When it comes to international crime writing, the Scandinavian novel has dominated the scene long before Steig Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy was ever published. I like to brag about taking a Scandinavian detective fiction class back in college, and that the history of Scandinavian crime fiction stretches back fifty years. Sometimes, I find it hard to remember that international detective fiction comes from anywhere outside of Scandinavia. However, dear readers, I am here to launch a blog series to prove just this fact – that international crime fiction is truly international.
Each month (and more often now, during International Crime Month), I will be profiling either a different international crime nexus or particular author. I will explore how their work fits in with their locale, history, and specific crime writing scene, as well as giving a few recommended reads. I will be profiling mainly hard-boiled and noir writing, with the occasional police procedural or thriller. I will closely examine how each author or set of authors solves some of the basic plausibility difficulties of the genre within their geographical context. Some international locations have a fictional murder rate exponentially higher than their citizens’ capacity to kill, while other places match grimy noir to a violent reality.
I aim to bring awareness to the numerous translated works available in MysteryPeople, but I also plan to include analysis and exploration of common themes. Some of the locales I aim to explore are: Marseilles, Dublin, Japan, Mexico City, Italy, the former Soviet Union, Havana, Israel/Palestine, and wherever else my world tour through the mystery section takes me.
I will be focusing my energies on those reads which evoke a certain time and place, as this is one of the joys of international fiction. On the other hand, I do plan to occasionally profile those foreign authors whose plots could take place next door. I will also bring attention to American authors who have an international focus and analyze to what extent they draw strength or weakness from their emotional and physical distance.
In honor of International Crime Month, or, as the calendar says, June, I will be discussing two different locations this month. I will also profile several publishers doing the down and dirty work of bringing these detective tales from foreign shores to ATX. Look here on the MysteryPeople blog for my first post in the series on June 9, where I will be profiling the scintillating scene of Marseilles.