The Shadow Puppet (Inspector Maigret)

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9781522634713: The Shadow Puppet (Inspector Maigret)

One by one the lighted windows went dark. The silhouette of the dead man could still be seen through the frosted glass like a Chinese shadow puppet. A taxi pulled up. It wasn't the public prosecutor yet. A young woman crossed the courtyard with hurried steps, leaving a whiff of perfume in her wake.

Summoned to the dimly-lit Place des Vosges one night, where he sees shadowy figures at apartment windows, Maigret uncovers a tragic story of desperate lives, unhappy families, addiction and a terrible, fatal greed.

Georges Simenon was born in Liège, Belgium, in 1903. Best known in Britain as the author of the "Maigret" books, his prolific output of over 400 novels and short stories have made him a household name in continental Europe. He died in 1989 in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he had lived for the latter part of his life.

Anthea Bell is the award-winning translator of numerous French and German works: from the Asterix comics to W. G. Sebald's literary masterpiece Austerlitz.

Audible will be producing all 75 Maigret titles.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Georges Simenon is one of the most addictive and bestselling European authors of the 20th Century. His work consists of 391 titles, and he is best known as the creator of the fictional detective series consisting of 75 books featuring Inspector Maigret, translated into more than 50 languages and sold in more than 50 countries. There are over 800 million Simenon books sold worldwide and he is the most translated French speaking author of the 20th century and the second most translated author of all time in Italy after Shakespeare. 

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Georges Simenon

 

THE SHADOW PUPPET

Translated by Ros Schwartz

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
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)
Penguin Group (Australia), 707 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3008, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)
Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi – 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, Block D, Rosebank Office Park, 181 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parktown North, Gauteng 2193, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

www.penguin.com

First published in French as L’ombre chinoise by Fayard 1932
This translation first published 2014

Copyright 1932 by Georges Simenon Limited
Translation copyright © Ros Schwartz, 2014
GEORGES SIMENON ® Simenon.tm
MAIGRET ® Georges Simenon Limited
All rights reserved

© Harry Gruyaert /Magnum Photos
Front cover design by Alceu Chiesorin Nunes

The moral rights of the author and translator have been asserted

Typeset by Palimpsest Book Production Ltd, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

ISBN: 978-0-698-18388-9

Title Page

Copyright

About the Author

1. The Shadow Puppet

2. A Good Man

3. The Couple at Hôtel Pigalle

4. The Second-Floor Window

5. The Madwoman

6. A Raging Fever

7. The Three Women

8. The Home Nurse

9. The Man with the Pension

10. Identity Cards

11. The Drawing on the Wall

EXTRA: Chapter 1 from The Saint-Fiacre Affair

PENGUIN CLASSICS

THE SHADOW PUPPET

‘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 stories featuring 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. The Shadow Puppet

It was ten p.m. The iron gates of the public garden were locked and Place des Vosges was empty. Glistening tyre tracks on the asphalt, the continuous play of the fountains, leafless trees and the regular shapes of identical rooftops silhouetted against the sky.

There were few lights under the splendid arcades encircling the square. Only three or four shops. Inspector Maigret could see a family eating inside one of them, cluttered with beaded funeral wreaths.

He was trying to read the numbers above the doors, but he had barely passed the wreath shop when a diminutive form stepped out of the shadows.

‘Is it you I just telephoned?’

She must have been watching out for a long time. Despite the November cold, she had not slipped on a coat over her apron. Her nose was red, her eyes anxious.

Less than 400 metres away, on the corner of Rue de Béarn, a uniformed police officer stood guard.

‘Didn’t you inform him?’ grumbled Maigret.

‘No! Because of Madame de Saint-Marc, who’s about to give birth ... Oh look! There’s the doctor’s car, he was asked to come straight away.’

There were three cars drawn up alongside the pavement, headlamps on, red rear lights. The sky, with its drifting clouds against a moonlit backdrop, had an ambiguous paleness. It felt as if the first snows were in the air.

The concierge turned under the archway at the building’s entrance, from which hung a twenty-five-candlepower bulb covered in a film of dust.

‘Let me explain. This is the courtyard – you have to cross it to get to all parts of the building, except for the two shops. This is my lodge on the left. Take no notice, I didn’t have time to put the children to bed.’

There were two of them, a boy and a girl, in the untidy kitchen. But the concierge didn’t go inside. She pointed to a long building, at the far end of the vast and beautifully proportioned courtyard.

‘It’s there. You’ll see.’

Maigret was intrigued by this curious little woman, whose restless hands betrayed her febrility.

‘There’s someone on the phone asking for a detective chief inspector!’ he had been told earlier at Quai des Orfèvres.

The voice on the other end was muffled. Several times he had repeated, ‘Please speak up, I can’t hear you.’

‘I can’t. I’m calling you from the tobacconist’s. So—’

And a garbled message followed.

‘You must come to 61, Place des Vosges right away ... Yes ... I think it’s a murder, but don’t tell anyone yet!’

And now the concierge was pointing at the tall first-floor windows. Behind the curtains, shadows could be seen coming and going.

‘It’s up there.’

‘The murder?’

‘No! Madame de Saint-Marc who’s giving birth ... Her first ... She’s not very strong. You understand?’

And the courtyard was even darker than Place des Vosges. It was illuminated by a single lamp on the wall. A staircase could just be made out on the other side of a glazed door, and there was the occasional lighted window.

‘What about the murder?’

‘I’m coming to that! Couchet’s workers left at six o’clock—’

‘Wait a moment. What is Couchet?’

‘The building at the far end. A laboratory where they make serums. You must have heard of Doctor Rivière’s Serums.’

‘And that lighted window?’

‘Wait. Today’s the 30th, so Monsieur Couchet was there. He’s in the habit of staying behind on his own after the offices have closed. I saw him through the window, sitting in his armchair. Look—’

A window with frosted-glass panes. A strange shadow, like that of a man slumped forward on his desk.

‘Is that him?’

‘Yes. Around eight o’clock, when I was emptying my rubbish bin, I glanced over in that direction. He was writing. You could clearly see the penholder or pencil in his hand.’

‘What time did the murder—’

‘Just a minute! I went upstairs to see how Madame de Saint-Marc was doing. I glanced over again when I came back down, and there he was, as he is now. Actually I thought he’d dozed off.’

Maigret was beginning to lose patience.

‘Then, fifteen minutes later—’

‘Yes! He was still in the same position! Get to the point.’

‘That’s all. I decided to check. I knocked on the office door. There was no answer so I went in. He’s dead. There’s blood everywhere.’

‘Why didn’t you go to the police? The police station is round the corner, in Rue de Béarn.’

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Book Description Audible Studios on Brilliance, 2017. CD-Audio. Book Condition: New. Unabridged. Language: English . Brand New. One by one the lighted windows went dark. The silhouette of the dead man could still be seen through the frosted glass like a Chinese shadow puppet. A taxi pulled up. It wasn t the public prosecutor yet. A young woman crossed the courtyard with hurried steps, leaving a whiff of perfume in her wake. Summoned to the dimly-lit Place des Vosges one night, where he sees shadowy figures at apartment windows, Maigret uncovers a tragic story of desperate lives, unhappy families, addiction and a terrible, fatal greed. Georges Simenon was born in Liege, Belgium, in 1903. Best known in Britain as the author of the Maigret books, his prolific output of over 400 novels and short stories have made him a household name in continental Europe. He died in 1989 in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he had lived for the latter part of his life. Anthea Bell is the award-winning translator of numerous French and German works: from the Asterix comics to W. G. Sebald s literary masterpiece Austerlitz. Audible will be producing all 75 Maigret titles. Bookseller Inventory # BRI9781522634713

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Book Description Audible Studios on Brilliance, United States, 2017. CD-Audio. Book Condition: New. Unabridged. Language: English . Brand New. One by one the lighted windows went dark. The silhouette of the dead man could still be seen through the frosted glass like a Chinese shadow puppet. A taxi pulled up. It wasn t the public prosecutor yet. A young woman crossed the courtyard with hurried steps, leaving a whiff of perfume in her wake. Summoned to the dimly-lit Place des Vosges one night, where he sees shadowy figures at apartment windows, Maigret uncovers a tragic story of desperate lives, unhappy families, addiction and a terrible, fatal greed. Georges Simenon was born in Liege, Belgium, in 1903. Best known in Britain as the author of the Maigret books, his prolific output of over 400 novels and short stories have made him a household name in continental Europe. He died in 1989 in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he had lived for the latter part of his life. Anthea Bell is the award-winning translator of numerous French and German works: from the Asterix comics to W. G. Sebald s literary masterpiece Austerlitz. Audible will be producing all 75 Maigret titles. Bookseller Inventory # BRI9781522634713

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