European crime fiction in the crosshairs

 

It seems... Hervé le Corre [n°1]

It seems that when he came into the bar he said hello but no one answered, perhaps because of the noise of the TV showing a game from the African Cup. He went to sit down at a table near the window next to some card players who were smoking and drinking tea and talking loudly and occasionally laughing noisily. There were other empty tables in the bar but he walked towards that corner and sat down heavily, looking tired, wrapped up in a parka jacket, his chin covered by green scarf. (...)

Lovely mummy Jean-Baptiste Baronian [n°2]

Claudine had already been at the Woluwé shopping centre for a while and she still hadn’t decided what to buy for her lovely mummy. Whatever she chose it wouldn’t be something too pricey – around 15 euros at the most. Just what she had managed to save out of her pocket money in the last six months. Having recently turned fourteen she hadn’t been able to save more. Besides she knew only too well that her parents had problems “making ends meet” – an expression that her dad often used and which, every time she heard it, made her squirm. Like the word “sex”; or the word “psychiatrist” which she associated, though she wasn’t sure why, with some mysterious and appalling illness. Was there a wonder cure to prevent you catching a “psychosis”? (...)

The House on Youngman Street Nadine Monfils [n°3]

Caroline hung around in the big house that she had lived in with her mother since she was three. It was too quiet for her. When people talked to her about her father, she pretended that she could not remember him. However, hidden under her mattress was the only photo she had of him. She recalled the day he died; since that day she had felt as if a trapdoor had tipped her into a life where the features were all just shades of black and white. Things that had once brightened up the walls had disappeared, leaving rectangular patches here and there on the yellowing paper. You could only guess at the objects that lay beneath the dusty layers. The floor was the only thing that occasionally benefited from the quick lick of a floor cloth. (...)

Ceylan's Compass (excerpt) Mariano Sanchez Soler [n°4]

Where in the past one could find the Mountain barracks and where now start the small steps of the Debod temple, I was called to a meeting with several labor organizers led by a Venezuelan man called Blackie who had, they said, participated in guerilla activity in his country. It was precisely there, on the deserted courtyard swept by a cold wind that went straight through to your soul, that Blackie told us that the object of this meeting was to prepare a string of robberies so that we could update our press office, in a sad state since May and in need of a new ‘supply’ of equipment. (...)

A Hard Operation Denis Leduc [n°4]

The exams were over and they were bored. All three of them. Leonie, the blonde. Anouk, the former punk whose hair still looked like she had been pulled through a hedge backwards. And Beatrice, the redhead. It was only Leonie who really belonged to the student community and had that special ability to fail exams every time but be exceptionally confident that next time she would pass them easily. Jealous girls and a legion of guys she had chucked suggested that really she was talking out of her arse, but Leonie didn't give a toss. (...)

In camera André-Paul Duchâteau [n°5]

My special talent is to invent closed room mysteries. Over a period of 20 years I have written about a thousand short stories that could be called either crime or science fiction - never fantasy – all with the aim of fulfilling my Cartesian desire to offer a rational and logical solution to the mysteries that I describe rather than a fantastic one.
I am a distinguished member of that group of writers of popular literature but only the good taste variety. You know that these stories deal with a crime usually committed in a hermetically sealed environment. One of the masterpieces of the genre is still The mystery of the yellow room created by the immortal Gaston Leroux. How it appeals to my senses the “sweet refrain of the sealed room mystery”…! (...)

Cicci of Scandicci Valerio Evangelist [n°4]

When I was alive, they called me Cicci, Cicci of Scandicci. Now I'd like you to have a look at a photo of me, and tell me if Cicci was a name for me. That's a name for faggots. I was never a faggot. I liked pussy. Maybe even too much, but in a healthy, pure, popular way. Like people do down my way, where the air is good and life is wholesome. Or at least it was, before the boars arrived.
I was as good as the air that I breathed. A hard worker, in the fields all day long, with my family in the evening. In our parts, family still means something. We have lived in the same way for centuries, in our little village on the hills (it wasn't Scandicci, although it was close by). We dug the earth, we drank a little, and we lived in harmony with our nearest and dearest. (...)

Corporeal Fluidity Valerio Evangelisti [n°6]

1. Has anybody ever said about you “He just looks like a criminal?” I've heard it said about me so many times that I've lost count, ever since my effigy has been held in place by a paper clip in a criminal record. What's paradoxical, is that, now that I'm dead, the only thing that's left of me is my face, destined to survive, for decades if not centuries, in the mug shot the police took when they arrested me. And for decades or for centuries anybody who sees that photo will repeat: “He just looks like a criminal”.
2. I didn't aspire to this semi-immortality. I found myself landed with it without having foreseen it. You'll say that's what happens normally with photos. (...)


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