Crime Fiction on a Euro Pass: France

This week’s Crime Fiction on A Euro Pass destination is France. When I think of French crime fiction Georges Simenon’s Maigret immediately pops into my mind.  Simenon was actually Belgian, not French, but as the Maigret books are set in France (mainly in Paris) they fit the criteria for the Europass.

Simenon wrote 75 novels and 28  short stories featuring Commissaire Jules Maigret and I first knew of them from a friend at school who loved the books. Then there were the numerous TV productions with Rupert Davies as Maigret.

I have read several of them in the past and most recently I’ve read the following three Maigret books. The links are to my posts on the books:

  • Lock 14, which was the second book, originally published in 1931 as Le Charretier de la ‘˜Providence’ and translated as Maigret Meets a Milord in 1963. It’s a short book of 124 pages set along the canal from Epernay to Vitry-le-Francois. It’s a mystery in which Maigret gets increasingly grumpy, exasperated and tired.
  • My Friend Maigret, first published in 1939 as Mon ami Maigret. It’s a study of Maigret himself, and of life on a small Mediterranean island, three miles from the French coast, where he investigates the murder of Marcellin, a thug, drunkard, thief and pimp. He is accompanied by Mr Pyke, a British detective who is shadowing Maigret to studying his method of working.
  • The Man on the Boulevard, first published in 1953 as Maigret et l’homme du banc. This book is set in Paris where Louis Thouret is found stabbed in a little alleyway. Louis  has led a double life that his wife knew nothing about. It appears he had been having an affair for three years.

There are many things I like about the Maigret books – the attention to detail, the descriptions of the weather, and the characters themselves.  The descriptions of the locations are good, but above all I like the characterisation of Maigret himself.


  1. I haven’t read any Maigret, which is disgraceful. However, I have just discovered Fred Vargas and can highly recommend her work and I have a book by Jean-Francois Parot on my shelves waiting to be read, a writer who has also come with strong recommendations.


  2. Annie, I’ve read one Fred Vargas book, which I did like once I’d got into it – Seeking whom He May Devour. I haven’t read (or heard of) Jean-Francois Parot. I’m looking forward to reading what you think of the book. I have just started to read Murder on the Eiffel Tower by Claude Izner, but haven’t read enough yet to write about it.


  3. Margaret – Fine choice for France :-). I like the Maigret character very much, and one really gets a feel for the setting in those books.


  4. I knew someone would do Maigret. I have enjoyed Simenon’s non-Maigret crime books far more than the Maigret series. THE MAN WHO WATCHED THE TRAINS GO BY, THE FUGITIVE, and THE HITCHHIKER are particularly good. And the movie version of THE HITCHHIKER is excellent – it uses the original title of the book FEUX ROUGES or, in English, RED LIGHTS.


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