"the first fine Simenon books"

French novelist Georges Joseph Christian Simenon was born in Belgium in 1903 and had his first book, Au Pont des Arches, published at the age of seventeen. A year earlier he had taken a job at the Gazette de Liège newspaper, a post that afforded him considerable insight into the world of crime his novels would portray so well. Moving to Paris in 1922, he used his spare time to write prolifically, producing at least 200 books under a variety of pen names over the next eleven years. However, it would be Simenon's creation of Paris detective Inspector Maigret -- with Pietr-le-Letton (The Strange Case of Peter the Lett) in 1930 -- for which he would gain the most recognition and begin publishing under his own name. L'ecluse Numero 1 (a Maigret episode) and La Maison du Canal (The House by the Canal: a non-Maigret) were both printed in 1933. Many of Simenon's detective works have subsequently been adapted for film and television.