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The Misty Harbour by Georges Simenon

The Misty Harbour

by Georges Simenon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Maigret (15)

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English (8)  French (2)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All (14)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
The mystery in this story isn't so hot; the ending feels a bit rushed and forced, and the solution isn't truly satisfactory. What IS satisfactory is the evocative setting of the book, on the coast of Normandy. One gets a definite "feel" for the small fishing village in which Maigret investigates why a particular man was first wounded in the head, and then killed with poison. This was one of the relatively early (1932) Maigret novels, so one could be a bit forgiving of the roughness of the actual structure of the mystery. ( )
  EricCostello | Apr 3, 2018 |
Enjoyed this one a great deal. Maigret dealing with silence from everyone, terribly frustrated. Always love the ones set in a harbour or a canal or by the sea. He has a great way of describing these scenes. Hell, he has a great way of describing any scene. ( )
1 vote BooksForDinner | Nov 20, 2017 |
Simenon finds (yet) another pretext to get his Parisian detective involved with ships and sailors - Captain Joris, harbourmaster in the Normandy village of Ouistreham (which would go on to play an important role in the Normandy landings of June 1944, but at that time was just a quiet little port and beach resort well known to Simenon) is found wandering about in Paris, unable to talk and apparently having lost his memory as a result of a gunshot wound to the head. Maigret escorts him back to Ouistreham to investigate.

The plot is a little bit improbable, as is Maigret's conduct during the investigation (but it's fun to discover that Maigret studied in Nantes and speaks a bit of Breton - something Simenon seems to forget in later books). But what makes this book worth reading is the detailed description of Ouistreham in the early 30s, and especially of the daily routine of the port and the people who work there. I was especially interested by the vignettes of the working of a small sailing cargo ship in the days when such ships normally didn't have auxiliary engines. Simenon is clearly observing all this from the point of view of someone who has spent plenty of time with sailors and port workers and understands what they do and why. Good stuff. ( )
  thorold | Oct 14, 2017 |
Charlotte has been rereading through this series featuring Inspector Maigret, and tempting us all with these police procedurals. Written in French, these books have been newly translated and are being released again by Penguin. This particular one was originally written in 1932, and it is book #15 in the series. I know, I KNOW. I didn't start with the first book in the series - I wanted to get a good feel for it, so I asked Charlotte for a particular favorite, and she named this one. I can see why. Maigret is out of his element here as he has accompanied a victim back home. Here is the Amazon blurb:

"A man picked up for wandering in obvious distress among the cars and buses on the Grands Boulevards. Questioned in French, he remains mute . . . A madman? In Maigret's office, he is searched. His suit is new, his underwear is new, his shoes are new. All identifying labels have been removed. No identification papers. No wallet. Five crisp thousand-franc bills have been slipped into one of his pockets."

He is eventually identified by his housekeeper, and Maigret travels with the both of them back home to see if he can get to the bottom of things. What happened and why? The man has obviously been shot in the head and then cared for - he seems none the worse for wear except that he doesn't speak and seems to have no memory of who he is. Maigret no sooner gets the man settled into his home again, when he is murdered. As Maigret works to track down the killer, he must adapt himself because he is no longer in Paris but in Normandy in a small harbor town that seems to be filled with secrets - the weather isn't the only thing that is foggy here.

This was delightful from beginning to end, with non-stop action and lovely pacing. Maigret does not tell us what he is going to do, and so we are left to follow and try to discern his reasoning. A quick but gripping read - I read it in one sitting. Thanks, Charlotte, for a delightful diversion! ( )
  Crazymamie | Apr 2, 2016 |
A man is found in Paris with a head wound, apparently suffering from amnesia and unable to speak. His maid eventually comes in from a small harbour town and identifies him as Capitaine Joris, her town's harbour-master, and Maigret follows Julie and her employer back to the port town of Ouistreham in Normandy to elucidate the mystery. But to add to the confusion, Capitaine Joris dies on the night of his return home from strychnine poisoning and Julie is besides herself with grief. The town is foggy throughout Maigret's stay, which makes discerning passers-by near impossible and adding to the confusion, none of the town's inhabitants want to speak to the inspector, though it becomes evident that everyone has something to hide, including Julie's big brutish brother, an ex-convict, who works on a ship and is evidently involved in some scheme. A compelling mystery, and as always, Simenon is a master of ambiance. ( )
  Smiler69 | Jul 20, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Simenon, Georgesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Amlie, Axelsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Arentz, Ronald Archersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ascari, FabrizioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cañameras, F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cantini, GuidoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coverdale, LindaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szíjgyártó, LászlóTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tlarig, M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vilaginés, CarmeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Maigret surveyed his fellow passengers with wide-open, sullen eyes and, without meaning to, assumed that self-important look people put on when they have spent mindless hours in the compartment of a train.
Quand on avait quitté Paris, vers trois heures, la foule s'agitait encore dans un frileux soleil d'arrièrre-saison.
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Disambiguation notice
In the French original, Le port des brumes (1932).

Variously published in English as:
(i) "Death of a Harbour Master," (tr. Stuart Gilbert) in Maigret and M. Labbé (1941);
(ii) Maigret and the Death of a Harbor-Master (tr. Stuart Gilbert) (1989); and
(iii) The Misty Harbour (tr. Linda Coverdale) (2015).
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156551616, Paperback)

The regularity of life in a quiet village on the English Channel is broken when the local harbor-master is murdered. Inspector Maigret, down from Paris, is on unfamiliar ground here as he plunges into the harborside gloom, searching for killer and motive. Translated by Stuart Gilbert.A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:52 -0400)

This is a new translation of Georges Simenon's gripping tale of lost identity. A distressed man is found wandering the streets of Paris, with no memory of who he is or how he got there. The answers lead Maigret to a small harbour town, whose quiet citizens conceal a poisonous malice.… (more)

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