Les Fiançailles de M. Hire  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Les Fiançailles de M. Hire (Monsieur Hire's Engagement) is the title of a short novel by Belgian writer Georges Simenon. It is among one of the author's first self-described romans durs or "hard novels" to distinguish it from his romans populaires or "popular novels," which are primarily mysteries that usually feature his famous Inspector Maigret character.

The novel is divided into eleven chapters, and is written using the third-person narrative mode.

Plot

M. Hire, petit escroc d'origine juive, désocialisé, sans relation féminine (à part ses visites au bordel), peu aimé de ses voisins, est le suspect idéal du meurtre d'une jeune femme dont le cadavre a été retrouvé dans un terrain vague à proximité de son domicile. Suivi par la police, il s'ingénie à semer ses poursuivants, ce qui ne fait que renforcer les soupçons.

En dehors de sa passion pour le bowling, auquel il excelle, sa principale occupation extra professionnelle est l'observation empreinte de voyeurisme de sa voisine Alice. Au cours de ses observations nocturnes, il a pu identifier l'auteur du crime qui n'est autre que l'ami d'Alice. Se croyant aimé de cette dernière, il ne dénonce pas le coupable. Au moment de son arrestation, la populace voulant le lyncher, il se réfugie sur les toits, fait une chute, se rattrape à la gouttière qui menace de céder. Il meurt dans les bras des sapeurs-pompiers appelés au secours.

English language editions

Les Fiançailles de M. Hire has been translated into English twice: once by Daphne Woodward as Mr. Hire's Engagement for Hamish Hamilton in 1956, and a second time by Anna Moschovakis as The Engagement for New York Review Books in 2007. The former version also appeared as The Sacrifice, comprising Mr. Hire's Engagement and Young Cardinaud as well as in one of the Simenon Omnibuses; the latter edition contains an afterward by John N. Gray.

Film versions

The book has been filmed as Panique by Julien Duvivier in 1947 and stars Michel Simon and Viviane Romance.
The book has also been filmed by Ladislao Vajda in 1947 in Spanish as Barrio and, with a different cast, in Portuguese as Viela (Rua Sem Sol).
The book has also been filmed as Monsieur Hire by Patrice Leconte in 1989 and stars Michel Blanc and Sandrine Bonnaire




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Les Fiançailles de M. Hire" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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