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Pietr the Latvian

(Inspector Maigret #1)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  5,858 ratings  ·  713 reviews
A gripping new translation of the first novel in the famous Inspector Maigret series. What he sought, and what he waited and watched out for, was the crack in the wall. In other words, the instant when the human being comes out from behind the opponent.

Who is Pietr the Latvian? Is he a gentleman thief? A Russian drinking absinthe in a grimy bar? A married Norwegian sea cap
Paperback, 176 pages
Published November 7th 2013 by Penguin Classics (first published May 1931)
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Greg Great question John. Mike Hammer flashed into mind. Mickey Spillane was writing comic books and he had a character named Damage or Danger or something…moreGreat question John. Mike Hammer flashed into mind. Mickey Spillane was writing comic books and he had a character named Damage or Danger or something, but the character was a superhero. Spillane's audience grew up and Spillane turned his comic book character into Hammer. And, within a few years, Mickey Spillane had 7 of the top 10 Bestselling American Novels in the history of USA publishing. We WANT our heroes to be superheroes! In Peitr the Lartvian, let's not forget Maigret is doped on morphine the last third of the novel while doctors are begging him to have at least 2 ribs removed. But he keeps going: he is drugged up and about to catch the bad guy/s and bad girl/s. I believed every word cause I wanted to. We humans want to be superhumans! We do!(less)
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) If David Brown's suggestion doesn't help, create an entry for it using the ISBN number. It's what I've had to do for the majority of French titles I'v…moreIf David Brown's suggestion doesn't help, create an entry for it using the ISBN number. It's what I've had to do for the majority of French titles I've read.(less)

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Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Right, well this has to be my favourite fiction book of the year, easily. I don't think I have ever read any Maigret before, but I have seen numerous different tv versions from Michael Gambon to Rowan Atkinson, and enjoyed the character.
The book itself was atmospheric and a great murder mystery, with tension building all the way through the unfortunately so brief book. I have enjoyed the latest Maigret on TV with Rowan Atkinson and was surprised to find that in the book he is a well build man no
Dave Schaafsma
"Not that he looked like a cartoon policeman. He didn't have a mustache and he didn't wear heavy boots. His clothes were well-cut and made of fairly light worsted. He shaved every day and looked after his hands.

But his frame was proletarian. He was a big, bony man. His firm muscles filled out his jacket and quickly pulled all his trousers out of shape.

He had a way of imposing himself just by standing there. His assertive presence had often irked many of his own colleagues."

Marking the debut of
Jan 13, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
There’s a distinct lack of glamour to this first Maigret mystery. In itself that’s interesting as this is a story centred on an international con-man and an American investor in one of the finest hotels in Paris. Surely that gives a triumphant yell of glamour. In the hands of a Leslie Charteris or an Agatha Christie, the glamour would have been buffed shiny and played up above all else. But in this novel everything is filtered through the doughty, solid presence of Inspector Maigret – a man who ...more
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Maigret is challenged mentally and physically in this enjoyable case. Pietr the Latvian, a much sought after criminal, is the buzz on the international police telegraph but then a body is found.

What does this mean for the case? Is everything as it seems?

As we travel to shady bars, high-class hotels, rundown apartments and a remote seaside fishing village, Maigret needs his wits and his physical strength to see him through.

Published in 1930. My copy with 162 pages is the 2013 Penguin Classics e
Aug 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bill Lynas
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
A pipe, a hat & a warm stove......welcome to the world of Inspector Maigret. Simenon's first Maigret novel, published in 1930, is a very enjoyable tale full of interesting characters, plot twists & even a bit of action. So, this is what I've been missing all these years. Mind you, I don't want to like him too much. It seems there are 75 novels & 28 short stories in the series. I'd better make some room on the bookshelves. ...more
Claire  Admiral
★★★☆☆ 3.5 stars
Paul Secor
The first of the Maigret series and an excellent beginning, except for the sketched in quality of Madame Maigret's character. ...more
A fairly solid police procedural, the start of a series featuring the dogged and somewhat dour Inspector Maigret. A relatively slow and convoluted mystery.

The high light was the time period, setting and atmosphere of the novel. There were a couple of typos in this particular edition although nothing major.
Apr 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, simenon, france
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
Nancy Oakes
When I finally was able to finish this book, I really wanted to go right away to the next one in the series, but it will keep for a few days.

Not only did I have fun playing armchair detective with this one because it is indeed a puzzler, but just as the book was starting to wind down and the solution to the case at hand about to be revealed, I surprised myself when I realized that what comes out of the last few pages is actually the very stuff of Simenon's excellent romans durs, in which, as J
Jack Heath
3 Stars. My second Maigret and my second favourite. It was the first in a long series, having been issued as a serial in 1930 and as a book in 1931. A touch disappointing, yet there's something intriguing which will surely hold readers. It's Maigret himself, dogged and determined; he captures one's fascination. Not a friendly man, with none of the idiosyncrasies of Holmes or Poirot. What stayed with me? The feeling of inevitability that his target will not escape. He seeks a known fraudster, Pie ...more
Julian Worker
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Georges Simenon is a wonderful writer whose stories are so easy to read, you barely notice the pages passing by in front of your nose. Everything feels so natural and effortless. Places are established, people are described, situations are played out and all as though you were watching them and not reading at all.

This is Simenon’s first novel featuring Inspector Maigret, a taciturn detective who receives notice from Interpol that a notorious conman, Pietr the Latvian, is en route to Paris. Maig
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, france
The first in the Inspector Maigret series. An early police procedural, and noir in it's atmospheric feel. The Inspector is tracking an international scam artist, and dead bodies seem to turn up fairly regularly in his search. It is an interesting plot that had a few twists to it.
Published in 1930, one understands that following evidence is time-consuming & surveillance is rudimentary at best and poor Maigret is often caught in the rain trying to do his job when he'd much rather be drinking beer
Ivonne Rovira
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
It's interesting to me how different each Maigret is. Simenon is not a formulaic mystery writer.

This story was written in 1931 so was, no doubt, an early effort; however, I am impressed with how mature the writing is. Also, considering the year, Maigret refers to the rumblings of history in the background, the communism settling in in Russia, the ever increasing disenfranchisement of European Jews.

The story starts with a murder in a train. The international crook, Pietr Lett, whom Maigret has be
Sep 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I've recently rediscovered Georges Simenon having not read him for many decades. I'd only ever read his Maigret books so started with a couple of his Roman Durs (hard novels) - both The Mahé Circle and The Hand are excellent.

Pietr the Latvian (1930) was the first book in the Maigret series. I enjoyed it. A somewhat convoluted plot was, at times, a little hard to follow however the whole thing was helpfully deconstructed at the end.

It's enjoyable and undemanding fare, not a patch on the two Roma
Elizabeth (Alaska)
As can be seen in the GR title, this is the first in a series. I think this series can be read in any order, but I hoped to get a full introduction to Inspector Maigret, and I was not disappointed. There is a lot of plot, as one might expect. The mystery was different. There was a bit more to the other non-reappearing characters than I might have expected, although to suggest they are fully fleshed would be an exaggeration. The prose is good - it isn't so complex as to get in the way of the stor ...more
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: murder-mystery
It took a typhoon to lead me to this book.

My wife and had sailed to Ormoc City on the Philippine island of Leyte when the typhoon struck leaving us stranded.

We wanted to return to our home on the tiny island of Pilar, but the ferry captains would not sail for several days. So we stayed at the Don Felipe Hotel, a nice place that had seen better days. In the restaurant I met a fellow westerner. We talked of our interests and I found that he also liked to read similar books. He had just been watchi
Michael P.
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
Ova - Excuse My Reading
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this.
Once again I understood the importance of a proper translation. I've read another book in these series (there is over 75 books) and I found it bland and unengaging. This book was on a deal at audible and I decided to give it another go, as I always hear praises for Simenon. And what a surprise, it was an entirely different experience. Much better writing and the book flow nicely, sentences not cut short bluntly. Not surprised to read that this is a new translation by David B
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Dec 15, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a ghastly book, this first Maigret. I have really enjoyed several books from this series and thought I ought to read the first go round. Cannot recommend this book.
Jul 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery lovers
Recommended to Iva by: Branko Matijašević
A bit weird but ok, longer review: https://sisterdelightbookcaffe.blogsp... ...more
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Superb! My first Maigret novel. Gritty. Dark. Real. Well, as real as 1930's Paris could feel some 90 years after the fact. A Paris where people smoked a lot, drank a lot, and got soaked to the skin with alarming regularity. I liked Maigret. I liked him a lot. No airs or graces. No pomposity. No talking about himself in the 3rd person. No stupid little mustache. He felt like someone it would be good to know. Someone that you would trust implicitly. Possibly even with your life given the right cir ...more
Dame Agatha Christie and Her Peers
A Surprise! I can't believe I've never read this author before.
CAST - 4 stars: Detective Chief Inspector Maigret, rather 'Maigret of the Flying Squad', is 45 years old and so big "...a hostile presence that the [Majestic] hotel could not assimilate..." But Maigret is big in many ways. Then there is Detective Torrence, 30 y/o, "...solid and bulky...that made him an almost full-scale model of his boss. The titular Pietr of Latvia is a con artist who travels
Andy Weston
This is the first of Simenon’s Inspector Maigret novels and published in 1930 is a darker read than most mysteries from that Golden Age of the 1930’s, from luxurious hotels and theatres to seedy boarding houses and there is true despair in some of the characters involved. At this very early stage in Simenon’s career he gives a glimpse of that French ‘noir’ that he would become famous for.

Maigret’s character will develop through the novels also. Here he is a relatively young man, doing a lot of
The hulking Maigret starts his life in fiction in this one. Amazingly another 74 novels or novellas were to follow. Simenon wasted few words, kept a tight line on the plot and painted Maigret as a large hulking man, determined and clever but being a good Frenchman liked to eat and have a drink. The plot started off with a dead man on a train, then a fine Paris hotel, a couple of shady places and a handful of murders that are fully explained in the end.
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Georges Joseph Christian Simenon (1903 – 1989) was a Belgian writer. A prolific author who published nearly 500 novels and numerous short works, Simenon is best known as the creator of the fictional detective Jules Maigret.
Although he never resided in Belgium after 1922, he remained a Belgian citizen throughout his life.

Simenon was one of the most prolific writers of the twentieth century, capable

Other books in the series

Inspector Maigret (1 - 10 of 75 books)
  • 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 (Maigret #5)
  • The Yellow Dog (Maigret #6)
  • The Night at the Crossroads (Maigret #7)
  • A Crime in Holland (Maigret #8)
  • The Grand Banks Café (Maigret, #9)
  • The Dancer at the Gai-Moulin (Maigret #10)
  • The Two-Penny Bar (Maigret #11)

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