European crime fiction in the crosshairs
n°4 February-March-april 2006

 

>> Reviews

Crime Time
(British specialist magazine)

Etienne Borgers
Translation: Sue Neale and E.Borgers

 

Since 1998 this publication has presented readers with news and articles dedicated to crime fiction and related areas.

Besides reviews of newly published books, interviews with authors, and features on specific topics related to this area of literary production, there are also articles about crime films and their directors, newly published DVDs, and more recently on TV crime series.

Columns are by Maxim Jakubowski (founder of “Murder One” the famous London crime bookshop, reviewer, editor, publisher and author), Russell James (a well-respected British author of noir novels) and Mike Ashley (a specialist in genre literature, editor and essayist). The rest of the magazine features articles by occasional collaborators, such as Max-Allan Collins in the latest issue, or regulars like Mark Campbell and Barry Forshaw (the magazine editor).

More and more recently they have published larger dossiers centring on a topic or an author. Sometimes a special issue is devoted to a particular theme. Most recently these have been on Eric Ambler (n°45) and Batman (n°46 – latest issue at the time of this review).

Crime Time is published 5 times a year.

Each issue of Crime Time is full of interesting content, and the subjects tackled are chosen from a broad area, sometimes even dipping a foot into the rather uncharted corners of crime literature and its history. Articles are always based on solid research and thus the magazine, always responsive to change, constitutes a valuable source of information and analysis of the crime genre. In addition, being in English allows readers to discover authors who seldom visit countries where English is not the dominant languages. Among recent authors who have given interesting interviews are Ian Rankin, PD James, Michael Connelly, Colin Bateman. These interviews are a real bonus for foreigners reading English.

Even though all crime and mystery genres are investigated in the articles, a significant number are devoted to noir and neo-noir novels, or other similar types. The present revival of the noir genre in Britain and Ireland is certainly one of the reasons for noir being well represented in Crime Time. This particularly applied to talented authors like: Ian Rankin, David Peace, Colin Bateman, Ken Bruen, Mark Billingham, Nicholas Blincoe, Russel James or Mark Timlin.

The magazine is illustrated mainly in black and white with photos and book covers and this is adequate as the rather small format of the magazine (13x19.5 cm) and length (96 pages) does not allow for sophisticated page layouts, but their design is clear and efficient. Economic constraints are clearly the reason for this. The broad perspective of this magazine ranges from whodunits and classic British detective fiction to contemporary noir novels and also includes thrillers and best-selling crime fiction, though they are mostly from English language writers . This particular orientation, though understandable, is unfortunate as there seems to be a lack of interest for crime fiction in translation. It is only from time to time that there are indeed some topics devoted to foreign crime fiction. One instance is the special issue devoted to Simenon (inevitably) – though he is a well-known writer who has been published in translation from the early in his writing career. Also there was a “special” file in n°37 where a few authors already translated into English like Mankell, Lucarelli, Vargas, Indridason Arnaldur were featured.. Or more recently, an article on English translators who compared their experiences in dealing with foreign authors (French, Swedish, etc.). In addition, in the book review section foreign novels in translation are rarely featured. In defence of Crime Time, however, though it is true to say that English language publishers find little room for foreign authors (that is those not writing in English), it should be noted that in Britain crime fiction publishers are more open to foreign books. In America , on the contrary, publishers as a general rule are totally uninterested in this area.

Crime Time is very good specialist journal, throwing light in an intelligent manner on English language crime and mystery writing, writers and their publications. The wide range of articles in each issue is of prime interest for aficionados. And for others too.

 

General Information

CRIME TIME

Oldcastle Books
P O Box 394
Harpenden
AL5 1XJ
( England )
tel: +44 1582 761 264
fax: +44 1582 712244

Price for each issue: £4.99 (online price)

Subscription for 1 year (5 issues)
- UK £20
- Europe : £30
-Rest of the world: £40
(refer to the Crime Time Web site for detailed information and contacts through e-mail)

 

Web site: www.crimetime.co.uk
(a Web site well stocked with: summaries of all the existing issues of the “paper” magazine, interviews, some bios of authors, reviews of novels, a few articles – and the subscription conditions).


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