LYON, France — As the world begins to wake up and we enter the post-containment period, in France the festival’s first big comeback, just before the Cannes Film Festival reopens, was the Quais du Polar which had just been s ‘finish. It is the world festival of detective writing, the largest of its kind, if not in the world, at least certainly in Europe. There was an air of hesitation, dipping a toe in the water, with everyone inside except the speakers kept away from the audience wearing masks. The detective story book fair has moved to tents outside the main hall.
There was also an air of hesitation as it was the first detective writing festival, a branch of which in France is called the “police officer”, Which celebrates the deductive skill and thirst for justice of the police, displays the global questioning of the tactics and ends of the police in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.
Sanitary restrictions generally ensured an air of safety at the festival, as one security guard checked in the bags (the result of the largely exaggerated and previous “pandemic pandemic”) while a second made sure everyone used the lotion. hands before entering the building (the result of the latest pandemic). Travel between countries is always a question as RJ Ellory of England and Europe’s most popular crime writer, Icelandic Arnaldur Indriðason, whose novel spawned the Hollywood film Jar City, were unable to come due to quarantine restrictions in effect upon their return to their country of origin.
This was counterbalanced by the remote appearances of American drug trafficking storyteller Don Winslow and Edyr Augusto, the Brazilian author of a series of books on the Amazon city of Belém, a site not only of resource exploitation. natural but also drug trafficking. France has now started vaccinating at a rapid rate hoping to reach 70 percent by the end of the summer, with cases falling every day but, as in the rest of the world, with the threat of ever more contagious variants. (Delta or even worse, Delta +?) Hovering over this attempt to restart this branch of French soft power.
The country, although behind the United States and Great Britain, leads Europe in the number and worldwide range of its publications and translations of this most popular genre of fiction of all genres. Through festivals such as the Quais du Polar, France is strengthening its hold on the genre not only because French authors pour out a seemingly inexhaustible supply of detective novels but also because its translators bring in novels from all over Europe and from all over the world. rest of the world. The country thus becomes the mediator and the meeting place of a world detective fiction which, because of its place in the market, functions almost like a branch of the world leader French luxury industry which manufactures clothes, perfumes and high-end accessories.
Which brings us to the twin poles of the detective story. In France for each police officer, whose tradition dates back to Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie, and which fits the mold of the entertainment / luxury industry, there is also a harsher element of detective fiction, in the Dashiell Hammett / Raymond Chandler tradition, with a much more socially situated environment and a critical message, called the “Black novel. “The difference was obvious at the festival.
The world, the center-left newspaper, fired the first salvo in its pre-festival article where it questioned the very idea of fiction from a police perspective in light of the murders of George Floyd et al. and demands for justice of a police force whose budget for internal control in the United States makes it the sixth military budget in the world. The world quoted contemporary black American novelist Benjamin Whitmer, who criticized his own genre in which “daily police violence is totally ignored”. Whitmer, the author of Crying father and Pike, then developed his refusal to romanticize this now highly criticized institution: “I don’t write about good cops for the same reason that I don’t write about unicorns. Neither exists, he said, adding that “if the police do their job properly, that job is violence against the poor and the working class for the protection of the upper class.” “. This point of view was taken up by some festival speakers.
The conservative weekly digest Point countered with his vision of the detective story in an elaborate article on the “cozy mystery”. Here writers, often in a nostalgic aristocratic vein like that of SJ Bennett Windsor knot on the royal family, return to the mysteries of the “closed room” which, although they present a good dose of humor, one of the books of the comfortable author MC Beaton is titled The death quiche and she Absolutely fabulous-The typical character is called Agatha Raisin, in homage to her predecessor – despises any social implication of crime and sees it as a puzzle to be solved rather than an opening to a closer examination of society.
Hard-core novelists have often echoed Whitmer’s feelings about the police. In his non-fiction Trade secrets of drug trafficking, journalist Matt Taibbi transcribes the account of an anonymous marijuana trafficker who claims that the police, far from being the expert detectives of crime fiction and crime television series such as CSI, in fact, they operate mainly by catching informants on the streets and beating them until they name names – the testimony is often inaccurate because it is obtained under duress. Greek writer Minos Efstathiadis, whose The plunger concerns the relationship between Germany and Greece with the latter subservient to the first during the 2008 public debt crisis, suggested that the police, far from fighting crime, are part of a global network that supports the worst elements of criminal activity by exploiting the weakest members of society through trafficking in minors, drug traffickers, child pornography and the slavery of women. Without this support, he said, these activities could never flourish.
Arpád Soltész, from Slovakia, in his latest novel Pork, writes about how organized crime, in the form of the Calabrian mafia the ‘Ndrangheta, has crept into the highest levels of that society, both in government and law enforcement. The novel, which begins and ends with the assassination of a journalist, tells the 25-year history of the country where one regime, claiming to fight corruption, succeeded another and then corrupted itself. It’s hard not to think of the Ukrainian antics just as similar to Trump but deleted from Joe Biden or his promise, then his refusal to support the minimum wage of $ 15 and his “generosity” by saying that he will forgive two tenths of 1 % of student debt after pledging 50% etc.
Carlo Lucarelli, whose commissioner De Luca started as an inspector during the fascist era of Mussolini, in An Italian affair, follows De Luca in the 1950s because, with the Christian Democrats backed by the United States in power, in order to pursue justice, he must join a secret service so secret that he never received a name where he finds his former colleagues of the fascist police restored to Power. We remember the continued interaction in the United States between the Klan and other right-wing groups and the police, evident in the way right-wing violence was tolerated and tolerated while all street violence was brutally suppressed. Also in Germany, the recent connection between the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) and the police has also been widely reported.
Another use of the noir novel to illuminate social ills was that of Jurica Pavicic. Red water, named best European detective novel of the year. Pavicic, from the also ex-Yugoslav country of Croatia, uses the 30-year-old investigation into the disappearance of a 17-year-old girl to recount three different eras in his hometown of Split, at the most coveted new tourist site Europe, the Dalmatian coast. Pavicic explained that he doesn’t travel, but staying in his hometown was like looking at three different cities. During the socialist era of the 1980s, Split was a mining town, which he compared to the north of England, which had a well-known, mine-sponsored football team. With the fall of socialism, as in Russia and many eastern countries, the go-gos of the ’90s where everything fell apart saw the city deindustrialize as industry moved more to the city. East or Asia and that corruption reigned and that fortunes were quickly seized. In the 2000s, Split was remade again, this time as part of the global tourism boom in which the Dalmatian coast thrived with The Guardian calling the nearby city of Zadar “the trendiest place in the world”. Red water trace these changes with the yellowish eye of a tired viewer of the world.
On the cozy mystery side, there was Lionel Froissard, a former automotive journalist, who has just written a novel on the death of Princess Diana. Froissard, however, refuses to entertain the many theories surrounding Diana’s death possibly involving the royal family and instead attributes the death to a poor black woman from the suburb, or urban slums, focusing not on the potential assassination but on the car that caused the crisis. Elsewhere Niklas Natt och Dag, from a Swedish aristocratic family who, according to him, “had a beautiful story from the 13th to the 16th century” and author of two historical detective novels, 1793 and 1794, claimed he focused on the aristocracy who commit crimes not because they are less trustworthy than the poor, but because they are more imaginative.
In the heart of the Black novelthe ability to shed light on forgotten periods of history was that of Thomas Cantaloube Frakas, taking place in France and Cameroon in 1962 where Cantaloube, ex-journalist of the investigation site Mediapart, recounted that France, after losing Indochina and Algeria, had established itself as its new colony of choice. The French government went so far as to commission a study from a team of geologists to determine what raw materials were available to be looted under Cameroonian soil. Cantaloube’s book details how the French, in the post-independence period of Cameroon and as it then attempted to achieve financial sovereignty, acted with the government to punish and eliminate freedom fighters who wanted continue the fight.
Cantaloube’s work, both in Frakas and its precedent Requiem for a Republic, which details the merger of gangsters and government in Marseille in 1936, illustrates how the noir novel can shed light on social issues instead of covering them up as practiced in its opposite, the cozy mystery. Carlo Lucarelli illustrated this in his three-day plan of how he hoped readers would react to his fiction. The first night they would be up all night reading. The second night they would be so confused by what they were reading that they would stay awake all night. By the third night, he hoped, they would be up all night trying to figure out how things could be different.