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Tuesday 16 August 2022

‘Simenon’ by Barry Forshaw

Published by Oldcastle Books,
28 July 2022.
ISBN: 978-0-85730416-2 (PB)

This a tour de force from Barry Forshaw - is a completely comprehensive study guide to Simenon's life, literary achievements and all the adaptations of his work. 

I found the book fascinating despite having no particular interest in George Simenon!  It has made me go to the library to obtain copies of his work and to revisit some of the older series on television - The Rupert Davies series in particular. 

The author interviews a huge variety of people associated with Simenon including translators, friends, fellow writes, publishers and editors.  The book is far from the dry guide it could have been bearing in mind the very large output of the author.  Forshaw delves at some length into the myths surrounding Simenon as a man but concentrates largely on the text and characters and themes which his novels are immersed in. 

Obviously, one wants to know about the construction of his most famous crime detective - Jules Maigret - and Forshaw doesn't disappoint but he also spends considerable energy on his 'Romans Dur' of which Simenon wrote significant numbers which are different in style to the Maigret novels. 

I really enjoyed this book and can thoroughly recommend it to Crime fiction readers whether or not they have previously encountered Simenon and his works.

Reviewer: Toni Russell

Barry Forshaw is one of the UK's leading experts on crime fiction and film. Books include Crime Fiction: A Reader's GuideNordic NoirItalian CinemaAmerican Noir and British Crime Film. Other work: Sex and FilmBritish Gothic CinemaEuro NoirHistorical NoirBFI War of the Worlds and the Keating Award-winners British Crime Writing Encyclopedia and Brit Noir. He writes for various newspapers, contributes Blu-ray extras, broadcasts, chairs events and edits Crime Time.

Toni Russell is a retired teacher who has lived in London all her life and loves the city.  She says, ‘I enjoy museums, galleries and the theatre but probably my favourite pastime is reading.  I found myself reading detective fiction almost for the first time during lockdown and have particularly enjoyed old fashioned detective fiction rather than the nordic noir variety.  I am a member of a book club at the local library and have previously attended literature classes at our local Adult Education Centre.  I am married with three children and five grandchildren.

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