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Nordy Noir

milkman
Nordy Noir Knocks at the Door
by
Sharon Dempsey
Northern Irish crime writers have been exploring issues relating to the landscape of the Troubles for decades within the confines of a genre that is well-placed to provide close examination of social, economic and character-driven concerns. The success of Anna Burns’s Milkman has brought attention to Northern Irish writing, with some saying now is the time, post-Good Friday Agreement, to explore the complex issues.
When Milkman won the Man Booker prize it was heralded as a win for Northern Irish literature. Yet the attention the novel’s success has brought to the Northern Irish literary scene has been met with partial disdain. After all, the Northern Irish crime-writing fraternity has been producing work that explores the complexities of social unrest and political division for decades. Writers like Adrian McKinty, Anthony Quinn, Stuart Neville, Claire McGowan, Gerard Brennan and Brian McGilloway have made great use of writing about life in a trigger-happy society, with the inherent socio-economic problems providing plentiful material for their work. However, there was something different in Milkman, something that touched a nerve and suggested that now, post-conflict, we were ready to explore our violent past in a new imaginative form.
If ever a place needed retelling, then Belfast is that place. Like most writers, I don’t fully understand anything until I have written an account of it for myself. I feel that it is only now, with time providing distance from the realities of living amidst conflict that we can examine the nuances of how the incendiary atmosphere and ongoing violence has shaped us.
Belfast has changed. The security barriers around the city centre are long gone and there is a vibrancy to socialising in the Cathedral Quarter that those of us who grew up during the seventies and eighties could only find by moving away. Now Belfast is a tourist destination, cashing in on the popularity of the filming hub that produced Game of Thrones. Our landscape is now as well known for the Dark Hedges as it is for the peace walls and the graphic sectarian murals. Yet, it is with this change, this growth, that we can now begin to understand what we have survived.
In the totalitarian landscape of Milkman we come to see clearly the insidious nature of paramilitary control of society. The nameless characters and the unnamed city serve to make our plight universal, to expose the uncomfortable truths of living within the confines of a society controlled by fear and intimidation. A place haunted by the knowledge that one wrong word is enough to bring unwanted attention. Books are our narrator’s escape but reading nineteenth century literature, with her head down while she walks, trying to escape her bleak surroundings, marks her out as different and brings her to the attention of the intimidating Milkman. His character, a senior paramilitary who has a preference for young girls – “a befouler” of young girls as the book describes him ‑ is both feared and respected in the district. While stylistically inventive in its use of language, language that feels at once wordy, verbose and comical, Milkman is an immersive reading experience, which rejects a linear plot, preferring an intense study the narrator’s interior life.
Like many novels discussed in this essay, Milkman also provides a great sense of place – the ten-minute hinterland of in-between on the out skirts of the city centre is described as a bleak, eerie, ghostly place and without being named I recognised it immediately.
Perhaps the novel’s most compelling theme is the insidious nature of Milkman’s advances, with parallels being drawn between political violence and sexual violence and an exploration of the effects of living with insinuation and menace. Fear and intimidation are normalised and there is an awful sense of helplessness, for who can our protagonist turn to in this damaged society? She is powerless to change the situation; where she lives they only phone the police to shoot them. And anyway,
There was a lack of certainly as to whether or not there was anything to tell. That was the way it worked. It was constant hints, symbolisms, representations, metaphors.
But where does this exploration of a community living in Troubles-era Belfast sit within the literary tradition that has come before? Eoin McNamee has provided the most authentic telling of Northern Ireland’s violent past in his seminal body of work. From Resurrection Man to his more recent novel The Vogue, he has explored the darkness at the heart of crimes committed. Stylistically cinematic, McNamee’s prose is literary and uncompromising, taking the myth and reality of the notorious Shankill Butchers and providing a razor-sharp examination of a society that can form a character like Victor Kelly in Resurrection Man.
When it comes to writing about Northern Ireland’s troubled past and uneasy future there has at times been a fusion of genre. McNamee’s literary fiction, like Glenn Patterson’s and Kelly Creighton’s, finds a wealth of material exploring this place within the confines of crimes committed.
Not all crime fiction from Northern Ireland relies on Troubles tropes for material. Claire Allan has recently moved from writing romantic fiction to a darker brand of psychological fiction, still set in her native Derry. Adrian McKinty says: “In my hometown of Carrickfergus alone, which is a tiny place, there are two internationally known science fiction authors: David Logan and Jo Zebedee. There are no rules – thank goodness ‑ about what you can and can’t write about.”
Indeed there is a strong tradition of magical realism emerging in the writing of Jan Carson and Bernie McGill. A realist, street style has been employed by Gerard Brennan in the writing of Disorder, published by No Alibis Press, a new publishing house headed by David Torrens of the famed No Alibis crime-centric bookshop in Belfast. Brennan uses the vernacular and characters that once encountered are hard to forget, to navigate a satirical look at parts of Belfast where recreational rioting is a legitimate pastime.
Anthony J Quinn’s novels offer us a lyrical prose that like McGilloway’s explores the border and its murky hinterland. His Inspector Celcius Daly series uses the outsider character, a Catholic working in the PSNI, and the police procedural form to explore the moody, bog-trenched landscape populated by fuel smugglers, ex-cops with dodgy histories, crime overlords and informers.
We are said to read crime fiction as a flirtation with fear, savouring the nearness of violence that cannot harm and enjoying the satisfaction of solving the mystery lying at the heart of the narrative. For Anthony Quinn, who grew up in a Republican stronghold of Co Tyrone, fear and violence were never far away.
Many of us walked a tightrope with the IRA at one end, and the British Army and loyalist paramilitaries at the other. You had to be careful about what you said and wrote. Words could kill. If you said the wrong thing, you might never be seen again.
The phrase “and whatever you say, say nothing” was a mantra for survival. Only the foolhardy or overtly political talked publicly or wrote about the intimidation and violence that many ordinary nationalists experienced at the hands of the IRA, as well as the British Army. Denial, silence, putting on a brave face, these were the coping strategies during the Troubles.
Quinn is not surprised that crime fiction has become a means for Northern Irish writers who grew up during the Troubles to tell stories, “to write about what they know, to make public untold stories or those that contest the received prejudices and stereotypes of the Troubles and the subsequent ceasefire”.
In the absence of a truth commission, a working Assembly and politicians who actually take their seat, the fictional detective character seems to be the only protagonist we have that is capable of challenging the divisions of the past and of navigating its difficult and morally ambiguous terrain.
Traditionally, crime fiction has been described as a “quintessentially bourgeois” form (Ernest Mandel): despite its concern with murder and violence, it demands that the social order is, in the end, restored. This understanding of the genre is redundant in the context of Northern Irish crime fiction, especially post-Troubles, when the demand for resolution and closure cannot neatly be achieved within the confines of the narrative form.
The paradox of the state as being perceived as the moral authority by one side of the community and a divisive force by another has not been lost on crime fiction emerging from Northern Ireland. Adrian McKinty’s Sean Duffy series, set in 1980s Carrickfergus and Belfast, addresses the uncertainties and ambiguities of the state’s claim to moral authority. Crime fiction, at its heart, argues for social justice and it is no different when the setting is a place marked by inequalities and political violence. Sean Duffy, a Catholic navigating a largely Protestant RUC, while society around him blazes with sectarianism, uses wise-cracking dialogue and an irreverent attitude to negotiate his way out of tight spots. The taut prose, period references (Jimmy Savile, Muhammad Ali, John DeLorean) and pacy plots ensure readers are left satisfied and willing McKinty on to the next in the series.
Brian McGilloway’s Inspector Devlin series uses the border as a device to explore the differences between the Republic and the North. Garda Inspector Benedict Devlin is a perfectly placed character with a foot in two worlds, the past and the present, while the Lucy Black series feels contemporary in outlook and subject matter with issue-driven plots.
When Stuart Neville came onto the scene with The Twelve, it seemed that we were seeing the beginning of the impact of the Troubles on characters placed in a post Agreement world. How could these often thuggish, violent characters survive post-conflict? How are they affected when their raison d’être has been extinguished? Kelly Creighton’s The Bones of It also explores the impact of peace on previously violent characters. Juxtaposing father and son, Creighton examines the impact of toxic masculinity and the anger and resentments that lurk beneath the surface. But can we write about Northern Ireland without drawing on the Troubles? Stuart Neville believes it is becoming easier to do so. “Writing crime, it (the Troubles) never falls too far into the background, but it need not be the focus of the story any more. I think we’re well past that now. Writers can choose to write about the Troubles, like Anna Burns and Adrian McKinty, or choose to write around them, like my most recent books have. You can never fully escape that history, but it no longer has to dominate one’s writing.”
Neville has also developed his female character, Detective Inspector Serena Flanagan, into a series. In reference to the idea of crime fiction being somewhat undervalued in comparison with literary fiction Neville says, “There seems to be this notion that literary fiction is the One True God that we should all worship, but really, literary fiction is simply another genre, like crime, romance, sci fi, or whatever. The problem stems from conflating ‘literary fiction’ with ‘literature’; they are not the same thing, and never have been. Literature is work that stands above the rest, that earns its place in the canon over time. The Big Sleep merits that label as much as The Great Gatsby. James Ellroy is as significant a voice in American literature as John Irving. And frankly, if some are blind to that, it’s their loss.”
Adrian McKinty’s take on this lack of respect for crime writing is that it could be down to, “old fashioned snobbery, but putting a more generous spin on it, I think it’s because so much of crime fiction used to be so bad. Olaf Stapledon famously said that ninety per cent of everything is crap. And I think most of what literary critics would be exposed to would be the bestsellers, which often aren’t that great. The standard of crime fiction has gone up in the last decade or so, so though this kind of criticism is a little behind the times.”
Claire McGowan’s novels feature forensic psychologist Paula Maguire returned to her childhood home in Ballyterrin, a fictional border town. Again, the border offers opportunities to highlight the differences between North and south and to expose the difficulties of working as separate entities on one island. The personal backstory of Paula’s missing mother, assumed “disappeared” by the IRA, provides a taut thread running throughout the series. According to Claire McGowan, while male crime writers have dominated in Northern Ireland in comparison to the Republic, where writers like Liz Nugent, Louise Phillips and Jane Casey have been hugely successful, there are more female crime writers coming through now. She says she is “not sure why the crime market is so male-dominated but I imagine it’s because the Troubles has often been written about as military history”.
Stuart Neville says: “Adrian McKinty predicted a few years back that the great post-Troubles novel would be written by a woman, and he has been proven right. There have been a number of writers picking apart the legacy of the Troubles over the last twenty years, but Anna Burns has earned her accolades. The only thing that irked a little was the seeming ignorance of the literary establishment, as if no one had written about the topic over the last twenty years. The fact that much of that writing was done in genre fiction might be why they were unaware of it.”
Adrian McKinty says of Milkman, “to see a wonderful literary fiction novel on this topic [the Troubles] particularly by a woman, was thrilling. I did think it a bit funny when, a day after it won the Booker, an American journalist called me up and asked me this question: ‘Why has no one ever thought to write about the Troubles before?’ That was a bit of a facepalm moment.”
When asked about the lack of female voices breaking through McKinty says, ‘I think it just happened that way. About eight or nine years ago there was almost no scene at all and then me and Stu Neville and Brian McGilloway all kind of published at the same time and then Steve Cavanagh, Anthony Quinn, Gerard Brennan, William Shaw and Claire McGowan came along and suddenly there’s a thriving Northern Irish crime-writing scene where there was nothing before. I think the Troubles, and associated economic ruin, crushed the arts in Ulster and it was only about ten years after it was all over that various artistic communities began to reassert themselves.”
Stuart Neville says, ‘As for the gender imbalance, I’m really quite confused by this. While more female writers have emerged over the last couple of years ‑ Claire Allen stands out ‑ there remains a huge contrast to the crime scene in the Republic, where women seem to dominate. I’d hope there’s a wave just waiting to break, so we’ll see what the coming years bring.’
Writers like Adrian McKinty, Anthony Quinn, Stuart Neville and Claire McGowan use their stories to explore the Troubles past and expose tensions and contradictions, juxtaposing the demands of state and law with the requirements of justice. It is not surprising therefore that writers have turned to crime fiction as a means to reconnoitre contemporary Northern Irish society and to think about how the ongoing legacies of the Troubles impact on contemporary society. Anthony Quinn believes the crime fiction genre is a legitimate way of exploring our past. “It gives us a deeper insight into the Troubles and illuminates the splintered personal landscapes of ordinary people caught up in violence, in ways that non-fiction can never hope to replicate. Politicians lie and dissemble, and historical accounts are always subjective, but at least fiction doesn’t pretend to be anything else other than a made-up account.”
Post-conflict, Northern Ireland is living through uncertain times, with no Assembly sitting in Stormont. So-called punishment shootings and beatings still happen, and despite the decommissioning of weapons, paramilitaries can still wield power over communities. We have arrived at this peace, but still significant issues remain unresolved, providing fertile ground for crime writers.
When a call went out on Twitter asking where all the working class writers were, there was a torrent of cries that they were mostly writing within the crime genre. It seems that many such writers have found voice with the genre that perhaps more than any other allows for an exploration of society and that can bring attention to voices from every echelon of it. Crime writers know what Graham Greene and George Orwell also understood, that to fully explore society and its dark heart, is to examine what we do when pushed to the extremes. Northern Ireland and the crime genre are the perfect partnership, with many stories yet to be mined and explored.
Sharon Dempsey’s first crime novel, Little Bird, is published by Bloodhound Books.
This article was first published in the Dublin Review of Books (1/1/2019)
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Fictions of Organised Crime

Call for Contributions: Fictions of Organised Crime – Themed Issue of New Readings
 
organized crime
 
Crime fiction is one of the most significant popular means of exploring the contradictions that emerge from the modern, bourgeois capitalist nation state (Pepper 2016). Most fiction about ‘organised crime’ is preoccupied with violent, interpersonal crime or the behaviours of mafia-like groups. But there are other, more ubiquitous and insidious harmful practices — political, financial, environmental, etc. — that affect all of us and are not necessarily proscribed by law. The ‘slow violence’ inflicted on populations by the carbon industry, the financial harms of politicians and transnational corporations are not always recognised as ‘crime’ and fit less easily within the standard forms of genre fiction. This themed edition of New ReadingsFictions of Organised Crime, asks how culture can address these kinds of carefully organised harms. How does fiction account for the complexities of state-facilitated environmental crime, financial crime and the activities of organisations dedicated to the subversion of democracy? How can locally and regionally produced cultural representations respond to globally organised activities?
 
In a contemporary moment in which populist political movements are resisting transnational capital, organised crime challenges the integrity of the nation state – by defying it, subverting it or simply taking advantage of its usual functions. Fictional narratives of organised crime offer a sustained way in which readers and consumers can ‘make sense’ of worlds which are by their very nature, secretive, obscure, and impenetrable to those on the outside. Indeed, in contexts in which journalistic writing on organised crime may be fatally dangerous to the author or contribute to the inevitable ‘unknowability’ of the links between crime and the state (Braham 2016), it has been argued that fiction remains the privileged medium for exposing the logics of serious crime (Astorga 2003).
 
New Readings invites articles of between 7000 and 10000 words on the cultural representation of organised crime across a range of art forms (including, but not limited to, film, TV, literature, comics/graphic novels, popular music). Topics could include:
·         State entities as criminal actors
·         Crime writing from East Asia and the Global South
·         Self-mythologisation of organised crime groups (broadly conceived)
·         Piracy and counterfeiting
·         Environmental crime and illegal extractivism
·         Financial crime
·         Illicit trafficking and smuggling of goods and people
·         Historical perspectives on ‘old’ and ‘new’ organised crime
Those interested should send titles and 300 word abstracts to Dr Joey Whitfield whitfieldj1@cardiff.ac.uk by Friday 1th of March.
 
New Readings is a peer-reviewed journal publishing original research in the fields of literature, cultural history, film and visual culture. Articles may be written in English or in the language of the primary materials under analysis. All articles are published as ‘diamond open access’ – a model under which neither writers nor readers pay anything for permanent open access for all.

Craic Noir : A Dublin Trilogy

 

The publication, last year, of the fourth and final book in Caimh McDonnell’s Dublin “trilogy” (!) is an invitation  to (re-) discover this recent series of Irish crime novels:

              A Man With One of Those Faces (The Dublin Trilogy Book 1), McFori Ink, 2016

             The Day That Never Comes (The Dublin Trilogy Book 2),  McFori Ink, 2017

            Angels in the Moonlight    (The Dublin Trilogy Prequel, Book 0), McFori Ink,  2017

           Last Orders (The Dublin Trilogy Book 3), McFori Ink, 2018

A brilliant example of the “delicate infractions”  characteristic of Crime Fiction’s tendency (according to Borges) to blur generic demarcations,  this series could aptly be described as “Craic Noir”.  It has justly been praised  both for bringing Irish Noir to an entirely new level of humor, and for putting some Dublin “craic” in the crime genre.

The author is the award-winning stand-up comedian and TV writer Caimh McDonnell : check his Official website here :  WhiteHairedIrishman.com

Here is the blurb from the second book in the series, The Day That Never Comes: 

Remember those people that destroyed the economy and then cruised off on their yachts? Well guess what – someone is killing them.  Dublin is in the middle of a heat wave and tempers are running high. The Celtic Tiger is well and truly dead, activists have taken over the headquarters of a failed bank, the trial of three unscrupulous property developers teeters on the brink of collapse, and in the midst of all this, along comes a mysterious organisation hell-bent on exacting bloody vengeance in the name of the little guy.  Paul Mulchrone doesn’t care about any of this; he has problems of his own. His newly established detective agency is about to be DOA. One of his partners won’t talk to him for very good reasons and the other has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth for no reason at all. Can he hold it together long enough to figure out what Bunny McGarry’s colourful past has to do with his present absence?  When the law and justice no longer mean the same thing, on which side will you stand?  The Day That Never Comes is the second book in Caimh McDonnell’s Dublin Trilogy, which melds fast-paced action with a distinctly Irish acerbic wit.

Job Opportunity: Research Fellow in European Crime Fiction at Queen’s University, Belfast

Research Fellow.PNG

Research Fellow

Queen’s University Belfast – School of Arts, English and Languages

The Research Fellow will be an active member of the European-funded project “DETECt: Detecting Transcultural Identity in European Popular Crime Narratives”, by assisting in the development of research proposals and the planning and delivery of the research activity within a specified area so that the overall research objectives of the project/school are met.

The successful candidate will form part of a cross-disciplinary research team working with staff in Film, English, French and Geography.

The post relates primarily to the Work Packages “Creative Industries” and “Creative Audiences”, one of eight sections of the project, specifically focusing on the study of the production, distribution and consumption practices of European crime narratives in the fields of the film and television industries.

Working alongside thirty post-doctoral and experienced researchers hosted at the other twelve partner universities, the post holder will be expected to provide quantitative and qualitative data, data and textual analyses to be used in the project publications and online outputs.

The researcher may use or acquire their skills in data visualisation to produce maps and graphs to be included in the project portal, reports and research outputs. The post holder will also contribute to dissemination activities including the organisation of workshops, screenings and other public events, as well as supervision of the project social media account.

This post is available until 31 July 2021.

Assuming that popular culture plays a decisive role in circulating representations that constitute a shared cultural asset for large sectors of the European society, DETECt examines examples of crime fiction, film and TV dramas from 1989 to present, to learn how mobility strategies such as co-production, serialisation, translation, adaptation, distribution, and more, have influenced the transnational dissemination of European popular culture. 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 organised on DETECt Web portal.

The successful candidate must have:

  • Have or be about to obtain a relevant PhD.
  • At least 3 years’ relevant research experience
  • Research experience on European film and media industries
  • Demonstrable experience of data collection and analysis using Microsoft Excel/various other techniques
  • Sufficiently relevant understanding and demonstrable application of both quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • Ability to contribute to broader management and administrative processes
  • Contribute to consortium research by links with industry, community groups etc.

Further information about the School can be found at www.qub.ac.uk/schools/ael/

Anticipated interview date: Monday 11 February 2019

Salary: £33,199 per annum

Closing date: Tuesday 8 January 2019

For full criteria and to apply online, visit www.qub.ac.uk/jobs.

You must clearly demonstrate how you are meeting the criteria on your application.

For further information or assistance contact Resourcing Team, Queen’s University Belfast, BT7 1NN.

Telephone (028) 9097 3044 or email on resourcing@qub.ac.uk

The University is committed to equality of opportunity and to selection on merit.

It therefore welcomes applications from all sections of society and particularly welcomes applications from people with a disability

Fixed term contract posts are available for the stated period in the first instance but in particular circumstances may be renewed or made permanent subject to availability of funding.

https://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/BOT458/research-fellow?fbclid=IwAR0L3ChBqOx_P4ZQMyGDcAEFeYwUh_95512PpYzGMa0a3Dgob-TVcIuu1mA

Murder One Crime-Writing Festival

murder one

Murder One Crime-Writing Festival, 

 Smock Alley Theatre, Temple Bar, Dublin 

November 2nd – 4th.

Lynda La Plante and Michael Connelly, Declan Burke and Declan Hughes,  Niamh O’Connor, Liz Nugent and Jane Casey, Anthony Quinn, Val McDermid, Peter James, Marc Billingham and many more  Irish  and  international crime fiction authors are all scheduled to feature at this three-day  festival. For more information and to see the programme,  please visit the Festival Website http://www.murderone.ie/

 

An interview with Richard O’Rawe.

By Daniel Magennis. PhD student at Queen’s University Belfast.

ORawe-NH

A Northern Celtic Tiger, Northern Heist (Merrion Press, 2018)

[Warning: Spoilers ahead]

I meet Ricky O’Rawe in the lobby of a hotel close to Queen’s University in Belfast. It is an uncommonly warm and sunny afternoon for an Irish autumn. The university is preparing for the arrival of Hilary Clinton, who has been awarded an honorary degree. As I wait, foreign voices – tourists – drift across the space. People seem calm and happy. Belfast is not what it once was.

O’Rawe arrives. He has a pleasing lilt that marks him out as someone from the West of the city. His previous works, all nonfiction, have dealt with divisive and emotive issues such as the 1981 IRA Hunger Strikes and a biography of Gerry Conlon, whom O’Rawe had known since childhood. He tells me that, unlike his earlier books, he found Northern Heist, a work of fiction, liberating.

“Fiction can be whatever you want it to be … There’s nothing sacrosanct. There’s no sacred principle you have to stand behind and that’s the beauty of fiction – you can take it anywhere you want.

“Compared to my other works, I found dealing with Mr Ructions [Northern Heist’s honourable thief protagonist] … incredible. I enjoyed him, I enjoyed writing about him and I enjoyed shaping him and shaping his world… love the freedom of fiction.” It may be a form that permits greater imagination, but it is one that requires its own sort of rigour. “That’s not to say it was easier to write as opposed, let’s say, to the Gerry Conlon book. There, there was a narrative from A to Z … so I knew where the book was starting, and I knew basically where it was going to end.”

Northern Heist has long been a labour of love for O’Rawe. The novel, in one form or another, has been gestating for many years.

“I had a whole different ending prior to starting the Gerry Conlon book. I’ve been footering with Northern Heist for about eight years. I had other major projects that I was doing… so in the end I had to set it aside. But I always sort of drifted back to it.”

A substantial revision saw O’Rawe rewrite the second half of the book entirely and his maverick protagonist, Ructions, did not survive his momentous heist.

“In the first edition, Tiny kills Ructions, up on the farm and it was a dramatic ending, but it was the wrong ending. And now we have Ructions alive – and everybody likes him, everybody I’ve spoken to loves him. And not only that, but it leaves it open for a sequel. There’s a tremendous sequel in there. It’s in my head and all..”

In the end it was O’Rawe’s daughter Bernadette who had proposed a solution. ”You know what – you can’t kill Ructions” – and so Ructions was saved. At least, that is, for the moment…

‘I’m hanging up my guns, I’m going to burn my balaclava.’ But, all of a sudden, he might have to knit a new balaclava. And he’s to get the guns down again.

“But that’s the question – will he get away with it in the sequel? Because everybody comes out of this alive. Tiny is still alive at the end of it, the cop’s still alive at the end of it – the chief inspector – Ructions is still alive. There’s a variety of interests there and Tiny is a force to be reckoned with, he’s far from gone… he [Ructions] wouldn’t be the first criminal to say, ‘I’m hanging up my guns, I’m going to burn my balaclava.’ But, all of a sudden, he might have to knit a new balaclava. And he’s to get the guns down again.”

What was it about the Northern Bank robbery of 2004, on which Northern Heist is based, that sparked O’Rawe’s imagination?

“It was actually three robberies. There were three robberies that caught my attention. There was the Makro robbery …and there was a huge robbery down at the docks where £1 million of cigarettes was taken and then there was the Northern Bank robbery. So even at the time, before I was thinking of writing this, I looked at this and said to myself, ‘this is the work of a certain gang of guys, this is not different gangs running around doing different tiger kidnappings. These things are too well thought-out. It’s either the work of some genius thief, or it’s the work of the IRA. In which case, again, it would be a small cabal of people.’

“So that was my original thoughts on it and then when the Northern Bank robbery occurred you had different people saying different things. You had the two governments saying it was the IRA. The Garda commissioner, the Chief Constable said it was the IRA, and you had the IRA saying, ‘It wasn’t us.’ And therein lay the contradiction for the writer and the writer in me said ‘you know what, I’ll tell you who done it – Ructions.’

“So that leaves a question mark; and in steps Ructions and Ructions does it. So that’s how the Northern Bank etc. came into play. And the thing about the Northern Bank was, it was a very interesting tiger kidnapping… It was timed so precisely. If it hadn’t been done on the day that it was done, it would never have been done because the next day all the keys were being taken off all of the keyholders.”

Northern Ireland is a place where you can certainly write thrillers… It’s just a matter of imagination.

The robbery in question, the December 2004 Northern Bank robbery at the bank’s Belfast city centre headquarters, threatened the then fragile peace process. Over the years, the Troubles in Northern Ireland have provided material for hundreds of novels. “I think Northern Ireland is a place where you can certainly write thrillers… It’s just a matter of imagination and looking for it.”

O’Rawe’s past may have afforded him a sense of how the Irish underworld works and it is perhaps unsurprising that many of Northern Heist’s characters are inspired by real life.

“I had certain characters in my head, who I envisaged, who were real-life characters to a point… I had a vision and I always try to pick someone with an interesting face and, say, ‘this is who it was and this is his traits, and what makes this guy unique?’ … I always try to do that, so the reader has an idea of the type of person you’re talking about. But a lot of the stuff that’s in Northern Heist… it’s a wee bit real life. The characters are not far away from real people.”

I ask him about the distinctive gangland speech of many of the characters of Northern Heist; “I think that sort of subterranean world, that underworld, where moves are made and if you don’t play the game you’ll get shot very easily. I think they do have a lingo of their own. They talk about moves, they talk about clipping people. They talk in a sort of vernacular that is virtually unique – but they also speak the same way in Dublin. If you watch Nidge [the lead character in the RTÉ drama ‘Love/Hate’] – gangsters in Dublin have the same way. They have the same sort of way of communicating. If you fuckin’ mess about you will get shot and they need to know it. A guy needs to say it to you and you need to listen to him. Don’t open your mouth or he’ll take a needle and he will prick you and that’s the sort of stuff that comes across in the book. But that’s natural in that sort of world.”

It is a world that O’Rawe’s honourable thief manages to navigate remarkably unscathed to pull off Ireland’s largest ever Bank heist. While the reader may find themselves admiring, even liking, Ructions, there is of course a darker edge to him. “The thing about Ructions is this; you never know whether or not he would have carried out his threat to hurt the families…”

Nevertheless, O’Rawe does not see Northern Heist as part of Northern Ireland’s prime literary export of recent years; Noir.

“I don’t class myself as a noir writer. I actually don’t particularly like that stuff. That’s not a reflection on any of the writers. I like stories to be… sort of vibrant, and light, and enjoyable. I don’t really get it with three guys and they’ve just emerged from some fuckin’ pathway to hell, and they’re up to be a scourge on the world. That doesn’t work for me – just me personally.

“I’m not running anybody down – there’s a huge market for it – I just think that, sometimes, what you write reflects your personality. Not all the time, but sometimes, and I’ve a fairly… upbeat personality, if I do say so myself [he laughs]”

Reluctant to be pigeonholed as an author of Noir, O’Rawe is equally keen to avoid the broader classification of crime fiction author.

“I don’t want to get into detective stories, where the detective always catches the bad guy. Bad guys rarely ever get caught. Cops only clear up about 6% of all crimes. So I have a penchant for the underdog, for Ructions. Not that I particularly want to get into crime… I have other stuff I want to get on with. I’ve a number of projects… But I don’t necessarily want to be in that genre. And I don’t really want to be known as someone who writes about cop stories. Do you know what I mean? And I like the unpredictability of the likes of Ructions, using him as an example. But I don’t like reading a book where I know what the end is. And the ending, invariably, in all of these things is that the cop catches the bad guy. I like stories to be absolutely different.

The wages of sin is death” and he’s saying “Fuck – I don’t get any of that. The wages of sin is great.

“I’m at my happiest when I’m writing well. I like humour, I like writing anecdotes in the middle of something very serious. Like, for example, Ambrose was coming out of the street and him and Billy and they’ve eight million quid in the back of the truck and the preacher is standing there with the bible and he’s saying “The wages of sin is death” and he’s saying “Fuck – I don’t get any of that. The wages of sin is great. I love sinning. I love that sort of craic in the middle of it. That’s just me.”

At one stage in Northern Heist, Ructions says to his boss and uncle, Panzer, ‘… after this, we’re all out. Nothing will be the same again. It’s over. Our day has come and gone – and I’m glad’ (p. 99). I ask O’Rawe if his book describes a world where the old ways are being left behind; that is quickly changing?

“Yes. The thing is for Ructions and Panzer, they pulled off what all criminals want – the big Pay Day. The payday that means they don’t have to do it anymore. They don’t have to take the risk. So for them’uns it’s the end of an era; Panzer’s bowing out anyway. But he has achieved his lifetime ambition, of pulling off the massive heist that they’ve always dreamed of.

“But in relative terms, the Northern Bank heist was actually at a point in time when things changed. There wasn’t too many tiger kidnappings and banks [being robbed] afterwards. The banks adjusted; brought in security firms … there’s no bank robberies at all now, bank robberies are done on the stock market.”

O’Rawe’s own life has seen pages of history turn. Having been the IRA’s second in command in HMP Maze/Long Kesh during the Hunger Strikes in 1981, his 2005 book Blanketmen, saw him present a very different version of events from that of Sinn Fein’s.

“As you know, I was an IRA volunteer. I would say that I am a pacifist now. I have absolutely no time for armed struggle. In any shape or form. I actually look back on all that and I see it as a huge negative. An awful loss of life, dreadful loss of life and I don’t think the outcome, the political outcome in terms of Republicanism, was worth one life or worth one minute in prison. So I’m very disillusioned with the whole thing.

“Demonstrably, those who were advocating a different way were right. You, politically, ended up in the same place with the Good Friday Agreement as we were in 1974 with the Sunningdale Agreement, the only difference is 2,000 people died and tens of thousands of people done years in jail.”

Does violence work? Not in Ireland. Never has.

A cliché it may well be, but is the pen mightier than the sword?

“The pen is mightier than the sword. The other way of asking that question is, does violence work? Not in Ireland. Never has.”

O’Rawe’s journey has seen him go from militant Republican to self-professed pacifist. He has since been strongly and publicly critical of Republican political leadership. Does he feel he has a duty to write about the events he witnessed and had a part in?

“From my point of view, I had a duty to write about the Hunger Strike. I felt I had. But that’s because I was a player. I was very involved in it. Ordinary writers have no imperative to write about anything other than what they want to.”

Responding, during a recent radio interview, to the calls of some that he should not be writing – and profiting – at all from his past, O’Rawe notes, “Those who would shout at their radios are the very same people who would love to censor writers. I will not be censored by no one. I am a free thinker and a free writer, and I will not be censored by no one … the same question was put to me [during an interview on American radio] and I said “those who would scream at radios are the same people who would burn books. Once you go down this road of saying “this writer’s alright and that writer’s not alright” then you’re in real deep trouble.”

 

Northern Heist, published by Merrion Press, is available online, in eBook and Paperback, and in bookshops.

Smoking Kills

 

Smoking kills

 

 

Antoine Laurain – Smoking Kills (Translated by Louise Rogers Lalaurie), Gallic Books, 19/05/2018. Original title Fume et tue, Le Passage, 2008

                        A book review by Jonas Rohe, Queen’s University Belfast

“At the beginning of his career, the smoker is generally intent on killing no one but himself. But forces beyond my control drove me to become a killer of others.”

Fabrice Valentine has worked as a senior head-hunter in big Parisian company for over 20 years and is living the good life: he has a wonderful wife, is successful in his job and always has his beloved cigarettes handy, which are his trusted friends through hard times. The only thing that is threatening his happiness is a change in the French smoking regulations. Suddenly, Valentine finds himself in a more and more smoke hostile environment. At first, he can no longer smoke in his office and then his family and friends start to pressure him to try out a new way to quit smoking: hypnosis. Valentine has no real intention of giving up his poison of choice, but to appease his peers he finally agrees to meet with the hypnotist, who is supposed to end his beloved addiction for ever. To Valentine´s great surprise the urge to smoke has vanished completely and what’s more he doesn’t even miss it. On top of this, he is offered the seat of CEO in his headhunting company. Life could not be much better…

Until it all falls apart, first Valentine’s boss dies before he can tell anyone of Valentine’s promotion and is replaced by a jumped-up youngster, who is obsessed with health issues and has entirely different ideas about running the headhunting business. He then discovers that his wonderful wife is having an affair with an obscure artist and is threating to leave him. Distressed, Valentine turns again to his cigarettes, but after years of reliable pleasure they no longer bring him any satisfaction. Without his beloved addiction to comfort him, Valentine is living in a nightmare. When he is jumped by a junkie at a metro station he throws him before the incoming train and takes a deep drag from his cigarette… The pleasure returns, stronger and more enveloping then ever before. The sensation is so great, that it could drive a smoker to murder…

Laurain’s Smoking Kills is part biting satire about our health obsessed society, part noirish character study and part grotesque black comedy. All these pieces together should make for a compelling story, but unfortunately despite the original theme of the book it doesn’t quite fit together. The main problem of the novel is the pacing, Smoking Kills starts off strongly, with a humoured reminiscence of the autodiegetic narrator about his life before the murders. It takes Laurain about 30 pages to get all the prerequisite parts for a good detective story established and until this point his insightful character descriptions and laconic reflections on smoke obsession are thoroughly enjoyable, but, unfortunately, the narration continues for over 100 more pages in this manner.

Although the theme is appealing and well written, it just does not carry over 130 pages without a murder and it seems that,  at times, Laurain gets lost in his characters and neglects the actual progression of the story. Because of this, Smoking Kills feels a bit flat and it is hard to buy into the air of suspense in the novel. This is also the case because there is no real antagonist, no clever detective or unlikely adversary that opposes the protagonist, on which absurdly enough the narrator reflects himself: “Deep down, I wanted her to feel suspicious and raise her eyebrows in surprise though it would have disrupted all my plans”. When a bit of suspense arises however, it is spoiled by the narrator himself because he insists on giving away what is going to happen next at every opportunity.

As a saving grace, Smoking Kills does convince with dark humour and sharp characterisation and the somewhat flimsy plot is still entertaining, if one possesses a bit of patience or an unhealthy fascination with cigarettes and smoking culture. Although not a masterpiece, Laurain’s novel is still an entertaining read, with a cool and original theme and plenty of dark humour that make for an interesting character study if not a great crime story.

Jonas

Our reviewer with his poisons of choice.

“Delicate Infractions”: Innovations, Expansions, and Revolutions in the Crime Genre (CFP)

International Crime Genre Research Group: 8th Biennial Conference

 

Death and the compass

“Delicate Infractions”: Innovations, Expansions, and Revolutions in the Crime Genre

Friday 14 – Saturday 15 June2019

Maynooth University, Ireland

The Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges famously remarked that the detective genre “thrives on the continual and delicate infraction of its rules”. Taking this as a point of departure, the 8th Biennial conference of the International Crime Fiction Research Group will aim to bring together researchers with a shared interest in exploring how the genre has changed and continues to change by way of such delicate infractions, but also occasionally by way of full-blown transgression and definitive ruptures.

Under the broad title of “Delicate Infractions”, we invite proposals related to the following areas:

Systemic troubles reflected in the crime genre

  • The crime genre in the age of Black Lives Matter, Trump and resurgent far-right ideology.
  • The representation and promotion of radical politics in crime narrative.
  • Genre responses to the refugee crisis in Europe and beyond.
  • How can or should the genre reckon with the ‘slow violence’ of pollution, climate change, ocean acidification, and ecocide?

Formal re-configurations of the crime genre:

  • Re-imaginings and re-workings of the tropes of crime.
  • Re-configurations of the archetypal detective/criminal/victim triad.
  • Challenges to the gendered and racialized assumptions of conventional crime narratives.
  • Crime, Modernism, and/or Postmodernism (and beyond).
  • Crime, Surrealism, and the Avant-Garde.
  • Hybrids and intersections with other genres.

Changing technologies and how they influence crime, crime detection, and crime writing

  • The technological pre-conditions for the emergence of the genre.
  • Historic changes or ruptures wrought on the genre since its inception by technological innovations in transport, communications, and weaponry.
  • Cyberspace, Artificial Intelligence, and the elaboration of new kinds of crime and new modes of investigation.
  • Digital Humanities, Big Data, Digital Gazetteers, Crowd Sourcing; New technologies for Crime Fiction Studies.
  • Apps, Immersive Narratives and technology-supported Crime Fiction Tourism.
  • The place of YouTube, Social Media, podcasting, and other online platforms in the publication of crime narrative.
  • New technologies and new experiences of reading Crime Fiction.

As in previous years, we also welcome submissions that do not fall neatly within the above categories (or that expand them), and we are open to research questions that are themselves ‘infractional’ in respect of the critical paradigms that have grown around crime genre scholarship.

Submissions can be centred on crime fiction and/or film, but we also welcome submissions relating to true crime and that analyse other forms of media, as well as examinations of relevant topics within fields such as history, criminology, anthropology etc. Our guiding objective since our first conference in 2005 is to bring together scholars from a diverse range of areas with a view to highlighting and exploring the points of convergence (and divergence) that emerge.

Organising Committee Chair Dr David Conlon (MU). Committee members Dr Dominique Jeannerod (QUB); Dr Kate Quinn (NUIG); Dr Marieke Krajenbrink (UL).

Please send your abstracts to one of the following by November 29th 2018:

david.conlon@mu.ie

d.jeannerod@qub.ac.uk

kate.quinn@nuigalway.ie

marieke.krajenbrink@ul.ie

Crime fiction series published in 20th century Romania

Bianca Alecu, University of Bucharest

 bianca.maria.alecu@gmail.com

1969 - VA - Antologia Enigma vol 1

 

Romania belongs no doubt to  countries that are not considered the founders of the  crime genre, but where the crime fiction phenomena is still an enigma, both in its contemporary and past shapes. Unlike better known areas of Crime Fiction production, such as France, North America or  Britain, the beginnings of  the Romanian crime fiction scene are still somewhat obscure, and  remain challenging to track down. Over the decades, there have been numerous more or less successful attempts at publishing popular fiction series including detective novels. From these attempts, eventually, crime fiction series would be developed, especially during the communist regime. This article will tackle both the historical backdrop of these series and elements of book cover design, since their connection is symbolic: “when a text is published and the book is designed and printed, it becomes a physical manifestation not just of the ideas of the author, but of the cultural ideals and aesthetics of a distinct historical moment” (Drew and Sternberger, 2005, p. 8, apud Gallagher, Patrick).

At the beginning of the past century, the Kingdom of Romania experienced one of its most significant moments of cultural and economical growth.  Its literary scene was heavily influenced by the French fin-de-siècle. At the end of World War I, Romania gained the territories of Transylvania, Banat, Bukovina and Bessarabia,  unifying all of the Romanian-speaking provinces. Only northern Transylvania was retained after the Second World War. Soon after, Romania became a socialist republic under a Stalinist type of communist totalitarianism that ended in December 1989, with the execution of the dictator.

Aventura  Fig 1

 

Interwar popular fiction series.

In the first half of the century, more precisely in the 1930s-1940s, popular fiction started to garner more commercial success. One example of this is the Aventura[1] (eng. “adventure”) series, published between 1937-1941 by Adevărul Publishing House and sold with their newspaper, Adevărul (eng. “truth”). Newspapers and books would be sold together at a reasonable, fixed price. The readership knew what to expect from the motto of the series: “Romane de Acțiune și Pasiune” (eng. “Novels of Action and Passion” – Fig. 1).

Each 15th of the month a new such novel would be published, that usually followed the conventions of popular fiction. The total number of books in this series is 50. Out of these, only around 8 are written by non-French authors (British or American: H. Melville, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jack London). Crime or mystery novels were included in this series, but they were only occasional features, since the main focus of the series was „adventure”, which usually meant discovery-scenarios with unexpected turns in exotic scenery.

insula vampirilor

Fig. 2. A special Christmas edition of the newspaper, from 1939

The cover design of the series is typical for rather cheap paperbacks, using the strategy of illustrating a pivotal point of the narrative (Fig. 2), while the background color is a paper-yellow, the nuance of which is difficult to tell because of the age of  the books that survived (Fig. 3). The font of the titles varies with the content of the books and cover illustrations, while the title of the series and the motto are placed in the top central part of the cover. Another recurrent element of the cover is the price (8 Lei, top left corner), which was then a typical strategy for selling popular fiction (Fayard 65 centimesDime novels, Penny Dreadfuls...).

 

 

  Fig 3      8lei

 

Fig.4

BELLU

Another series published in the same period was dedicated to crime fiction, as the name reveals: Romanul captivant polițist (eng. Thrilling detective novels). It was published by Ig. Hertz Publishing House, one of the most prestigious publishing houses of  interbellum Bucharest. It also published another series of popular fiction called „Colecția celor 15 lei” (i.e. The 15 lei series, i.e costing twice the price of the cheap adventura 8 lei series[1]). There is some uncertainty regarding these two collections, as it is possible they might have merged into one at some point in the 1930s. One of the first Romanian crime fiction novel was published in 1935 in the former series: „Cazul doamnei Predescu” (eng. The case of Mrs. Predescu, Fig. 4) by Petre Belu. The second edition sold between 31.000-45.000 copies.[1]

Unfortunately, a lot of the books published in the interwar period ended up in the great „recycling” projects of early communism. Both what was considered to be major and minor literature was liable to be  „cleaned” and censored, including popular fiction, crime and romance series that could be found in the bookshelves of the bourgeoisie. These books, and especially those which were taken by hundreds and thousands to the „recycling” furnace are now very rare, and can seldom be found, even in the archives of national libraries.

Crime fiction series under the communist regime.

During the communism area, another Aventura series was published by Tineretului (1967-1969) and Albatros (1969-1985) publishing houses. There is no recognizible connection with the interwar series, neither in terms of book cover design, nor content. Both international and Romanian authors were published in this series, which was a collection on its own and not a periodical magazine as before. The first and last books published in this collection belong to a renowned Romanian crime fiction author, Leonida Neamțu. In terms of book cover design, the first version of the series as published by Tineretului proposed a white handwritten silhouette of the letter „a” (from Aventura) against various bold, solid background colors (Fig.5). Inside the „a” the information about the book was written in a constant, minimalist font, in bold (the title) or underlined (the author). This contributed to the overall homogeneous aspect of the series, the design of which was very modern and forward-thinking for the time. After the series was transferred to Albatros (Fig.6), the design of the series was changed to a more varied one, containing both the classical „a” in the top left corner and thematic illustrations. Keeping the small version of the previous design is both an economical and symbolic decision, since the series were very popular with the public and this was the way of keeping the readership throughout the transition of the editorial project.

editura

Fig. 5. Colorful and minimalistic book cover design of the series as it was first published by Editura Tineretului

Albatros

Fig. 6. Book cover design of the  series continued by Albatros

The most successful and renowned crime fiction series of the communist period (and may still be well-known to this day) is Enigma, published by Univers Publishing House from 1969 to 1990. During the 1990s some titles were republished in a new series called Enigma Z,  with new cover design. This series never matched the fame and readership acclaim of the original one. The covers of some of the most famous titles of the communist Enigma can be viewed at https://archive.org/details/ColectiaEnigma-EdituraUnivers. As crime and spy novels began as yellow paper-backs in most European countries, yellow and bright colors (orange, green) remained one of the visual ways to inform the reader, even unconsciously, about the nature of the contents of the book. This can be seen in the cover design of the previous series, but it is fully-fledged in Enigma (Fig.7). Some of the graphic elements of the cover are similar to Albatros’ Aventura series, namely the collage-like illustration and the colorful background of the title box. However, one of the things that set apart the design of this series is the changing of the font of the title according to some symbolic connotations of the contents of the book (or even according to the length and phonetics of the title). The most recurrent color is, by far, yellow, followed closely by orange, mustard, green and pink. An anthology of crime fiction short stories was also published in this series, in two volumes that can be seen in the top right picture below. The design of these is distinct from the rest of the series, while in keeping with the overall ratio and aspect of the covers (square lines, central illustration, title box in the lower half of the cover).

enigma1 enigma2

 

 

enigma

Fig. 7 Enigma

This collection was among the lengthiest ones, counting 89 titles, 15 of them published in 1969, the numbers decreasing rapidly. From 1974 to 1978 only 5 volumes were published in a year. During he last years (1987-1990), only one volume was published per year. Only international authors were published, out of which the most numerous ones were soviet authors, particularly during the 1972-1980 period (approximately). Most of the titles were of world-renowned crime fiction writers, mostly British (Agatha Christie, Anthony Berkeley, Eric Ambler, Michael Sinclaire), American (Raymond Chandler, Dashiel Hammett, Edgar Wallace, Leslie Charteris, John Ball), French (Gaston Leroux, San-Antonio, Georges Simenon, Maurice Leblanc, Sébastien Japrisot, , Emile Gaboriau) and others. There is no distinguishable correspondence between the background colors and the nationality of the author or the fictional contents of the books. Neither is there a recurrent, constant pattern of the colors, the order of which is hazardous, yellow and orange accounting for more than a third of the covers.

The case of Soviet writers.

The first volume of soviet crime fiction published there was only the 31st of the series, in 1972, three years after the collection started. It was written by Dmitri Tarasenkov and called “Omul din gang” (The man in the gallery). All the volumes published subsequently in 1972 were written by Soviet writers, as follows: Iulian Semionov, E. Braghinski, Joe Alex, K. Kwasniewski. The last two are the pen-names of the Polish translator and writer Maciej Słomczyński. This period corresponds to a wave of censorship and sovietization of the whole book industry, as well as the literary products themselves. Eugen Negrici identifies four distinct chronological attitudes towards literature during communism, that are especially prevalent in the writing, commercializing and reading of prose: stalinism (’48-’53), formal destalinisation (’53-’64), relative liberalization (’64-’71) and communist nationalism and re-indoctrination (’71-’89). As Soviet crime fiction authors were prevalent in 1972 and the years that followed, featuring constantly alongside to more household non-soviet, occidental names in the genre (Bogomil Rainov is published next to Michael Innes or Dashiell Hammet, in 1973), one can assume that this was a consequence of the reinforcement of ideology after a short period of ease. However, the preparations for this began early in the 1960s, when there was a “search for artistic vehicles to carry emancipatory messages to the masses”, as Caius Dobrescu points out. Moreover, there are similarities between this and the Soviet exploitation of different popular genres as means of propaganda as early as the Avant Garde artistic and literary phenomena.

Some of the Soviet writers published in the series were already well-known in the Soviet Union for their interest in the spy genre, including literature and screenplays, cinema, and Theatre plays. Yulian Semionov (1931-1993) took part in publishing two dedicated crime fiction magazines, „Detective and politics” and „Top secret”. He is considered to be one of the pioneers of investigative journalism in Soviet Union. He was a member of the Union of Soviet Writers and enjoyed critical acclaim for his works of journalism, which were published in many newspapers. Two of his detective stories are published in the Enigma series, the first one,“Valiza cu amprente”, (“The suitcase with fingerprints”) in 1972 and the second one in 1975, “Ogariov Street, No. 6”. Dmitri Tarasenkov and Emil Braginsky worked as screewriters, among others, and were involved in the development of many Soviet films. The former later immigrated to USA in 1978, where, later on, he worked as a journalist for Radio Liberty. Other Soviet writers include Mihail Heyfetz, Arkadi Adamov, Arkadi and George Weiner. Authors from the Soviet block were also published, such as Maciej Słomczyński and Jerzy Edigey (Polish), Bogomil Rainov (Bulgarian), Eduard Fiker, Vaclav Erben, and Ladislav Fuks (Czech), Rejto Jeno (Hungarian). For a detailed representation, see Fig. 8.

 

Enigma Authors

WORKS CITED

Dobrescu, Caius (2013), „Identity, Otherness, Crime: Detective Fiction and Interethnic Hazards”, in Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, Philologica, 5, 1, 43-58. Available at https://goo.gl/EfNK4k

Forshaw, Barry (2007), The rough guide to crime fiction, London, Rough Guides Ltd

Drew, N., & Sternberger, P. (2005). By its Cover: Modern American Book Cover Design. New York, NY, USA: Princeton Architectural Press. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com, apud Gallagher, Patrick (2015), The look of Fiction: A visual analysis of the Front Covers of The New York Times Fiction Bestsellers, Thesis, Rochester Institute of Technology. Available at https://goo.gl/5gV26P

Negrici, Eugen (2006), Literatura română sub comunism. Proza, București, Editura Fundației Pro

 

ELECTRONICAL RESOURCES

http://romania-inedit.3xforum.ro/post/369954/2/B_Colectia_interbelic_259_AVENTURA_-_Romane_de_actiune_si_pasiune_/ Romanian forum dedicated to discussing and publishing electronical, scanned versions of old books. Available only in Romanian. All the books from the interwar Aventura series are available for downloading thanks to individual efforts of numerous people who still had some of the books in the series. A list of all the titles is also available.

http://romania-inedit.3xforum.ro/post/504019/1/Colectia_Romane_Politiste_-_Topic_recuperat/ Romanian forum dedicated to crime fiction, spy novels and pulp fiction series published since communism. Available only in Romanian. Most of the books are scanned and can be downloaded.

https://goo.gl/9RgDn6 The Facebook page of the same forum contains a photo album with the cover of all the books from the Enigma series. This is useful for getting an overall picture of the chromatics and design of the series.

 

 

 

[1] Carte rară din colecțiile Bibliotecii Științifice Universitare: contribuții bibliografice, Fascicula 3, collected by Scurtu, Elena, Nagherneac, Ana, Bălți, 2008. Available online https://en.calameo.com/read/001133349e22fadf634e7

[1] A good salary (of a clerk) was 9000 lei in 1928, one volume would cost aprox 0.1% of this salary

[1] A complete list of the volumes published in this series, as well as the digitized version of most of them can be found at http://romania-inedit.3xforum.ro/post/369954/1/B_Colectia_interbelic_259_AVENTURA_-_Romane_de_actiune_si_pasiune_/