Although P. D James focus mainly on British detective fiction, she does not forget to mention their American counterparts, mainly Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and her favourite in the triumvirate of best-known hard-boiled authors, Ross MacDonald. Without forgetting to mention Sara Parestky, for her the most remarkable of the moderns.
However, her list of translated authors, is much more reduced. But one deserves the following words, which I fully subscribe:
‘Among foreign detective writers, Georges Simenon, one of the most highly regarded and influential of twentieth-century crime novelists, has been available in English for decades. We look to Simenon for a strong narrative, a setting which is brilliantly and sensitively evoked, a cast in which every character, however minor, is uniquely alive, psychological accuracy and an empathy with the secret lives of apparently ordinary men and women in a style which combines economy of the words with strength and elegance, and which has given him a literary reputation rare among crime novelists. Inevitably, despite the apparent simplicity of style, he is a novelist who loses much in translation, but he still exerts an influence over the modern detective story.’