Sue Neale: Contemporary French crime fiction – a search for the hidden with particular reference to Sous les vents de Neptune by Fred Vargas

Searching the web I’ve come across this article that you may download from here. I thought it might be of your interest. (Caution: There are spoilers in part III).

In this article, I would like to consider the hidden and visible in contemporary crime fiction, and to look more closely at the work of Fred Vargas and how she plays with the hidden and the visible in her latest novel, Sous les vents de Neptune. Before discussing her work in more detail, I will give an overview of the genre as everyone may not be familiar with it. After this, I will consider how French crime fiction differs from the dominant American and British variants. I can then elaborate what Vargas does in her novels (that she labels as rompols, a variation on the general French term, romans policiers) and how she uses the hidden and visible to create what Sara Poole calls ‘mini proto-mythes’.

Sous les vents de Neptune (2004) was published in English under the title: Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand in 2007. Spanish title: Bajo los vientos de Neptuno (Siruela 2006).