The Bar on the Seine (Penguin Modern Classics)

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9780141187334: The Bar on the Seine (Penguin Modern Classics)

Simenon wrote over 50 novels in the Maigret series, each providing the world-weary, pipe-smoking detective with an interesting murder which he solves with an unusual method of investigation, relying on experience, intuition and ruthlessness. Simenon writes in a terse French, skillfully using few words to describe things seen or felt. He is a matchless writer about France - both the France loved by tourists and its seamy, brutal underside. THE BAR ON THE SEINE is a classic example of his art.

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About the Author:

Georges Simenon was born at Liege in 1903. He published over 160 books and his work has been admired by almost all the leading French and English critics. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages and more than 40 have been filmed

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Georges Simenon

 

THE TWO-PENNY BAR

Translated by David Watson

Previously published as The Bar on the Seine

PENGUIN BOOKS

Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
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Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

www.penguin.com

First published in French as La Guinguette à deux sous by Fayard 1932
This translation first published as The Bar on the Seine in Penguin Books 2003, and revised 2014

Copyright 1932 by Georges Simenon Limited
Translation copyright © Georges Simenon Limited, 2003, 2014
GEORGES SIMENON ® Simenon.tm
MAIGRET ® Georges Simenon Limited

Cover photograph (detail) © Burt Glinn/Magnum Photos
Front cover design by Alceu Chiesorin Nunes
Cover credit: © Harry Gruyaert/Magnum Photos

All rights reserved

The moral rights of the author and translator have been asserted

Typeset by Palimpsest Book Production Ltd, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

ISBN: 978-0-698-18304-9

Title Page

Copyright Page

About the Author

1. Saturday with Monsieur Basso

2. The Lady’s Husband

3. The Two Boats

4. Meetings in Rue Royale

5. The Doctor’s Car

6. Haggling

7. The Second-Hand Dealer

8. James’s Mistress

9. Twenty-Two Francs of Ham

10. Inspector Maigret’s Absence

11. Ulrich’s Murderer

EXTRA: Chapter 1 from The Shadow Puppet

PENGUIN CLASSICS

THE TWO-PENNY BAR

‘I love reading Simenon. He makes me think of Chekhov’

— William Faulkner

‘A truly wonderful writer ... marvellously readable – lucid, simple, absolutely in tune with the world he creates’

— Muriel Spark

‘Few writers have ever conveyed with such a sure touch, the bleakness of human life’

— A. N. Wilson

‘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 novelist who entered his fictional world as if he were part of it’

— Peter Ackroyd

‘The greatest of all, the most genuine novelist we have had in literature’

— André Gide

‘Superb ... The most addictive of writers ... A unique teller of tales’

Observer

‘The mysteries of the human personality are revealed in all their disconcerting complexity’

— Anita Brookner

‘A writer who, more than any other crime novelist, combined a high literary reputation with popular appeal’

— P. D. James

‘A supreme writer ... Unforgettable vividness’

Independent

‘Compelling, remorseless, brilliant’

— John Gray

‘Extraordinary masterpieces of the twentieth century’

— John Banville

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Georges Simenon was born on 12 February 1903 in Liège, Belgium, and died in 1989 in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he had lived for the latter part of his life. Between 1931 and 1972 he published seventy-five novels and twenty-eight short storiesfeaturing Inspector Maigret.

Simenon always resisted identifying himself with his famous literary character, but acknowledged that they shared an important characteristic:

My motto, to the extent that I have one, has been noted often enough, and I’ve always conformed to it. It’s the one I’ve given to old Maigret, who resembles me in certain points ... ‘understand and judge not’.

Penguin is publishing the entire series of Maigret novels.

1. Saturday with Monsieur Basso

A radiant late afternoon. The sunshine almost as thick as syrup in the quiet streets of the Left Bank. And everything – the people’s faces, the countless familiar sounds of the street – exuded a joy to be alive.

There are days like this, when ordinary life seems heightened, when the people walking down the street, the trams and cars all seem to exist in a fairy tale.

It was 27 June. When Maigret arrived at the gate of the Santé prison he found the guard gazing soppily at a little white cat that was playing with the dog from the dairy.

Some days the pavement must be more resonant underfoot: Maigret’s footsteps echoed in the vast courtyard. He walked to the end of a corridor, where he asked a warder:

‘Does he know? ...’

‘Not yet.’

A key turned in the lock. The bolt was pulled back. A high-ceilinged cell, very clean. A man stood up, looking unsure as to which expression to adopt.

‘All right, Lenoir?’ the inspector asked.

The man nearly smiled. But a thought came into his mind and his face hardened. He frowned suspiciously, and his mouth twisted into a sneer for a moment or two. Then he shrugged his shoulders and held out his hand.

‘I see,’ he said.

‘What do you see?’

A resigned smile.

‘Give it a rest, eh? You must be here because ...’

‘I’m here because I’m off on holiday tomorrow and ...’

The prisoner gave a hollow laugh. He was a tall young man. His dark hair was brushed back. He had regular features, fine brown eyes. His thin dark moustache set off the whiteness of his teeth, which were as sharp as a rodent’s.

‘That’s very kind of you, inspector ...’

He stretched, yawned, put down the lid of the toilet in the corner of the cell which had been left up.

‘Excuse the mess ...’

Then suddenly, looking Maigret in the eye, he said:

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