Books: Sample Simenon

THE PREMIER; THE TRAIN by Georges Simenon. 248 pages. Harcourt, Brace & World. $4.95.

Belgian-born Georges Simenon is a great tattletale. His endless series of novels now total about 500, include a mound of pulpy romances, scores of Inspector Maigret mysteries, and dozens of gritty, graceful character studies such as The Premier and The Train. These were first published separately in France some years ago. Both are typical, tidy iterations of an old Simenon thesis: escape in any real sense is impossible.

In The Premier, the intended escape is from oblivion. An aged ex-Premier of France, part petty household tyrant, part national monument,...

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