Pietr the Latvian Paperback
Part of the Inspector Maigret series
The first novel which appeared in Georges Simenon's famous Maigret series, in a gripping new translation by David Bellos. Inevitably Maigret was a hostile presence in the Majestic.
He constituted a kind of foreign body that the hotel's atmosphere could not assimilate. Not that he looked like a cartoon policeman. He didn't have a moustache and he didn't wear heavy boots.
His clothes were well cut and made of fairly light worsted.
He shaved every day and looked after his hands. But his frame was proletarian. He was a big, bony man. His firm muscles filled out his jacket and quickly pulled all his trousers out of shape.
He had a way of imposing himself just by standing there.
His assertive presence had often irked many of his own colleagues. In Simenon's first novel featuring Maigret, the laconic detective is taken from grimy bars to luxury hotels as he traces the true identity of Pietr the Latvian. Penguin is publishing the entire series of Maigret novels in new translations.
This novel has been published in previous translations as The Case of Peter the Lett and Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett. 'Compelling, remorseless, brilliant' John Gray 'One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century ...Simenon was unequalled at making us look inside, though the ability was masked by his brilliance at absorbing us obsessively in his stories' Guardian 'A supreme writer ...unforgettable vividness' Independent
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 176 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 07/11/2013
- Category: Classic crime
- ISBN: 9780141392738
- EPUB from £4.99
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.
Review by smik
The recent decision by Penguin to republish fresh translations of all of Simenon's Maigret novels, in the original order of publication, provides a real opportunity for readers to catch up on titles that have been out of print for some time. Apparently the 75 novels will be published at the rate of one a month. There is even an accompanying 24 page brochure available giving biographical details about Simenon and the characters he created.I've been a Simenon reader for decades and could not pass up the opportunity to read, on my Kindle, the very first of the Maigret titles.Maigret comes over as a mountain of a man, with enormous energy, and the ability to push himself to the limits of human endurance. Inevitably Maigret was a hostile presence in the Majestic. He constituted a kind of foreign body that the hotel's atmosphere could not assimilate. Not that he looked like a cartoon policeman. He didn't have a moustache and he didn't wear heavy boots. His clothes were well cut and made of fairly light worsted. He shaved every day and looked after his hands. But his frame was proletarian. He was a big, bony man. His firm muscles filled out his jacket and quickly pulled all his trousers out of shape. He had a way of imposing himself just by standing there. His assertive presence had often irked many of his own colleagues.In many ways PIETR THE LATVIAN gave a good idea of the style that readers could expect in future novels, as well a structure that makes the reader work hard to follow the plot lines.It introduces both Maigret and the long suffering Madame Maigret who at one stage cooks meals for three days without knowing whether her husband will be home to eat them, indeed not knowing what he is up to.In his exploration of international crime rings that manipulate world-wide economies Simenon shared similar concerns to his contemporary Agatha Christie who was also convinced of the control of world economies and politics by evil forces.
Review by Eyejaybee
Penguin Books has undertaken to publish each of Georges Simenon's Maigret novels in a new translation, with a new one coming out each month. Published in 1931 this was the first novel in the series, and, sadly it shows. If i had read this when it first came out i don't think that i would have bothered to read any subsequent instalments.Unfortunately this novel was just too disjointed,and the character of Maigret was just too frenetic, and I found myself rather disappointed. Fortunately I know how good the series became later on, so I will persevere with the next few volumes at least.
Review by nosajeel
Dripping with atmosphere from the interwar years in Paris, complete with people coming in on trains, surveillance in elegant hotels, murder and intrigue. All of which is even better than the plot and the mystery, which themselves are pretty good. This is the first Maigret novella and part of a new translation of the full oeuvre by Penguin. I did a combination of reading and Audible and both were very good.
Review by GarySeverance
The novel Pietr the Latvian (1929) is Georges Simenon’s introduction of Maigret, the stoical French detective and inspector leader of the Paris police “Flying Squad.” The popularity of the character spanned many decades, and the writer published seventy-five novels and twenty-eight short stories about Maigret between 1931 and 1972. In this volume, there is a Simenon quote that gives the reader an idea of how the character was first developed. Simenon was sitting in a café one morning enjoying a glass of schnapps when he decided to write a mystery series focused on the activities of a unique character, a large powerfully built gentleman accessorized with a pipe, a bowler, a thick overcoat with a velvet collar, and a fondness for standing in front of a cast iron stove in his office. Like Simenon himself, Maigret loved smoking and drinking, the latter without overt drunkenness. Maigret was conceived to be a dogged procedural investigator with frequent actions determined by his intuitions regarding the motivations of criminals. Maigret is married, and his wife expects and endures frequent unannounced absences as the detective chases down criminals with the help of his squad.There was a time when I read many mysteries because I thought writers in this genre focus more directly on the psychology of the characters than writers in other fiction categories. Simenon is a good example of this concentration since he deliberately selected a character dedicated to his career and to life’s small but daily personal pleasures tobacco, alcohol, physical warmth, and in particular active interaction with criminals from a position of power. The reader does not so much identify with the inspector but rather follows him around in a somewhat subservient fashion. Like the subordinates and criminals Maigret runs across in the stories, the reader does not want to get in the man’s way. In this novel and others, Maigret likes to use his large body to invade the space of others, intimidating them with his bulk and imperative language.In Pietr the Latvian, it is apparent how Simenon hooked readers into following the somewhat overbearing detective, a hard man to like on the surface. In this case, Maigret investigates a murder on a train that occurs on a journey from northern Europe to Paris. The detective puffs on his pipe, stands in front of his cast iron stove, and follows the trail of suspects who after the murder are staying at a first class hotel in Paris. Maigret shows grit in his endurance as he travels and works for days without sleep in pursuit of evidence that will solve the perpetrator’s identity diversions. Considered a threat, the detective is targeted for elimination and suffers injury but plods on in his investigation, weakened but determined. In the course of exhausting events, Maigret takes time to enjoy his tobacco, alcohol, and comfort of heat in various locations during the cold and rainy conditions in France.I will be following the detective in his many cases for many years to come, continuing by reading novel number 2 when the mood strikes me. If you like contemporary mysteries, the Maigret series will provide a good foundation for understanding the genre.