RARA-AVIS: Information on old non-Western detectives

From: jjnevins@ix.netcom.com
Date: 17 May 2000

I'm hesitantly delurking to ask this of the list, but I've tried ever other resource I can think of and am at my wits' end.

Is there a good source for information on non-Western detectives and mysteries written in non-Western countries from before, say, the 1970s? I've read, for example, that Sir Lanka (then Ceylon) had several writers of detective fiction and even versions of hard-boiled detectives appearing in the 1940s; some of the writers are supposed to have been "Vanan" or "Tamil Vanan," "Devan," and "Vaduvur Duraisami Iyengar," and and some of the characters are supposed to have been named "Shanker Lal," "Sambu," and "Digambara Samiyar."

Needless to say, all of my efforts to discover information on these writers and characters (never mind finding English translations of their stories) have come to naught. I've likewise been unable to find any information in English on pre-WW2 French characters like Nat Pinkerton.

Is there a basic source I've somehow overlooked? I've scoured the local library system and WorldCat, the largest library catalogue database, and next to nothing that might be of any help. Is the information I seek just not available?

Thanks in advance,

Jess Nevins

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