Books: Compulsions

THE MYSTERY OF GEORGES SIMENON by Fenton Bresler Beaufort; 260 pages; $18.95

Of Georges Simenon's two lifelong compulsions, writing and sex, only the former lends itself to anything like accurate documentation. The author's capacity to produce a novel in a burst of a week or two, usually typing a chapter a day at a rate of 92 words a minute, has yielded an astonishing output of approximately 420 volumes during half a century. Some 200 of these were early potboilers under a variety of pseudonyms; the rest are mostly spare, dark psychological thrillers, 84...

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