Re: Alain Demouzon (was Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Jean-Patrick Manchette)

From: E.Borgers (
Date: 10 Jul 2004

Demouzon is quite good in some of his novels but he's not of the same league as Manchette, and certainly not as innovative in the French noir genre.

I can understand that somebody is not liking Manchette's work for personal reasons, but putting him aside because he created a kind of vacuum in the French mystery scene is pure fiction... or playing riddles. Some French authors tried to mimic Manchette, but without any genius nor real success. Manchette's influence was more in the way to approach the genesis of a novel, and its purpose, as a writer. And also to pay more attention to style and construction of a mystery novel. In that sense he was influential. Also in the way to treat subjects that were connected to the French reality of the 70s and 80s (but here he was not the only promoter of this kind of views). Be assured that beside the noir/HB branch of mysteries in France there
 are still many writers handling the other subgenres of the mystery novel, from cozies to thrillers, historical mysteries, gorish... just name them. The problem is that top quality is not always found in the works of these writers, even if the average quality is higher since the last 20 years. And in the modern French noir/HB itself there is enough diversity as well, with voices so different that it is difficult to link them one to another (humor, derision, surrealism, procedural, small thugs saga, social realism, political pamphlet ... the list is long). The recent biggest French mysteries sales in France are from French authors having nothing in common with Manchette and mostly outside the noir/HB genre. So ...

Back to Demouzon, a prolific writer when compared to Manchette, the novel I liked the best was: DERNIERE STATION AVANT JERUSALEM (1994) (= Last stop before Jerusalem); problem with him is that he touched many different genres of the noir/HB field in well written novels but without real innovation. To be noted that he also wrote novels for the mainstream general literature.

E.Borgers Hard-Boiled Mysteries http://www.geocities;com/Athens/6384

William Denton after Xavier Lechard:

>On 10 July 2004, wrote:
>: Let us say that I regret his own personal approach of crime fiction had
>: such a following in France that it became the new standard, leading to
>: near-extinction of other sub-genres. Also, I think Alain Demouzon was
>: better than him.
>Hmm, a new name! I think Demouzon has only been mentioned once before on
>the list, when Mr. Novak was looking for a couple of English translations.

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