In 2001, Chorion purchased 85% of Georges Simenon Limited, the company that owns all of Georges Simenon’s literary works.
Georges Simenon is one of the most significant figures in 20th century European literature. According to Andre Gide, he was “perhaps the greatest novelist” of 20th century France and T.S Eliot, Henry Miller and Thornton Wilder also numbered among his devotees.
Georges Simenon wrote some 400 novels - 200 of which were written under various pseudonyms - and has sold in excess of 1.4 billion books worldwide. His books – comprising critically acclaimed works of serious fiction as well as the Maigret detective series – have been translated into more than 50 languages in more than 40 countries. Over 70 of Georges Simenon’s works have been successfully adapted throughout the world for television and cinema.
The dark realism of Simenon’s fiction has lent itself naturally to screen adaptation with more than 500 hours of TV drama and 60 motion pictures produced in countries as diverse as France, the United States, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Italy and Japan. A dazzling range of directors has tackled Simenon on screen, including Jean Renoir, Marcel Carné, Claude Chabrol and Bertrand Tavernier.
According to Georges Simenon, the character of Jules Maigret came to him one afternoon in a café in the small Dutch port of Delfzijl as he wrestled with writing a different sort of detective novel. By noon the following day, he claimed, he had completed the first chapter of Pietr-Le-Letton (The Strange Case of Peter the Lett).
The pipe-smoking Commissaire went on to feature in 75 novels and 28 short stories with estimated sales of 850 million copies worldwide.
Actors who have played the world-weary Maigret on the big screen include Jean Gabin, Charles Laughton and Pierre Renoir. Television adaptations include the long-running France 2 series starring Bruno Cremer (1991-present) and BBC and ITV productions featuring Rupert Davies (1960-63) and Michael Gambon (1992-93) respectively.
Simenon's 103 non-Maigret works, beginning with Le Relais d'Alsace (or The Man From Everywhere) in 1931, focus on the darker side of human nature. His insights into the psychology of his characters make for compelling, if sometimes uncomfortable, reading.
Cinema adaptations include Patrice Leconte’s Monsieur Hire (1989), The Man Who Watched Trains Go By starring Claude Rains (1953), En Cas de Malheur with Jean Gabin and Brigitte Bardot (1958), and the Mexican-Spanish co-production La Habitación Azul (or The Blue Room) released in 2001.