The Flemish House

Paperback | June 30, 2015

bySimenon, GeorgesTranslated byShaun Whiteside

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A new translation of this chilling novel, set on the Belgian border. Book fourteen in the new Penguin Maigret series.

She wasn't an ordinary supplicant. She didn't lower her eyes. There was nothing humble about her bearing. She spoke frankly, looking straight ahead, as if to claim what was rightfully hers. 'If you don't agree to look at our case, my parents and I will be lost, and it will be the most hateful legal error...'

Maigret is asked to the windswept, rainy border town of Givet by a young woman desperate to clear her family of murder. But their well-kept shop, the sleepy community and its raging river all hide their own mysteries.

Penguin is publishing the entire series of Maigret novels in new translations. This novel has been published in a previous translation as The Flemish Shop.

'Compelling, remorseless, brilliant.' - John Gray

'One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century . . . Simenon was unequalled at making us look inside, though the ability was masked by his brilliance at absorbing us obsessively in his stories.' - The Guardian

'A supreme writer . . . unforgettable vividness.' - The Independent

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From the Publisher

A new translation of this chilling novel, set on the Belgian border. Book fourteen in the new Penguin Maigret series. She wasn't an ordinary supplicant. She didn't lower her eyes. There was nothing humble about her bearing. She spoke frankly, looking straight ahead, as if to claim what was rightfully hers. 'If you don't agree to look ...

GEORGES SIMENON (1903–1989) was born in Liège, Belgium. Best known in the English-speaking world as the author of the Inspector Maigret books, his prolific output of more than four hundred novels and short stories have made him a household name in continental Europe.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:160 pages, 7.74 × 5.06 × 0.38 inPublished:June 30, 2015Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0141394773

ISBN - 13:9780141394770

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Georges Simenon   THE FLEMISH HOUSE Translated by Shaun Whiteside PENGUIN BOOKS Published by the Penguin Group Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R ORL, England Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd) Penguin Group (Australia), 707 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3008, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd) Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi – 110 017, India Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd) Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, Block D, Rosebank Office Park, 181 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parktown North, Gauteng 2193, South Africa Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R ORL, England www.penguin.com First published in French as Chez les Flamards by Fayard 1932This translation first published in Penguin Books 2014 Copyright 1932 by Georges Simenon LimitedTranslation copyright © Shaun Whiteside, 2014GEORGES SIMENON ® Simenon.tm MAIGRET ® Georges Simenon Limited Cover © Harry Gruyaert/Magnum PhotosFront cover design by Alceu Chiesorin Nunes All rights reserved The moral rights of the author and translator have been asserted ISBN 978-0-698-19386-4 Title Page Copyright About the Author 1. Anna Peeters 2. The Étoile Polaire 3. The Midwife 4. The Portrait 5. Maigret’s Evening 6. The Hammer 7. A Three-Hour Gap 8. The Visit to the Ursulines 9. Around a Wicker Armchair 10. Solveig’s Song 11. Anna’s Ending EXTRA: Chapter 1 from The Madman of Bergerac ABOUT THE AUTHOR Georges Simenon was born on 12 February 1903 in Liège, Belgium, and died in 1989 in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he had lived for the latter part of his life. Between 1931 and 1972 he published seventy-five novels and twenty-eight short stories featuring Inspector Maigret. Simenon always resisted identifying himself with his famous literary character, but acknowledged that they shared an important characteristic: My motto, to the extent that I have one, has been noted often enough, and I’ve always conformed to it. It’s the one I’ve given to old Maigret, who resembles me in certain points … ‘understand and judge not’. Penguin is publishing the entire series of Maigret novels. PENGUIN CLASSICS THE FLEMISH HOUSE ‘I love reading Simenon. He makes me think of Chekhov’ — William Faulkner ‘A truly wonderful writer … marvellously readable – lucid, simple, absolutely in tune with the world he creates’ — Muriel Spark ‘Few writers have ever conveyed with such a sure touch, the bleakness of human life’ — A. N. Wilson ‘One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century … Simenon was unequalled at making us look inside, though the ability was masked by his brilliance at absorbing us obsessively in his stories’ — Guardian ‘A novelist who entered his fictional world as if he were part of it’ — Peter Ackroyd ‘The greatest of all, the most genuine novelist we have had in literature’ — André Gide ‘Superb … The most addictive of writers … A unique teller of tales’ — Observer ‘The mysteries of the human personality are revealed in all their disconcerting complexity’ — Anita Brookner ‘A writer who, more than any other crime novelist, combined a high literary reputation with popular appeal’ — P. D. James ‘A supreme writer … Unforgettable vividness’ — Independent ‘Compelling, remorseless, brilliant’ — John Gray ‘Extraordinary masterpieces of the twentieth century’ — John Banville 1. Anna Peeters When Maigret got off the train at Givet station the first person he saw, right opposite his compartment, was Anna Peeters. It was as if she had predicted that he would stop at this precise spot on the platform! She didn’t seem either surprised or proud of the fact. She was just as he had seen her in Paris, as she must always have been, dressed in a gunmetal suit and black shoes, wearing a hat whose shape or even colour it was impossible to remember afterwards. Here, in the wind that swept the platform, where only a few passengers were now walking, she looked taller, a little stouter. Her nose was red, and she was holding a handkerchief rolled up in a ball. ‘I was sure you would come, inspector …’ Was she sure of herself, or sure of him? She didn’t smile as she greeted him. She was already asking him questions: ‘Do you have any other luggage?’ No! Maigret had only his bellows case, in coarse mellowed leather, and he carried it himself, in spite of its weight. The only people to leave the train were third-class passengers, who had already disappeared. The girl held out her platform ticket to the ticket collector, who looked at her insistently. Outside, she went on without fuss: ‘At first I thought of getting a room ready for you at home. Then I thought it through. In the end I imagine it’s better for you to stay at a hotel. So I’ve booked the best room at the Hôtel de la Meuse.’ They had walked barely a hundred metres along the little streets of Givet, and already everyone was turning to look at them. Maigret walked heavily, dragging his suitcase along at his side. He tried to notice everything: the people, the houses, and particularly his companion. ‘What’s that noise?’ he asked her, hearing a sound that he couldn’t identify. ‘The Meuse in spate, slapping against the piers of the bridge. Boat transport has been suspended for three weeks now.’ Emerging from a sidestreet, they suddenly came upon the river. It was broad. Its banks were indistinct. In places the brown waters spread into the meadows. Elsewhere, a boathouse emerged from the water. It held at least a hundred barges, tugs and dredgers, pressed tightly against one another, forming a huge block. ‘Here’s your hotel. It isn’t very cosy. Do you want to stop and take a bath?’ It was baffling! Maigret couldn’t define the sensation that he felt. Never, he was sure, had a woman ever aroused his curiosity as much as this one; she stayed calm and unsmiling, made no attempt to look pretty and sometimes dabbed her nose with her handkerchief. She must have been between twenty-five and thirty. A lot taller than the average, she was solidly built, with a bone structure that stripped her features of all grace. The clothes of a lower-middle-class woman, extremely sober. A calm, almost distinguished reserve. She treated him like a guest. She was at home. She thought of everything. ‘I have no reason to take a bath.’ ‘In that case, will you come straight to the house? Give your suitcase to the porter. Porter! Take this suitcase to room 3. The gentleman will be back shortly.’ And Maigret thought, as he looked at her from the corner of his eye: ‘I must look like an idiot!’ For there was nothing of the little boy about him. Even though she wasn’t exactly frail, he was twice as wide as she was, and his big overcoat made him look as if he was carved from stone. ‘Aren’t you tired?’ ‘Not at all!’ ‘In that case, I can already tell you the first few bits of information on the way …’ She had already given him the first bits of information in Paris! One fine day when he got to his office, he had found this strange woman who had been waiting for him for two or three hours, and whom the office boy had been unable to send away. ‘It’s personal!’ she had announced as he questioned her in front of two police inspectors. And once they were alone she had handed him a letter. Maigret had recognized the handwriting of one of his wife’s cousins, who lived in Nancy. My dear Maigret, Miss Anna Peeters has been recommended to me by my brother-in-law, who has known her for about ten years. She is a very responsible young woman, who will tell you of her misfortunes herself. Do what you can for her … ‘Do you live in Nancy?’ ‘No, in Givet!’ ‘But the letter …’ ‘I went to Nancy on purpose, before coming to Paris. I knew my cousin knew someone important in the police force …’ She wasn’t an ordinary supplicant. She didn’t lower her eyes. There was nothing humble about her bearing. She spoke frankly, looking straight ahead, as if to claim what was rightfully hers. ‘If you don’t agree to look at our case, my parents and I will be lost, and it will be the most hateful miscarriage of justice …’

Editorial Reviews

‘One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century…Simenon was unequalled at making us look inside, though the ability was masked by his brilliance at absorbing us obsessively in his stories.’— The Guardian 'I love reading Simenon. He makes me think of Chekhov.'— William Faulkner 'The greatest of all, the most genuine novelist we have had in literature'— André Gide ‘A supreme writer…unforgettable vividness’— The Independent 'Superb... The most addictive of writers... A unique teller of tales'— The Observer ‘Compelling, remorseless, brilliant.’— John Gray 'A truly wonderful writer... marvellously readable - lucid, simple, absolutely in tune with the workd he creates'— Muriel Spark 'A novelist who entered his fictional world as it he were a part of it'— Peter Ackroyd 'Extraordinary masterpieces of the twentieth century'— John Banville