Georges Simenon, creator of the sombre, pipe-smoking Paris detective Jules Maigret, pursued sex, fame and money relentlessly. By the time he died in 1989, he had written nearly 200 novels, more than 150 novellas, several memoirs and countless short stories. His demonic productivity and the vast sales and fortune it brought him were matched by a vaunted sexual athleticism. Simenon claimed to have slept with 10,000 women. (‘The goal of my endless quest,’ he explained, ‘was not a woman, but the woman’ — which is French for wanting lots of it, very often.) It was not love-making, but a desire for brute copulation that drove Simenon to demand sex at least once daily of his wives, secretary and housemaid-mistresses. How he found the time to write the Maigret books is a matter for psychoanalysis.