The Feux Rouges Series, Ferenczi, 1958-1960
Last in the long string of crime fiction series launched one after the other, over the course of several decades by publisher Ferenczi, “Feux rouges” did not make a lasting impression. The 54 titles in the series are now all forgotten. The list of authors published there might nowadays seem rather uninspiring. Apart from the occasional book by Marcel Allain (who had created Fantômas, 45 years earlier, before the 1st War, together with Pierre Souvestre) or by Jacques Chabannes (who had won the prestigious Grand Prix du roman d’Aventures -the Award for the best adventure novel, in 1957 for L’Assassin est en retard, Librairie des Champs Élysées, Le Masque, 1957), most of the names are now forgotten. This is partly because most of them are French, with no international author of great standing lifting the profile of the series. But this is mainly because many of these names are only pseudonyms of better known authors. In fact, under some of the pseudonyms, one finds great crime authors. There are for example six books by a young Georges-Jean Arnaud, concealed by the pseudonym Georges Murey. An equally young Roger Faller, later a household name in the Spécial-Police Series (Fleuve Noir) is here Roger Henri Nova. And a Gallimard Série Noire author, Ange Bastiani, aka Victor Marie Lepage, is credited in the Feux Rouges Series as Vorlier.
The books announce on their covers which subdivision in the crime genre they belong to : Suspense, Policier, or Espionnage. Or indeed Noir, an indication that at this stage, in the 1950’s, the adjective is now widely accepted as a distinctive generic category.
San-Antonio novels, like most thrillers, are usually described as “action-packed”. The action is often international. Moving swiftly between countries gives a sense of international networks so opaque, of criminal plots so dense, of ramifications so global that they can not be contained within the confines of one country only. But the San-Antonio Series are generic hybrids. Depending on the epoch when they were written, and on their plot, they recycle elements of noir, spy novel or the thriller. The intensity of travels during each adventure in the series can be linked with the genre each one owes predominantly to. The classification of San-Antonio’s Series by country would not be complete without a consideration of secondary places of action in each novel. These are represented here in different ways, in the dendograms circle above and in the table below. Check the following list for a classification by country
One of the original aims of the current AHRC project on Crime Fiction Viz is to show books which are difficult to locate, or have been long forgotten ; to make the unread reappear ; to allow to see books, which had become virtually invisible. Such are the following novels, original best-sellers but whose international career was hampered by a set of adverse circumstances. Many of them have been ignored, lost, binned or destroyed. In some cases, there are probably only few surviving copies spread across the world, and most had been hidden for decades in obscure, opaque and remote, private or public collections.
San-Antonio, Moi, vous me connaissez? Kourier, Nijny Novgorod, 1992
Magda Szabó Bookshop, Debrecen, 13 December, 2014 (Photograph, Natacha Levet)
This conference is co-organised in partnership between the Universities of Queen’s Belfast, Limoges and Debrecen and with the support of the AHRC, as part of the grant : Visualising European Crime Fiction.
Programme of the Conference Continue reading
Dominique Jeannerod presented at the University of Hull Conference 21st Century Engagements – Countering Crises (17 & 18 September, 2014) a paper advocating the use of quantitative methods to assess political contents in Crime Fiction. Based on a corpus of 4000 crime novels reviewed in the BILIPO’s yearbook Les Crimes de l’année it uses digital tools and instruments of spatial visualisation to offer a new picture, relativising assumptions regarding the committed nature of French Crime Fiction. Comparing quantitative methods based on new digital tools with more traditional, textual and contextual, literary, historical and socio-literary approaches, the paper argued for the use of digital innovations to evaluate and give a representative account of the various types of political engagements happening around or embedded within Crime Fiction