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text 2017-10-19 02:33
Reading progress update: I've read 233 out of 278 pages.
Resorting to Murder: Holiday Mysteries: A British Library Crime Classic (British Library Crime Classics) - Martin Edwards

I just read two very entertaining stories, that were clever little whodunits considering the extra-thin page-counts on both: 'Razor Edge' by Anthony Berkeley, and 'Holiday Task' by Leo Bruce. shall have to seek out novels by the two of them...though Berkeley I have already read in a longer form and under the name Francis Iles. Helen Simpson next, and I hope her tale can compete with the double-dazzle effect I just had tonight!

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text 2017-10-18 21:59
Reading progress update: I've read 1%.
The Cruelest Month - Louise Penny

On hold for "Murder Most Foul." No, I haven't started it yet. I swear. I haven't. I maybe looked at a few sentences, but have not started it yet. I assume someone is going to die in this book and even not, it's a mystery thriller so it fits. 

 

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text 2017-10-18 16:30
Reading progress update: I've read 117 out of 191 pages.
Pietr Le Letton - Georges Simenon

Well, one thing is obvious: Simenon was writing for an audience that clearly had specific images in their mind whenever a Paris locale was invoked -- no need to go into great descriptive and atmospheric detail; mere name-dropping of the location was sufficient.  All of which is fine for today's readers as long as they are at least familiar with the present-day incarnations of these places (and possibly their history), or have seen period images, but which makes the novel somewhat inaccessible if you've never been to Paris nor have other ways of evoking the same sense of instant recognition that Simenon's contemporaneous audience would have had.  Which probably goes some way towards explaining (in addition to their several TV adaptations over the decades) why his books are still incredibly popular in Europe -- and not merely in France, either -- but somewhat less well known elsewhere.

 

Also, I note that Maigret is another one of the "great detectives" who didn't age in real time.  We're told at the beginning of "Pietr le Letton" that he was 45 years old in 1931, when this book was published, which would have made for retirement in the early 1950s.  Yet le commissaire Maigret was still investigating crimes in the early 1970s ...

 


36 Quai des Orfèvres, the police headquarters of Paris, then and now.  There's a neat blog page (in French) looking at the history of the place. (Note: Linked place names hereafter contain similar links to information found on the web.)

 


Simenon's "Majestic" is a luxury hotel in the vein of the Meurice (left) and the Georges V (right) (both photos from Wikipedia).  Its interior might well have looked like this:

... and we're told that it's on the Champs Elysées, which looked like this then:

 Maigret and the man he pursues take the train from, and arrive back in Paris at the Gare St. Lazare:

Maigret then follows his quarry on foot all the way from the Gare St. Lazare across the city centre to the Rue du Roi de Sicile, via Rue du 4 Septembre and Les Halles, which is easily a 50-minute walk. (NB: the police headquarters at 36 Quai des Orfèvres are on the southern bank of Île Notre Dame, just below Sainte Chapelle in the below map, in the direction of Pont Neuf):

Les Halles, the famous "Belly of Paris" epitomized in Émile Zola's novel of the same name -- razed in the 1970s and replaced by a forum, which in turn was replaced by a canopy roof in the 2000s:

 

The Rue du Roi de Sicile was part of the old Jewish quarter in the Marais (video on YouTube -- opens on BookLikes only in blog view, not in dashboard view):


Rue due Roi de Sicile (photos from Wikiwand)

... and elsewhere in the old Jewish quarter.

The Marais (which literally translates as "swamp" -- for a [geographical] reason) today is an area of bars and nightclubs, and in the early 2000s used to be one of the centres of the gay scene (don't know whether that's still the case).

As Simenon highlights, it is only a few hundred feet from the Rue de Rivoli, next to the Champs Elysées one of the most luxurious shopping miles of Paris -- in the 1930s, the contrast between the poverty of the Jewish quarter and the splendour of the Rue de Rivoli must have been staggering:

(Rue de Rivoli, then and now)

The evening of that same day, Maigret follows the American billionaire Mortimer-Levingston and his wife to the (théâtre du) Gymnase on Bd. Bonne Nouvelle (on the above map, the stretch between Bd. Haussmann and Bd. Saint-Martin) where they attend the performance of an opera. (Note: Today's incarnation of the Gymnase is a cabaret; it's still in the same building, but the shows presented are entirely different):
 

Afterwards, the billionaire couple proceed to a dance bar on (or near) the Rue la Fayette (bottom row: the same corner of Rue la Fayette, then and now -- photos from CParama / Le Métropolitain de Paris):
 

Bars in Montmartre, Montparnasse and Saint Germain des Près similar to what Simenon's Pickwick Bar would probably have been like (photos from various sources):
    

And, finally, a few images of Fécamp (Normandie), where Maigret follows the man identified as Pietr le Letton at the beginning of the book (right: an early 20th century painting of Fécamp harbour by Robert Antoine Pinchon; both images from Wikipedia):

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

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text 2017-10-18 15:17
Reading progress update: I've read 136 out of 224 pages.
A Watery Grave - Jean Chapman

I have to hope that Brand has better luck at infiltrating the health spa than the last poor soul who tried it. meanwhile, the main character--likeable, determined John Cannon--has now become the main suspect in the eyes of that dope, Inspector Jones, he of the teeth-sucking.

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review 2017-10-18 10:02
4 solid stars
Cold Moon - Alexandra Sokoloff
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book. This is book three in this series, and you SHOULD read books one and two, Huntress Mon and Blood Moon before this one. It will give you a much better view or Cara and Roarke and what happened between them, and to each other in those books. Not all is recapped here. AND because they are both 5 star reads! This one, though? Not so much. Oh don't get me wrong, its still a powerful, really good read, it just doesn't have the same impact those two books did, on me, at least. Cara is, at least in the beginning, in jail and although they KNOW she killed more men, it comes down to one, single case. THEN, pimps turn up dead, killed with the same blade that killed the victim they want to prosecute Cara for and she is released. Then more turn up dead, and Roarke is left wondering if Cara is to blame, or the teenager who witnessed Cara's last kill. Cara's cousin is missing, and Cara herself is in the wind. Roarke continues to question himself and his career choice. He constantly questions WHY he is doing this, WHY Cara is so deep in his mind, and WHY doesn't he just, like she does, disappear. And I LOVE that. Because you never know which way he is going to go, and you are kept on your toes the whole way through. Told again from Roarke in the past tense and Cara in the present, it grabbed me, but didn't quite pull me along kicking and screaming as books one and two did. I STILL think there is that deeper connection for Roarke and Cara, and I STILL want to see how this pans out. It really is great being kept on my toes for that! A solid, 4 star read. **same worded will appear elsewhere**

 

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