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Book review: Pietr the Latvian, By Georges Simenon


After the dismal Morrissey débâcle, chapeau bas to Penguin for its Simenon project.

All of the great Belgian's 75 Inspector Maigret novels will appear in its Modern Classics list. We begin, as Maigret did in 1930, with the hunt for the eponymous pan-European man of mystery ("extremely clever and dangerous") as he hurtles across the Continent towards the Gare du Nord.

There, pipe clenched between teeth, his gruff nemesis awaits. David Bellos translates – superbly, bien sur. If you don't know Maigret, you'll be hooked; but clever Penguin will dole out just a single fix per month.