With almost 200 novels and more than 150 novellas in his arsenal, the Belgian writer Georges Simenon was a literary powerhouse throughout much of the 20th century. Although he produced several "romans durs," or "hard novels," he is best known for his fictional detective Jules Maigret, a commissioner of the Paris Brigade Criminelle who's proven to have as long a shelf life as his counterparts Mike Hammer or Simenon's countryman Hercule Poirot; the detective figured into more than half of the author's output. He has also--like Marlowe and Poirot--been a mainstay of both the small and silver screens, primarily in French-language editions, going as far back as 1932. Maigret has been the subject of American films, too, like "The Man on the Eiffel Tower," in which he was played by the Englishman Charles Laughton (and was directed by Burgess Meredith). But Maigret wasn't Simenon's only cinematic crossover: "Betty" starred Stéphane Audran and was directed by New Wave alumnus Claude Chabrol, and "Tropic Moon" was filmed as "Équateur" by the famous singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. Between his peripatetic lifestyle (at different points, he lived in Belgium, France, Switzerland, and the United States) and his prolific writing career, Simenon simply hadn't time to collaborate directly on the more than 100 screen adaptations of his work; in fact, he didn't live to see many of them. He died in his sleep, in his Swiss chalet mansion, after years of ill health.