mercoledì 14 settembre 2016

SIMENON SIMENON. “DEATH IN A DEPARTMENT STORE” ENDS “THE LITTLE DOCTOR” COLLECTION

A final comparison of Doctor Dollent and Chief Inspector Maigret 

SIMENON SIMENON. L’AMOUREUX AUX PANTOUFLES” TERMINE LE RECUEIL LE PETIT DOCTEUR 
Une comparaison finale entre le docteur Dollent et le commissaire Maigret 
SIMENON SIMENON. "L'INNAMORATO IN PANTOFOLE"CONCLUDE LA RACCOLTA "LE PETIT  DOCTEUR"
Un confronto finale tra il dottor Dollent e il commissario Maigret

shopper, sitting in a department store every day, tries on slippers for a week until, all of a sudden, he’s dead, shot through the chest, in broad daylight, without a soundDoctor Dollent solves the crime through simple observation and extensive intuition. Having saved the best for the last, Simenon makes it time to compare detectives Dollent and Maigret. They had seemed similar at first, but upon rereading the series, I found many more contrasts, with just two similarities being big ones
1) Dollent’s method is more intuitive than deductive. Learning about his “peculiar talent for untangling the simple human truth from the most apparently complicated stories” and “the way he observes and understands small, seemingly insignificant details, evokes the Chief Inspector. Dollent also “followed his method. He was logical right up to the end. Hput himself in the skin of each character.” 
2Dollent also drinks considerable amounts of alcohol, night and day, moderate to heavy. Although he jokes about it (“Drunks exist solely because the only remedy for a hangover is to drink again.”) and it seems to occur mostly when he gets challenged, frustrated, or upset, it “happens that each time he plunged into an investigation, The Little Doctor drank to excess.” (See #2 in differences below). 
Several more similarities appear in trace amounts: 
1) Dollent really likes food. 
2He sometimes goes into trances. 
3He sometimes forgives criminals. 
4He has a loyal female supporter and takes her for granted. 
5He applies medical science to crime investigation about as often as Maigret. 
But his differences are prominent: 
1) Dollent is a very little man. “They affectionately called him The Little Doctor as much because of his small size as his kindliness and simplicity. 
2) He restricts alcohol consumption to criminal investigationsstating specifically: “I never drink… except during my investigations.” This is definitely not Maigret. 
3) He never smokes a pipe, only cigarettes. 
4) He is unmarried but obviously much more interested in women than Maigret. Indeed, “he falls in love once a month.” 
5) He loves publicity; Maigret hates it. With the press, Dollent “played humble, but he was very pleased.”  When photographed, “he looked down in false modesty.” 
6) His housekeeper is independent, unlike Madame Maigret. Outspoken Anna “doubts his detective skills” and “ridicules” him about “certain talents she despises.” 
7) He is aggressive. He lies, flatters, seduces, bribes, and blackmails. Not so Maigret. 
8) Although a Mender of Destinies as well, he “exalts the way he can gently and subtly juggle people’s destinies.” This is not Maigret. 
9) He “delights in sitting in the liner’s lap of luxury, schmoozing with high society, sipping fine whiskey, smoking fancy cigars, and dining first-class.” Maigret is never comfortable in such settings. 

David P Simmons

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