Illustrations of Vigilantes Thrillers


Edgar Wallace’s  thrillers are true international bestsellers. First published in The Strand Magazine, in 1921, then as a book, the same year,  by  Hodder & Stoughton,  The Law of the Four Just Men is the fourth novel in this Edwardian Crime series, started in  1905, and dedicated to the adventures of  Edgar Wallace’s international cast of eccentric, youngish, killing vigilantes, the “Four Just Men”. It  was hugely popular and went on  to become a bestseller in America (Doubleday, Doran, Crime Club). The stories were illustrated, for the Strand Magazine by Belgian visual artist Emile Antoine Verpilleux (1888-1964). Among others, the artist also illustrated a short story by Conan Doyle for the same publication (1922) Continue reading

A German “Série Noire”


The iconic Série Noire, created in Paris in the summer of 1945,  by  surrealist Marcel Duhamel in order to publish American hardboiled authors, celebrates this year its 70th Birthday.  This is an occasion to look at the influence it had abroad, and beyond America, where it helped defining the noir genre. Continue reading

Crime Fiction in Ullstein Pocket Books

Servais Lorac Kane

Created in the early 1950’s, the series of mass market paperback books Ullstein-Büchern,  started  in the mid 1950’s to offer a  subdivision devoted to Crime Fiction, the Ullstein-Bücher Kriminalromane. This series had  different numbers than the rest of the Ullstein- books, to differentiate them from the general series (Allgemeine Reihe). It started at number  701.  Further differentiation, the big K on the title banner stands for Krimi. This is the mid and late 1950’s, and American authors are now predominant, in stark contrast to the original Ullstein Gelbe Reihe in the late 1920’s and 1930’s.  A canonisation of the noir genre has happened elsewhere, and Ullstein books reflect this.  The two first books published  as Ullstein-Bücher Kriminalromane are  Hammett (Der Malteser Falke) and Chandler (Einer weisst mehr). Hammett’s Bluternte is the sixth volume in the series. Continue reading

The German San-Antonio Series (Bastei Verlag)


 Initiated by the publisher  Bastei Verlag ( Gustav H. Lübbe ),  in Bergisch -Gladbach,  an attempt was made to publish the San-Antonio series in Germany. The “Kommissar from Paris” was even given his own series, like in France, where it had only in he early 1970’s started to be the case (after more than 20 years of being part of the “Spécial-Police” Series).  The translation of the books into German started in 1973 . Twenty-two titles were  thus published until  1975.  As the picture above shows, San-Antonio was marketed  as  a sort of Gallic James Bond. A French double of Sean Connery. Continue reading

Crime Fiction Series in Sweden before the invention of Nordic Noir

Gebers Kriminal
(With thanks to Kerstin Bergman)

Regarded as the “father of the Swedish police novel”, Vic Suneson (pen name for Sune Lundquist, 1911-1975) published his first five novels in the Gebers kriminalserie,  a series devoted to Crime Fiction. This series, which had been launched by Geber, in Stockholm, in 1947, published both Swedish and translated authors.  Suneson’s  first novel  Mord kring Maud was published in 1948 and precedes immediately in the Series Cornell Woolrich’s, Brud i svart (The Bride Wore Black),  also in 1948. Many other well-known English language authors, such as Ngaio Marsh, Fredric Brown, Carter Dixon, and Ursula Curtiss, are part of this series. Continue reading

San-Antonio’s continued International Adventures

A tue et à toi

(With thanks to Laurentiu Bala and Didier Poiret)

 The first recorded translation of a book by San-Antonio was apparently in the English language. The book translated was the 1953 novel Du Plomb dans les Tripes, and it was translated in English as early as January 1954, under the title A night in Boulogne, published by Harborough Publishing, without indication of the translator’s name. The same publisher published in the same month another book by the author of San-Antonio. This one, titled The Ardent lover,  was signed Frédéric Charles, another alias used by Frédéric Dard at the time. Again, the English translation played with entirely different connotations and generic horizons than the original French.  The French Title was Dernière mission.

Ardent lover

More than sixty years later, the industry of translating San-Antonio abroad is still dynamic. This is especially the case in Romania and Italy. In Italy, E/O Edizioni are currently republishing San-Antonio novels translated by Bruno Just Lazzari and originally published by  Mondadori;  to date, 13 books have been published there, since the summer of 2013.

bordel de cul

In Romania, the publisher Univers started around the same time, in 2013 to re-market San-Antonio novels in Romania.  Ten books have already been published since.

International Crime Month


International Crime Month is  a month-long initiative,  involving crime fiction authors, editors, critics, and publishers and running throughout July 2014. It is made possible by the collaboration of four of Britain’s leading independent publishers—Melville House UK, Europa Editions, No Exit, and Serpent’s Tail—to promote Crime Fiction, described as ” one of the most vital and socially significant fiction genres of our time”.