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Simenon: the writer who put judgment on trial

The Maigret series upends the conventions of the detective novel

By Jay Elwes   October 2018

Deep thinking: Georges Simenon in 1967. Photo: PHILIPPE LE TELLIER/PARIS MATCH VIA GETTY IMAGES

Which author has sold more copies than JK Rowling or Stephen King? More even than Tom Clancy, Ian Fleming, Wilbur Smith, EL James and Beatrix Potter combined? The answer might surprise you. The Belgian author Georges Simenon, who died in 1989, in all sold nearly 700m books—more than any other non-English language writer, including Tolstoy.

Simenon’s novels, all 500 of them, made him famous and fabulously wealthy. He had an affair with the…

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