Views & Reviews Between the Lines

A world not his own

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a1527 (Published 03 September 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1527
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    At the beginning of Georges Simenon’s 1960 detective story Maigret et les Vieillards (published in English as Maigret in Society) Commissaire Maigret has dinner with his friends, Dr and Mrs Pardon. Dr Pardon mentions that the Lancet, “the famous and very austere English medical journal,” had mentioned Maigret. (Would anyone use the word “austere” to describe the journal now, I wonder?)

    Maigret is surprised, of course, until Dr Pardon explains that it was of his profession as a whole that the journal—or Dr Richard Fox, to be precise—had written, not of him personally. Dr Pardon then translates the passage to which he refers: “A competent psychiatrist, who relies upon his scientific knowledge and on his experience …

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