03/01/2012

Mystère à l'Italienne/Mystery, Italian Style


Le roman d'énigme, c'est dépassé et ça n'intéresse plus personne. C'est du moins ce que l'on nous répète en France, et il n'existe d'ailleurs plus de collection spécialisée dans notre pays depuis que Le Masque s'est converti à la "modernité" dans les années 2000. A quoi l'on pourrait répondre: "Regardez en Italie". Car non seulement les célèbres Giallo Mondadori rééditent ponctuellement des classiques du genre, mais l'éditeur Polillo a crée une collection qui rassemble les plus grands noms de l'Age d'Or, d'Anthony Berkeley à John Dickson Carr en passant par Christianna Brand et J.J. Connington. "I Bassotti" (Le Basset) compte déjà une centaine de volumes, joliment présentés et choisis avec un goût exquis - et le succès semble être au rendez-vous. Si le roman d'énigme est mort et enterré, visiblement les Italiens ne sont pas au courant... et c'est tant mieux.

The traditional mystery is outdated and no one cares about it. That's what we're often told here in France, and the last local specialized imprint, Le Masque, converted to "modernity" over the last decade, leaving a wide gap that has yet to be filled. One might advice those doomsayers to check what's going on in Italy. Not only is the country's oldest mystery imprint, Giallo Mondadori, regularly reprinting classics of the genre but publisher Polillo started an imprint called "I Bassotti" (The Basset Hound) gathering the greatest names of the Golden Age from Anthony Berkeley to John Dickson Carr to Christianna Brand or J.J. Connington. As of the writing of this post I Bassotti has over 100 volumes, all well-chosen and exquisitely conceived. News of the traditional mystery's demise seem not to have reached Italian shores yet... luckily.

4 commentaires:

John a dit…

Wow, that's some list. Though I question the inclusion of Rufus Gilmore's silly EBONY BED MURDERS and ANYTHING by Cortland Fitzsimmons. Someone wasted his time translating those two books. Wish I could read Italian -- some of the titles included in this reprint series are very hard to find in the original English. Like the fabulous impossible crime novel INTO THIN AIR by Horatio Winslow and Leslie Quirk. There's a book deserving of a wide audience in ALL languages. And who is reprinting Milton Propper these days? I Bassotti, that's who! Bravo!

Dorte H a dit…

"The traditional mystery is outdated and no one cares about it."

Exactly my sentiment. I don´t care the least that the traditional mystery is outdated. I love reading and writing the genre just as much as I have always done ;)

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) a dit…

Excellent post Xavier - there are so many books that I have only ever been able to find in Italian editions (OBELSITS AT SEA being a prime example of a book people know abotu but which is really hard to get hold of - it's far and away the most accessed review on my blog). I wish I could read French properly!

Pietro a dit…

I am Italian and I love Mystery above all. Even more I love the Mystery Locked Room and Impossible Crimes.
On my blog I have reviewed many novels published by Mondadori, but also some Polillo. It must be said that the publishing house Polillo has published at the beginning, with other translations, several novels that were some years (many years) before, published by the Mondadori publishing house. Then, later, took his own way, began to publish novels, many never before seen in Italy. And novels by unknown writers ever, but certainly the younger generations were, if anything, being known to collectors like me: Baynard Kendrick, Arthur Upfield, Herbert Adams, Jefferson Farjeon, David Frome.
Absolutely, I would say that is a collection of medium-high, with some novels really hard to come by elsewhere: for example "First Night Murder" by F.G.Parke, "Into Thin Air," by Winslow & Quirk, "Dead Men Leave No Fingerprints" of Whitman Chambers, "Sealed-Room Murder" by Rupert Penny.