All good things must come to an end. So does this blog. I know my few but faithful readers will be shocked at the news but hopefully they will understand that intellectual honesty leaves me no other choice. My views on mystery fiction have dramatically evolved over the last weeks.
It all began when I re-read Julian Symons's Bloody Murder which I hadn't read for a long time. To my surprise I found his stance less irritating, and some of his arguments struck me as sound. I was troubled - to say the least. I followed with Chandler's Simple Art of Murder and my reaction was the same - I found myself in almost complete agreement with him even as he eviscerated some of my favorite writers. How could it be?
I thought revisiting the classics would bring me back to my sense. Alas! Quite the opposite happened. I found Christie boring and repetitive, Carr annoyingly unrealistic and mechanical; better not to say what I thought of Queen, Sayers or Marsh. Painful as it was, I had to admit Chandler and Symons had been right all along: Golden Age fiction just wasn't that good.
Still, I didn't want to give up on mystery fiction as a whole. So I tried other sub-genres I had thus neglected such as hardboiled and noir - and then came another surprise. I discovered that I liked those stories of tough guys and femmes fatales, the sparse writing, the unflinchingness in confronting the evils of society and the darkest side of life. Noir in particular was a revelation to me with authors like James Ellroy (whom I used to despise) and Jim Thompson suddenly becoming favorites of mine - I couldn't get enough of their stuff! I also reconciled myself with the French school of noir fiction: For years I had dissed the likes of Jean-Bernard Pouy or Didier Daeninckx and now I found they were actually terrific writers whose talent easily eclipsed those of my former favorites. Noir was the real thing! How could I have ignored it for so long?
So I'm closing on the doors of The Villa Rose but I'm not quitting blogging. I'm launching a new blog devoted to noir fiction, which I'll name The Dark Palace to keep some kind of a continuity with this one - it's always about houses! I'm aware many of my readers won't like my new stance but hey, that's just the way I feel and I can't change that.
My new blog.
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