Books: Post Mortem

LETTER TO MY MOTHER

by GEORGES SIMENON

91 pages. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. $5.95.

Simenon begins his letter, dated April 19, 1974: "It has been close to three and a half years since you died, at the age of 91, and perhaps it's only now that I'm beginning to understand you." One might well tremble before such comprehension. In his hundreds of thrillers and psychological portraits, Simenon is a level observer of the cramped quarters within the human heart where there is little room for love. Letter to My Mother is so grandly misanthropic that...