November 25, 2014

Cocktail Talk: My Friend Maigret

my-friend-maigretEarlier this month, I admitted to having only a tenuous relationship (until recently) with Edmund Crispin and his fictional English detective Gervase Fen. Since I’m in the admitting mood (hah, no, I’m not admitting that, yet), I should also say that until recently I hadn’t read any books featuring an even more famous detective, Inspector Maigret of the Paris PD, as written by George Simenon in 74 novels and 28 short stories. Whoa! I don’t even have the cat vs. dog excuse in this case. But recently I picked up three Maigret novels to see what I was missing, and completely dug them – a bit dark, a bit French, a bit rainy for some reason, but full of murder, mysteriousness, and a lot of food and drink. They do take place in France, after all. And I can’t wait to read more, especially when they contain Cocktail Talk like the below:

He had drunk only one glass of Champagne. Then rest of time he had drunk mostly wine, then, God knows why, anisette.


Who had ordered anisette? Oh yes, it was the dentist. A retired dentist to be precise, whose name escaped him. Another phenomenon. There was nothing but phenomenon on the island.

My Friend Maigret, George Simenon

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David Simmons said:

Maigret does drink a lot. In the 87 of the 103 (a small correction) Maigret works I’ve read, I don’t recall one in which he doesn’t drink regularly, but to his credit (?) I’d guess he only gets drunk twice. In contrast, his wife, who appears in almost every tale and is incredibly supportive, if not his enabler, gets heady just smelling a glass of wine.


    ajrathbun said:

    103! That’s good to know David — I have a lot of Maigret reading in front of me. And good to know the drinks continue. I actually picked up another (and have already read it) since I wrote this post, and noticed that he did in it, too, and also started to get the insight on his wife as well. Very fun reads. Thanks a bunch, and cheers!

David Simmons said:

I’m willing to bet you won’t read a Maigret story in which he doesn’t have alcohol in one form or another. He didn’t wait for happy hour or hold out for pre-dinner cocktails. He was really into beer. He usually went with his fellow cops to have beer at lunch time in his favorite bistrot. When he was interrogating criminals at the police station, day and/or night, he’d order take-out beer.

He also gulped a lot of brandy (calvados). Apertifs, wine, champagne were lower on his list. It’s fun to track his tastes.

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