Romans de la nuit

Previously unseen : Frédéric Dard in Lithuanian


 Frédéric Dard, Geltonojo kambario paslaptis  (Cette mort dont tu parlais, 1957), A. Puzo Redakcija,  Vilnius, 1994

With thanks to Didier Poiret

The picture above is the cover of a book published 20 years ago in Lituania. It had since become virtually invisible. Even the most zealous of San-Antonio collectors will see it here for the first time.  It has resurfaced last week  thanks to the effort of Didier Poiret. The  volume  was published in Vilnius in 1994. It  comprises two French Crime novels pertaining to different stages in the history of the genre.   One is by Gaston Leroux, the other by  Frédéric Dard. The latter is one of the earliest ” Romans de la nuit” published by Frédéric Dard in the Collection “Spécial Police” (Fleuve Noir) Continue reading

Discovering the “King of the French Kiosks”, in English language

US_C'est mort et ça ne sait pas

San-Antonio, Stone Dead (C’est mort et ça ne sait pas),

Translation Cyril Buhler,  Paperback Library, New York, 1970

There is a striking contrast between Georges Simenon’s status as an international bestseller, and his younger contemporary, once friend,  and main challenger in the French market, San-Antonio (aka Frédéric Dard). The latter, with his eponymous character, the Commissaire San-Antonio,  an ironic hardboiled counterpart to Simenon’s Maigret actually far surpassed Maigret in terms of sales in French, yet  is virtually unknown in the English speaking world. Too much of his  idiosyncratic verve seems to get lost in translation.  As American Scholar Susan Dorff once put it, in a survey published in the Armchair Detective,  San-Antonio, the king of the kiosks in France is also one of her best-kept secrets. With over 100 million San Antonios in circulation and 200 different titles, many of them published, at a point, in 600,000 mass-market paperback, this is a vast, and vastly untranslated continent, which English readers could only view from afar, if at all.

Here is a list  of English and US translations, with some images of how the books actually looked like.

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