Bibliography  Reference  Forum  Plots  Texts  Simenon  Gallery  Shopping  Film  Links








Le Goënec  





Lucas, Janvier, Lapointe, Torrence and the others...

Maigret and his collaborators

Part I

by Murielle Wenger

original French

1. Introduction

When we open a Maigret, not only are we quickly immersed in an investigation that holds us in suspense, not only do we discover the group of characters and the surroundings into which the Commissioner leads us, but we also find ourselves looking for connections between the novels – looking for traces, reminiscences, recollections, in a corpus so extended that it incites a collector's fervor.

In this article we'll survey the numerous collaborators of Maigret that we meet with throughout the novels. I have three motivations for undertaking this analysis:
1. to search for the traces of a particular Inspector lets us examine the full corpus
2. to emphasize the discovery of the secondary characters of these novels
3. as other researchers have examined Maigret's relationship with food, women, Paris, etc., I find it interesting to study this character from a new angle, that of his rapport with his collaborators.

2. Summary

In view of the relatively large number of collaborators with which our Commissioner has been led to work throughout his career, it seems to me judicious, for this analysis, to distribute the characters studied into three groups, according to the geographical location of their activity. We will therefore examine, successively, the Parisian collaborators, the provincial, and the foreigners. Each of these groups will then be subdivided in turn according to the type of character considered:

A) Parisians:
1) Homicide Brigade
This first subgroup will comprise the men of the Homicide Brigade, divided into four groups:
a)Inspectors mentioned only by name
Inspectors whom Simenon has only mentioned the name of.
b)By name and additional info
Inspectors about whom we learn a little more of the physical or moral aspect.
c)Maigret's "Rear Guard"
those Inspectors I call Maigret's "rear guard" – seen in many novels, especially in the Presses de la Cité period, but not part of Maigret's personal team.
d)Faithful Four
finally, the "faithful four", who constitute his "personal team", as Simenon calls it in the Ch. 5 of Maigret and the Lazy Burglar (PAR)... Lucas, Janvier, Lapointe and Torrence. [in Part II]
2) District Inspectors
a second subgroup is comprised of District Inspectors, with whom Maigret sometimes collaborates during an investigation. Here we find Lognon (Lognon Special), among others.
a) Inspectors
b) Commissioners
c) Fumel, Louis, Lognon
3) Moers
in this third group I've placed a single character who has a slightly different role, but who is no less important: Moers.

B) Provincial Policemen
These are the collaborators with whom Maigret works with when he leads an investigation outside of Paris.
1) Inspectors
2) Commissioners
3) A Cadaver in a cupboard...

C) Foreign Policemen
Those Maigret meets when he travels outside of France. We will find here:
1) English
2) American
3) Belgian and Dutch
4) Swiss

We will examine these groups in the above order, except for the "Faithful Four" and Lognon, who have been analyzed seperately, in greater detail.

3. Analysis

A) Parisians
1) Homicide Brigade
So let's begin with the collaborators of Maigret with whom he rubs shoulders in Paris, and concern ourselves first of all with the Homicide Brigade. As everyone knows, Maigret becomes Chief of this Murder Squad, object of his desire since his first investigation (PRE), in which he began as an Inspector under the command of Commissioner Guillaume (MEM, Ch.7).

This brigade, as Simenon describes it, employs many Inspectors – there could be as many as twenty typing at the machines of the Inspector's Office (IND, Ch.6; CHA, Ch.6), from which we can deduce that the room must be relatively vast! (PIC, Ch.4)

That is why we find in the corpus a significant enough collection of inspector's names, allowing Simenon to give us the impression of a number of important inspectors, without being obliged to detail them all.

a) Inspectors mentioned only by name (24)
In this first category I will be content with listing the names of inspectors who are mentioned in merely one, or even two novels, either because they are charged with tailing or surveillance of a house, or because they are on duty in the office. I've put the abbreviation of the novel title where they appear in brackets. (Thank you to Steve Trussel for the "Maigret Encyclopedia", which has been very useful for my research!)

Aillevard (ECH)
Berger (GUI, CEC)
Bodin (MOR)
Broncard (TEN)
Buchet (LOG)
Colin (MEU)
Derain (sta)
Dubois (GUI)
Dupré (SIG)
Eriau (MOR)
Gianini (AMU)
Houard (REV)
Jacquemain (DEF)
Jacquin (PIC)
Jarvis (PAT)
Jourdan (CEC)
Lemaire (COR)
Leroy (ENF)
Lesueur (ECH, PAR)
Loubet (SEU)
Marcoussis (PIC)
Marette (TUE)
Ruel (SIG)
Véran (SEU)

This is a fine band of Inspectors, men who followed each other over the years through the famous "Inspectors' Office", of which Maigret had pushed open the door innumerable times, sometimes even without the pretext of sending someone on a mission...

"He could also have called Lucas by phone, but when it was about one of the inspectors, he preferred to rise from his armchair to go and open the door that communicated with their office. This was not to supervise them but, in a way, to take the temperature of the house." (TEM; Ch.4)
Maigret also likes "to roam the Inspectors' Office" (SCR, Ch.4) when he is bogged down in an investigation, somewhat as if to draw energy from there...
"He felt empty, useless. Yet by habit he pushed open... the door of the Inspectors' Office." (DEF, Ch. 4)

"To kill some time, he... was going to do a tour of the Inspectors' Office!" (ASS, Ch.4).

This gesture of opening the door of the Inspectors' Office, Maigret will make innumerable times, to the point of becoming a ritual...
"Notwithstanding the day's surprises, there were some almost ritual gestures that he made without thinking, as, once his pipe was lit, pushing open the door of the Inspectors' Office."

And further... "Once more he opened the door of the Inspectors' Office, because he hated to call them by the interior phone." (PAT; Ch.1)

b) Name and Additional Info (19)
Now let's itemize those inspectors for whom Simenon gives us both a name and some more complete description of their physical or moral aspect...

Dieudonné, one more newcomer(!), who reads the horse racing pages of the newspaper (ENF Ch.2 and 3)

Dubonnet, again a young man, fresh out of school, always dressed to the nines, and so polite that he must irritate his Chief a little, for Maigret doesn't like prim inspectors (MOR; Ch.2)

Ducuing, who likes to tell funny stories to Torrence, while drinking beer (MAJ, Ch.3)

Dunan, a young inspector (FEL, Ch.6.)

Leduc, one of the youngest inspectors (SEU, Ch.2)

Lober, nearly the same age as Maigret (between 55 and 60), but never rose in rank, smokes cigarettes (like nearly all the inspectors!) and drinks rum (TRO, Ch.4 and 5)

Lucien, a newcomer who has studied and is trying for promotion (as opposed to Lober!) (TRO; Ch.4)

Marlieux, a young inspector who knows stenography (usually, Maigret would use Lapointe in the stenographer's role, but he is absent from this investigation, probably on vacation!) (GRA; Ch.7)

Mauvoisin: another newcomer! TEN, Ch.1))

Nicolas, a man who passes unnoticed, who can be sent to ask questions without arousing people's mistrust (PAR; Ch.5)

Rondonnet, a newcomer, which doesn't stop him from getting settled into Maigret's own armchair, and trying to imitate him by smoking a pipe and drinking a demi brought up by the waiter from the Brasserie Dauphine. (FEL, Ch.6)

Vauquelin, familiar enough with the boss to wink him a signal of mutual understanding regarding Mlle Clémence (MEU, Ch.1)

Verduret, another newcomer, a fine young boy, terribly impressed by his Chief (CEC; Ch.3)

We notice that with the passage of time Maigret is surrounded with inspectors who are younger and younger, and that the only older ones are those who remain with him in his crew (see PAR, Ch.1: "Fumel was from the old days, like Janvier, like Lucas, like about twenty other of Maigret's colleagues, but the rest were satisfied with the new methods!") <

Barnacle, an old-timer, already in place when Maigret arrived at the Quai, who never advances in rank. He is two years older than Maigret, who is 52. Nicknamed "I've-got-a-cold", he has very big feet and always wears a shapeless, black suit, giving him the air of an old bachelor, although he is married. His wife deceives him blithely, and it is he who must take care of the household after work. But his "mangy aspect" gives him an incontestable advantage in his profession, because it allows him to pass unobserved in a crowd and to take photographs of suspects without being noticed. (DEF; Ch. 2, 4 and 5).

Dufour, one of the first inspectors to appear in the series, since we meet him for the first time in Pietr-le-Letton (LET; Ch.6, 11 and 15). At the time, he is 35 (Maigret about 45), speaks three languages, but has a mania for "complicating the simplest stories". On the other hand, he has an "uncommon tenacity" for surveillances and tails, in spite of his tendency to put on mysterious airs, which irritates Maigret. He is small ("small and neat"), has a hopping gait and gray suit worn with a high, stiff, false collar (TET, Ch.1, 3) and has a young and pretty wife (TET, Ch.4). He is assigned another surveillance (his specialty!), in PRO (Ch.3).

Dupeu, an excellent inspector, but who has the defect of producing his reports in a monotone while giving masses of useless detail. (ASS, Ch.6) He has 6 or 7 children, (VIE, Ch.6) and is also mentioned in BRA, CLI, COL and SEU.

Jussieu, who smokes so much that he gives off a strong odor of tobacco (ASS, Ch. 5). He reappears in JEU (Ch.1 and 4) and in NAH (Ch.1).

Lagrume, a tall, thin and sad man, he is the eldest and most lugubrious of all the inspectors; afflicted with a chronic cold. He has large, flat, sensitive feet. (Almost a twin brother of Barnacle!). We find him in ENF; (Ch.7), in FAN; (Ch.6 and 7) and in PAT (Ch.5). He is one of the rare inspectors, outside of Maigret's team, to earn some pages in the Memoirs (MEM; Ch.5). Like Lognon, he has a sick wife who waits up evenings for him, and for whom he does the housekeeping, in addition to staying up nights taking care of his daughter's baby.

Santoni, a Corsican, small, heavily oiled hair, highly fragrant,. He is also a newcomer, had worked ten years in gambling, then in vice, where he had picked up some attitudes that will displease Maigret. ("You could easily tell that Santoni had not been on the team long. Everything that he said – and even the tone in which he said it – didn't jibe with the attitudes of Maigret and his collaborators! It was always the same thing when he took on an inspector from another service ". (BAN, Ch. 3). But Santoni will learn the spirit that reigns in Maigret's team, and remain there, since we find him mentioned again in AMU (Ch.8).

c) Maigret's "Rear Guard" (6)
We will now consider those I call Maigret's "rear guard" – inspectors whose appearance is regular in the series, from the Presses de la Cité period. ("3rd cycle" of the corpus). They are there, in a way, to "reinforce" Maigret's personal team (the "Faithful Four" – Lucas, Janvier, Lapointe and Torrence). Each member of this group is mentioned, with more or less detail, in 7 to 12 novels. That's a pretty high frequency, considering that the number of novels of this third cycle which are set in Paris is 38, not counting MEM, PRE, or FAC (Maigret being in retirement). Who do we meet in this group?

Baron, who appears for the first time in SCR, then again in PAR, where he is on stake-out in Cuendet's old room. (Ch.5). Stake-outs are something of a specialty for him, and Maigret knows that nothing can distract him when he is in position. (CHA, Ch.5). He speaks English with a bad accent (NAH, Ch. 4). We see him at work in ASS, BRA, PAT and SEU.

Bonfils comes onto the scene in ECH. We know little about him – he is married, and a good one for not letting someone get away from him on a tail (PAT, Ch.3). On the other hand, he is mentioned in many novels: AMU, SCR, TEM; CON; ASS, VIE, FAN, ENF and CHA.

Janin, first found in ECH, is skinny, has an odd gait and the perpetual air of a beaten dog. (PAT, Ch.7). He is married, with children. (ibid., Ch.8). We find him also at work in SCR, COL, FOL, and, under the name of Jamin (whom I accept as being the same character) in FAN and CHA.

Lourtie, we meet for the first time in REV (Ch.1). There he is described as one of Maigret's old inspectors, who has been named to the Flying Squad of Nice. The investigation is said to take place toward the end of the Maigret's career, which makes this inspector's return in following novels plausible. He is a big, bony, strong man, often called "Fat Lourtie", or even "Fatso", according to Aline Bauche (DEF, Ch.4). He has a strong and resonant voice, and Maigret likes him. He smokes cigars (VOL, Ch.3), cigarettes (TUE, Ch.3), or even a pipe! (VIN; Ch.6). He is a conscientious inspector, who knows his profession (ENF, Ch.6) and is fastest on the typewriter (SEU, Ch.2). He appears again in PAR; FAN; DEF, NAH; FOL and CHA. His manner of being and his appearance are reminiscent of Torrence, of whom he is in a way a pale copy.

Neveu first appears in ECH. Before joining Maigret's brigade he worked ten years on the streets specializing in pickpockets (ASS, Ch.6). His neutral and petit bourgeois bearing doesn't stop him from going sailing on the Seine (CLO, Ch.5) and he loves to disguise himself when he's on a tail (TUE, Ch.3). We see him again in AMU, FAN, FOL and SEU. Vacher, we discover for the first time in MEU, where he is on a stake-out in the house of Mlle Clément, smoking cigarette after cigarette, drinking coffee prepared by the "portly demoiselle en chemise", with whom he "[would have] gladly shared a few words" (Ch.7), more enthralled by her than Maigret had been a little earlier in a similar situation (Ch.3). We find Vacher again in GRA, where Maigret swipes the last of his beer (Ch.6). He has children, that he's had occasion to take to the Maisons-Laffitte (LOG, Ch.6). Maigret hesitated to drag him into action with him against gangsters (ibid.), preferring to leave him on duty and to go off with his "team". It is in this sense that I call this type of inspector the "rear guard", because Maigret himself establishes a sort of hierarchy between his four favorites and the others, whom he also calls "my children", but for whom he doesn't have the same deep affection that binds him to his personal group. We will see Vacher again in JEU, ECH, ASS, BRA, CLI, COL and PAT, in his usual detective's role (tailing, researching information, etc.)

With this group of inspectors we enter a little more intimately into Maigret's relationship with his collaborators. If the six members of this group are not part of Maigret's "personal team" (cf. PAR; Ch.5), they are still men he appreciates, that he calls "my children" (a term used numerous times by the Commissioner, for example in MAJ, mal, HES, VIN, FOL; IND, and even more and more at the end of the series: at least 3 times in VIN and in FOL!), and that he likes to visit when they are in their office, working diligently as schoolchildren (cf. GRA, Ch.6, FAN, Ch. 6, VIN. Ch.6).

And what is it that they actually do in this office? Most the time, they're at the typewriters or on the phone (PAR, Ch.1, NAH, Ch.4, TUE; Ch.1, IND, Ch.6), and their office, especially when there are at least fifteen or so (NAH), or even up to twenty (IND; CHA) working at the same time, must look like a humming hive!

But it can also happen that they are merely waiting for their boss's orders, "hats pushed back, cigarettes in the lips" (sounds like a description from a movie script!) (CEC, Ch.1).

And I can't resist the pleasure of mentioning the beginning of Ch. 7 of MIN, that perfectly summarizes the familiar relation – almost domestic – that Maigret maintains with his men:

"This was not the first time that he made such an entrance, less as a boss than as a comrade. He opened the door of the Inspectors' Office and, pushing back his hat on his head, went to sit on the corner of a table, emptied his pipe on the floor by hitting it against his heel before filling another. He looked at them one by one, occupied in various tasks, with the expression of a family father returned home in the evening, happy to recover his own, and taking account of them."

On their side the inspectors feel an affection for their boss, whose personality overwhelms them a little (mal, Ch.3), to the extent that they "sense" what's going on in him without even needing to raise their heads when he arrives in their office (FAN, Ch.6, DEF; Ch.3). They also show him their admiration, trying to resemble him (DAM; Ch.8). They know his way of working well enough not to need long explanations, and they know well what it means when Maigret asks them to wait with a suspect in a neighboring room (SCR; Ch.7), or when, according to a well established routine, they take turns at a cross-examination until the suspect's resistance is broken. (CLO, Ch.7).

d) The "Faithful Four"
As noted above, the analysis of the "Faithful Four" is left for Part II...

2) District Inspectors
Now we will examine the District Inspectors, with whom Maigret is often brought to collaborate, especially at the beginning of an investigation, as they are often the first arrived at the scene of a crime. These are plainclothes detectives, "bourgeoises," as they are called (cf. FAN; Ch.1), who have their offices in precinct Town Halls or at the District Station. (For details on precincts and districts of Paris, see the article Arrondissements de Paris at .)

Maigret has sometimes an ambiguous relationship with them. On the one hand he respects them, perhaps remembering his first investigation, where he had been "humiliated", as Secretary of the District Police, when he was withdrawn from his investigation, which was passed on to those of the Quai des Orfères. He'd promised himself that if one day he was part of the Quai, he would never "show disdain for the poor policemen who manned the District Stations" (PRE, Ch.8). Nevertheless, while he recognizes their utility and their deepened knowledge of the districts wherein they work, there always arrives a moment when he cannot stop himself from taking the investigation in hand – he cannot confide to anyone else the task of "sniffing around" in all the corners in search of an atmosphere and a truth that in the end only he can sense.

Besides, Maigret wants an investigation to go by the rules: cf. PAR, Ch.2: "As you know, this is the business of the homicide brigade. Which doesn't stop us from accepting or soliciting the help of precinct Inspectors."

As for these District Inspectors, they envy their colleagues of the "Big House", and try to save the interesting cases for them (FAN, Ch.1 and COL, Ch.2), which unfortunately doesn't please Maigret.

a) Inspectors (28)
Let's review the list of the District Inspectors that Maigret meets in his investigations, not forgetting that a name is not always mentioned – Simenon is sometimes content to say that Maigret ran into an Inspector or Commissioner of the district, without giving the name.

1st Arr.Leboeuf, knows Les Halles well (VIN, Ch.6)
Lequeux, Maigret knows him well (MOR; Ch.1)
3rd Arr.Bassin, Maigret has known him for 20 years (DEF, epilog)
Bonfils (LOG, Ch.6)
Danvers (LOG, Ch.6)
Justin (VOY, Ch.1)
Neveu, a longtime member of the force (BAN, Ch.1)
Nicolas, a giant who likes to fight (LOG, Ch.6)
9th Arr.Dubois, (FAN, Ch.7)
Julien, married, with children (VIC, Ch.3)
Lamballe (MME, Ch.3)
10th Arr.Judel, a dull but conscientious boy (COR; Ch.1)
14th Arr.Boisset (SCR, Ch.7)
16th Arr.Jeannet (CON; Ch.4)
17th Arr.Fourquet (VIN, Ch.1)
Vanneau (GRA; Ch.3)
18th Arr.
Lognon's colleagues:
Alfonsi, un Corse (TEN, Ch.1)
Bernard (CLI; Ch.3)
Chinquier, 35, small brown mustache, makes meticulous reports that Maigret lets him read in detail not to hurt his feelings (FAN; Ch.1)
Créac(FAN; Ch.1)
Deliot (FAN; Ch.1)
Duffieux (PAR. Ch.6)
Durantel (FAN; Ch.1)
Dutilleux, loves to disguise himself, especially as a drunk (DEF; Ch.3)
Janin (TRO; Ch.2)
Marsac (mal, Ch.2)
Véliard (IND; Ch.1)
20th Arr.Bornique, who persists in competing with the PJ (COL; Ch.2)

b) Commissioners (11)
Here I will list the District Commissioners, with whom Maigret didn't always maintain the best relationship (because of the memory of his problems with his old chief, Maxime Le Bret? (MEM)). In any case, Simenon tended to quickly eliminate them from the story after their first appearance! Here too, as with the Inspectors, all the Commissioners that Maigret meets are not always mentioned by name.

Ascan 1st Arr.very elegant and cultivated (SEU; Ch.1)
Beulant 9th Arr.(PIC; Ch.2)
Clerdent 17th Arr.(PAT, Ch.1)
Jadot 15th Arr.Maigret knows him well, and likes him (once is not a habit!) (CHA; Ch.4)
Jenton 1st Arr.(FOL, Ch.1)
Lambilliote 8th Arr.(HES, Ch.5)
Magrin 10th Arr.(COR, Ch.1)
Manicle 14th Arr.  a small, dry man with a mustache, who Maigret has known for 20 years (NAH; Ch.2)
Piget 15th Arr.(VOL; Ch.2)
Saint-Hubert    6th Arr.about the same age as Maigret (between 55 and 60), who knows him since his early days on the force. A tall, thin redhead, a little slow and solemn. (BRA, Ch.1)
Segré 9th Arr.(ASS, Ch.1)

c) Fumel, Louis, and Lognon
I've kept apart three District Inspectors whom Simenon gave more detailed portraits, Fumel, Louis and Lognon. As mentioned above, Lognon will be examined separately, as he is a relatively important character in the series, and furthermore is found in other novels outside the Maigret cycle.

First let's consider Fumel, who appears in PAR. First name Aristide, he is an inspector of the 16th Arrondissement, who also belongs to the "old regime", like Janvier and Lucas. He never rose in rank because of his problems in writing, and he started pretty much at the same time as Maigret, 29 years earlier. After a year of marriage, his wife left him, and he continues to search for her everywhere, which doesn't stop him from accumulating sad love stories. He is 51, awkwardly built, but one of the best inspectors in Paris.

In certain aspects he reminds us of Lognon (with whom Simenon himself compares him at the beginning of the Ch. 7), but a Lognon who, rather than grumbling over his misfortunes, is resigned to his fate.

He's the kind of inspector Maigret appreciates, because, unlike others, he doesn't try to compete with the men of the Quai, but rather he collaborates while taking into account Maigret's orders (we discover here a Commissioner who, in spite of everything, is anxious to preserve the prerogatives of his brigade!). Besides, Maigret has a weakness for these "low-wagers," these men who, like ants, patiently and painfully push their burdens through life.

Inspector Louis, we meet in IND. He works in the 9th precinct, and knows in depth the wildlife (the bad boys and girls) of Pigalle, where he was born, and which he never left. He is about 45, and lost his wife, run over by a bus, when he was 30. He continues to wear mourning, dressing all in black (including his tie!), which gives him the nickname "the Widower". He doesn't smoke (rather rare for an inspector!) and drinks only small bottles of Vichy.

He is quietly content (unlike a Lognon, angry at the whole world for not being able to enter the Quai!) with his station of District Inspector, and makes of his profession his only passion. Maigret had at one time considered him for his brigade, but he is too lugubrious a character for the jolly atmosphere of the Inspectors' Office of the Quai.

He speaks and moves slowly, makes his reports carefully, with great attention to accuracy. He has very white skin, red lips, and a thick black mustache. He is rather shy, blushes easily, but it is an intelligent boy, who accomplishes alone in his corner (while dragging his ear in the catés and bars of Montmartre), a patient work, without soliciting the help of the Quai, and especially without encroaching on the territory of the criminal brigade, which is appreciated by Maigret (see Fumel, above)! Janvier, he too, is jealous enough of his prerogatives, and not too happy with Louis's intrusion in the Marcia affair.

And if Louis sometimes dreams of a promotion to the Quai, he doesn't believe it too strongly, first because he needs to work alone, and second because he is too attached to his district of Pigalle.

see Part II.

3) Joseph Moers
We are going to examine here Moers, a specialist at Judicial Identity. His work is different from that of the other inspectors, but we must consider him, because he is an important character in the novels, one with whom Maigret collaborates gladly.

Contrary to what you might think, Maigret is not disinterested in material evidence. However, unlike a Hercules Poirot, who uses his "tiny gray cells" with these clues as a basis, the Commissioner treats them as one element among others, including them in a totality which includes, as much as fingerprints or traces of blood on a carpet, the atmosphere of the scene of the crime, the reactions of suspects, or the victim's past. He doesn't ignore the material evidence, but he sets it in its proper place in the whole. Consider JAU, Ch.9, the discussion between Inspector Leroy and Maigret:

"However, I note that now you have arrived at the evidence, after which...
Exactly – after! After all! Otherwise said, I've done the investigation backwards, which perhaps won't stop me from doing the next one the other way around... A question of atmosphere... A question of faces...

Moers appears for the first time in GAL, in Ch. 6. Maigret calls him to Sancerre to decipher a burnt letter, the kind of task that this patient man is able to do best. Right off, and in contrast to other secondary characters, Simenon gives us his precise particulars... his first name is Joseph, he is of Flemish origin, a big, skinny, redheaded boy, with infinite patience in his work.

He concentrates so hard on his work that he never smiles (MOR), never gets excited (MME) – "the very picture of interior peace" (JEU, Ch.4). His calm aspect is often in contrast with a Maigret anxious to know the results of an analysis, who circles around him, hardly containing his impatience. (GAL, MOR, etc.)

At first he wears a pince-nez (GAL), with thick lenses that protect his blue eyes, always a little astonished (FAN) and shy (MOR) from his myopia (TET), then later thick glasses (MME). He has neither beard nor mustache (TET), always wears a crumpled suit (IND), and lives in student lodgings in the Latin Quarter (IND).

He's probably a dozen years younger than Maigret ("young man" in GAL and TET, where Maigret is 45).

He is knowledgeable in many areas – insurance (GAL), graphology (GAL), papers and inks (TET, ECH), analysis of dust (MOR, GRA), fingerprints (MOR), Indentikit portraits (MME) and paraffin tests (VIE, PAR, PAT). He possesses numerous lists and catalogs about all kinds of objects (TEN), and if he remains modest about his capabilities, he never-the-less turns "pink with pleasure" (TET), when he can speak of what he knows well, and a small satisfied flame may dance in his eyes (MME). He has no other passion outside of his laboratory, where he spends nearly all his days and nights, as he has no family. He "rejoices" when he can carry away with him, into his "den"– the laboratory – some material to analyze (MOR).

At first Maigret addresses him as "vous" ['you', formal] (GAL), (TET), but he passes quickly to "tu" [familiar] (MOR, MME, GRA, TRO, JEU, COR, TEN, ECH, VIE, PAR, CLI, FAN, PAT, NAH, SEU, CHA), except for occasional lapses (or are they rather Simenon's?), where the Commissioner addresses him as "vous" once again (LOG, TEM, VIE, BRA, PAT, NAH, VOL, FOL, SEU, IND). The problem of "tu" and the "vous" will be taken up in more detail when we examine the "Faithful Four".

His relation to Maigret is similar enough to that which binds the Commissioner to his other inspectors: Maigret speaks him in an affectionate tone (TET), calls him "my little Moers", or "old man", with the same familiarity with which he calls his "team". He can even call him "son" in moments of "rumination" (LOG). And, because they work so long together (VIE), with the passing of the time, Maigret will end up considering him an "old friend" (PAR), an "old comrade" (PAT), and he has difficulty imagining Judicial Identity without him (IND).

Moers, for his part, is moved to see the chief struggling against difficulties (TET), and he knows that the Commissioner, when he comes to join him in laboratories of Judicial Identity, in the attic of the Palace of Justice (MME, Ch.5), doesn't come just to learn the results of their research, but also to take refuge in the calmness and to recover a certain serenity there (TET; Ch.4; MME, Ch.5; JEU, Ch.4; IND; Ch.4). Moers, like the "Faithful Four", is part of the Maigret "cult" (TET; Ch.4).

B) Provincial Policemen
We will regard here collaborators whom Maigret is brought to work with in his investigations outside of Paris. With a few exceptions, we realize, browsing through the corpus, that in general Maigret doesn't maintain particularly cordial relationships with these characters, in particular the inspectors. Probably, from his side, he especially misses having close to him his usual team, who know his way of working.

a) Inspectors: (21)
Often young, they irritate Maigret by their casualness. The Commissioner is perhaps also a little jealous of their knowledge of the "territory", that he himself lacks, causing him to feel clumsy, not in his own place, annoyed. (cf. AMI: "[the Inspector] played the old-timer, who that knows the places and people... Maigret was the newcomer, always an unpleasant enough role.")

Here we encounter...

Benoît, a young inspector at the Nice airport , (VOY) who greets Maigret dressed light and summery (no jacket, straw hat and white shirt), precisely the kind of clothing that irritates the Commissioner when he disembarks wearing his dark Paris suit, in a place of vivid sun and heat (see below).

Besson, Thiberge and Vallin, three inspectors who work with Maigret on the Flying Squad of an indeterminate provincial city (cho). Besson is heavy-set, like a boxer, who always thinks himself cleverer than the others. He plays billiards with Thiberge.

Boutigues, inspector from Nice, who welcomes Maigret to Antibes (LIB). His name makes Maigret smile. He wears a pearl-gray suit, a red carnation in the buttonhole, and shoes with cloth ankles. (Which will annoy Maigret, who doesn't much care for inspectors "dressed to the nines"!). He is small, has a hopping gait, speaks quickly and much, with passion. He hovers around Maigret a little like a buzzing fly, whereas the commissioner is overwhelmed by the heat and the sun.

Castaing, has worked with the Le Havre police for six years (DAM). He has thick brown hair, a low forehead, ruddy face. Married, he drives a small black Simca, plays cards. He makes his notes in a pretty notebook with a red leather cover (Maigret, jealous with his black notebook like a laundress's?!)
He pursues his investigation diligently, likes to reason things out, but is driven to despair at presenting his reasoning to Maigret, who listens to him with only half an ear. He has difficulty understanding Maigret's way of working, his placidity and manner of "impregnating" himself with the atmosphere. Castaing's serious and "busy" air seems comical to Maigret. He ends up calling him "tu", however, which was "a sign", and sometimes "Mon petit" or "Son".

Chabiron, an inspector of the Poitiers Flying Squad, sent to Fontenay (PEU). Even though he calls Maigret "Patron" (as all policemen of France like to do, cf. above), he is not too happy to see Maigret at the scene of the crime, where he would prefer to be the only one to benefit from the investigation. He should be a fisherman. He is the only one in charge of the investigation, because his colleague Levras had to return home, because his wife was about to give birth.
Chabiron calls everyone "tu" – the guilty as well as the witnesses, believing it impresses them. He leans, like Leroy, toward the "good old methods" of relying on the evidence, draws some conclusion while regarding Maigret with a mocking eye. But alas, the facts will prove him wrong, and it is Maigret who, once more, will have understood what really happened.

Dicelle and Trigaud, of Clermont-Ferrand, come to Vichy with their chief Lecoeur (below) (VIC): Dicelle is a large, hairy boy, who reads comic books. The tall Trigaud is a little vexed when Maigret doesn't take them into his confidence. But we know that even with his close collaborators Maigret rarely displays his inner self, so they have to guess what their chief is feeling.

Féret, inspector in Nice (JEU) who works with Maigret before leaving for the South of France because of his wife's health. Maigret has only telephone contact with him, but he is of value, because Féret manages very well to find him some information on Louise Laboine.

Grenier, Inspector from Nevers, dispatched to Sancerre (GAL). Married, he was about to leave on vacation when the Gallet business fell to him. He talks for the pleasure of talking, and Maigret hardly listens to his "obstinate" buzz (he doesn't like overly talkative inspectors!). Grenier makes only a brief appearance in the story, happy to concede the investigation to Maigret and be rid of it (at least one who is not jealous of Maigret!).

Grollin, inspector from the Nantes Flying Squad. Maigret calls him on the phone (MEU), addresses him as "tu". Grollin calls "Patron".

Guillaume, of the Nantes Flying Squad (JUG), whom Maigret phones and addresses as "vous", calls him his familiar "vieux".

Julien, Julien, inspector from Nice (PIC). Transferred from Limoges. He is the son of one of Maigret's old inspectors, who retired to the French Riviera. Maigret knew him as a boy, and young Julien maintained his affection for the commissioner, which makes Lapointe a little jealous! But Julien is very useful in getting information about Oscar Bonvoisin.

Lechat, Lechat, with the Flying Squad of Draguignan, is investigating at Porquerolles (AMI). Maigret knew him from when he worked at Luçon. Born by the sea, he is small ("minuscule", thinks Maigret), blond, and he welcomes Maigret wearing (he too!) summery clothes – light green suit and an open-collared shirt, no hat (which will earn him a beautiful sunburn!) and sandals on his feet. That's going to annoy Maigret, who endures the heat in his dark suit again!
He calls Maigret "Patron", because there are "few policemen in France who can resist the pleasure of calling him "Boss" with an affectionate familiarity." Lechat's wife had left him, after having deceived him with abandon, something Maigret had forgotten completely, causing him to make a terrible gaffe.
Nevertheless, if Maigret is at first a little irritated by the energy displayed by Lechat, exuberant, impatient, excited like a "hunting dog running helter-skelter around his master" he ends up appreciating his efficiency, and calling him "Mon petit" and using "tu", as he does in Paris with his closest collaborators.

Le Goënec, a young inspector of the Flying Squad of Toulon, arrived 3 days earlier from Brest, and who will follow Gaston Meurant (ASS). Maigret has only telephone contact with him.

Leroy, of the Rennes Flying Squad, who accompanies Maigret to Concarneau (JAU). He is 25, with the air of very well-mannered boy. He has just finished his studies and is working for the first time with Maigret, whose behavior will upset him considerably. His head freshily filled with academic knowledge, he can't understand why Maigret doesn't attach more importance to fingerprints and the other scientific means of investigation, nor how the Commissioner can operate without concerning himself too much with the strictest legality. Maigret uses "vous" with him, calls him "mon petit" or "old man", watches him with an affectionate irony, as he seeks, worthy of an emulator of Sherlock Holmes, to extract findings and deductions from his observations, whereas Maigret, himself, "never thinks". It will take some time for the young inspector to begin to "sense" the methods of the Commissioner, who warns him, however, especially "not to make him a model, nor to try to base theories" on the methods of Maigret, whose "method is precisely, not to have one..."

Machère, an inspector from Nancy sent to Givet (FLA): A young man, with a round, face, jovial and very active, in a word. He doesn't smoke, but drinks happily, which makes him talkative. He is delightedly triumphant when he discovers something, an attitude that Maigret doesn't appreciate.
Maigret addresses him with "vous", calls him "mon vieux". He switches to "tu" when Machère comes to violently wake him up, but this is more due to the bad mood of Maigret, who doesn't like to be wakened suddenly, than to any real sympathy on his part. The proof is that Maigret is not bothered by splashing the inspector, while he is washing up!
Not spiteful, the Commissioner leaves the triumph of the investigation to Machère, while warning him however, as he did with Leroy, "Be careful of conclusions, Machère! It is so dangerous to want to draw conclusions..."

Méjat, inspector at Luçon when Maigret was "exiled" there. (JUG) Different place, different atmosphere... Maigret, here, is not overwhelmed by the heat of the south, but rather tries to drown his boredom in the rains of the Vendée, and his mood shows the effects strongly. Meaning if he little appreciates Méjat, whose presence is intolerable, he being the sole inspector, there is nothing that can be done about it.
Méjat has his hair plastered down with brillantine of a disturbing odor, laughs stupidly at the statements of Adine Hulot, and brags happily about his female conquests. He speaks with a strong Toulouse accent in a strident tone on the telephone, is insensitive to subtlety. Always dressed to the nines (he sometimes sports a ridiculous green scarf), he has a mania for writing his reports in longhand. Portrait of a character most irritating to Maigret, who finds him a "totally stupid" and compares him to a "wet cockerel drying his feathers in the sun"!
Maigret uses "tu" with him, calling him familiarly "old man", but he doesn't have the relationship with him that he maintains with his Parisian collaborators, because Méjat doesn't understand how to react to Maigret's "methods" of interrogation.

Piéchaud and Boivert, two inspectors of the Poitiers Flying Squad, dispatched to Sables-d'Olonne (VAC), and who know their profession. Piéchaud, a big strong man of 35, has a scar from an eventful arrest. Boivert is 30. Having worked with the Commissioner before doesn't stop them from forgetting the state of grouchy muteness which Maigret can get into while he ponders an affair, and it is in vain that they try to make him speak, eliciting only a tired and surly oath.

b) Commissioners: (13)
Now we will meet Maigret's colleagues from the provinces, whom he knew, for the most part, from when they were in Paris before being posted outside of the capital.

Bastiani, Bastiani, commissioner of the PJ at Nice (FAN). Maigret calls him "mon vieux" on the phone, and asks him for information on Mirella. He first addresses him as "vous", then, agitated, switches to "tu".

Blanc, of the Toulon Flying Squad (ASS), is more or less the same age as Maigret (about 55). Maigret knew him at the Quai des Orfèvres. Blanc helps him follow the trail of Gaston Meurant.

Boisvert, Commissioner at Draguignan (AMI), known by the Chief of the PJ to be a good man. At his urging, the Chief sends Maigret to investigate Marcellin's murder.

Boutang (IND): Boutang is Commissioner of the PJ of Toulon (a colleague of Marella's, no doubt) and Maigret knows him well. A solid man, knows his profession well.

Charmeroy (IND): Charmeroy is Commissioner of Police at Bandol. A solid man, knows his profession well.

Féron, Commissioner of Police at Fontenay (PEU). Small, dark, poorly built, smokes cigarettes. Married. In contrast to Mansuy, he is unhappy that Maigret encroaches on his territory, and he takes initiatives that will lead to the drama. He believes that he has "won" against Maigret, but, once more, it is the latter who discovers the real guilty party, for he is the only one who "senses" the truth.

Gabrielli, Commissioner of Police at Meung-sur-Loire (ceu). He once worked with Maigret when he was an Inspector. Maigret, caught in the middle of a strange affair of which he cannot reveal the truth that he knows, refuses to collaborate with him.

Girard, Commissioner of the Flying Squad of Le Havre, assigned to the investigation at Fécamp (REN). Like the Fécamp Commissioner, he gives the impression of not taking much interest in his investigation, to the point of leaving Maigret to finish the cross-examinations that he had begun without conviction. He even seems to withdraw himself from the business, since it is Commissioner Grenier*, of the same Flying Squad who finishes off the affair in a letter to Maigret at the end of story. Girard leaves Fécamp without becoming interested in this "muddled story of sailors", that Maigret untangles by putting himself in the place of the protagonists.

Lecoeur, was, 15 years earlier, one of Maigret's inspectors, who has become Chief of the PJ of Clermont-Ferrand (VIC). His first name is Desiré. He is five years younger than Maigret (who is about 55). Lecoeur is married with four sons, the eldest 18 and potentially a swimming champion.
Maigret addresses with "vous" (Lecoeur has the rank, after all!) and calls him "mon vieux". Lecoeur, from his side, continues to call Maigret "Patron", as when he was still in his service, but, as Mme Maigret notes, all policemen do so, not so much from habit, but rather as a sign of affection.
Over the years, Lecoeur has acquired a paunch, and some white hairs in his red pointed mustache. He smokes cigarettes in a cigarette holder. He has blue eyes, a slightly naive, but Maigret remembers him as one of his better collaborators, even though they have a different approach (anyway, who could have the same approach as Maigret, his manner of "sensing" and "impregnating himself in the atmosphere" is unique to him). Lecoeur has the heart (no pun intended) to lead his investigation well, doing good work, an excellent investigator, according to Maigret (for don't forget that Lecoeur had a good teacher!).

Leduc, a little different from the others, because he is an ex-colleague of Maigret's from the PJ, who retired two years earlier and settled in Dordogne (FOU). I mention him all the same, to underline the contrast between this character and Maigret. Leduc never married, lives with an elderly maid, and drives an old Ford. Since leaving the police, he acquired a pink and rosy complexion, and gained weight. He smokes a pipe, has a small red mustache, and chubby hands. He wears a straw hat and heavy hunting shoes. He must have "lost his hand" a little, became more timorous, more prudent, somewhat worrying you might say, offended by the direct and enjoyable manner with which Maigret leads his investigation. But he will nevertheless help Maigret, if somewhat reluctantly, to finish his investigation.

Mansuy, Commissioner of Police at Sables-d'Olonnes (VAC). A small redhead, with pale blue eyes, a shy and well-mannered air, and a large head. Unmarried. He doesn't seem like a real commissioner, and further, he is somewhat impressed by Maigret, not imagining that a commissioner of the PJ can lead an investigation in the way in which Maigret does. His reaction to the death of little Lucile shows well that he was "not born for the profession", and that he is out of his depth. And it is Maigret, once more, who will lead the investigation to its conclusion.

Marella, Chief of the PJ at Toulon (FOL). He started at the same time as Maigret at the Quai des Orfèvres, and the two men call each other "tu". He is dark, not very big, but quick. He has developed a paunch (like Maigret, probably?!). Their understanding is very good on this investigation (they share a small rosé of Provence, a pledge of friendship), and there is no trace of rivalry between them. Marella was born in Nice, and he knows all the bad boys and girls of the Coast. He is married to Claudine, and has a son of 15, Alain, who definitely doesn't want to become a policeman!

c) A Cadaver in a cupboard...:
Justin Cavre
I've held aside a character a little special, with whom Maigret has an ambiguous enough relationship – Justin Cavre, who the commissioner meets at St-Aubin-les-Marais (CAD). He is, in fact, not a provincial inspector, nor even a true inspector, since he has been struck from the police rolls and works as a private detective. I speak of him here, nevertheless, because Maigret meets him in an investigation that takes place in the provinces.

Cavre has a pale and sinister face, with red lids, a profile sad and emaciated, and his aspect earned him his nickname, one given to him more than twenty years earlier at the PJ. He is intelligent (probably the most intelligent Maigret had known in the police), and he would possibly have become commissioner before Maigret, were it not for his distrustful character and irregularities that he committed in his service, because of his wife. He suffers, in addition, from a serious liver ailment, which doesn't permit him to drink anything but water.

Maigret finds him on his path throughout the investigation, in a kind of "hide-and-seek", competing as to who will be the first to find the good information. The actions and gestures of the Commissioner at St-Aubin will be conditioned in part by the presence of Cavre, who Maigret tries all along to precede, and, in this sense, the English translation of the title of the novel (Maigret's Rival) gives a good idea of their relationship, because it certainly involves a rivalry.

In this match played between them, Maigret, if in a sense he loses the first point, not feeling in his place, nearly doubting himself, having the impression that Cavre's mood "rubbed off on him", almost believing in the "triumph of the luckless, the unfortunate, the envious", ends up carrying off the victory all the same, making Cavre lose his assurance, and pushing him into an "involuntary admiration".

Because if Cavre in some sense "wins the match", by getting rid of necessary evidence, and suborning witnesses, thus preventing the delivery of the guilty to justice, Maigret is not deceived. He reaches the truth all the same, forcing the guilty admission of truth, and more or less playing the "mender of destinies" by pushing Alban to marry Geneviève, knowing full well that this solution is, in a way, their punishment.

Maigret finds Cavre ridiculous and irritating, but at the same time he feels a certain pity in his consideration ("In the end, Maigret held nothing against him. He felt sorry for him. He had fought against him, known himself to be right, but at the same time he felt a certain mercy for this man who was, in the end, a failure."), probably because Cavre, with his congenital distrust, his hatred and his pessimistic view of the world, is the very opposite of a Maigret, who, in spite of (or because of?) his experience, still maintains a fundamental optimism about people, reflecting well his creator's ideas...

B) Foreigners in the Spotlight
We will examine here the policemen Maigret meets in his investigations outside of France. Our Commissioner is not much of a traveler, and he doesn't adventure outside of France unless forced to by the circumstances of an investigation. The countries that he visits are few – the USA (following Simenon's path...), Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands (in the tracks of Simenon, again...), Switzerland and Germany (this last very little, solely in PHO, if I am not mistaken).

As for his vacations, if he spends them at the seaside, it is on the French coasts, or he visits in Alsace with his wife's family. Two exceptions – in his retirement, a journey to England with his wife, which begins badly (man), and a fast crossing to Switzerland on vacation with her again, to an unnamed location (PAR). As for his retirement, he will spend it at the heart of his country, true lover of France that he is!

1) First, the English! (3)

Bryan, a Scotland Yard man put at the disposal of Maigret in London by Mr. Pyke (REV). Maigret finds him elegant – he too wears a white flower in his buttonhole – something Maigret nearly has a fixation about elsewhere (see above, provincial inspectors, and below), a symbol for him of a certain elegance that irritates him but that he also envies a little. Bryan is intelligent, but Maigret is a little vexed that he prefers to address his reports to his superior, rather than directly to him. Decidedly, Maigret is not at home, and his renown hasn't crossed the Channel!

Fenton, a colleague of Bryan's (REV), a very good agent, but who is too easily noticeable, because he is small, very redheaded, with a flaming mustache. Maigret understands quickly that he is "unusable "!

Pyke, who Maigret meets for the first time in France (AMI), at the time of a visit of the inspector from the Yard, sent to learn the "methods" of Maigret. But Maigret is not flattered – on the contrary, he has the impression of being "put on display", a little like a bug under a microscope. Mr. Pyke is 35 or 40, but he seems so young that he appears more like a student. He gives the impression of being very intelligent, so much so that you "can almost hear him thinking", which Maigret ends up finding tiresome. (We understand, he who always maintains that he never thinks"!). Maigret is a little ashamed at being angry at Mr. Pyke's presence, because he is "the nicest man on earth," but he is so discreet, so unobtrusive, but at the same time so present that it becomes exasperating! And in addition, Mr. Pyke has a way of looking at Maigret that obliges him to speak (he who hates explaining himself!).
Pyke speaks French with very precise and terrifying nuances of irony. Nothing astonishes him and his face betrays no feeling (ah, the English imperturbability!!). He doesn't smoke. He is as correctly impeccable in his gray suit as he is "comfortable" in a bathing suit and sandals. He plays chess, likes whisky and champagne. Maigret learns to appreciate his tact however, and his discretion. And if he remembers with displeasure having been awfully ill at ease working in front of "a witness attentive to his every act and gesture" (TEM), he all the same feels a slight regret at having received him as he did in Paris, when he himself undergoes the same treatment in America (CHE). He is even disappointed not to meet him at the time of the Bordeaux convention (PEU).
Maigret meets Mr. Pyke again at the time of a journey to England (REV), where Pyke lends him a helping hand by sending him two of his men (above). Mr. Pyke greets him at the airport, in dark gray suit, somewhat thin, a black felt hat and a carnation in his buttonhole (yes, him too!)... His handshake is dry and firm, but he hides his emotions. He is embarrassed by some mistakes in his French (did he forget his excellent French of Porquerolles?). He is cultivating new varieties of hydrangeas.
Maigret has several telephone contacts with him after Pyke has become Superintendent (ECH) and Chief Inspector (FAN).

2) American Boys (7)

Clark, FBI inspector in Washington (JEU). Maigret hasn't seen him for several years, phones him for information on Julius Van Cram, and the conversation takes place half in French, half in English, with some jokes as a bonus!

Cole, Harry Cole, FBI officer (CHE). He wears gabardine slacks, and has the air of a young sportsman. He smokes cigarettes, is married and the father of three children. Maigret is irritated by his "eternal confidence", and because he sees that Cole, while aware of Maigret's reputation, thinks that Maigret cannot understand Americans. Maigret will prove him wrong by discovering who is guilty solely by intuition.

Lewis, Lieutenant and colleague of O'Brien (NEW). He has a very distinct voice, with a pronounced American accent. He smokes cigarettes, but doesn't drink. He is married, of average size and build, has a long nose and thick glasses. He is very serious and a little cold, and his attitude puts Maigret, in contrast, in a good mood.

MacDonald, Jimmy MacDonald, who works for the FBI in Washington (LOG). He knew Maigret at the time of Maigret's visit to the US. He is a large man with blue eyes and a happy and friendly voice. Maigret phones him to ask for information about some gangsters.

O'Brien, Captain Michael O'Brien, of the FBI (NEW), who Maigret meets again in New York after knowing him some years earlier in France. He is big, a redhead, has a soft and shy smile, age 46. He is married, with a son in university and a daughter married two years earlier. He smokes a pipe. His irony puts Maigret off, but O'Brien will earn the Commissioner's good graces by taking him for coq au vin and an authentic beaujolais (in the heart of New York!).

O'Rourke, Mike O'Rourke, Chief Deputy Sheriff of an Arizona county (CHE). He is a very strong, redheaded man, with lavender eyes and brush-cut hair, about the same age as Maigret (50-ish), and with about the same build. He is of Irish extraction, seems placid, smokes cigarettes or cigars. Straightaway, Maigret finds him agreeable, because he has the same way with people as the Commissioner, and is, basically, an American copy of Maigret: "This rough-cut man was not without finesse... on the contrary, and ... Maigret felt he could relate to him."

Pills, Harry Pills, Assistant District Attorney from Saint-Louis (LOG). He is big, athletic, blond, fairly young, wears a soft hat. He smokes cigarettes and speaks French with a strong accent. He was in France during the Liberation. He met Maigret, whom he admires a lot, at the time of Maigret's visit to the US. He comes to France to look for Mascarelli, and Maigret, although he is irritated by the casualness with which Pills acts, ends up making up with him… over a glass of whisky!

3) A Belgian story... and a Dutch one (3)

Delvigne, Commissioner of the Sûreté in Liège (GAI). He is a big redhead with a mustache, who smokes a pipe. In his entire attitude we feel the caricature of a policeman, as intended by Simenon (has he some account to settle with this city of Liège?). At first glance we could take him for a Belgian double of Maigret (he smokes a pipe, drinks beer, grumbles, paces back and forth in his office...), but very quickly, we feel the difference between them, especially at the level of their moral attitude: Delvigne has an attitude rather scornful and impatient with regard to Chabot, a kind of attitude that Maigret rarely takes facing a suspect... he is a lot more indulgent.
Besides, the entire scene that takes place in the office of the Sûreté is grotesque enough, the inspectors seemingly more preoccupied with buying beautiful pipes than taking care of the investigation! Simenon will go even farther in this derision, when he describes the relastionship between Maigret and Delvigne – Maigret seems to be playing a big joke on the Belgian commissioner, ("[Delvigne] became upset, because he had the impression that [Maigret] was playing like a child"), and it is one of novels of the series where we feel more of the strength of the humor that lives in the Commissioner; it is also one of the only ones where we see Maigret burst into laughter.
Delvigne, for his part, feels for his colleague "the involuntary consideration that they have, in the provinces, and especially in Belgium, for everything that comes from Paris", but at the same time, he is afraid to appear ridiculous – and be ridiculed, by his colleague. And he has every reason to be afraid, because Maigret simply goes on "to take over direction of the investigation, without seeming to", leaving no chance for the Belgian Commissioner to discover the truth (would he have been able to, anyway?).

Pijpekamp, Groningen Inspector dispatched to Delfzijl (HOL). He is a big, thin, blond, very gracious (a little too much so?!), who speaks French in a slow and precise way, which irritates Maigret, who hardly listens to him, and who interrupts him continually, making him jump. Pijpekamp loses hope of making Maigret understand his point of view, because they decidedly don't share the same approach to problems:

"'What do you think?' finally murmurs the Groningen policeman.
–That's the question! And there is really the difference between the two of us! You, you think something! You think many things! While me, I believe that I still don't think anything...
And it is not the sumptuous lunch (or so he believes…), that Pijpekamp is going to offer Maigret, that is going to arrange things. Pijpekamp makes himself ridiculous: "He was dressed for an official reception! A 3" false collar! A cutaway! He was closely shaved. He must have had a manicure, for he smelled of violet lotion." All of which has to annoy Maigret, who doesn't like false elegance. Not to mention that the supposedly magnificent lunch is not to Maigret's taste: overly sweet wine, meat swimming in liters of sauce and merely the view of the cake must give Maigret nausea, for he's not partial to desserts… Pijpekamp has gone to the expense for nothing, for Maigret will tear apart the supposed testimony of Cornélius Barens quickly. The entire investigation will be started over... and it will be led, this time, by Maigret. He makes sure there is plenty to drink for Pijpekamp, who, little accustomed to the strength of the French cognac, will be overcome with an "absolute docility. Truly, Maigret gave the impression of great power"!
As for Maigret's "heavy irony, hardly noticeable", it will divert the Dutch policeman, as it has diverted many others...

Keulemans, Chief of the Crime Squad of Amsterdam (NAH). He is hardly 40, but looks ten years younger, because of his lanky student's build, his pink face and his blond hair. His first name is Jef and he always sounds happy. He had met Maigret in Paris, where he had come to a practicum at the PJ. The two men became good friends (to the point where Keulemans takes pleasure in calling Maigret "Patron"), sometimes meeting again at international conventions. Maigret even invited him to dine at his home, which gave Keulemans the rare privilege of tasting Mme Maigret's cooking!

4) Swiss made

In this survey, I have not treated the inspectors and collaborators Maigret meets, whom Simenon has given no name. I would like to finish this section of my analysis nevertheless by evoking one such, that I am anxious to mention for two reasons: Firstly, because I am Swiss myself, and it permits me to evoke a little my own country, and secondly, because Switzerland played a large role in Simenon's life, since it was here he spent his final years...
This character is the Chief of the Sûreté of Lausanne (VOY). Delighted to finally meet Maigret (whose reputation, decidedly, crosses borders!), he invites him to lunch, "very simple, close to the lake, in a quiet inn of Vaud".
The Swiss policeman is a big, athletic, strong man, no doubt a skier (logical, in Switzerland!!), with a clear and closely-shaven complexion, strong blue eyes, and a smile full of humor. His father is a vintner (something that would probably have pleased Maigret, to have a a father who produced wine!).
And Maigret will keep the memory of this lunch a long time (especially of the small white country wine!) with his Swiss colleague, whose name he has already forgotten, but of whom he will preserve a memory full of intimacy and complicity.

* Note: Inspector "Crenier" (with a "C") is found in the Rencontre (French) edition. Tout Simenon and English translations have "Grenier".

July, 2006
translation by S. Trussel

Home   Bibliography   Reference   Forum   Plots  Texts   Simenon   Gallery   Shopping   Film   Links