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The Two-Penny Bar: Inspector Maigret #11 Paperback – 4 Sep 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (4 Sept. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014139417X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141394176
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 0.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 96,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Georges Simenon is one of the most addictive and bestselling European authors of the 20th Century. His work consists of 391 titles, and he is best known as the creator of the fictional detective series consisting of 75 books featuring Inspector Maigret, translated into more than 50 languages and sold in more than 50 countries. There are over 800 million Simenon books sold worldwide and he is the most translated French speaking author of the 20th century and the second most translated author of all time in Italy after Shakespeare.

'A writer who, more than any other crime novelist, combined a high literary reputation with popular appeal' P.D. James

'My readings? I read Tout Simenon, and when I'm done, I start all over again' Claude Chabrol

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Review

'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.' -- The Guardian 'I love reading Simenon. He makes me think of Chekhov.' -- William Faulkner 'The greatest of all, the most genuine novelist we have had in literature' -- Andre Gide 'A supreme writer...unforgettable vividness' -- The Independent 'Superb... The most addictive of writers... A unique teller of tales' -- The Observer 'Compelling, remorseless, brilliant.' -- John Gray 'A truly wonderful writer... marvellously readable - lucid, simple, absolutely in tune with the workd he creates' -- Muriel Spark 'A novelist who entered his fictional world as it he were a part of it' -- Peter Ackroyd 'Extraordinary masterpieces of the twentieth century' -- John Banville

About the Author

Georges Simenon was born in Liège, Belgium, in 1903. He is best know in Britain as the author of the Maigret novels and 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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Annabel Gaskell VINE VOICE on 1 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've not read any Simenon since my teens, and what better author to take to Paris with me. This slim novel turned out to be a quite complex little murder mystery suffused with the languor of a hot summer in Paris. Maigret was planning to escape to join his wife (a prototype for Rumpole's 'She who must be obeyed' one thinks) in Alsace, but work gets in the way when he gets involved in trying to find a murderer amongst a disparate bunch of Parisiens who get together at weekends at a tavern down the Seine. A good little roman policier but I need to read some more Maigrets though to get a better measure of the pipe-smoking detective.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jl Adcock TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
Simenon was still under 30 when he wrote this Maigret novel (the eleventh in the series), but he shows a remarkable maturity of style here, and says a lot in very few words, with the book coming in at just around 120 pages. Slim and elegant, this early story in the Maigret series is beautifully observed - a snapshot of a Paris long since disappeared, and yet full of themes that resonate today.

Love, deceit and greed are at the heart of the story - 3 elements that make up the foundations of all crime stories really - but Simenon handles the ingredients in a subtle and deceptively simple way, drawing the strands together skilfully in a conclusion that shows the grubiness of human life. It leaves Maigret himself feeling world-weary and glad to be escaping the heat of the city to be spending time with his wife in the countryside.

Impressive stuff, and it says much about Simenon's skills that a book eighty years old still packs a punch today with its observations of human weaknesses and frailties. It's like the crime novel equivalent of Cartier-Bresson's photography: understated and observed from a slight distance, but offering new insights into what it is to be human. Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 April 2011
Format: Paperback
That he doth work with his adulterate money on the Seine." Dante. The Divine Comedy

"The Bar of the Seine" begins with a curious conversation between Inspector Maigret and a prisoner, Lenoir, sitting in a cell on death-row in a Parisian jail. Lenoir's execution has been set for dawn on the next day and for Maigret, the person responsible for the capture and conviction of the prisoner, this visit is something of a courtesy call. During their conversation Lenoir tells Maigret about an unsolved murder. The only real information he provides is that some unidentified bar on the River Seine would lead Maigret in the right direction. As Maigret takes his leave of Lenoir he does not take the train to meet his wife at their summer vacation spot. Instead, he defers his vacation and sets out to investigate.

Maigret finds the bar in short order and walks into a world where a slice of the Parisian middle-class comes for its rather tawdry summer weekends. Drinking, cards, boating on the Seine and indiscriminate bed-hopping are the order of the day. There has also been a murder and, as befits a story planted so firmly in the detective genre, Maigret brushes aside all distractions to solve the mystery handed to him by a condemned man.

Georges Simenon was the author of over 100 Inspector Maigret mystery stories. They were immensely popular in the 1930s through the 1960s. Inspector Maigret stories also appeared in film and TV version. Penguin Books has begun to reissue a set of Maigret mysteries. "The Bar on the Seine", one of Simenon's earlier Maigret stories, is a good place to start.

Simenon's writing is sparse and to the point. This is a short book, 154 rather small pages, and can be read in one or two sittings.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Blue in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWERTOP 1000 REVIEWER on 26 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
"The Bar on the Seine" is an early Inspector Maigret mystery and a very tale story indeed! The story itself--the investigation of a six-year old murder that leads to a second killing as Maigret skeptically begins a look at the earlier crime--is well told and keeps the reader turning pages until the end. But along the way, the details of daily life in Paris and the social interactions of Parisians are presented in such specific detail and so convincingly that it is like reading a newspaper of the period.

"The Bar" is a wonderful small novel and a terrific read. This book is part of a Penguin reprint of some of the Maigret stories (of which there are 75 novels and many stories). I will be among many who will attempt to read them all.
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Simenon uses this story to re-inforce his detective, Chief Inspector Maigret as a caring man who loves justice above all things. Its the Summer and everyone has deserted Paris to go on holiday; before Maigret joins his wife in Alsace he pays a last visit to a prisoner on death row, the night before his execution. The policeman doesn't go to gloat but rather bring closure to the process of investigation, arrest, trial and sentence. The condemned man mentions another more deserving of the fate that faces him since he got away with murder. He tells how he observed the aftermath and disposal of the body in a canal; how he went on to blackmail the criminal until he lost touch. He won't name him but drops the clue of The Two-Penny Bar, the trouble is Maigret has no idea where this is and he is due on holiday.
Maigret tries and is frustrated at every turn and the on the way to the station a chance remark enables him to pursue justice and solve a 6 year old crime.
This is an intriguing story which demonstrates how this great detective works to crack a case. He is determined and driven, selfish and selfless in his work and singleminded to get his solution. A larger than life group of people befriend Maigret as enters their world and changes the dynamic forever. A terrific tale that stars Maigret and it is his characterisation that has driven so many more books about this wonderful detective.
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