The 13 Culprits

Georges Simenon

Published by Crippen & Landru Publishers, 2002
ISBN 10: 188594179X / ISBN 13: 9781885941794
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Synopsis: SIMENON — BEFORE MAIGRET!

Georges Simenon (1903-1989) not only created the finest series of French detective novels in the cases of Inspector Jules Maigret, but he was also, according to André Gide, "perhaps the greatest and most truly ‘novelistic' novelist in France today." But before he wrote about Maigret, he contributed series of short tales to the magazine Détective in 1929 and 1930, collected in 3 books. The first of those volumes, The 13 Culprits, has never previously been published in English, despite extravagant praise from Alexander Woolcott, Ellery Queen, and other experts.

The detections of Monsieur Froget, the "Examining Magistrate," are set among the people of a city the young Simenon knew well. As the translator, Peter Schulman, says in the introduction, "it is a marginal Paris, populated by society's losers who, for one reason or another, are brought down by a petty vice, or a greedy aspiration, that invariably leads to a bitter sense of failure in their lives … and, of course, a crime they hubristically think they can get away with. It is the lonely city within all levels of the Parisian mosaic; a Paris made up of eccentric individuals who all, in some manner or another, feel as though they have been hung out to dry on the fringes of society." It is a Paris of prostitutes, adventurers, circus artistes, and the flotsam thrown up by the First World War. It is a world captured by a great writer.

From Booklist: One year before the publication of the first Inspector Maigret story, Simenon published a series of stories about another Parisian sleuth, the icy, cerebral examining magistrate Monsieur Froget. These 13 Froget stories, never before published in English, were the third part of a hit series Simenon wrote for Detective Magazine in 1929-30. The series created a sensation because the endings were not given till several issues later, giving readers the opportunity to write in their own conclusions. Both the Froget stories and their endings appear here. The focus is on social isolates--a spy, an aging "male coquette," a family of bicycle circus performers--who come in contact with the law in the person of M. Froget, who exercises both police and judicial powers. This is a world of seedy apartments, falling-apart people, and thwarted ambition. Froget encounters them all with cold stares and crushing remarks. This is a wonderful collection, revealing a different side of Simenon and opening a window onto a vanished world. Translator Schulman provides an absorbing introduction, explaining Simenon's work habits, the differences between Maigret and the three other sleuths of the Detective series, and the peculiarities of Froget's world, the Paris of the 1920s. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Title: The 13 Culprits
Publisher: Crippen & Landru Publishers
Publication Date: 2002
Book Condition: Fair

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