Bilipo

Visualising a collection of 2075 books : The “Spécial-Police” authors

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(click to enlarge)

The picture above is based on the total of books published by each of the authors who contributed to the legendary “Spécial Police” Series. Launched in 1949 it helped turning its publishing house, Fleuve Noir, into France’s most successful popular literature publisher. When it stopped, in 1987 it  had published  generations of new authors. The biggest names on the words representation above are the biggest contributors. Georges J. Arnaud, Mario Ropp (aka Maïa Devillers), Peter Randa (aka André Duquesne),  Adam Saint Moore (aka Jacques Douyau)  and of course San-Antonio (aka Frédéric Dard) feature here prominently.  But many important names in the history of French Noir, as well as those of well-liked, prolific authors can be found here too.  André Helena, Léo Malet, Serge Laforest,  Jean Mazarin, Roger Vilard,  M.G. Braun (aka Maurice-Gabriel Brault), André Lay  and many more.

Crime Fiction before WW1 : The Albert Méricant series

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(As always, click (twice) the picture to enlarge)

(With thanks to Philippe Aurousseau, & Courtesy of Oncle-Archibald.blogspot.fr)

Parisian  publisher Albert Méricant launched Les Romans Policiers in 1911, one of the very first series worldwide to be explicitly  devoted  to Crime Fiction.French author  George Meirs  (Jean-Rémy Machoux 1878-1962) penned there two cycles of adventures of English characters. The first was devoted to the adventures of William Tharps, a textual cousin of Sherlock Holmes; the second, to  the adventures of Walter Clarck.

The Mysterious novels authors

Fergus Hume

Fergus Hume (1856-1932)

French authors and authors translated from the English both feature, albeit in different proportions in Tallandier’s original series “Les Romans Mystérieux” (1910-1919). For eight authors in the Series writing in French, eleven write in English. Among  the latter,  two authors hail from Ireland, Henry de Vere Stacpoole, from  Dún Laoghaire, and   Lillie Thomas Meade, from Cork.

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Mysterious Novels

Tallandier

(With thanks to Philippe Aurousseau, & Courtesy of Oncle-Archibald.blogspot.fr)

Starting more than hundred years ago, in 1910, this series of “mysterious novels” is one of the great ancestors of Modern Crime Fiction Series. At a time when the booklet format was very widespread, these books were instead large volumes  of 250 to 300 pages. They were  beautifully illustrated by Félix-Pol Jobbé-Duval (1879-1961) and Robert Salles (1871-1929).   Continue reading

British Library crime classics

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John Bude aka, Ernest Elmore (1901 – 1957), a co-founder of the Crime Writers’ Association

Our AHRC project Visualising European Crime Fiction aims at rendering visible not only metadata from archives, but the materiality of the Crime Fiction books contained in Libraries Holdings.  Restoring visually the original appearance of the books provides often important elements of context. It helps explaining their appeal and their circulation. This focus on the books as material objects, and on the graphic art which accompanies them, complements the compilation,  analysis and  cleaning of lists of bibliographical records, which forms the other side of  our project. Metadata  from Libraries, title from Publishers’s catalogues allow to locate and select the books, data regarding their print run and numbers of reprints help identifying the most successful. Continue reading

The Mystery Critics Award 2015

Mathieu

The Mystery Critics Award (Prix Mystère de la critique)  is one of France’s most prestigious Crime Fiction Awards. Launched in 1972 by  Georges Rieben for Mystère Magazine, the now defunct  Crime Fiction journal  created in 1948, it is awarded yearly by a jury of 32 critics specialised in crime Fiction, including authors, publishers and Librarians. The Awards ceremony takes place in the BILIPO, the Parisian library specialised in Crime literature and our partner in the AHRC project visualising European Crime Fiction . Continue reading

Detection Series in France in the 1920’s

Messac

In France, the 1920’s saw  a decisive evolution in the critical recognition of the crime genre (with, notably, the 1929 publication of Régis Messac’s thesis on the detective novel)  and in the organisation of the publishing industry towards the promotion of crime fiction. The most notable series created at the time was certainly the perennial “Le Masque”. It was by no means the only significant one.  Neither was it the first. Here are a few landmarks

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Serpents and Snakes in Crime Fiction : a view from the Database

Prostate cancer deaths fall by a fifth in 20 years

The Database being developed as part of the AHRC funded project Visualising Crime Fiction and in collaboration with the BILIPO will allow to compile comprehensive bibliographies on Crime Fiction. It should enable researchers to find quickly a wealth of reference to primary texts ( mainly international crime novels) dealing with any subject.   For example, snakes. Given the noir genre  historical links with puritanism, its fascination with evil and its continued affinity with a range of  motives and archetypes from the Bible religions,  it is not surprising that an infestation of snakes should be crawling and proliferating in the pages of many novels pertaining to the genre.But how to find them ? And how can one constitute a reliable and representative corpus of international Crime novels representing snakes ? Here is a list  of novels belonging to crime fiction or any of its subgenres and featuring snakes,   playing with their connotations, or using  them as metaphor and  signifier : (for example, there are no snakes in DOA’s Le Serpent aux milles coupures, which refers to the name of an infamous Chinese torture, but there is one on the book’s cover)

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