(born Feb. 13, 1903, Liège, Belg.—died Sept. 4, 1989, Lausanne, Switz.) Belgian-born French novelist. During 1923–33 he wrote more than 200 pseudonymous books of pulp fiction. His first novel under his own name was The Case of Peter the Lett
(1931), in which he introduced one of the best-known characters in detective fiction, the Parisian police official Inspector Maigret. He wrote some 80 more Maigret novels, as well as about 130 psychological novels, numerous short stories, and autobiographical works, and was one of the most prolific and widely published authors of the 20th century. Simenon's central theme is the essential humanity of even the isolated, abnormal individual and the sorrow at the root of the human condition. Employing a style of rigorous simplicity, he evokes a prevailing atmosphere of neurotic tensions with sharp economy.
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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.