American Paperbacks in French : ” Le Fantôme” Ferenczi


Ferenczi published predominantly  French authors over many decades. But after WWII it followed the American vogue and tried to benefit from  the popularity of Crime Fiction from America. It created the series Le Fantôme to bring American novels which had not been published in France.  Just when French noir authors started to emerge with other publishers (Gallimard, Fleuve Noir and Presses de la Cité, most notably) this new Ferenczi collection was launched in 1953, publishing translations of novels by american authors from the 1940s.  The covers hence  bear two mentions : roman policier américain and inédit en France. It only lasted a couple of years, with only 24 novels published. But among them are four of the first noir novels by Harry Whittington.  Murder is My Mistress (1951) was the first book published in the Le Fantôme series, in 1953.  Satan’s Widow (1952) was Le Fantôme no 8, Married to Murder (1951), Le Fantôme no 19,  in 1954. An author representative of the “second noir generation”, like Jim Thomson, Whittington, who published more than 80 noir novels would from the late 1950’s  onwards become a regular of Gallimard’s Série Noire.  The following sets the context of his debuts in France, and lists other American authors who were less enduringly succesful than him there, but who often did reasonably well at the time (Edward Ronns, Manning Lee Stokes…)

 Le Fantôme Series (1953-1954), by alphabetical order of authors.

16 A. A. Marcus Une veuve qui va fort 1954
9 Day Keene Reconnu coupable 1953
12 Day Keene Aime-moi et meurs 1954
2 Donnell Garey Baisers qui tuent 1953
3 Edward Ronns Les Millions du crime 1953
11 Edward Ronns Les morts peuvent attendre 1954
1 Harry Whittington Meurtre… Ma maitresse 1953
8 Harry Whittington Veuve de Satan 1953
13 Harry Whittington Mort ! mon amour 1954
19 Harry Whittington Marié au crime 1954
6 John Evans Tu peux pleurer ma belle 1953
5 John Roeburt Il faut les choisir tendres… 1953
14 Manning Lee Stokes L’Antichambre de la mort 1954
17 Manning Lee Stokes Le Cercle infernal 1954
23 Olga Rosmanith La mort est ressemblante 1954
20 R. et R. Borel-Rosny Un sacré turbin 1954
10 Reed McCary De la coco pour Satan 1953
7 Robert O. Saber Impossible de s’en sortir 1953
18 Robert O. Saber De si belles mortes 1954
22 Russ Meservey Mascarade infernale 1954
21 Vernon Warren Brandon, au secours! 1954
24 Vernon Warren Il est blindé, Brandon 1954
4 W. Daemer Le Cas des amants solitaires 1953
15 Whit Harrison Violence dans la nuit 1954


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