The character was apparently modelled on the author's great-grandfather. In this and the following books Simenon combined his moral objectivity and psychological insight to create characters that are wholly credible. Another series character, Jean Dollent, "the Little Doctor", appeared in short stories, which have been collected in The Little Doctor In the early s Simenon produced eighteen Maigret books, but abandoned the character for eight years.
In Simenon was appointed commissioner for Belgian refugees at La Rochelle. When the German army invaded France, Simenon settled in Fontenay. During the years of occupation he continued writing and enjoyed success in the film business — under Nazi bureaucracy nine films based on his text were produced. After the war Simenon found himself in the lists of collaborators.
In he moved to Canada and from there to Tucson, Arizona.
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He spent the late s and early s in the United States. In New York Simenon met the bilingual young French-Canadian woman, Denyse Ouimet, with whom he had one of the great love affairs of his life. He married Denise in and moved with his new family to Connecticut, where he lived for the next five years. During this period he wrote several novels with an American background. Belle was a story of murder in a small Connecticut community. The Hitchhiker explored a battle of wills between husband and wife, and The Brothers Rico was a Mafia story.
Simenon's unusually hard-boiled style echoes the work of Dashiell Hammett and James M. Simenon's semi-autobiographic, naturalistic Pedigree was exceptionally long compared to most novels, over five hundred pages. Simenon began writing because a doctor misread an x-ray and told him that he had less than two years to live. He planned to give the book to his young son so that he would be able to know about his father when he grew up. However, Simenon still had 41 years ahead. In Simenon returned to Europe and settled eventually in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Beneath the illusion of a happy household, Simenon's marriage was deteriorating and his family disintegrating. He had started a sexual relationship with Teresa Sburelin, a new servant, who became his devoted companion. In Denise entered a psychiatric clinic, never returning to Epalinges, their home. Her bitter memoir of the marriage, Un Oiseau pour le chat , was published in Simenon's daughter Marie-Jo began the first of several psychiatric treatments in , but ultimately in she committed suicide. The critic and awarded mystery writer H. Keating selected My Friend Maigret and Maigret in Court in for his list of the one hundred best crime novels.
Maigret's method of investigation doesn't rely on vast amounts of police work. He operates more on the basis of intuition. His method also has many similarities with hermeneutics — the theory of interpretation, of understanding the significance of human actions, utterances, products, and institutions. In My Friend Maigret a small-time crook is murdered on the island of Porquerolles off the Mediterranean coast. Maigret is sent to investigate. He collects impressions, and tries to see behind the facts that the local inspector offers him.
Thoughts start to rise up from his subconscious. A number of actors have impersonated Maigret in films and television series. The director had happy memories of the film. His nephew Claude made his debut as a cameraman, Jacques Becker was producer, and the famous film critic and historian Jean Mitry was part of the crew. Jean-Claude Barreau. Marcel Proust. Philippe Grimbert. Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
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