sous 1932 Guinguette by the Seine
Maigret and the Tavern by the Seine
Maigret to the Rescue
A Spot by the Seine
The Bar on the Seine
L'Ombre chinoise 1932 The Shadow in the Courtyard
Maigret Mystified
L'Affaire Saint-Fiacre 1932 Maigret and the Countess
The Saint-Fiacre Affair
Maigret Goes Home
Maigret on Home Ground
Chez les Flamands 1932 The Flemish Shop
Maigret and the Flemish Shop
Le Port des brumes 1932 Death of a Harbour Master
Maigret and the Death of a Harbor Master
Le Fou de Bergerac 1932 The Madman of Bergerac
Liberty Bar 1932 Liberty Bar
Maigret on the Riviera
L'Écluse no. 1 1933 The Lock at Charenton
Maigret Sits It Out
Lock No. 1
La femme rousse 1933 The Redhead
Maigret 1934 Maigret Returns
La Maison du juge 1940 Maigret in Exile
Les Caves du Majestic 1942 Maigret and the Hotel Majestic
The Hotel Majestic
Cécile est morte 1942 Maigret and the Spinster
Signé Picpus 1944 To Any Lengths
Maigret and the Fortuneteller
Félicie est là 1944 Maigret and the Toy Village
L'Inspecteur Cadavre 1944 Maigret's Rival
Inspector Cadaver
Maigret se fâche August 1945 Maigret in Retirement
Maigret à New York March 1946 Maigret in New York
Inspector Maigret in New York's Underworld
Maigret in New York's Underworld
Les Vacances de Maigret November 1947 A Summer Holiday
No Vacation for Maigret
Maigret on Holiday
Maigret et son mort January 1948 Maigret's Dead Man
Maigret's Special Murder
La Première enquête de Maigret, 1913 October 1948 Maigret's First Case
Mon ami Maigret February 1949 My Friend Maigret
The Methods of Maigret
Maigret chez le coroner July 1949 Maigret at the Coroner's
L'Amie de Mme Maigret December 1949 Madame Maigret's Own Case
Madame Maigret's Friend
The Friend of Madame Maigret
Les Mémoires de Maigret September 1950 Maigret's Memoirs
Maigret et la vieille dame December 1950 Maigret and the Old Lady
Maigret au "Picratt's" December 1950 Maigret and the Strangled Stripper
Maigret in Montmartre
Inspector Maigret and the Strangled Stripper
Maigret en meublé February 1951 Maigret Takes a Room
Maigret Rents a Room
Maigret et la grande perche May 1951 Inspector Maigret and the Burglar's Wife
Maigret and the Burglar's Wife
Maigret, Lognon et les gangsters September 1951 Inspector Maigret and the Killers
Maigret and the Gangsters
Le Revolver de Maigret June 1952 Maigret's Revolver
Maigret et l'homme du banc 1953 Maigret and the Man on the Boulevard
Maigret and the Man on the Bench
The Man on the Boulevard
Maigret a peur March 1953 Maigret Afraid
Maigret se trompe August 1953 Maigret's Mistake
Maigret à l'école December 1953 Maigret Goes to School
Maigret et la jeune morte January 1954 Inspector Maigret and the Dead Girl
Maigret and the Young Girl
Maigret chez le ministre August 1954 Maigret and the Minister
Maigret and the Calame Report
Maigret et le corps sans tête January 1955 Maigret and the Headless Corpse
Maigret tend un piège July 1955 Maigret Sets a Trap
Un Échec de Maigret March 1956 Maigret's Failure
Maigret s'amuse September 1956 Maigret's Little Joke
None of Maigret's Business
Maigret voyage August 1957 Maigret and the Millionaires
Les Scrupules de Maigret December 1957 Maigret Has Scruples
Maigret et les témoins récalcitrants October 1958 Maigret and the Reluctant Witnesses
Une Confidence de Maigret May 1959 Maigret Has Doubts
Maigret aux assises November 1959 Maigret in Court
Maigret et les vieillards June 1960 Maigret in Society
Maigret et le voleur paresseux January 1961 Maigret and the Lazy Burglar
Maigret and the Idle Burglar
Maigret et les braves gens September 1961 Maigret and the Black Sheep
Maigret et le client du samedi February 1962 Maigret and the Saturday Caller
Maigret et le clochard May 1962 Maigret and the Dosser
Maigret and the Bum
La Colère de Maigret June 1962 Maigret Loses His Temper
Maigret et le fantôme June 1963 Maigret and the Ghost
Maigret and the Apparition
Maigret se défend July 1964 Maigret on the Defensive
La Patience de Maigret March 1965 The Patience of Maigret
Maigret Bides His Time
Maigret et l'affaire Nahour February 1966 Maigret and the Nahour Case
Le Voleur de Maigret November 1966 Maigret's Pickpocket
Maigret and the Pickpocket
Maigret à Vichy September 1967 Maigret Takes the Waters
Maigret in Vichy
Maigret hésite January 1968 Maigret Hesitates
L'Ami d'enfance de Maigret June 1968 Maigret's Boyhood Friend
Maigret et le tueur April 1969 Maigret and the Killer
Maigret et le marchand de vin September 1969 Maigret and the Wine Merchant
La Folle de Maigret May 1970 Maigret and the Madwoman
Maigret et l'homme tout seul February 1971 Maigret and the Loner
Maigret et l'indicateur June 1971 Maigret and the Flea
Maigret and the Informer
Maigret et Monsieur Charles February 1972 Maigret and Monsieur Charles

List of short stories

List of Maigret short stories by date of publication.

Title Date English Title(s)
Une erreur de Maigret 1938 Maigret's Mistake
L'amoureux de Madame Maigret 1938 The Stronger Vessel
Madame Maigret's Admirer
Stan le tueur 1938 Stan the Killer
L'Auberge aux noyés 1938 The Inn of the Drowned
The Drowned Men's Inn
La péniche aux deux pendus 1938 The Barge with Two Hanging Bodies
Inspector Maigret Thinks
Dead Man's Barge
Two Bodies on a Barge
L'affaire du Boulevard Beaumarchais 1938 The Affair of the Boulevard Beaumarchais
The Mysterious Affair in the Boulevard Beaumarchais
Monsieur Lundi 1938 Mr. Monday
Inspector Maigret Hesitates
Jeumont, 51 minutes d'arrêt 1938 Jeumont, 51 Minutes Wait!
Inspector Maigret Deduces
Jeumont, 51 Minutes Stop
Les larmes de bougie 1938 Journey Into Time
Journey Backward Into Time
Death of a Woodlander
Rue Pigalle 1938 Rue Pigalle
Inspector Maigret Investigates
In the Rue Pigalle
La vieille dame de Bayeux 1938 The Old Lady of Bayeux
L'Étoile du Nord 1938 At the Étoile du Nord
Tempête sur la Manche 1938 Storm in the Channel
Storm over the Channel
Mademoiselle Berthe et son amant 1938 Maigret and the Frightened Dressmaker
Mademoiselle Berthe and her Lover
L'improbable Monsieur Owen 1938 The Unlikely Monsieur Owen
Ceux du Grand Café 1938 The Group at the Grand-Café
Le Notaire du Châteauneuf 1938 Inspector Maigret and the Missing Miniatures
The Three Daughters of the Lawyer
La fenêtre ouverte 1938 The Open Window
Inspector Maigret Smokes His Pipe
L'Homme dans la rue 1939 The Man on the Run
Inspector Maigret Pursues
The Man in the Street
Vente à la bougie 1939 Under the Hammer
Inspector Maigret Directs
Sale by Auction
Menaces de mort 1942 Death Threats
La pipe de Maigret June 1945 Maigret's Pipe
Le témoinage de l'enfant de choeur 1946 Elusive Witness
According to the Altar Boy
Crime in the Rue Sainte-Catherine
The Evidence of the Altar-Boy
Le client le plus obstiné du monde May 1946 The Most Obstinate Man in Paris
The Most Obstinate Customer in the World
The Most Obstinate Man in the World
Maigret et l'inspecteur malgracieux May 1946 Maigret and the Surly Inspector
On ne tue pas les pauvres types August 1946 Death of a Nobody
Sous peine de mort November 1946 Inspector Maigret's War of Nerves
Death Penalty
Un Noël de Maigret May 1950 Maigret's Christmas


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