The Bilipo



Unique in its kind in Paris (and the world) our partner the BILIPO, in the Latin Quarter,   is a public library devoted entirely to Crime and spy literature.

Check the BILIPO webpage on the portal of Paris Libraries

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DETECt – Horizon 2020

The International Crime Fiction Research Group is delighted to share the good news about the European funding secured for our project “DETECt -Detecting Transcultural Identity in European Popular Crime Narrative-“, as part of the Horizon 2020 – Societal Challenge 6: “Understanding Europe: Promoting the European Public and Cultural Space” framework. The project is led by the University of Bologna and involves 18 institutions from 11 European Countries.  DETECt addresses the formation of European cultural identity as continuing process of transformation fostered by the mobility of people, products and representations across the continent. Because of the extraordinary mobility of its products, popular culture plays a decisive role in circulating representations that constitute a shared cultural asset for large sectors of the European society. The project examines examples of crime fiction, film and TV dramas from 1989 to present, to learn how mobility strategies such as co-production, serialization, translation, adaptation, distribution, and more, have influenced the transnational dissemination of European popular culture. It also investigates how the treatment of specific ‘mobile signifiers’ – including representations of gender, ethnic and class identities – affect the ability of European narratives to migrate outside their place of origin, and be appropriated elsewhere in different and variegated ways. Researching the contemporary history of the crime genre in Europe, DETECt aims to identify the practices of production, distribution and consumption that are best suited to facilitate the emergence of engaging representations of Europe’s enormously rich, plural and cross-cultural identity. The knowledge acquired through a detailed research programme will be used in cultural, learning and public engagement initiatives designed to prompt the elaboration of new transnational formats for the European creative industries. These activities will profit from a set of experimental research and learning resources and innovative collaborative tools, aggregated and organized on DETECt Web portal which will be introduced here. A range of activities will be addressed to the general public and announced here. In particular, the development of a Web mobile app tools will allow users to contribute to the creation of a collaborative atlas of European crime narratives. Watch this space for updates.

Please visit The DETECt website



Online exhibition: A History of Crime Fiction in Greece


The International Crime Fiction Research Group is glad to present a new online exhibition hosted on the Omeka-based online database “Visualising Crime Fiction,” sponsored by the AHRC  (the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council) and the Universities of Belfast, Limoges, and Debrecen, in partnership with the Bilipo. A Brief History of Crime Fiction in Greece was authored by Nikos Filippaios, currently a PhD student at the University of Ioannina, and provides a concise outline of the development of the genre in Greece, with particular attention to the impact of international crime fiction on the local creative industries.

Filippaios starts his overview by stressing the success of the earliest translations of modern popular fiction that arrived from Western Europe in the second half of the 19th century. He then highlights the key transformations of crime narratives in Greece throughout the 20th century, particularly up to the 1980’s, when a new generation of local writers started to use the genre to investigate the troubled national history during the post-war era.

The exhibition is structured in four sections, each dealing with a specific historical moment: Continue reading

Detection Series in France in the 1920’s

International Crime Fiction Research Group


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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Quantifying the thrill : The point of distant-reading crime fiction


On the 24th of April, Dominique Jeannerod presented at  the Bath Conference, Crime Fiction, Darkness and Desire a paper titled Quantifying the thrill : The point of distant-reading crime fiction.  This paper considered the crime genre in its essentially transnational dimension and  sought to provide a methodology to assess and compare the success of crime fiction in international circulation.  To that effect, it proposed to reflect on the processes of translation, imitation and appropriation of foreign crime fiction in post WW II Europe, in a crucial period in the history of the genre. The fascination for American hard-boiled fiction and 1940’s cinema in continental Europe, as reflected there by authors, markets, publishers and readers has in turn contributed in shaping the genre internationally and has led to its 1960’s evolution and re-politicization. But how is it possible to reliably identify and quantify such processes?   How is it possible to navigate and manage the profusion of published titles exemplary of such circulation, in order to give an accurate and representative picture of the international exchanges at play in this particular period? What are the most appropriate research methods and the best digital tools that can support this type of research? How can the relevant data be collected and archived, and how can the collected data be visualised and shared?

Stemming from an AHRC funded research Grant on the Visualisation of Crime Fiction circulation conducted at the University of Belfast, and based on the 130 000 entries in the catalogues of the only Public library devoted to Crime fiction, the Paris-based BILIPO, this paper offered to apply Franco Moretti’s approach (distant reading, maps and graphs) to quantifying the popularity of Crime Fiction in continental Europe.

The database constituted with the help of the BILIPO was shown to be crucial to help answering a set of questions which are critical to a European historiography of the genre, such as the following:

  • What was the percentage of foreign popular fiction published in a specific country during a specific year?
  • How did this develop in the course of a certain period of time?
  • What was the share of the different national/regional production?
  • How did this evolve over time, and how is this reflected in the apparition of national schools of crime fiction?
  • When did novels hailing from specific national/regional areas become suddenly popular?By raising such questions and related ones the proposed paper hopes to highlight the potential of quantitative and visual approaches in renewing the study of crime fiction in an international context. It might contribute elements for the understanding of the fascination of crime fiction in a trans-cultural context, and how the genre succeeds in captivating large international audiences.