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My friend and ex-colleague David Derrick is a man of enthusiasms. Right now, enthusiasm number one is for Georges Simenon, the Belgian writer who was probably the most prolific of all time and is best known for his Inspector Maigret novels. I’m intrigued. Here’s what David has to say:

“The taint — not exactly, we’re past that — of ‘crime writer’ has given ‘critics’ a welcome excuse to be lazy. Who will sort the wheat from the chaff? not that there is that much chaff. But Simenon was never just a crime writer.

“One would expect the ‘style’ (a bad word) of one with such a small vocabulary to be cropped, macho, terse, like Hemingway’s. But it isn’t.

“Or one would expect the ‘style’ of one who published 440 books to be, if not facile, then airy, vapid, explosive, like Joyce’s. That would have been how he did it. But the energy with Simenon is all in the other direction. His novels are like planets forming in fast motion.


I’ve long felt David is a natural weblogger, but in four years of trying I’ve had no success in persuading him to jump in.

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