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The Bar on the Seine (Maigret #11)

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  507 ratings  ·  61 reviews
One of the world’s most successful crime writers, Georges Simenon has thrilled mystery lovers around the world since 1931 with his matchless creation Inspector Maigret. In The Bar on the Seine, Maigret must visit a prisoner he arrested and bear the news that his reprieve has been refused and he will be executed at dawn. But when the condemned man tells Maigret a story, his ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published December 26th 2006 by Penguin Books (first published 1931)
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Community Reviews

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Really enjoy these Inspector Maigret books.
As well as good mystery stories I find them very
interesting as here is always a little philosophical
depth to them.
These are books you could read in one day if you have
the time and I think the is the best way to read them
with a nice pot of tea.

Very enjoyable!
"A radiant late afternoon. The sunshine almost as thick as syrup in the quiet streets of the Left Bank. And everything--the people's faces, the countless familiar sounds of the street--exuded a joy to be alive. There are days like this, when ordinary life seems heightened, when the people walking down the street, the trams and cars all seem to exist in a fairy tale." Within pages of these opening sentences, Simenon immerses his reader in a dark, existential, page turner, with a cast of character ...more
“THE BAR ON THE SEINE” can be summed up as a nice and tidy detective novel peopled with an interesting array of characters, some of whom Inspector Maigret matches wits with.

The drama begins in a prison cell where a man (Monsieur Lenoir) –-- a petty criminal sentenced to death whom Maigret had arrested some time earlier --- awaits word about a possible reprieve. Maigret pays Lenoir a visit, tells him that a reprieve will not be forthcoming, and that he will be put to death at dawn the next day.
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
For the most part, this felt like a below-average outing for the stalwart Inspector, but Simenon knows how to turn the screw, and does so to great effect in the last few pages of the novel.

Along the way, we're treated to a brilliant exposition of Maigret's lack-of-a-method:

'He had handled hundreds of cases in his time and he knew that they nearly always fell into two distinct phases. Firstly, coming into contact with a new environment, with people he had never even heard of the day before, wi
Paul Secor
I'd read a few pages of The Bar on the Seine when I realized that I'd read it about 30 years ago. Back then, I think that I read it more to discover the perpetrator of the crime. This time, the solution to the mystery didn't matter to me - even though I had forgotten who had committed the crime - and I read the novel for the psychology of the characters and for the milieu described in the book.
One of Simenon's most perfect Maigret novels.
Un condannato a morte, vecchia conoscenza di Maigret, prima dell’esecuzione confida al commissario di aver assistito, anni prima, insieme ad un suo compare, all’assassinio di un uomo il cui corpo è stato gettato nella Senna. Il fatto fu commesso “nella balera da due soldi”. Nessun altro indizio. Da qui il commissario Maigret comincia ad indagare in una combriccola di borghesi parigini, benestanti, che nel fine settimana si divertono in campagna bevendo e scherzando in un’osteria in riva alla Sen ...more
Filippo Bossolino
Tre stelle generose. Un Maigret sottotono in questo romanzo; fra le righe ho letto una critica verso quella media borghesia che convinta di essere "arrivata" fa sfoggio del proprio successo in quello che ai nostri tempi potrebbe essere una sorta di country club o circolo… I delitti sono veramente marginali più ancora degli scritti precedenti.
I just really love reading these little gems from Simenon. Maigret is always such a great character.

Whilst I really liked this one I felt there was something missing, perhaps because it was an early Maigret Simenon had found his sense of fun with the character yet, perhaps he just didn't eat nearly as much as usual. Another concern is that it was a new translation of the original French text and it may have been that which added a more staid modern touch which I had not found in earlier translat
As others have mentioned, the "Maigret Method" is explicitly outlined in this novel. What I love is how Maigret inevitably becomes personally involved. For Maigret, there's no way to catch a criminal without understanding a criminal. And in some sense, understanding always involves love. Maigret solves cases by loving his enemy.

20. THE BAR ON THE SEINE. (1931; trans. 2003). George Simenon. ****.
Maigret visits with a man in a prison on death row. He had in fact been responsible for his arrest, but still had feelings for the young man. Since his time was short and all appeals had failed, the young man gave hints about a murder that had occurred years ago – but without mentioning names. This set Inspector Maigret off on a quest as to who the victim might have been. His investigation leads him to a small local bar located
Simenon uses this story to re-inforce his detective, Chief Inspector Maigret as a caring man who loves justice above all things. Its the Summer and everyone has deserted Paris to go on holiday; before Maigret joins his wife in Alsace he pays a last visit to a prisoner on death row, the night before his execution. The policeman doesn't go to gloat but rather bring closure to the process of investigation, arrest, trial and sentence. The condemned man mentions another more deserving of the fate tha ...more
Georges Simenon's Inspector Maigret is one of the most unusual characters in all of detective fiction. Instead of following the lead set by Edgar Allan Poe in the "tale of ratiocination" and of Arthur Conan Doyle with his wizard of 221b Baker Street, Simenon gives us a gallic policeman who solves crimes just by being there at the right time and place. It is through a sheer knot of concentrated intent that Maigret puts himself into the scene of the crime and waits until all the diverse threads be ...more
i liked this maigret one even more than the first i read. i was worried when it began, that the books would be too formulaic, as there was a prisoner condemned to die right at the beginning of this one as well. but in this one, he isn't set free so that maigret may solve the crime, he is executed, as ordained but! not before he tips off maigret to another unsolved murder which takes him away to a little weekend hideaway, outside of paris, where he comes upon a group of people who really live onl ...more
Nick Jones
A prisoner who will be executed the following day tells Maigret about once seeing someone dispose of a corpse: he had blackmailed the murderer, but then had lost contact until he had seen the man at a bar on the Seine. He gives Maigret no further details and Maigret, while dealing with other cases, tries to identify the bar, but to no avail. Then, by chance, he overhears someone talking about the bar and so, following the man, he finds his way to the bar and falls in with the regular crowd...and ...more
Jim Coughenour
Another Maigret from 1932. How Simenon must have churned them out! This one is fun, more droll than the usual.
And so the scales continued to oscillate between tragedy and complete farce.
Indeed they do. There's a usurious Jew, a cowardly capitalist, a slutty woman, a spineless man – and a charming alcoholic who never gets drunk. It's a hot summer in Paris. Madame Maigret is in the country, imploring her husband by telegram to join her. Instead he sits in a steaming sidewalk café sipping Pernod.
Harry Squires
The Bar on the Seine is both my first venture into mystery novels/stories and my first acquaintance with the writing of Georges Simenon, and I believe that I will be returning to both in no time at all. Hard-boiled and entertaining, this short work is at different times insightful, humorous, suspenseful, and somber. What makes it especially good for a quick read, and what I hope will be characteristic of the author's work in this genre, is the decidedly nonliterary prose. Doled out in small snip ...more
I've read many of the Inspector Maigret novels. I keep thinking I've read most of what's been translated into English, but each time I look on Amazon, I find one or two that are new to me (usually used copies). I have the Michael Gambon tv series and have watched it many times so recently I bought and watched four volumes (40 eipsodes!) of the French Maigret series with Bruno Cremer. (They're wonderful.)

I thought it would be fun to see how the Cremer film version I had recently watched compared
This was actually the first 'Maigret' novel I ever read. It was the last book I read in my 30s before I turned 40. I didn't like it very much. It was entitled The Bar on the Seine when I read it and it didn't make me a fan of Simenon. Therefore it was another 8 years before I tried a 'Maigret' novel again. I just happened on impulse to pick up 'Pietr the Latvian' last year and I was hooked.

Since then I have become a big fan of Simenon and 'Maigret'. I guess it's just a case of me being not ready
I couldn't guess where this book was going next. Oddly tranquil for a murder mystery. Made me want to while away an afternoon in a Parisian cafe, though I wouldn't order Pernot. (Thanks for the loan, Cindy!)
Richard Brand
There was a scene in an old law and order tv program. The wife looks at her husband and says, "Damn, we are in this mess because you can't keep it in your pants." The same could be said for these two major characters in this story. I did not think that Simenon had this Maigret character the same as Maigret was in the two other books I have read. This Detective was a lot less weighty or solid. There were interesting plot twists and I guess Basso comes out in pretty good shape, but it will be a sc ...more
Maigret avoids a holiday trip by trailing after a hint of a cold case only to(view spoiler).

I really enjoy the way that Simenon opens and closes these volumes. The middle sections certainly have their many pleasures, but Simenon is great with setting the scene and kicking Maigret into motion, as well as, showing us the human toll that weighs on Maigret's soul at the end of the journey.
"This is the first mention of the Maigrets' summer holidays in Alsace, at her sister's.

Another interesting Maigret, showing the humanity of the Inspector. A bit of a complex plot, but quite believable. A slaying -- two really -- but one doesn't count. The usual suspects. etc.

Some time toward the end, Maigret espouses what I call The Maigret Method. whereby investigations are divided into two phases. The first consists of immersion and poking around in the atmosphere of the crime -- the people, w
3.75 stars! A little gem of a novel, beautifully written, atmospheric, interesting characters and wonderful settings! My first Inspector Maigret novel and I hope not my last. It's difficult to explain this type of story: it's not a police procedural, it's not a dark mystery. It's simply Inspector Maigret, thinking, talking and leisurely making his way to the culprit! Satisfying like a 3-4 hour meal in a French restaurant.
DeAnna Knippling
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
While visiting a young criminal on death row before his execution, the condemned man tells Maigret of a man he and another boy had watched dump a body in a Parisian canal six years before. Maigret decides to try to find the man, but has only a few clues. Unexpectedly, he finds the bar and stumbles into a group of people who may lead him to this killer.
Nancy H
Although I generally really like this series, this book just didn't seem to have the cohesiveness that others in the series do. The character of Maigret did not come through as strongly as usual, and the plot just seemed a bit disjointed in parts.
Quirky detective novel by one of the most well known (if not profilic - 200+ novels) crime writers of all time. Written in 1932, this is one of Simenon's novels featuring the ever popular detective Maigret. Not many fictional characters garner their own real life statue, then again, unlike Maigret most fictional characters do not have 75 books written about them. There are no shocking twists or turns here and the book is short. But it is fun and the writing is lively and it's a great peek into a ...more
"Numa solarenga tarde de Verão parisiense, Maigret está a braços com uma missão infeliz. Ele vai à cela de um jovem prisioneiro – Lenoir – para o informar de que será executado de madrugada. Maigret simpatiza com Lenoir, apesar de este o ter tentado alvejar quando o prendeu há três meses, mas ele tem uma surpresa na manga…
Lenoir tem uma história para contar, sobre um homicídio que testemunhou anos antes, e um assassino para acusar. Maigret só terá de se dirigir à Taberna dos Dois Vinténs, nas ma
A relatively short and enjoyable police procedural. Inspector Maigret is working on a six-year old murder when another death takes place. He unravels the hidden secrets of a bourgeois group of friends who all like to relax at the same rustic bar on the Seine outside Paris. FWIW, the Kindle edition is formatted terribly but the actual Penguin version is physically a nice volume -- almost enough to make you want to read more in the series regardless of the content.
Detective stories are not my thing, but since Simenon is so well liked, and a favorite of many (Henry miller, etc) I wanted to give him a shot. Maybe a different title would have been better to start with, but there's not too much in print in inexpensive translations. Slim though it is, I'm just not interested in finishing. Weird premise of frequenting a bar out in the woods. My suspended disbelief got hung up.
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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
More about Georges Simenon...

Other Books in the Series

Maigret (1 - 10 of 74 books)
  • Pietr the Latvian (Maigret, #1)
  • The Carter of 'La Providence' (Maigret, #2)
  • The Late Monsieur Gallet (Maigret, #3)
  • The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien (Maigret, #4)
  • A Man's Head
  • The Yellow Dog
  • The Night at the Crossroads
  • A Crime in Holland
  • The Grand Banks Café
  • The Dancer at the Gai-Moulin

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