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Lock 14 by Georges Simenon

Lock 14 (original 1930; edition 2003)

by Georges Simenon, Robert Baldick (Translator)

Series: Maigret (2)

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4041326,397 (3.51)21
Title:Lock 14
Authors:Georges Simenon
Other authors:Robert Baldick (Translator)
Info:Penguin Books Ltd (2003), Paperback, 144 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:fiction, crime, mystery, France, narrowboating, tbr

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Lock 14 by Georges Simenon (1930)


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English (9)  Portuguese (1)  French (1)  German (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (13)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This novel was one of a number that Simenon wrote after spending 6 months on French canals in 1928.
In the setting he captures a life style now long gone, when the canal boats and barges played an important role in transporting goods to the major ports in France.

It also captures the rural isolation of many of the towns that the canals connected: the first murder scene is along a tow path, several kilometres from the nearest major town. Maigret has to walk there, and then manages to acquire a bicycle which he uses to travel up to 70 kilometres a day. Most of the boats are horsedrawn, with the horses stabled on the boats themselves. The days are long, beginning well before dawn, and finishing only at sunset. At one lock there are more than 60 barges waiting to go through. There's a glimpse too of the future, with motorised pleasure boats, taking preference over working boats at the locks.

The murderer in this story was convicted nearly thirty years before, of the murder of his aunt, and paid the penalty with transportation to French Guiana. There he shook off his former identity, and returned to France to a new life as a labourer. A chance meeting at a junction of canals leads to another murder. Maigret's intuition puts scattered bits of evidence together. ( )
  smik | Mar 16, 2015 |
Amazon.com Product Description:

One rainy night, a canal worker stumbles across the strangled body of Mary Lampson in a stable near Lock 14. The dead woman's husband seems unmoved by her death and is curt and unhelpful when Maigret interviews him aboard his yacht. But gradually Maigret is able to piece together their story - a sordid tale of whisky-fuelled orgies and nomadic life on the canals. Can the answer to this crime be found aboard the yacht? Or is the murderer among the bargees, carters and lock-keepers who work the canal? In Lock 14, Simenon plunges Maigret into the unfamiliar canal world of shabby bars and shadowy towpaths, drawing together the strands of a tragic case of lost identity.

It took me a while to get into the ambiance of this book, with most of the action taking place along the unfamiliar environs of canals and locks, and the cafés and bars frequented by bargemen along the way. But Simenon has a cinematic mind, and pretty soon I felt as though I were watching a great grimy (that word again!) vintage movie. We don't know anything about Mary Lampson till the very end, and her husband's uncaring attitude makes him look guilty as hell, though Maigret knows better than to go by appearances. Hit the spot perfectly. ( )
  Smiler69 | Jul 2, 2014 |
Certainly no need to summarize the plot. This is another of the wonderful series of police procedurals by George Simenon featuring Chief Inspector Maigret, the calm, pipe-smoking Parisian detective, who, in an almost plodding manner succeeds in bringing the villains to justice. That raises some interesting points because clearly the way the judicial system works in France is vastly different from that in the United States. There is an examining magistrate or public prosecutor, the rules are different and that almost makes the books more interesting from my perspective. Of course, there is none of the black-garbed, heavily-armed SWAT confrontations with guns blazing, so typical of some of the modern police thrillers, and for me, that's part of the series' appeal.

I have always wanted to travel along one of the many French or British canals with their numerous locks and restaurants and villages along the way that require only tying up the boat and a meander to the local village. My father did that years ago in England and it remains one of his favorite vacations. It sounds so peaceful and idyllic, yet as in all of Maigret's cases, there is an undercurrent of bleakness.

Anyway, this story, that takes Maigret away from Paris, has such a nice setting, if somewhat dark. But, then again, the chief character is an English colonel and gentleman(?) who manages to indulge in all manner of orgies and behaviors on his yacht. Perhaps that explains it. In the end, the book is a supreme love story, but tinged with despair and sadness. I think this is one of Simenon's finer efforts. Do not expect a happy ending. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
Maigret at his most typical, doing little watching, learning the atmosphere. and the case solves itself. ( )
  pnorman4345 | Feb 22, 2013 |
Very early Maigret (the second) with lots of nice 1930s French canal atmosphere — horse-drawn barges, lock-side cafés, and a yacht owned by an implausibly decadent former Indian Army colonel. Simenon's research on the canal culture (an area that obviously fascinated him, and which he was to revisit many times in the later Maigret stories) looks spot-on, but he apparently hadn't had much direct experience of les Anglais at that time: a decade or two later he'd have known that you don't address a knight as "Sir Surname"! ( )
  thorold | Jan 1, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Georges Simenonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baldick, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coward, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Uit de nauwgezet gereconstrueerde feiten werd uitsluitend duidelijk dat de ontdekking die de twee scheepsjagers in Dizy hadden gedaan om zo te zeggen onmogelijk was.
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In the French original,
Le charretier de "la Providence" (1931).

Variously published in English as:

(i) "The Crime at Lock 14," with "The Shadow on the Courtyard" (1934), and in The Triumph of Inspector Maigret (1934) (trans. Anthony Abbot);

(ii) Maigret Meets a Milord (1963), and with the same title in the omnibus Maigret Meets a Milord (with "Maigret and the Hundred Gibbets" and "Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett"; 1983); and as Lock 14 (2003) (trans. Robert Baldick);
and (iii) The Carter of "La Providence" (trans. David Coward) (2014).

Please distinguish between the stand-alone title and the 1983 omnibus of the same name which includes other works.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143037277, Paperback)

Mystery legend Georges Simenon comes to Penguin with classic works in celebration of the iconic Inspector Maigret’s 75th anniversary

One of the world’s most successful crime writers, Georges Simenon has thrilled mystery lovers around the world since 1931 with his matchless creation Inspector Maigret. Seventy-five years later, the incomparable Maigret mysteries make their Penguin debut with three of his most compelling cases.

In Lock 14, Simenon plunges Maigret into the unfamiliar canal world of shabby bars and shadowy towpaths, drawing together the strands of a tragic case of lost identity.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:19 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

What was the woman doing here? In a stable, wearing pearl earrings, her stylish bracelet and white buckskin shoes! She must have been alive when she got there because the crime had been committed after ten in the evening. But how? And why? And no one had heard a thing! She had not screamed. The two carters had not woken up. Maigret is standing in the pouring rain by a canal. A well-dressed woman, Mary Lampson, has been found strangled in a stable nearby. Why did her glamorous, hedonistic life come to such a brutal end here? Surely her taciturn husband Sir Walter knows - or maybe the answers lie with the crew of the barge La Providence.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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