Maps

Tartan Noir in 2016

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 The success of Regional Crime Fiction is so global and has been prevalent  for seemingly so long already, it is easy to forget nowadays that the trend to set  crime novels away from the big crime capitals – the traditional sites of “Urban Mysteries” since the mid 19th Century (typically, Paris, London, New York, later Los Angeles and Chicago)- is still relatively recent in European Crime Fiction. Authors such as Izzo in France, Camilleri in Italy,  Staalesen in Norway, Mankell in Sweden and many others, especially since the 1990s   have all heralded such a  turn,  anchoring their detectives in marginal, referential, less mythical (but not necessarily less mythologised),  realistically defined geographical spaces. In  many respects the remarkable surge  of  Crime  Fiction set in Scotland since  William McIlvanney’s  1977  Laidlaw,  and the  first Rebus novel (Ian Rankin,1987) announces this remarkable trans-European phenomenon. Scottish authors Val McDermid, Quintin Jardine and Stuart MacBride are all long since  household names in international crime fiction and  “Tartan Noir” is recognised as a thriving  subgenre.  Almost 40 years after the publication of Laidlaw, it is worth looking at  the most recent and  upcoming publications, showcasing  Tartan Noir’s  durability. Here is a selection, any other suggestions are welcome. Continue reading

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Mapping the Urban Landscape of a Cult Movie : Bullitt’s San-Francisco

International Crime Fiction Research Group

Bullit

Bullitt, the movie with Steve McQueen features a scene often seen as the mother of  filmic car chases. Certainly, cars speeding at full force of their engines, as an ambivalent proxy for escape and death, industrial perfection and doomed individual freedom  are a token of many classic film noirs. There are memorable ones in Fritz Lang, Becker, Jules Dassin, Melville, to name but a few.  Among what sets Bullitt’s chase apart from the preceding ones and makes it so influential for subsequent directors (and striking for us), is certainly the sense of time and location it is embued with. It was filmed in  San Francisco and close surroundings  in the spring of 1968.

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Covering so much space through its streets, the movie maps in effect San Francisco. But of course, and this is one of the sources for its fascination now, it is a San Francisco which does no longer exist. Mapping the film, in return, is akin…

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