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Georges Simenon, born Georges Joseph Christian Sim (1903- 1989) was a prolific Belgian-French writer of detective and psychological novels. His total literary output of some 425 books has been translated into 50 languages and sold over 700 million copies worldwide. His style is variously called "rigorously simplistic" and "having a Gallic dryness". He wrote over 190 pulp fiction works under 17 different pseudonyms in the 1920's and 30's before putting his own name to Pietr-le-Letton (1931; The Case of Peter the Lett), which marked the debut of Inspector Jules Maigret.

The Parisian police inspector is Simenon's most famous character. The unflappable bourgeois Maigret starred in 81 novels and a number of short stories, calmly smoking his pipe and using his knowledge of psychology and patient routine investigation to understand the motives of the people he investigated to solve his cases. Maigret has been adapted for radio, film and television numerous times in France, Britain and Japan, including a British ITV series in the early 1990's starring Michael Gambon.

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