RARA-AVIS: Re: Leo Malet (was Chandler's Influences)

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 15 Dec 2002

> The PI story HAS become more
>international in recent years, but for many years,
>particularly the years immediately post-Chandler, it
>was almost exclusively the province of American

At least those written by American authors. There may be more P.I.s in heaven and earth than dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.

There have many Non-American P.I.s written by non-American P.I.s, not just recently but going back at least as far as French writer Leo Malet's Nestor Burma, who made his debut in the early forties and who's actually supposed to be one of this month's themes.

Any way you cut it, Malet was an interesting writer, not just allegedly inspired by Chandler but also a contemporary, and Nestor Burma an extremely interesting detective, an overtly political eye pounding the mean streets of occupied, and later post-war, France. Has anyone read him, in either English or even better, French? And has anyone read any of the graphic novel adaptations by Jacques Tardi? I'd love to hear some thoughts on him, and how he's regarded these days in France.

The Burma series was one of the longest running P.I. series, in terms of number of novels, and I think Malet should be considered a major contributor to the P.I. genre, perhaps not on the level of the Holy Three or Four, but miles and miles above those derivative hacks who sought to ape Chandler without once displaying any clear understanding of what Chandler was really doing.


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