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The Hotel Majestic (Penguin Mysteries) Paperback – December 26, 2006


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Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Mysteries
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (December 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143038451
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143038450
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.5 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,114,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A truly wonderful writer, marvelously readable—lucid, simple, absolutely in tune with that world he creates. (Muriel Spark)

A writer who, more than any other crime novelist, combined a high literary reputation with popular appeal. (P. D. James)

About the Author

Georges Simenon (1903–1989) began work as a reporter for a local newspaper at the age of sixteen, and at nineteen he moved to Paris to embark on a career as a novelist. He went on to write seventy-five Maigret novels and twenty-eight Maigret short stories.


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig VINE VOICE on December 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
Georges Simenon was the author of over 100 Inspector Maigret mystery stories. They were immensely popular in the 1930s through the 1960s. Inspector Maigret stories also appeared in film and TV version. Simenon also authored dozens of books described as "romans durs", `hard stories' that had a darker tone than his Maigret novels. Simenon seems to have fallen under the radar in recent decades but in recent years he seems to have been rediscovered by a new generation of mystery/detective story fans. Penguin Books has begun to reissue some of those Maigret mysteries and the New York Review of Books Press has reissued some of his `hard stories', dark novels that did not feature Inspector Maigret. Penguin's latest Inspector Maigret Mystery reissue, "The Hotel Majestic" is as good a place to start for anyone wishing to discover (or re-discover) Simenon.

As with most police procedurals, the Hotel Majestic begins with a dead body. Mrs. Clark, a guest traveling with her wealthy American husband, their child and a governess, has been found murdered and stuffed into an empty locker in the basement of the Hotel Majestic. Maigret arrives to begin the investigation. His investigation quickly draws him into two parallel words: the world upstairs of champagne and caviar and the world downstairs filled with hotel employees eking out a living. Maigret's investigation begins with an examination into how and why these two different worlds collided in this brief but deadly incident. From there he proceeds to interview everyone and anyone who might have information about the crime of the victim. Maigret is no Sherlock Holmes. For Maigret, crimes are to be solved by a process of accumulating as much information as possible and then analyzing that information based on his past experience.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Blue in Washington TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 23, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Hotel Majestic" is one of many of Georges Simenon's deftly written Inspector Maigret stories that play beautifully against a backdrop of mid-20th Century Paris. In this case, it's two consecutive murders in the service basement of an up-scale Paris hotel circa 1938. This particular Maigret tale takes a sympathetic look at some underclass souls who have labored for years in hotels and clubs making life entertaining and undemanding for the wealthy and privileged.

Early on in "Hotel Majestic," it seems as though the working class will take still another hit to preserve convenience and tranquility for the rich. But Inspector Maigret has no patience for convenient solutions, no particular affection for the upper-class, and ultimately prevents a miscarriage of justice that would make the lives of the working class characters in this tale more miserable and difficult.

As always, author Simenon provides the reader with a rich and sustaining period environment which is worth the price of the book alone. This is a good mystery with an even better context. Recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By T. Smith on September 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
Georges Simenon is peerless in his genre, and I strongly encourage any of you who have not read his novels to get with the program. One caveat: it can be addictive. I especially like the "romans dures" but the detective genre is raised a big notch with the Maigret works made popular on the PBS series. And the best news of all? He wrote hundreds of books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Phillip Kay on January 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
Maigret and the Hotel Majestic was first published in 1942 as Maigret et les caves du Majestic, and was translated into English by Caroline Hillier. This is a relatively early Maigret story which combines with great skill a depiction of a group of working class people associated in one way or the other with a grand hotel, and an expertly plotted and intriguing detective story involving swindling, forgery and murder. The world of Prosper Donge, a cook at the Hotel Majestic, has been transformed when the woman he loved married a rich American. Now she has returned to Paris and is about to disrupt his life all over again. Prosper, his wife Charlotte, their friends and colleagues, are all drawn, briefly yet vividly, as only Simenon can. And he feels for these disadvantaged people a lively sympathy, not blind to their faults yet well aware of their virtues. Maigret is unusually vindictive when he finds the criminal who has framed an innocent man. The vividness of the character portrayal make the unravelling of the murder mystery seem important, and the solution remains a puzzle until the very end.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Susan L. Swartzberg on August 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Prompt delivery and good edition. Thank you. A good read, takes place in Paris and Cannes, similar suspense to Agatha Christie's set up but deeper psychology into characters.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kate on August 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you just want to read a book set in Paris that is clean, fun, and not very long, this book is perfect. Nothing earth-shaking, just a fun little read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sparky Reed on June 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a writer! I am transported to Paris in the 40's or 50's any time I read a book by Georges Simenon. The Inspector Maigret series is captivating. With Simenon's gently descriptive fiction I can nearly see, smell and feel back street Paris and its surrounding areas. The Hotel Majestic is one of his more intricately woven tales. If you give it a try you will soon have a vivid picture in your mind of all the characters, all guided by the expert story telling abilities of this wonderful writer.
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