SIMENON SIMENON. LE HEROS MEDECIN DANS SON RECUEIL "LE PETIT DOCTEUR"
On apprend comment Simenon transforme un médecin de campagne ordinaire en un détective privé amateur
SIMENON SIMENON. L'EROICO MEDICO NELLA RACCOLTO "IL PICCOLO DOTTORE"
Come fa Simenon a trasformare un medico di campagna in un detective privato dilettante?
As one might expect of the first story in the collection of 13, The Doctor’s Hunch (Le Flair du Petit Docteur) introduces the Little Doctor, outlining his personality, style, and technique while explaining how he gets hooked into solving crimes. One learns for example that his affectionate nickname (his real name is Jean Dollent) stems from his small stature, kindliness, lack of frills, and tiny car. He lives, practices, and sleuths in Marsilly on the Atlantic coast, where Simenon also lived for 4 years during the 30s.
Having paid little attention to anything but medicine in his life so far, the doctor could never imagine snooping out a fatal stabbing all of a sudden. Previously unaware of his exceptional gifts of observation and reasoning, he leaps to piece the puzzle together as a series of unknowns pop up, one after another, right in front of his nose: he realizes the strange phone call begging for help at an isolated location cannot have come from there. He recalls the caller’s peculiar demand during an earlier office visit for sleeping medication dissolvable in liquid. Finding the house empty, he notes fresh signs of life. Helping himself to a bottle of vermouth to quench his thirst, he tastes sodium bicarbonate, an insane ingredient. He finds muddy shoes where there’s been no rainfall in weeks. Poking around outside, he spots freshly turned earth and, spading it away, he uncovers a corpse!
Jubilant to discover talents that will bring him huge pleasure, Jean Dollent delights in his new role. With cockiness, intuition, and reasoning evoking Hercule Poirot, his mind never stops working and figuring everything out flatters his vanity. In doctoring the wounded accomplice and ensuring the knife-wielding killer escapes, he displays sympathy and compassion, the same way Jules Maigret often does. Is this shared pardoning of criminals likely to recur in future Little Doctor stories?
David P Simmons
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