Month: September 2015

Interview with Leigh Redhead

Outdoor, Vietnamese Grafitti & Stencil

Australian Crime writer Leigh Redhead  spoke  at Belfast’s “Setting the Scene”  conference, organised by the ICRH at Queen’s University. Prior to embarking on her literary and academic career, she worked on a prawn trawler, as a waitress, exotic dancer, masseuse and apprentice chef. She burst onto the crime fiction scene in 2004 with Peepshow, which introduced the trouble-finding, fun-loving, ex-stripper, PI Simone Kirsch, to readers. Simone made her next appearance in Rubdown (2005), followed by Cherry Pie (2007) and Thrill City (2010). In 2005 and 2006 Leigh was one of The Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelists and also won the Sisters in Crime Davitt Reader’s Choice Award. She is currently working on the fifth Simone Kirsch book, as well as wrangling a couple of toddlers and completing a PhD at the University of Wollongong.

[Dominique Jeannerod]  How would you introduce your novels to someone who had not yet read them?

[Leigh Redhead] Peepshow, Rubdown, Cherry Pie and Thrill City are a crime series set in Melbourne, Australia about stripper turned private investigator Simone Kirsch. Continue reading

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Mills and Boon Arsène Lupin

Mills & Boon

Maurice Leblanc, 813, Translated by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos, London, Mills and Boon,  1910

First published in France in 1909, the classic Arsène Lupin novel 813 was translated in England the following year by the then new publishing house, now famous for sentimental novels.  This might come as  a surprise but seems at the same time revealing. One of the secrets of Lupin’s attraction was his ability to cross generic boundaries. This Belle Époque Gentleman was not to be confined to the (then not yet theoretically defined, or even clearly marketed by publishers) crime genre. His charm appealed to both male and female readers, ensuring his widespread success. It is thus fitting that this French cousin of Hornung’s Raffles seduced the British market under the cover of a young publisher (Mills &Boon was founded in 1908) whose name would become a byword for stories of Latin lovers.

Israeli crime Fiction ; judgment and illustration with Dror Mishani

 

(Dror Mishani, The Missing File, 2011)

By Stewart King, Monash University

Never read an Israeli crime novel? Inspector Avraham Avraham – the protagonist of three novels by Israeli author Dror Mishani – has a theory on why. Israel doesn’t “produce books like those of Agatha Christie, or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” because, he says, “we don’t have crimes like that. We don’t have serial killers; we don’t have kidnappings; and there aren’t many rapists out there attacking women on the streets.” Continue reading

Crime Fiction in Greece

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Giannis Maris,  Crime In Kolonaki,  Pechlivanidis, 1955

 

By Nikos Filippaios (PhD candidate, University of Ioannina, Greece)

Crime fiction in Greece is characterized, on the one hand, by the strong influence of American and European classics and standards, and on the other by a constant search for a more localized expression. This initial reception of a new literary genre and its final assimilation is an idiosyncratic characteristic of Modern Greek culture, which was shaped by accepting both eastern and western influences. Thus, when crime fiction was introduced as a new genre to Greece, during the first decades of the 20th century, readers were already familiar with its main elements, because one of its precursors, the “roman feuilleton” (or serial) was very popular in Greece during the 19th century, as in other European countries. Continue reading

Arsène Lupin Versus Holmlock Shears

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Arsène Lupin Versus Holmlock Shears (Translation :  Alexander Teixeira De Mattos), LondonGrant Richards Ltd., 1910 (fac simile)

Arsène Lupin was conceived as an anti-Sherlock Holmes. Both characters rely on their intellect, but, in Leblanc’s stories the gentleman -burglar trumps the maverick detective. Leblanc’s Holmes (or rather, Sholmes)  is both an homage to Doyle’s character and a deliberate parody. This is evident in one of the first Lupin short stories, ironically titled “Herlock Sholmes arrives too late”. This parodic intention is reflected in both the American and the English titles of two collections of short stories : Arsène Lupin versus Herlock Sholmes,  in the 1910 American translation by George Morehead), and in the  above  English translation by Alexander Teixeira De Mattos : Arsène Lupin Versus Holmlock Shears, which chose a slightly different, but no less obviously parodic, name.

AL Hol

 

The original first English edition (LondonGrant Richards Ltd., 1909)

Arsène Lupin in America

Lupin

Maurice Leblanc, The Blonde Lady , New York, Doubleday, Page & Company  (1928)

One of the most successful characters of French crime fiction worldwide, Arsène Lupin, was introduced to French readers in the July 1905 issue of the magazine Je sais tout. The story “L’Arrestation d’Arsène Lupin,” is  somewhat paradoxically titled, considering that, far from stopping Lupin in his tracks, it became the first in a series comprising a total of 36 short stories and 19 novels. Arsène Lupin is introduced as he finds himself in the midst of a transatlantic journey, “five hundred miles from the French coast”. While this particular journey was thwarted by Lupin’s arrest, the books themselves fared better and Lupin’s adventures were soon translated into English, rapidly making their way across the Atlantic. The Exploits of Arsene Lupin were published in the same year in both France and in America (1907), the latter in a translation by Alexander Teixeira De Mattos (New York, Harper, 1907). Similarly, it took only a few months for the 1909 novelization of Leblanc and Francis de Croisset’s eponymous play to be published in New York, in October 1909. From then on, a succession of books by Le Blanc (sic) featuring Lupin took hold of the American market.

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Maurice Leblanc, Arsène Lupin, New York, Doubleday, Page & Company, October 1909, illustration by  H. Richard Boehm, translation by Edgar Jepson Continue reading

Noir writer in the Shadows: Carroll John Daly

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The Man in the Shadows, Grosset & Dunlap, 1928 (1930s reprint)

Carroll John Daly is the inventor of noir, having written a series of hardboiled stories even before Dashiell Hammett. He created the first  Black Mask P.I, Race Williams, before Hammett’s Continental Op (both character debuted in 1923). He was the most popular pulp magazine author and it was said that the sole mention of his name on their covers meant a 15% increase in sales. After the war, Mickey Spillane, whose success with Mike Hammer far surpassed Daly’s, would acknowledge his debt to him; Daly’s was “the first and only style of writing” that influenced him in any way. Despite all this, Daly is now largely forgotten. His books were rarely translated, and are no longer read. Yet, his output was not contained to writing stories for pulp magazines, with 11 hardback crime novels published between 1926 and 1937. Continue reading

Hardback Noir

 

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Raymond Chandler, Spanish Blood, The World Publishing Company Tower Mystery, 1946

It is well known that hardboiled stories, which we would now describe as noir, first appeared in 1920s pulps magazines. And that, from the early 1940s, noir novels were circulated as paperback reprints or, in many cases, paperback originals. This belies the fact that the influential, early hardboiled novels were published as hardbacks, complete with polished dust jackets. This benefited especially hardboiled writers of the 1930s, before the triumph of paperbacks. But even after that, noir authors whose books had been published as hardbacks tended to find an easier way into the modern canon of noir literature. While paperback warranted circulation (as the case of Spillane made clear), hardback still anchored conservation, and hence institutionalisation.

Burnette

W. R. Burnett, Little Caesar, Lincoln MacVeagh, The Dial Press, 1929 Continue reading