giovedì 8 marzo 2018


About a little pig case without and with Chief Inspector Maigret 

A propos d'une affaire dpetit cochon sans et avec le commissaire Maigret
In merito ad un caso di piccoli maiali senza e con il commissario Maigret

Over the years, while on my way to achieving the goal of completing the Maigret series, a work entitled Maigret et les petits cochons sans queue / Maigret and the Little Pigs without Tails logically caught my eye. It turned out, however, to be a collection of nine short stories with only two of them involving Maigret: The Man in the Street and Sale by Auction. If Murielle Wenger’s post of July 30, 2016 on this site had existed back then, I would not have been tricked.
More recently, I learned the only tailless pigs that actually exist are pigs that have had their tails docked. The reason for this mutilating action is to protect them from other pigs chewing their tails off. This common procedure is performed quickly after birth, especially on pigs to be penned in with others for life. Tail biting by other pigs occurs frequently and often progresses from recurrent pain on into infection, cannibalism, and death with the additional ‘problem’ for commercial operations of loss in value.
Thus, the first story in this collection, the one about tailless pigs, logically attracted my renewed attention. (If an English translation of this story exists, I have not been able to find it. But do not despair; read on.) Well, I was in for yet another surprise as I found the short story was not at all about real pigs without tails: newlywed Germaine worries when her husband Marcel does not come home one night. Shock turns into terror when she accidentally discovers a little pink porcelain pig “lacking the joyful corkscrew tail that is the exclusive privilege of pigs in her missing husband’s overcoat pocketUnexpectedly, a panicked young Germaine rushes off in a feverish race to find “the little brat who needed her to pull him out of the tight spot into which he had strayed. Equally unexpected is the way a clever middle-aged Simenon ends the frantic chase around Paris with a charming romantic twist.
And there are two additional unexpected things to consider: a much later film entitled Little Pigs Without A Tail exists and it features Maigret! It first appeared in a made-for-television film series starring Bruno Cremer as episode #47 in 2004, and apparently it is still available as an MHz Networks product for streaming or on a DVD. Here is a representative and explanatory come-on: “When the husband of a young woman goes missing, she enlists the services of Maigret. The investigation turns into a game between him and the woman as to who will find the first clue, and who will inform the other about what.”
Because there are versions with English subtitles, those who do not read French have a chance to sample this tale (pardon the pun) about pigs without tails. With any luck, a resourceful viewer will get to see some colorful Simenonian segments involving antiquing, boxing, housebreaking, and wounding. However, after reading Simenon’s original, it is difficult for me to see how someone could insert Maigret without dramatically changing the story line for the worse. I speculate the film producer added Maigret to make the product more enticing and saleable—a move akin to what I speculate the book publisher of Maigret and the Little Pigs without Tails did with the title applied to the short story collection. 

David P Simmons 

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