His total literary output of some 425 books has been translated into 50 languages and sold over 700 million copies worldwide, making him the third most read French language writer in history. His style is variously called "rigorously simplistic" and "having a Gallic dryness".
He wrote over 190 pulp fiction works under 17 different pseudonyms in the 1920's and 30's before putting his own name to Pietr-le-Letton (1931; The Case of Peter the Lettnote ), which marked the debut of Commissioner Jules Maigret, his most famous character.
This author and his work provide examples of:
- Pen Name: He wrote under several pseudonyms: Georges Sim, Christian Brulls, Gom Gut, Georges d'Isly, Jean du Perry, Jean Dorsage, Jacques Dorsonne, Luc Dorsan, Georges Martin, Georges en Gaston Vialis.
- Mistaken Nationality: He is often thought to be French, but was Belgian, even perhaps the most widely read Belgian author of all time.
- Psychological Thriller: Simenon had a keen interest in human psychology and often made it a large part of his plots to seek behind characters' motivations. His non-fiction work also deals with this subject.
- Smoking Is Cool: Simenon was a pipe smoker himself and therefore he had his character Maigret smoke one too.