Maigret and the Tramp | Georges Simenon

There was a moment, between Quai des Orfevres and Pont Marie, when Maigret paused, so briefly that Lapointe, who was walking beside him, paid no attention.

Happy Bastille Day! Joyeux Quatorze Juillet!

Picking up a Maigret is like falling into a soft, cosy blanket with a tray of strong cheeses, biscuits and a robust red wine to hand. Comforting and sustaining at the same time!

Maigret and the Tramp is book 60 of 75 novels and 28 short stories featuring the French detective, Jules Maigret.

A tramp known as ‘the Doc’, is beaten over the head, tossed into the Seine and left for dead. He is fished out and saved just in time, though, by two nearby bargees.

This case brings Maigret back into the area of Paris, around Pont Marie, that was his early policing beat. He is overcome by memories and a sense of nostalgia throughout this case. Maigret is mellowing with age, or perhaps it’s the ‘limpid’ spring days that cause him to approach this case rather differently than usual.

Madame Maigret is usually the last to know about the cases that her famous husband is working on. This time, though, he accepts her help and confides in her about its progress. Maybe it’s because the tramp did not die, a victimless crime, in Maigret’s eyes. The media was not interested either. It was like a criminal investigation without a criminal. For Maigret, this case almost felt like a holiday.

It is a damn fine thing that Penguin has done, bringing all the Maigret’s back to life, with new covers and translations. With only seven under my belt, to date, I have years of Maigret pleasure ahead of me. Most of the books come in at around the 150 page mark, making them novellas really. It also means you can read them in one or two sittings very easily. Perfect for rainy days and lockdowns.

Favourite Quote:

It’s hard to know what’s true from what’s more or less true. Not that she lies. She arranges the truth to make it the way she’d like it to be.

Favourite Character:

Paris in the spring time!

Favourite of Forget:

All the Maigret’s are completely forgettable. The storylines blur into one. But Maigret, and his ever patient and understanding wife, are now part of my fictional family. I may only catch up with them once a year, but we immediately fall back into a familiar, caring relationship.

My Maigrets:

Book 9 of 20 Books of Summer Winter and Book 1 of Paris in July.

Book: Maigret and the Tramp #60
Alternate Titles: Maigret and the Dosser, Maigret and the Bum, Maigret et le clochard
Author: Georges Simenon
Translator: Howard Curtis
ISBN: 9780241303993
Published: 15 October 2018 (originally published 1962)
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Format: Paperback
  • This post was written on the traditional land of the Wangal clan, one of the 29 clans of the Eora Nation within the Sydney basin.

19 thoughts on “Maigret and the Tramp | Georges Simenon

  1. Maigret has been my comfort reading for 50 years. I still have many ‘Saints’ (Simon Templar) paperbacks and shelves of 60s and 70s SF but it is Maigret (and Georgette Heyer) I fall back on.

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    1. I wish I had discovered Maigret earlier, so that I could one day say that he has been my comfort read for 50 yrs. But I will be a funny old thing, pushing 100 to make that come true 😀
      I have yet to read a Heyer – I read Jean Paidy instead for my history/romance fix. And Jane Austen.

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    1. They’re fairy floss crime – no gory details, no forensic science, almost no blood and guts. It’s basically some police procedural while wandering around Paris, eating yummy food & drinking beer at every meal 🙂

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  2. How lovely to have these as comfort reads to return to! And well done with your 20 Books of Winter. I am half-way through Book 8 at the moment, but I am having a week off work so am reading quite a lot, and I’ve done some good work on my NetGalley books so time to pick up more 20 Books!

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      1. It’s been good, thank you – I’ve finished the big book I wanted to finish (Black and British) and got a good few more read, while also getting books out of the house and (carefully) seeing a few friends.

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    1. I think the comfort comes with the formula, but also the characters who become like family over time. It’s not so much what happens when you’re together, just that you are together is enough.

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  3. Like several of the other commenters, I’ve been reading Maigret novels for ages, and I’m glad for the reissued, retranslated series. I couldn’t make a list of the ones I’ve read, especially because the translated titles change even if it’s the same book. But as you say, it’s really fun to read them I agree that the plots are a bit forgettable but when I re-read one it always comes back to me.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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  4. This quote says it all. “All the Maigret’s are completely forgettable. The storylines blur into one. But Maigret, and his ever patient and understanding wife, are now part of my fictional family. I may only catch up with them once a year, but we immediately fall back into a familiar, caring relationship.”

    Yes! I cannot tell you one plot from another (although I don’t think I’ve read this one). But I love them all. I want to know the Maigrets personally and somehow, after reading so many, I think we do!

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