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Pietr the Latvian by Georges Simenon

Pietr the Latvian (1931)

by Georges Simenon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Maigret (1)

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6943420,343 (3.36)86



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English (23)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  Italian (2)  Portuguese (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (34)
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
I'm just not that into it. Other than considering some of translator David Bellos's word choices, which is a fun and helpful exercise but still...
  LizoksBooks | Dec 15, 2018 |
No one can claim to be a true fan of crime fiction without at least having heard of Georges Simenon and his iconic Inspector Maigret. With my rather poor track record in reading classic crime, it's taken me awhile to sample this series. Pietr the Latvian is listed as the very first Maigret mystery, originally published in 1930, and it has all the earmarks of an author trying out new ideas.

From the very beginning, I felt as though I'd been dropped on my head in the midst of the story. Although the feeling of disorientation gradually wore off, it did return from time to time. From the first, there is something grand about Maigret, and it's not just that he's "a mountain of a man." There are some wonderful descriptive passages throughout the book, but there are also places where Simenon drops the plot and wanders a bit-- and I never did quite understand why Pietr the Latvian was such a major criminal.

This new translation reads exceptionally well-- no dated feel to it at all-- but the original was written almost ninety years ago. Simenon was a writer of his time, so if his occasional unflattering references to Jews and Eastern European men are offensive, consider it as a period piece. Even though I could see Simenon experimenting throughout this book, I could also see many instances of brilliant writing and strong storytelling-- proof of what this series would become. I'm not going to be in a huge hurry to continue with Maigret, but this is certainly a series to which I will return. ( )
  cathyskye | May 21, 2018 |
Pietr the Latvian - Georges Simenon ***

I have always enjoyed the odd detective story, from Holmes and Poirot to the noir brilliance of Phillip Marlowe, but somehow I never really came across Maigret. It was only after watching the TV series with Rowan Atkinson that I did a little research and thought it was worth giving the books a try. A quick look on the internet and I found that Penguin had started rereleasing the novels once again, albeit with a new translation. The first book is well under 200 pages long so I felt it was worth a punt.

The storyline is fairly simple; Maigret receives notification that an international conman name Pietr the Latvian could be moving into his area. He goes to the train station to try and locate the felon and just as he spots someone resembling his description is called to a cabin where a body has been found. Unfortunately for Maigret the body also matches the depiction .... he must now try and track down the identity of both men. What follows is pretty much a tale of stakeouts and early forensic investigations as we tag along with Maigret from the height of opulence in expensive hotels to seedy back street dwellings. There are a few twists in the plot towards the end, but to be honest I kind of guessed them before they were apparent.

I just couldn’t seem to get into this story. I know that Simenon likes to keep his writing sparse and direct, but quite often I lost my way and found that I had to reread a chapter or two to find out what was going on. The plot seemed to flit back and forth and at times was just disjointed. The characters were ok, but I still didn’t really care what happened next to them, which was a shame because I really wanted to enjoy this series and hoped I had found a new author to follow. The other reviews seem to vary, from people who have been a long time fan and loved the book, to others who just didn’t really manage to get into the plot like myself. This is one of those strange books, where I am unsure whether it is the original author that I couldn’t get along with or the translation. There seems to be a large number of reviewers that are commenting on the latest edition and marking them down because of this. Either way, I didn’t enjoy any aspect of the book enough to read another edition and find out. ( )
  Bridgey | Mar 15, 2017 |
Oooh, looks like I found a new mystery series to read. Odd that I am not familiar with the character of Maigret before now. Saw that there was a BBC series done with Mr. Bean as Maigret. See quotes of famous authors of the 20th century likening him to Chekov and others. Wow. Read this in one Saturday afternoon when my wife and son were away in NC visiting her sister. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Mar 11, 2017 |
Listened to the audiobook so often fell asleep and had to rewind. OK but I often lost a sense of what was going on and there were times where it's reflection of 1930s attitudes were uncomfortable. ( )
  infjsarah | Feb 5, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Simenon, Georgesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bellos, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bruna, DickCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cañameras, F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jordá, JoaquínTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marchi, EnaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mélaouah, YasminaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Monreal, José RamónTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
N. Broes van GroenauTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pinotti, GiorgioEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tlarig, M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodward, DaphneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Interpol an Sureté Paris:
Xvust Krakau vimontra m ghks triv psot uv Pietr, des Letten, Bremen vs tyz btoelm.
Last words
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
In the French original, Pietr-le-Letton (1931).

Variously published in English as:
(i) The Strange Case of Peter the Lett (1933) (trans. Anthony Abbot);
(ii) "The Case of Peter the Lett," (trans. Anthony Abbot) in Inspector Maigret Investigates (1933);
(iii) Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett (1963), and in Maigret Meets a Milord (1983) (trans. Daphne Woodward) and;
(iv) Pietr the Latvian (2013) (trans. David Bellos).
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Inspector Jules Maigret travels from grimy bars to luxury hotels as he traces the true identity of Pietr the Latvian.

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Average: (3.36)
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1.5 1
2 16
2.5 5
3 71
3.5 21
4 45
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