Dico Dard, selected by Pierre Chalmin, Fleuve Editions, 2015
Crime literature is judgemental. About crime and evil, of course. But also about places, people, times and the weather. Colourful metaphors and flippant comments have long formed part of the Noir stylistic horizon. Noir was recognised as a style before it was theorised as a genre. Chandler and his Chandlerisms, and Peter Cheyney and his far-fetched simile have contributed to enrich crime fiction with lively dialogues, and memorable pronouncements.
For an author like Frédéric Dard, who devoted more than 40 000 pages to telling the adventures of a fictional character, the legendary Commissaire San-Antonio from the Paris Police, aphorisms are strategic instances. Their laconism and directness contrasts with the profusion of the surrounding text. They emerge from the convoluted detective plot as referential anchors. They impress their own rhythm to the narration. They create a mood, and a mode which influence the reading. Their distance, humour, self deprecation, terseness and provocation are all essential part of the reading experience. Continue reading