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Maigret, Jules. Jules Maigret was created by the French author Georges Simenon (Jean Dollent, Monsieur Froget, Yves Jarry, Joseph Leborgne, Monsieur Sancette) and appeared in twenty-eight stories and seventy-nine novels and short story collections from 1931 to 1972, beginning with Pietr-le-Letton.

Inspector Jules Maigret is a French policeman who began as a beat cop before rising through the ranks, ending his days as a Commissaire (Commissioner). He does not use formal methods of logic or deduction to solve crimes. Rather, he uses intuition, placing himself at the scenes of crimes and trying to learn as much as he can about the central characters and suspects in the crimes he investigates. This method allows him to gather, consciously and subconsciously, a lot of information about the guilty party, and it is this method which allows him to capture the criminal(s). (His assistants, Inspectors Lucas, Janvier, Lapointe and Torrence, do most of the legwork and research). Maigret is married, a pipe-smoker, and has a great deal of compassion and patience.

* I'm including the Jules Maigret stories and novels in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because of their historical importance. Simenon was such a prolific author for such a long period of time, and Maigret was so popular for so long, that Maigret became the archetypal fictional French policeman and Simenon become the archetypal French crime writer. There were alternative models of fictional crime-solvers and crime-writers in France, but Maigret and Simenon were foremost among them for a long time. Simenon's style is fairly bare-bones, but his emphasis on psychology and characterization is top-notch. 

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