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Pietr the Latvian: Inspector Maigret #1 Paperback – 7 Nov 2013

3.8 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; First Thus edition (7 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141392738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141392738
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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

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. 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.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Although it's great to see Simenon's Maigret series finally appearing again (especially in Kindle format), I can't help feeling that Penguin is ripping us off slightly here. The Maigret books are so slim in terms of page numbers that either the price for the print version could be lower, or they could release more titles at once and bundle them into more 'omnibus' style releases. £3.99 is just about okay for a Kindle version, but they could still be cheaper - and look at some of the foreign editions that are appearing and you know it can be done.

Either way, bringing out one title per month is going to be a long-haul for even the most patient Maigret fan, so Penguin should perhaps review the approach they are taking if they are serious about giving us all 75 novels. Six years and counting....

As far as the story goes, the early Maigrets always were a bit hit and miss. This one darts about all over the place and is quite ragged in terms of style, plot and narrative, but every writer has to start somewhere, and Pietr The Latvian is one of a handful of titles that Simenon rattled off for publication in 1931. Not sure what makes the new translation so "gripping" to be honest. It perhaps captures the raw nature of Simenon's early - slightly rushed - writing, but apart from that, hard to see what new insights it offers.

Padding the Kindle edition with a lengthy excerpt from the next title to be released really is taking the biscuit (and yes, Penguin repeat the trick in that one as well to beef up the content), and with no page numbering there is still clear room for improvement in how the publisher releases e-book versions of their texts.

So, good to see the books appearing, but we'll have to dig deep in our pockets to get the full set - and grow old doing it. Poor marketing, guys.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The first book featuring the lugubrious detective Maigret is a taut, tense affair that needs some attention paying to it to follow the plot which describes the search for a pan-European criminal mastermind. Being an early work it introduces locations and characters that will recur in the series and it is the descriptions of these and Maigret himself that lifts the book above the ordinary. Due attention also has to be paid to the fact that this book came out in the early 1930s and was way ahead of its time in the realistic depiction of life both within the Flying squad that Maigret was a member of, and also the Inspector's humdrum home life. In common with the majority of Maigret novels this is relatively short, which is good because it allows for a stripped down novel without an inch of flab. Beautifully translated this is a necessary read for anyone interested in crime fiction. Better books will follow in due course but for now enjoy the first instalment in an excellent series
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By R de Bulat TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoy the Maigret stories and have read many of them, mostly in omnibus editions, which makes the most of the novella format in which they are written. Penguin are re-issuing the whole series and this story is the first to be published. It is always interesting to read the first in a series to see how the ideas and stories develop over time and this is no exception. There is more plot movement as the scenes take in Paris and the French North coast, with Maigret spending little time at home as the chase to catch an international criminal gathers pace. Apart from being described as large, muscular and working class, there is not much to describe Maigret who starts and remains as a detective everyman, sympathetic, humane, perceptive and dogged in his pursuit for justice and the truth. The same can be said for the Scenery in which the action takes place, described with economy and yet you have no doubt that you are inhabiting the world of 1930's Paris, the Quai des Offevres or that of a coastal port, the bars and the drinks and the characters and nightlife of the french demi-monde, criminals or playboys. Simenon has created a world in which Maigret and and other characters inhabit, which is believable and inhabitable by the reader: much to the delight and pleasure of those who enjoy these stories. Pietr the Latvian is no exception: readable, enjoyable and no worse for being the first in the series.
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By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Although I am a great fan of crime novels published between the wars (this was published in 1930) I have never read the Inspector Maigret novels. This is the first in a long running series, reprinted by Penguin, featuring the stolid Detective Chief Inspector. The book opens with Maigret receiving a telegram from the International Criminal Police Commission, warning him of the imminent arrival of the notorious conman Pietr the Latvian. Armed with a description, Maigret heads for the Gare du Nord, where he believes he identifies the criminal leaving the train – only to find that there is a corpse discovered in the train who also matches Pietr’s physical description.

Much of this short novel is spent with Maigret doing old fashioned legwork and stakeouts. You sympathise with the fact that he has just got the stove in his office to the right temperature, when he has to set out in the cold and rain yet again, as events unfold. The man who he witnessed leaving the train is settled in the exclusive Hotel Majestic consorting with millionaires; people seem to disappear and reappear, change names and appearance and yet Maigret is patient and gradually unravels the mystery.

This is a darker read than most mysteries set in that Golden Age of 1930’s mysteries. We travel from luxurious hotels and theatres to seedy boarding houses and there is true despair in some of the characters we meet. I feel glad that I have finally met the character of Maigret and discovered his fictional world and feel sure that I will read on in the series. This is not stylistically full of flowery prose, but it is compellingly written, with a realistic sense of the underworld and Maigret as a determined and –often sympathetic - investigator.
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