Discovering the “King of the French Kiosks”, in English language

US_C'est mort et ça ne sait pas

San-Antonio, Stone Dead (C’est mort et ça ne sait pas),

Translation Cyril Buhler,  Paperback Library, New York, 1970

There is a striking contrast between Georges Simenon’s status as an international bestseller, and his younger contemporary, once friend,  and main challenger in the French market, San-Antonio. The latter, with his eponymous character, the Commissaire San-Antonio,  an ironic hardboiled counterpart to Simenon’s Maigret actually far surpassed Maigret in terms of sales in French, yet  is virtually unknown in the English speaking world. Too much of his  idiosyncratic verve seems to get lost in translation.  As American Scholar Susan Dorff once put it, in a survey published in the Armchair Detective,  San-Antonio, the king of the kiosks in France is also one of her best-kept secrets. With over 100 million San Antonios in circulation and 200 different titles, many of them published, at a point, in 600,000 mass-market paperback, this is a vast, and vastly untranslated continent, which English readers could only view from afar, if at all.

Here is a list  of English and US translations, with some images of how the books actually looked like.

 1/ San-Antonio books published in England

BoulPicture1

San-Antonio,     A night in Boulogne (Du Plomb dans les tripes)    London,  Harborough, 1954

ArabPicture1

San-Antonio, Knights of Arabia, Bérurier au sérail (Translation Cyril Buhler),   London,  Duckworth, 1969

Att

Tough Justice (Messieurs les hommes, 1955), Translation Cyril Buhler, Duckworth, London 1967

  Strangler photo (1)

The Strangler (La Fin des haricots), Translation Cyril Buhler, Sphere, London, 1968

 subkPicture1

The sub killers (La Rate au court-bouillon), Translation Cyril Buhler, Michael Joseph, London, 1971

Title              Original        Publisher                             Place           Year           Original        Translator

A night in Boulogne Du Plomb dans les tripes Harborough London Jan-54 Jan-53 N.N
From A to Z De ‘A’ jusqu’à ‘Z’ Duckworth London Aug-68 Oct-61 Hugh Campbell
Tough justice Messieurs les hommes Duckworth London Mar-67 Jun-55 Cyril Buhler
The Strangler La Fin des haricots Sphere Books London Jul-68 May-61 Cyril Buhler
Tough Justice Messieurs les hommes Sphere Books London May-69 Jun-55 Cyril Buhler
Stone dead C’est mort et ça ne sait pas Sphere Books London Feb-69 Apr-55 Cyril Buhler
Thugs and bottles Du brut pour les brutes Sphere Books London Mar-69 Apr-60 Hugh Campbell
Knights of Arabia Bérurier au sérail Sphere Books London Jul-69 Sep-64 Cyril Buhler
From A to Z De ‘A’ jusqu’à ‘Z’ Sphere Books London Jul-69 Oct-61 Hugh Campbell
Crooks’ hill Le Gala des emplumés Sphere Books London Sep-69 Oct-63 Barry Jaggers
The sub killers La Rate au court-bouillon Michael Joseph London Feb-71 Jan-65 Cyril Buhler
Alien Archipelago L’Archipel des malotrus Michael Joseph London Jan-71 Dec-67 Hugh Campbell

2/ San-Antonio books published in New York

 US_La fin des haricots

The Strangler (La Fin des haricots), Translation Cyril Buhler, Paperback Library, New York, 1970

US_Vas-y Béru

San-Antonio,    The hatchet man    (Vas-y, Béru), Translation, Hugh Campbell, Paperback Library, New York, 1970

Title                        Original                          Publisher                     Place           Year       Original       Translator

 

Knights of Arabia Bérurier au sérail Paperback Library New York 1969 1964 Cyril Buhler
 Stone dead C’est mort et ça ne sait pas Paperback Library New York 1970 1955 Cyril Buhler
 From A to Z De ‘A’ jusqu’à ‘Z’ Paperback Library New York 1970 1961 Hugh Campbell
 Thugs and bottles Du brut pour les brutes Paperback Library New York 1970 1960 Hugh Campbell
The Strangler La Fin des haricots Paperback Library New York 1970 1961 Cyril Buhler
 Crooks’ hill Le Gala des emplumés Paperback Library New York 1970 1963 Barry Jaggers
 Tough justice Messieurs les hommes Norton&Cie New York 1967 1955 Cyril Buhler
 Tough justice Messieurs les hommes Paperback Library New York 1970 1955 Cyril Buhler
 The hatchet man Vas-y, Béru Paperback Library New York 1970 1965 Hugh Campbell

3/ Comparing  British and US publications

Strangler photo (1)San-Antonio, The Strangler, London, Sphere, 1968

US_La fin des haricotsSan-Antonio, The Strangler, New York, The Paperback Library, 1970

P4photo (1)

San-Antonio, The Strangler, London, Sphere, 1968

US4The strangler

San-Antonio, The Strangler, New York, The Paperback Library, 1970

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