Noir

Networks and Connections in the Crime Genre

International Crime Genre Research Group 7th biennial conference:

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Networks and Connections in the Crime Genre

Friday 26 – Saturday 27 May, 2017

National University of Ireland, Galway Continue reading

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Bird in a Cage

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Presented as “The literary descendant of Simenon and Céline” and  as “one of the few twentieth-century authors to win both critical acclaim and great popularity”,  Frédéric Dard (1921-2000)  will be introduced this year to  English readers with some of his darker novels. Pushkin Vertigo will publish, starting in June with Bird in a cage  (Le Monte -charge), and continuing with The Executioner Cries, available in Autumn 2016, a selection of  his romans de la nuit.  It is an euphemism to say, that, some sixty years after their original publication in French, this event has been hugely anticipated. Continue reading

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

Transatlantic Fiction made in France

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Imprimerie du Livre, Colombes, December 1951, Cover Art by Jef de Wulf. ( From Didier Poiret’s collections)  

Troughout the late 1940s and early 1950s many French publishers saw a business opportunity in trying to replicate the success of Gallimard’s iconic Série Noire, launched in 1945 by former Surrealist Marcel Duhamel.  The short-lived Collection noire franco-américaine, published by the Editions du Globe (and from 1952 by Editions du Trotteur) between 1950 and 1953, is one such venture. It is also one of the more striking as it invested in quality rather than merely aiming at supplying readers with a cheap ersatz.

The Collection Noire, like the Série Noire reflected the success of  American noir films in post-war France, as well as French curiosity for American Hard-boiled novels. While the Série Noire was largely responsible for instilling a taste for American noir in France, the editions du Globe, with their Collection Noire, sought to capitalise on this emerging market. Unlike the Série Noire, who had by then already published  American authors such as Chandler, Hammett, McCoy, Finnegan, Tracy, Cain (both Paul and James) and Latimer, the Collection Noire had no American talent to back up its “franco-américaine” credentials. Without exception, all authors were French.  The pseudonyms they adopted were often meant to sound American, and their novels were supposed to recall, in both style and theme, not to mention through their violent and bleak outlook, the authors popularised by the Série Noire.  The Collection Noire franco-americaine was not content to simply recall the Série Noire in name and for the colour scheme (namely the trademark black and yellow combination of the Série Noire). From 1951, it called upon some of the best illustrators in the trade (René Brantonne, Jef de Wulf,  Mik, Salva, among others) and in doing so departed from the beautiful austerity of the imageless Série Noire covers.

 

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While the Série Noire, at least until 1953, would show the utmost reluctance for publishing French authors, the Collection Noire featured established French writers, many of who had already published in the crime genre, and even won awards. One such author is André Helena, a true pioneer of the French noir genre and one its the best. Deemed unsuitable for publication in the Série Noire, his novel Les filles me perdront was published in 1953, the 20th volume in the Collection Noire series. Another is Joseph-Louis Sanciaume, born in 1903 and already the author of dozens of detective novels, who was awarded the 1947 Action Novel award for  Sinistre turbin ! (Collection noire, Volume 2, 1952, Illustrated by Brantonne) .

Another, Claude Ferny (aka Pierre Marchand, b. 1906), had only published a handful of crime novels (in the Series La Cagoule), before joining the ranks of the Collection Noire, with whom he went on to publish several novels, more than any other author. He would subsequently go on to write some thirty crime novels elsewhere.

Tellingly, the Collection Noire published the first Frenchman to be published in the Série Noire, Serge-Marie Arcouët (b. 1916), using in both cases the same pseudo-Aamerican pseudonym, Terry Stewart. His novel C’est dans la poche was published in the Collection Noire in 1952, with an illustration by Salva.

The  Collection Noire franco-américaine’s Cover Art can be admired at :

http://oncle-archibald.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Editions%20le%20Trotteur%20-%20Collection%20noire%20franco-am%C3%A9ricaine

http://www.papy-dulaut.com/article-la-collection-noire-franco-americaine-aux-editions-du-globe-et-aux-editions-le-trotteur-54095914.html

 

 

Domestic Noir

 

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CALL FOR CHAPTERS
‘From the Domestic to the Dominant: The New Face of Crime Fiction’
Edited Collection

Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn), The Silent Wife (ASA Harrison), The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins), are just three recent novels that have captured the commercial imagination and conceivably shifted the critical perception of what a contemporary crime thriller is and should be doing in the second decade of the 21st Century. The terrain is domestic, the narrative perspective and criminal perpetrator firmly female. However, the political is of course ever present in relation to gender and society. The crime thriller has always been a peculiarly modern form. Its transition to an urgent, necessary and contemporary form of literary expression is arguable, and lies at the core of the discussion within this collection.

Julia Crouch (Cuckoo, The Long Fall, Tarnished and Every Vow You Break) recognised as the originator of the term ‘Domestic Noir’ stated that it ‘takes place primarily in homes and workplaces, concerns itself largely (but not exclusively) with the female experience.’

Domestic Noir is often concerned with crimes of an extremely intimate nature. Renee Knight’s Disclaimer and Claire Kendal’s The Book of You, both deal with unusually invasive forms of stalking. Christobel Kent’s The Crooked House and Erin Kelly’s The Poison Tree both detail the horror of long-buried secrets surfacing. Many of the novels deal explicitly with what Rebecca Whitney (The Liar’s Chair) describes as ‘toxic marriage and its fallout’, such as Emma Chapman’s How to be a Good Wife, and Lucie Whitehouse’s Before we Met. There are also versions of the marriage thriller that present economically or sexually independent women transgressing, such as Louise Doughty’s Apple Tree Yard and Jill Alexander Essbaum’s Hausfrau. Continue reading