Jules Maigret (French: [ʒyl mɛɡʁɛ]; titled Commissaire) — simply Maigret to most people, including his wife — is a French 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 (1903-1989).
Seventy-five novels and twenty-eight short stories about Maigret were published between 1931 and 1972, starting with Pietr-le-Letton (Pietr the Latvian) and concluding with Maigret et Monsieur Charles (Maigret and Mister Charles). The Maigret stories were also adapted for television and radio.
The character of Maigret was invented, but after the first few novels was influenced by Chief Inspector Marcel Guillaume (1871–1963), said to be the greatest French detective of his day, who became a long-time friend of Simenon. Some of his trademark features are his pipes, his mixed approach to detecting (at times relying on pure intuition, at times on method), his laconic manner, 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 drinks of choice are beer and white wine, though he has also been known to drink pastis, Armagnac, Cognac, Calvados, Pernod, and whisky, as well as grog, to name just a few. 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 become intoxicated. Maigret almost invariably wears his heavy overcoat, even when travelling 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 above-average height, slightly overweight but not obese. He dislikes climbing stairs, and usually uses a police driver or cab for travelling even comparatively short distances in his investigations, though he also occasionally walks. During rural adventures, such as Félicie est là, he was known to borrow bicycles. Junior officers may be made to carry his attaché case.
Maigret was born at the fictional village of Saint-Fiacre in the Allier department, supposedly in 1884, although different birth years may be inferred from different books. His wife's given name is Louise, but she is almost exclusively referred to as Madame Maigret in the books. They had one child, a daughter who died at birth. Without any living children of his own, Maigret nevertheless demonstrates fondness for children, treating them with kindness and patience, and often indulging them. In most of his books he and his wife live at the corner of Boulevard Richard-Lenoir and the Rue du Chemin Vert but in Maigret in Retirement (1945), he is said to have retained his apartment on the Place des Vosges in the 4th arrondissement of Paris.
He is usually successful and generally confident in his police work, although he does encounter the occasional disappointment. He is most often portrayed as a mentor to his "pupil" sidekicks, usually junior Metropolitan officers or (when he is away from Paris) the local constabulary. Maigret is genuinely proud and happy when one of his junior officers meets with some professional success. The role of mindless puppet, contrasting with the brilliance of Maigret, is reserved for public prosecutors or more frequently a Juge d'instruction or Examining Magistrate.
While Maigret usually conducts his investigations in France, he has also been called upon to visit Belgium, Britain, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United States.
There have been numerous incarnations of Maigret on the small screen all around the world. He has been portrayed by French, British, Irish, Austrian, German, Italian, Dutch, Japanese and Russian 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 played him in 54 adaptations during 1991–2005. In the USA, this television series airs on Eurochannel. 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.
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 Soviet Union well known Russian theater actor Boris Tenin portrayed Maigret in a number of TV films in the 1970s. In Soviet cinema apart from Boris Tenin, Maigret was portrayed by top famous cinema actors Vladimir Samoylov and Armen Dzigarkhanyan.
In Japan, Kinya Aikawa played Megure, a Japanese-born equivalent to the French Maigret, reinvented in a modern Japanese setting, in Tōkyō Megure Keishi, a 25-episode TV Series aired from 14 April to 29 May 1978 on Asahi TV. Megure's wife was played by Etsuko Ichihara, 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".
The title role in the successful British Maigret TV series was played by the actor Rupert Davies who made his debut on 31 October 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 theme song to the TV series was performed by Joe Loss and released in the UK through the EMI Group on His Masters Voice (45-POP 995).
The British television channel ITV produced an adaptation of Maigret in 1992 and 1993, in which Sir 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.
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.
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 syllabary 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 Aoyama'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.
|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
|M. Gallet décédé||1931||The Death of Monsieur Gallet
|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
|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|
|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
|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.
|"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"
|"Un Noël de Maigret"||May 1950||"Maigret's Christmas"|
- The Maigret Statue at Delfzijl
- www.trussel.com Chief Inspector Marcel Guillaume
- Simenon, Maigret et l'homme du banc (Hamish Hamilton 1975), trans. Eileen Ellenbogen from Maigret et l'Homme du Banc (1953), p69.
- Simenon, Georges (1980) [English translation 1976]. "4. A Visit to the Dutchman". Maigret et le fantôme [Maigret and the Apparition] (1st Harvest/HBJ ed.). New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. p. 77. ISBN 0156551276. "Maigret's schoolboy English [...] had been of little use to him in London, and still less on the two occasions when he had visited the United States"
- Presentation of TV Series Maigret on Eurochannel website
- Tôkyo Megure Keishi Japanese wiki page (Japanese)
- A picture of Kinya Aikawa as Maigret/Megure, and Simenon's quote from La Revue du Cinéma n° 454, November, 1989. Article retrieved on Trussel.com
- Simenon's Maigret (bibliography, statistics, online texts, links)
- Maigret at the Internet Movie Database