Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely, Pocket Books, 212, New York, 1943
Raymond Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely was published by A. Knopf in 1940. It opens, memorably, with Philip Marlowe following released convict Moose Malloy into Florian’s nightclub and searching for for showgirl Velma Valento. Chandler without doubt the most gifted author in the noir genre and Farewell, My Lovely is one of his very best novels.
First edition (New York, Knopf, 1940)
The Penguin operation in America was started in 1939, four years after the successful launch of Penguin in Britain. The collection retained the green colour code for crime Fiction books which had characterised the British covers since the 1935 publication of Penguin no. 5 (the first crime published in the collection, Dorothy L Sayers’s The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club). But the American market was not prepared for the sobriety of the non illustrated British covers. The illustrations make the American covers instantly recognisable. Continue reading
San-Antonio, Entre la vie et la morgue, Paris, Fleuve Noir, 1959.
Published in the summer of 1959, exactly ten years after the first novel written by Frédéric Dard under his penname San-Antonio, this is the 36th San-Antonio novel. There is now an audio version, read by Claude Lesko. Continue reading
Rex Stout, Fer-de-Lance, A Nero Wolfe Mystery, New York, Pocket Books, 1941
The first ten Nero Wolfe books were published by Farrar & Rinehart, a New York publishing company founded in 1929. Fer-de-Lance, published in 1934, was the first of the ten. It was published in abridged form in The American Magazine, in November 1934. By 1941, Howard Haycraft, writing in Murder for Pleasure, considered it to be one of the most influential Mysteries.
Dust jacket of the first edition (hardback) , Farrar & Rinehart, 1934
Cornell Woolrich, The Black Angel, Avon Books, 96, New York, 1946
The first edition of The Black Angel was published 1943, in hardback, in the famous Doubleday Doran Series.
Brian McGilloway, Eoin McNamee, Stuart Neville, Alex Barclay and many, many others will be at Harrogate’s festival, with a special session dedicated to Irish Noir. For more information: http://harrogateinternationalfestivals.com/crime/2015-festival-events/
Bastille Day (today) seems an appropriate enough occasion to reflect on the use of a French context in US and UK paperback fiction from the golden era of crime fiction (1940s and 1950s). Far from the fireworks, musette music and petit bal du quatorze juillet, one can reflect on the often pejorative French stereotypes on which a large amount of postwar US and British publications were based. This is an opportunity to remember the importance at that time of a parallel subgenre of crime fiction, which is usually described as sleaze. Here are a few examples from US and British paperbacks, highlighting how apt the qualification is.
Some works by the likes of Pierre Flammêche and Paul Rénin deserve a special mention, for their great contribution to sleaze. Both were British authors of French sleaze. Paul Rénin was the penname used by Richard Goyne (1902-1957) to publish stories in “girls’ magazines”; Elsewhere he used the pseudonyms of John Courage, Aileen Grey, Scarlet Grey, Kitty Lorraine and Richard Standish. Pierre Flammêche’s real name was George Dawson. Also noteworthy are the works of Jules-Jean Morac.
Jules-Jean Morac, Bertrand and the Blondes (Vintage Paperback), New York: Leisure Library no. 12, 1952.
Further reading : Steve Holland, Mushroom Jungle: History of Postwar Paperback Publishing, Zardoz Books, 1993
(Translation Charles Baudelaire,) Paris, Lemerre, 1927 (note that the translator, Charles Baudelaire, is credited above the author)
(translation and foreword by Julio Cortazar), Alianza/El Libro del Bolsillo 1978
Georges Simenon, The Saint-Fiacre Affair, Pocket Books, 1942
L’Affaire Saint-Fiacre is one of the earliest of Simenon’s 75 well known Commissaire Maigret novels (and 28 short stories). The investigation brings Maigret back to the village of his birth. Memories come back to him with all the vividness and rich textures of those of Proust. Maigret savoured the sensations of his youth again: the cold, stinging eyes, frozen fingertips, an aftertaste of coffee. Then, stepping inside the church, a blast of heat, soft light; the smell of candles and incense.
Alternative English language titles are Maigret Goes Home and Maigret on Home Ground.
The novel was adapted in 1959 to the screen by Jean Delannoy, with Jean Gabin.
Eric Ambler, Journey into Fear, Pocket Book, 193, New York (1943).
Journey into Fear was first published by Hodder & Stoughton in 1940. It was later published in paperback by Pocket Book, in New York, in 1943
Original Edition, Hodder & Stoughton, 1940.