THOSE PESKY FOREIGNERS DEPARTMENT




The P.I. Poll

Calling Out
Around The World
The Private Eye Goes Global




Nestor Burma. Cliff Hardy. Le poulpe. Anna Lee. Shanker Lal.

These are all private eyes. Very famous, very popular private eyes. And yet, you probably never heard of most of them. Hell, I hadn't either, until someone or another took the time to clue me in.

And now it's my turn to return the favour.

Let's face it, there's a whole world of private eyes out there most of us have never heard of. And maybe it's high time for us to get our heads out of our asses.
Isolationism sucks.

Yeah, the Hard-Boiled Private Eye is undeniably an American literary invention, ranking right up there with the cowboy and the comic book superhero. After all, the private eye, at least as we've come to understand the term, was born and bred in the pages of Black Mask and other American pulps way back in the 1920s and 30s, by such masters as Dashiell Hammett, Carroll John Daly, Erle Stanley Gardner, Raoul Whitfield and Raymond Chandler. Their heroes were hard-talking men with attitude to burn -- rougher, tougher versions of Holmes et al -- who were ready to speak the truth and willing to let the chips fall where they may.

But if attitude is really what separates the Sherlocks from the shamuses, then what it says on one's passport shouldn't count for squat.

And it doesn't. Just because most early hard-boiled private detective fiction was set in the U.S. (Whitfield's Jo Gar being a wonderful exception) that doesn't mean one has to have been American to write it, or even to read it. If names like, oh, Peter Corris, Didier Daeninckx, Sarah Dunant, Mark Timlin, Leo Malet, Jean-Patrick Manchette, Liza Cody, Jakob Arjourni, John Milne or Manuel Vázquez Montalbán don't ring any bells, maybe it's because you haven't been listening very hard.

Just as the P.I. has his roots in the literature of other cultures, so has the P.I. in turn been accepted into almost every culture in the world.

You name a country, and they've adapted the American gumshoe to tell their own stories. France, Australia, Spain, India, Canada, Norway, Germany, Mexico... you name it, and they've got a P.I. on hand who makes trouble their business.

Even better, plenty of these eyes are well-worth reading. I've read my share of them, and I'm telling you straight out, the U.S. does not have a monopoly on quality P.I.s. Those days are long gone.

In fact, some of the most interesting P.I. and hard-boiled crime fiction I've read lately are "foreign." The use of what is basically genre fiction adapted to fit a certain culture is one of the very best ways for a reader to get into that culture. And since the private eye genre has always a great tool for casting an unflinching eye on society, what better way to lift the lid on a culture, and get a real look at the works, than to tag along with a guy or gal who does it for a living?

So, in our P.I. Poll this time around, cobbled together with the much-appreciated help of our two-fisted fiction editor Gerald So, we'll be asking you all sorts of fun things about your favourite non-American eye. And for you "foreigners" out there (hey, I'm one), let's help get the show on the road by letting the Americans know what they're missing. We'll be discussing our faves, our raves and the close-shaves. Also the jerkies and the turkeys. I'm hoping this issue, we'll expand, and even blow a few minds.

This is the world calling, baby. Pick up the phone.

Vote now, and vote often! Feel free to skip stuff, or come back another day.

There's no need to be formal about it (it ain't that kinda site), but feel free to discuss your favourites and not-so favourites. And please feel free to disagree with other people's opinions. Just keep it clean, and no hitting below the belt.

I've asked for your name and e-mail and all that, but that's just for your comments. If I decide to quote you, I'd rather attribute it to someone, and I always get a kick out of how far flung my readers (visitors?) actually are.

Don't worry, I'm not compiling some mailing list for some nefarious marketing survey or something -- it's entirely optional. And please be patient.

I will, however, be compiling the results, and posting your comments, suggestions and opinions and stuff here so you can see what other folks have already said...

So, sit down and relax. We'd just like to ask you a few questions. You have the right to remain silent...

But that would be boring.

Read the results (so far)...

NOTE: Not to be a chauvinist or anything, but when I say FOREIGN, I mean NON-AMERICAN.
And when I say NON-AMERICAN, I mean NOT FROM THE U.S.A.


YOUR NAME

E-MAIL

WHERE YOU'RE FROM (JUST' CUZ IT'S FUN)

 

YOUR FAVOURITE FOREIGN EYE OF ALL TIME?
And where they're from...

YOUR FAVOURITE FOREIGN EYE SERIES OF ALL TIME?

YOUR FAVOURITE FOREIGN PRIVATE EYE WRITER
OF ALL TIME?
And why?

THE WORST FOREIGN P.I. YOU'VE EVER READ?
.

THE BEST FOREIGN EYE
THAT NOBODY ELSE SEEMS TO HAVE EVEN HEARD OF?

FOREIGN P.I. NOVEL OR SERIES
THAT SHOULD BE TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH?

BEST P.I. TRANSLATIONS TO OR FROM ENGLISH

WORST P.I. TRANSLATIONS TO OR FROM ENGLISH

BEST FISH OUT OF WATER P.I.

KING/QUEEN OF THE ROAD
BEST P.I. CONSTANTLY ON THE MOVE)

YOU'RE GETTING WARM
P.I.s IN TROPICAL LOCALES

YOU'RE GETTING COLD
(OPPOSITE OF THE ABOVE)

WHAT YOU LIKE ABOUT FOREIGN EYES

WHAT YOU DISLIKE ABOUT FOREIGN EYES

STUMP THE EDITOR!
NAME A FOREIGN PRIVATE EYE
NOT IN MY
ALPHABETICAL LISTINGS,
AND YOU MIGHT WIN A COPY
OF
ICED OR DOWN THESE WICKED STREETS.
AND TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT HIM OR HER...

FURTHER COMMENTS?

 
(Reset)

 (Send)

I'll start posting the results soon....

ATTENTION: AOL and HOTMAIL USERS
If your browser/e-mail account doesn't support mail-to forms,
or you haven't configured them properly,
just e-mail me your answers, suggestions and comments.

By the way, everyone please note that
I'm doing this manually, so please be patient.
I generally update the site every coupla days.

Read the results!
(so far...)


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