Review: Pietr the Latvian

Pietr the Latvian by Georges Simenon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pietr the Latvian
This is the first Maigret novel book that I have read so a big thank you to Penguin for republishing the novels.
Maigret is a grumpy, pipe-smoking eccentric who seems to be the sole guardian of the police service in Paris. The plot takes him in pursuit of the Latvian an international criminal responsible for many crimes. The writing style suffers under the harsh spotlight of modern styles especially with the casual racism. By current trends, the plot would be defined as weak and in need of a decent editor and in many places I found the dialogue stilted and artificial.
The pacing is rather slow but the characterisation is the strongest part of the writing and carries Maigret through with the modern technique of allowing the reader to fully develop an image of the detective. Being relatively short the book allows Georges Simenon to make the narrative brisk without being flabby. I can imagine that this style was revolutionary in the 1930.
I enjoyed the period feel to the novel and I can imagine the Michael Gambon would make a brilliant Maigret (I didn’t see the series with him). And I can imagine that Rowan Atkinson will be great when he brings the character to life later this year.
This was the first in the series and it certainly wetted my appetite to read more.

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