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The Judge's House by Georges Simenon

The Judge's House (1942)

by Georges Simenon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Maigret (22)

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233675,173 (3.43)12



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English (5)  Italian (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 5 of 5
Simenon was obviously running out of excuses for having Maigret investigate so many crimes at the seaside by the time he got to this book: we are simply told that the Commissaire got into an (unexplained) conflict with his bosses in the Ministry of Justice and as a result was transferred from his senior role in Paris to the small, provincial outpost of Luçon in the Vendée. Fortunately, a corpse turns up in the nearby fishing port of L'Aiguillon. It's almost a perfect setting for a Maigret: the corpse is discovered in the house of a respectable, cultivated gentleman; one of the chief witnesses is a gossipy old woman, another a servant girl of dubious morals; and all the men of the village farm mussels and have a life that revolves around the cycle of the tides. There's not all that much mystery about the who and how of the actual crime, so the investigation is really all about Maigret getting into the minds of the people involved and digging into the why. Which is what he likes to do most (apart from eating fresh shellfish, of course)...

Interesting, as another reviewer points out, that this was written for serial publication in the winter of 1939-40 and published in book form after the German occupation, but there is no overt reference to current events at all: obviously Simenon felt that what his public wanted in a crime story was escapism.

Fun aside: the retired douanier and his wife who act as Maigret's informants in this story are M and Mme Hulot. Could just be a coincidence, but St-Marc-sur-mer, where Jacques Tati's famous character took his holidays on his first appearance in 1953, is only about 100km up the coast from L'Aiguillon. ( )
  thorold | Sep 10, 2018 |
This particular novel was finished in January, 1940, but not published until after the occupation started; it was finally published in 1942. Thus, the notion of Inspector Maigret being "in exile" and "in disgrace" takes on a curious turn that Simenon may not have fully intended. The war does not intrude on this story, which takes place (like "The Misty Harbour" does) on the coast of France, in a mussel-growing area. Here, Maigret must unravel a mystery regarding a mentally ill young girl, her suitor, and her parents; namely, why did a doctor turn up dead in the house where she lives? The mystery here is better than the one in "The Misty Harbour," in that it was a lot more logical. Recommended. ( )
  EricCostello | Apr 4, 2018 |
A dead body, mussel farmers, a snooping elderly couple, yet another female character of questionable mental fitness...what's not to love about Simenon? ( )
  BooksForDinner | Mar 2, 2018 |
Maigret has been exiled to the coast and has nothing to do, which makes him morose. But murder happens everywhere, after all. ( )
  ffortsa | Dec 20, 2009 |
When Inspector Maigret operates outside Paris and the daily habits and routines the steady reader comes to expect, a certain je ne sais quoi is missing ... as in this more intricate than usual (for Simenon) mystery. ( )
  copyedit52 | Jul 2, 2009 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Georges Simenonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Martinetto, VittoriaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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First words
"Fifty-six, fifty-seven, fifty-eight..." counted Maigret.
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Disambiguation notice
In the French original,
La Maison du Juge (1942, with earlier serial publication).

Variously published in English as:
(i) Maigret in Exile (1978) (trans. Eileen Ellenbogen);
(ii) The Judge's House (2015) (trans. Howard Curtis).
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Maigret has been exiled from Paris to a remote province, having offended his superiors. Out of his element, he is bored, until a murder case arrives.

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