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Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett (Maigret #1)

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3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  1,284 ratings  ·  158 reviews
La police internationale signale l'arrivée à Paris du célèbre escroc Pietr-le-Letton, qui n'a jusque-là pu être inculpé. Maigret se dispose à le filer à sa descente de L'Etoile-du-Nord. Mais alors que le suspect se rend à l'hôtel Majestic, on découvre dans le train un cadavre qui est le pur sosie de Pietr...
Paperback, 144 pages
Published March 30th 1964 by Penguin Books (first published 1931)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,544)
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Tfitoby
It's the first one. Thank goodness for these Penguin reissues, I was starting to think I'd never find a copy. These early Maigret's are nothing like what the series would become, potentially Simenon had high hopes for literary success for the handful of Maigret novels he'd written before launching them as a complete work in a hail of publicity; thus explaining the more existential nature of them compared to the casual musings over a delicate meal and stiff drink that would characterise the later ...more
Jim
This is a re-read for me. The same reason I re-read it made me change my rating from four stars to five. There is something amazing to me about this first mystery by Georges Simenon to be published to be not only complicated by masterful. Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett is called by several names: In France, it was published as Pierre-le-Leton. In English it goes by the names Suite at the Majestic, The Strange Case of Peter the Lett, The Case of Peter the Lett, and the title shown above.

I keep co
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Peer
La foto in copertina di Brassaï, soprannominato da Henry Miller “l’occhio di Parigi”, ci aiuta a calarci nelle atmosfere e nei luoghi che verranno puntigliosamente descritti da Simenon.
In particolare si tratta del ben noto “Le Monocle” a Montmartre, il primo e certamente più famoso nightclub per lesbiche.
Ciò che mi ha colpito in questa prima “avventura” di Maigret, oltre alla trama intricata che si risolve correttamente in ogni dettaglio dal punto di vista logico, è soprattutto la capacità di ev
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Ivonne Rovira
Jan 25, 2014 Ivonne Rovira rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Sartre and Camus
Georges Simenon’s creation, Chief Inspector Maigret, differs considerably from your average Golden Age detective from across the Channel or across the Pond.

Also published under the title of Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett and The Strange Case of Peter the Lett, this introduction to Maigret reveals a closed-mouth, almost taciturn man, large and infinitely patient and persistent. Police are tracking a cocky criminal mastermind with the eponymous nickname, Pietr the Latvian, but, when following thi
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Susan
Although I am a great fan of crime novels published between the wars (this was published in 1930) I have never read the Inspector Maigret novels. This is the first in a long running series, reprinted by Penguin, featuring the stolid Detective Chief Inspector. The book opens with Maigret receiving a telegram from the International Criminal Police Commission, warning him of the imminent arrival of the notorious conman Pietr the Latvian. Armed with a description, Maigret heads for the Gare du Nord, ...more
Mike Jensen
This book disappointed for several reasons. The physiological “realism” and insight that impressed me in Simenon’s writings in my twenties seem extreme and left me incredulous. After an initial death, nothing happens except that detective Maigret follows people around for 50 pages, more than 1/3 of the book's length. When something finally does happen, it is unrealistic in the way it unfolds.

Little things are not quite believable, things so small that they might soon be forgotten but they add u
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KOMET
"Pietr the Latvian" introduces the world to Jules Maigret, Detective Chief Inspector of the Police Judiciaire in Paris for the very first time. The setting is a cool, rainy autumn afternoon in interwar Europe a little more than a decade after the end of the First World War. Simenon provides the reader with the following description of the Detective Chief Inspector: "He didn't have a moustache and he didn't wear heavy boots. His clothes were well cut and made of fairly light worsted. He shaved ev ...more
Tony
PIETR THE LATVIAN. (1930). Georges Simenon. *****.
This was without a doubt the worst book ever written by Simenon: the plot is lame and discontinuour and the characters are unbelievable. Why not a one- or two-star rating? This novel marks the first appearance of Maigret! Now it becomes a must-read for Simenon fans to see how his famous character started out and slowly evolved into the man we are most familiar with. Maigret appears as a detective superintendent of the Paris police force, and is u
...more
Kim
I grew up devouring Simenon. Every week I would pick up 3 new Simenon to read at the library and head home to travel to Paris and the dark, damp allies and hotels there... I can't remember if I finished all of the Maigret series, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading what I did. Maigret provided me with my first realized yearning to visit a foreign city. Paris... came so alive and real for me in those books. Just as Dickens did for London, Simenon did for Paris.

I've been restless in my reading latel
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Rosenkavalier
La teoria della crepa

Appassionato lettore di Simenon, ma non molto amante dei gialli, non avevo mai approcciato un "Maigret", forse diffidando della monumentale serialità del filone, che conta (credo) oltre settanta titoli.
Ho approfittato della ripubblicazione in ebook della collana per investigare sul caso del celebre Commissario.
"Pietr il lettone" mi ha sorpreso per il clima decisamente più da noir psicologico che da racconto d'investigazione, non privo di qualche gratuita asprezza nella desc
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Daniel
A short take:

I really enjoyed this book! Simenon knows how to establish a scene with vivid descriptions, and, being the sucker that I am for stories set between the two World Wars, I was happy to dive into these passages. I dig that Maigret's approach to detection is to focus on the human element and observe all the players in their natural settings. I also like the guy's gruff demeanor, romantic perspective, epicurean tastes and utmost dedication to his calling. What's not to like about someone
...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
The first-ever Maigret. I doubt it's ever been filmed, as it's a bit too slow and ponderous (just like Maigret himself in this volume), but still a good read. We learn that Maigret doesn't know how to drive because he doesn't make enough money to afford a car--common enough in those days in Europe. That he was always a broad, beefy, silent man, more muscle than fat, who craved the heat of a coal fire when everyone else was sweating. That his immutable presence achieved more than questions or acc ...more
Gláucia Renata
Vale a leitura por ser a primeira aventura do Comissário Maigret, o monobloco (adorei essa descrição) e já dá pra gente conhecer um pouco desse humano e perspicaz investigador.
Pietr, o letão é uma espécie de estelionatário, envolvido nas altas rodas do crime, mais liso que um peixe ensaboado, e Maigret terá a oportunidade de finalmente agarrá-lo.
Rapidinho de ler, a história nem é tão surpreendente, como sempre vale mais o "modus operandi" do comissário e principalmente a forma como ele compreend
...more
Rob Kitchin
Pietr the Latvian is the first book in Simenon’s famous series featuring Detective Chief Inspector Maigret, which ran for 75 novels and 28 short stories. Maigret makes for an attractive lead character, with an assertive presence and tenacity in his pursuit of justice, pushing himself and prompting others into action and mistakes. Simenon writes in a tight, all tell and no show fashion using a workmanlike prose, keeping the story moving at a fair clip, with little in the way of character developm ...more
Richard
I love Maigret novels and have read them over the years as and when I could get them. I was therefore thrilled when penguin books announced they were going to release all of the inspector Maigret novels in the order they were originally published; releasing 1 of the 75 books each month.
Pietr the Latvian was originally published in 1930. Although I had read this account I have decided to return to this series and read all the books in the chronology of their accepted writing/publication.
This was
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Taha Yasin
Bu kitapla ilgili aklımda 2 ihtimal var: Ya çok dandik bir kitaptı ya da o kadar üstün bir kitaptı ki, benim, anlamaya kapasitem yetmedi.
NOT:Büyük ihtimalle ilk ihtimal daha olasıdır;)
Betsy
I have read numerous Maigret mysteries, but only recently realized that the sequence was random and most of them were quite late in the series. My library recently acquired the first ten in new translations, issued by Penguin, so I decided to begin at the beginning. I thoroughly enjoyed this first acquaintance with Maigret and Simenon's rather telegraphic style but there were a few off-putting problems with the editing, and possibly with the translation or the writing itself. Name slip-ups in a ...more
Proustitute
My first Maigret and the first Maigret.

It was interesting to see many of the existentialist themes with which Simenon grapples in his other work here in a procedural format. While the noir genre does deal with anxieties about identity and gender, in Simenons hands noir is a cultural critique of all of these anxieties brought to a head between the two World Wars.

In Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett, Maigret faces the brick wall most detective face: circumstantial evidence. While he tries to amass co
...more
Marcus Speh
I finished Simenon’s (first) Maigret detective novel: somehow I know that I read this one and many others about the inspector from Paris a long time ago. It’s a thrilling tale even though the writing seems often clumsy, take for example the shouting (rather than telling) which is inserted whenever the action is heating up: something like “MAIGRET GUNNED HIM DOWN!” … you can practically hear how every letter is capitalized. What can I learn from this book? For example how inspector Maigret’s phys ...more
Phillip Kay
Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett was first published as Pietr-le-Letton in 1931, and translated into English by Daphne Woodward. It was the fifth Maigret, and shows the detective as much more active than he eventually became, a mere intuitive device sniffing up atmosphere and delving into motives until the criminal confesses. Here he carries a gun, is shot and seriously wounded, and travels around Europe on the track of an international cartel of unscrupulous bootleggers. If you can imagine Agatha ...more
Gary
A dark, existential, page turner, Pietr the Latvian (originally published in 1930) was the first of Georges Simenon's mysteries featuring French detective Jules Maigret. Penguin Classics is now reissuing all 75 of Simenon’s Maigret mysteries in new translations, which is good news for Maigret addicts like me. Simenon’s pulp mysteries are arguably the bleakest works of noir ever published in the genre. They play out through a fog of bad weather and tobacco smoke, and there are never any happy end ...more
Sandi
I was glad to see that Penguin was republishing this series and that my library had the e-book. A good introduction to the classic series. Maigret is a fully formed character and while the plot was a bit thin it held enough promise that I will read onward.
John
"Pietr the Latvian" in the new edition from Penguin with translation by David Bellos in 2013.

This is a milestone book as it is the first Maigret story written by Simenon under his own name. Details of some earlier short stories and novels written as Georges Sim and Christian Brulls can be found on Stephen Trussel's phenomenal website www.trussel.com.

A really wonderful introduction to the world of Maigret. A must read for any detective story lover. Read it ! I first read it years ago and rated it
...more
Richard Brand
This is said to be the first in the Maigret series and the series is supposed to be one of the all time great series. I am glad this was not the first one that I read. It is so much unbelievable that I don't think I would have read any more. The story has the hero Maigret doing things with no explanation. He suppose to know who the bad guys are and where they are going. but we never get told. He stays awake about two weeks (maybe I exaggerate a bit) but he stays awake much too long. He gets shot ...more
Alan
This was ok in a gritty noirish way, but it lost a few points for me in the ambiBaltic/Slavic/Scandinavian mashup of the (mild spoiler) brother duo of Pietr and Hans Johannson. Born in Pskov (Estonian: Pihkva), Russia with a surname that seems Swedish, they attend Tartu University in Estonia where brother Pietr became the "Master" of the "Ugala Club" (presumably Korp! Ugala) student organization before he eventually turns to a life of crime. Latvia didn't seem to enter into it, except for being ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
Although I have read several of Georges Simenon’s romans durs, I have stayed away from the Maigret novels. I am not a fan of police procedurals, and my problem with whodunits is that I seldom care who did it. The culprit will be brought to justice, and the policeman or detective in charge will most often gather other characters into a room and explain how he figured it out. Not for me.

But Penguin has begun a new series of Maigret translations, and when I saw a secondhand copy of Pietr the Latvia
...more
Stephen Puleston
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
...more
Ankit
First my thanks to Penguin for finding such a great series for me to dive into. Having said that I would say this may not appeal to all readers. This is a classic tale of who dunnit. I would suggest reading one of the stand alone novels since there are elements of his writing that really would appeal to the general readers or just pick one from the series if the plot appeals to you. With this series the spacing of the words and font size really threw me off but then I was able to adjust towards ...more
Filippo Bossolino
Il voto giusto sarebbe 3.5 ma non potendo preferisco arrotondare per difetto, considerando che saranno tanti i libri che leggerò di questo autore, con la speranza di assegnare tanti punteggi pieni…

Ritorno a leggere Simenon dopo (quasi) una ventina d'anni, e questa volta - nel limite del possibile - proverò ad andare per ordine, per lo meno con la serie su Maigret.

In questo "esordio" da protagonista Maigret ci viene descritto come un personaggio burbero, di stazza imponente, gran bevitore di bir
...more
Heather
Pietr the Latvian, which was originally published in serial form in French in 1930, is the first of Georges Simenon's novels featuring Detective Chief Inspector Maigret, and is the first of Simenon's novels that I've read. It's no cosy mystery: it's a gritty police procedural (albeit light on procedure) that moves back and forth between Paris and the port town of Fécamp, where Maigret goes in search of clues. Maigret is meant to be trailing Pietr the Latvian, said to be the head of an organized ...more
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9693
Simenon was one of the most prolific writers of the twentieth century, capable of writing 60 to 80 pages per day. His oeuvre includes nearly 200 novels, over 150 novellas, several autobiographical works, numerous articles, and scores of pulp novels written under more than two dozen pseudonyms. Altogether, about 550 million copies of his works have been printed.

He is best known, however, for his 75
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More about Georges Simenon...

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  • The Late Monsieur Gallet (Maigret, #3)
  • The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien (Maigret, #4)
  • A Man's Head
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  • A Crime in Holland
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