Georges Simenon (1903-1989) – OHIO University Libraries

Belgian-born writer Georges Simenon is known for his works in the French language, particularly the long series of novels and short stories (more than 100 in all) featuring the fictional detective Jules Maigret.

Born in Liège, Belgium in 1903, he moved to Paris the early 1920s and began his series of Maigret novels in 1931 with the publication of Pietr-le-letton, ending it more than forty years later with Maigret et Monsieur Charles.

Simenon’s style in the Maigret novels has been described in the St. James Guide to Crime & Mystery Writers as:

The famous method of Maigret seems compounded mostly out of the sympathetic human imagination; working without a great deal in the way of facts, clues, chains of evidence, it succeeds infallibly and its success always seems, when it comes, absolutely inevitable. The Maigrets often end with the detective regretting in some way his victory over the recalcitrant facts of life; because of his vast understanding of humanity, his chief emotion in discovering guilt is not a feeling of triumph but of pity.

Besides the Maigret stories, Simenon also wrote L’Homme qui regardait passer les trains (The Man Who Watched the Trains Go By), Pedigree, Les Volets verts (The Heart of a Man), Le Petit saint (The Little Saint), and Intimate Memoirs. Simenon used at least 12 pseudonyms throughout his life.

Simenon died in 1989 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Our Rare Book Collection has nearly 100 volumes by Georges Simenon, mostly in English translations. We invite you to visit Archives and Special Collections to consult works by him, or other parts of our collection. See our Hours on the left sidebar of the Archives and Special Collections home page. In addition, the Libraries have numerous volumes about Simenon: biographies, critical interpretations, and the like.


Photo credit: photo© [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons