One of the many knowledgeable commenters on the blog, Simon Clarke, has alerted me to a series of books about European crime fiction being published by the University of Wales. First up is:
French Crime Fiction
This first volume in the European crime fictions series acts as an introduction to crime writing in French. It presents the development of crime fiction in French cultures from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day and explores the distinctive features of a French-language tradition. Such discussion will be grounded in the study of novels by selected French-speaking writers, some of whom have an established international reputation, such as Georges Simenon, whilst others may be relatively unknown, such as Léo Malet.
Each chapter will examine a specific period, movement or group of writers, as well as engaging with broader debates over the contribution crime fiction makes more generally to contemporary French and European culture. All extracts in French will be translated into English. The book is written in an accessible style without assuming previous knowledge of crime fiction novels and their development in France, thus the title will appeal to undergraduates and also to the general, informed reader of crime fiction.
(This is due to be published in April 2009, £75 for a hardback edition.)
This is to be followed by Italian Crime Fiction:
This book constitutes an introduction to crime writing in Italian from its first development in the 1930s to the present day. It explores the distinctive features of the Italian tradition, such as the close links with the American and French tradition and the social commentary which characterises much crime fiction in Italian in the post-war period. This study focuses on novels by selected Italian writers, some of whom have an established international reputation, such as Leonardo Sciascia and Umberto Eco, whilst others may be relatively unknown, such as the new generation of crime writers of the Bologna school, and analyses the contribution crime fiction makes more generally to contemporary Italian and European culture. The book will be written in an accessible style aimed at undergraduates and does not assume any previous knowledge of Italian Crime Fiction. And will also appeal to the general, informed reader. All extracts in Italian will be translated into English.
(Currently listed on amazon for March 2010)
And hopefully appearing this year: Criminal Scandinavia: Nordic Crime Fiction. The information from Simon is that: "It's edited by Andrew Nestingen and Paula Arvas and will contain some great essays on contemporary Scandinavian writers such as Mankell, Marklund, Nesser, Holt, Indridason while also remembering the work of Sjowall and Wahloo".
The website does list a paperback version for the Italian volume at a more modest £16.99 but if your library has no plans to stock these books then an Inter-Library Loan is always worth a go. The fee is currently £2.50, refundable if the book is unobtainable..