Wednesday, August 8, 2012


So I have watched more Maigret - have read some, but it is the TV series, starring Bruno Cremer, that is my preoccupation in this case.  I am not just fascinated by his ponderous bulk, his lighting his pipe when words are not neceesary, but his bursts of illtemper, probably calculated, his refusal to answer what would seem to be leading questions ("when will you be back?" and that sort of thing), his treatment of the inspectors lower in the hierarchy -- here, a word suffices -- all the marks of his redoutable (is that a word, I wonder?) personality.

There may be other personifications)  of Maigret, le commissaire Maigret, but I strongly doubt they would have this undeniable force.

OK, so what in the world is my point? Two of those: how a representation of a personality in "literature" (I know Simenon, whose own self I started to read about, in "Pedigree," is of interest, but not the kind of reading I usually do), well, in a series of detective stories, gets to be glommed onto an actor... but also something about narration. How a detail (here, a button, only made in 6 places in all of France, then how that material it gets used for is only available, etc. etc., and then a snippet of that material leads to the person, or there a pair of shoes stained with blood, never mentioned until the end, work out the proof of the thing) or a telling moment (seeing in the mirror the text of the anonymous letter read by the guilty party does not have to be read, HE KNOWS IT BY HEART, wow) -- that kind of thing is worked out. How I would love to write essays like that...
But tomorrow we leave the Vaucluse and our cabanon and France and I will have to find somehow to rent   various Maigret stories -- as opposed to be surprised at 3 every, or at least some, weekdays, by another episode -- trains, houses, forests, whatever -- and that small screen ( smallish), going dark and just the words: MAIGRET. Must be the way our ancestors or at least predecessors felt about FANTOMAS. 

I think about Carolyn Heilbrun's Amanda Cross: who could capture the excitement of those stories, or was it just that she was my friend? You would see Carolyn taking notes on all aorts of thigns, and wonder: uh=oh, is that going to come up somewhere?

And it did, and didn't...more someday about that.

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