The police novels have, among many other benefits, the characteristic of always guaranteeing a moment of entertaining, captivating reading. If someone does not know what book to buy, and also has little money, the police is usually the best option. The offer is ample and a safe bet. It never fails.
Already in subject, and beyond the psychological thrillers of John Katzenbach as the psychoanalyst or the Millennium Saga of Stieg Larsson-for putting two mega events of this century-, the police is a genre full of gems and edges, with many styles, schools and a world of diversi and diversity to explore.
We propose a journey through the history of the police through 10 classics that are fundamental pillars of a genre badly called minor and that includes masterpieces of universal literature.
- 1 The crimes of the Morgue Street, by Edgar Allan Poe
- 2 Study in Scarlet, of Arthur Conan Doyle
- 3 The mysterious case of styles, by Agatha Christie
- 4 The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett
- 5 The talent of Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith
- 6 The spy who emerged from the cold, John le Carré
- 7 The dogs of Riga, of Henning Mankell
- 8 The Ice princess, by Camilla Läckberg
- 9 Tattoo, by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán
- 10 Sad, lonely and final, by Osvaldo Soriano
The crimes of the Morgue Street, by Edgar Allan Poe
If the theory of the Big Bang was applied to the police genre, it would have to be said that the origin of the expansion of that universe was the unsurpassed genius of Poe. Specifically with these stories, published in 1841. Then it followed with the mystery of Marie Rogêt (1842-1843) and the Stolen Letter (1844), three undisputed classics, still original with the passage of the centuries.
The protagonist in all is Auguste Dupin, the first fictional researcher who solves crimes through clues with which he reaches brilliant deductions. Thus, the reader follows the case up to the extraordinary explanation of the end. He’s not a detective, he’s just very smart. He lives in Paris with a friend, who is the anonymous narrator of his adventures. The format, clearly, was the model in which it was inspired shortly after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to create Sherlock Holmes.
The crimes of the Morgue Street, where he has to solve the murder of a mother and daughter whose bodies appear in an apartment in Paris is, also, the first mystery of “closed room “, which then would lead to his Pico de Gloria Agatha Christie.
Study in Scarlet, of Arthur Conan Doyle
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and his companion, Dr. John Watson, were a saga, but not as long as could be supposed to see the footprint they left in the world. The Scottish writer reached him with four novels and Fifty-six stories compiled in five books to break into the scene of the crime.
This, the first story, of 1887, has two parts. In one it is narrated how they are known and who are the protagonists, the eccentric investigator and his henchman. In the other, the first enigma to solve is recounted: A man killed in a room full of blood, but without any wound.
Were the absolute beginnings of the genre, so sometimes the incredible genius of the detective is a bit unlikely, or draws conclusions thanks to data that the reader did not, but is always great. Far from any other, besides murder, there is a plot that includes polygamy and vengeance. All sprinkled with the fine British irony of Holmes. Or, rather, Conan Doyle.
The mysterious case of styles, by Agatha Christie
The TWENTIETH century update of the English current of the police has an absolute queen: Agatha Christie. She maximized the outline of the purely intellectual resolution of a crime, which happens in a closed room and at first glance seems impossible. Christie is the creator of Hercules Poirot and Mrs. Marple, two of the most famous police recurring characters in the world.
Published in 1920, the novel raises The Riddle of a millionaire found dead in his room, a heart attack or poisoning. All the inhabitants of the mansion have a motive for wanting to kill her, who was it? It is the first story of, a little unbearable but always effective, Poirot, who arrives to solve the case. Curious fact: His last appearance was in Curtain, of 1975, where he dies. It was just a year before the death of her author. Poirot, moreover, is the only fictional protagonist who had his own royal obituary in the New York Times. On August 6, 1975, the prestigious daily published: “Hercules Poirot is dead; Famous Belgian detective”.
The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett
Here begins the American School of Black novel, forged in the days of the Great Depression. The sub-genre that opened the game to other points of view, also that of the criminal in several cases, was invented by Raymond Chandler with his detective Philip Marlowe (made icon in the cinema represented by the swingeing Humphrey Bogart and Robert Mitchum), Carroll John Daly With his Race Williams (less popular, but without doubt the most imitated) and Hammet, with his unmatched Sam Spade, through which he put on the table the realism and psychology of the characters to tell, in addition to an enigma, a realism gritty that works , too, as a social complaint.
This novel, published in 1930, happens in San Francisco, where a handful of criminals look for a face statuette, a lost or stolen jewel, and it is a fight of clever bestialities. Private detective Sam Spade moves in that hostile world with expertise, at the request of a client as sensual as it is mysterious. The story came to the cinema by John Huston in 1941 and became a classic immediately. The protagonist, of course, was the tough Humphrey Bogart.
The talent of Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith
The Divine and talented American writer was touring Europe thanks to the success of her first book, Strangers on a train, from 1950, which Alfred Hitchcock took to the cinema a year later. During that trip he devised Tom Ripley, his character as charming as outside the norm of the moral of the time, with which he armed one of the best sagas of mystery in the world, in just five novels. The first in the series is 1955 and won the Crime Literature Grand Prix, as well as being nominated for Edgar.
Neither detective nor police nor investigator, Ripley is a charming thief, a intelligent swindler and, occasionally, if he has no choice, a murderer. It has its own system of values and it is easy to enter into its logic, to be fond, to accompany the plot from its point of view.
The spy who emerged from the cold, John le Carré
The undisputed British master of the specific subgenus with spies, absolute master of suspense and intrigue, brightened the tales of espionage set in the time of the Cold War, many starring agent George Smiley, who in this novel of 1963, He’s just a secondary character. The protagonist is an English spy, Alec Leamas, who has to carry out an operation against the head of counter-espionage of East Germany.
In 2006, Publishers Weekly magazine chose it as the best spy novel of all time. And it has, of course, its adaptation for the cinema, with a film of 1965 of Martin Ritt and Richard Burton in the main role. A gem full of prizes worth seeing, yes: after reading the novel.
The dogs of Riga, of Henning Mankell
The Inspector Kurt Wallander is one of the modern protagonists of intriguing novels more compelling and its author, the Swede Mankell, one of the pillars of the so vogue of the Nordic police.
They are twelve impeccable black novels, with a case in each, that make up a beautiful unit, along which is becoming known and unveiling, increasingly, a character who, unlike the hard Americans, crosses the noir with sensitivity, a little dejected , tired of so much work and wanting to retire.
In this, the second novel of the Saga, published in 1992, Wallander travels to Latvia, amid a peak of stress due to personal problems, to investigate the murder of two men, who arrived dead in a boat to the Swedish coast. His rant is how to unveil this crime while his divorce still hurts, when he feels he abandoned his old father, when he does not understand the evil of the world. And it is from that distance, with his strange gaze of things, that he manages to tie some capes. But never those of his life.
The Ice princess, by Camilla Läckberg
This Swedish writer, only 42 years old, is one of the fundamental pieces of the Nordic police and manages as few suspense. His first novel (of 2002) was published in more than 30 countries, had his Spanish translation only in 2006. Since then it has 10 books of the genre, one of stories, three for boys and even two of kitchen.
The ice Princess has autobiographical elements, as it happens in the town where Läckberg grew up, and the protagonist is a writer, Erica. The young woman returns after many years and ends up involved in a gruesome story, where the suspects are her childhood playmates and the victim, her friend Alex. In a precise mix of small town secrets with police, the tension grows chapter by chapter and, really, the end is as unexpected as perfect. An engineering watch.
Tattoo, by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán
From the Iberian Peninsula to the world, appears a classic classics: is the detective Pepe Carvalho, protagonist of many novels and stories of the writer Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, deceased in 2013.
As in other cases of Saxon noir, the character is a tough one who, while solving crimes, gives the author the perfect excuse to make his social critique and show the political and cultural situation of the Spanish society of the last half of the TWENTIETH century.
This is the first novel, 1974 in which the former CIA agent, who was born literary as a secondary character in I killed Kennedy, is the protagonist. A skeptical and acidic Galician, who is not deprived, anyway, of worldly pleasures, sex and gastronomy above all. The case to be solved is a corpse with a disfigured face, but a tattoo that allows to recognize it, which appears on a beach in Barcelona. It’s mystery and Social Chronicle. A short, quick-reading novel with an unexpected ending.
Sad, lonely and final, by Osvaldo Soriano
The police in Argentina has its feat of the hand of Borges and Bioy, as a beautiful two-headed monster called Honorio Bustos Domecq, with several good stories detectivescos, more than the British school American.
The problem was, for a long time, that it is not easy for the local reader to empathize or to see “The good” with police actors. On the side of the black novel was finding the way, from the crude stories of Rodolfo Walsh to the current saga of journalist Verónica Rosenthal of Sergio Olguín or private crimes and scenes that weaves Claudia Piñeiro, among many others.
In his first novel, of 1973, the writer and journalist Osvaldo Soriano makes a game, which pays homage and at the same time proposes a path, leaves traces, feels bases. The story has an interesting combination of epic with a sense of humour: a Soriano become a character, entangled in a plot that includes Stan Laurel (the “skinny ” of “Laurel and Hardy “) Hiring the services of Philip Marlowe, the private detective Fictitious created by Raymond Chandler, to find out why Hollywood condemned him to oblivion.. Curiosity: The title of the novel is a nod to Raymond Chandler, who in the long goodbye wrote: ‘ til the Sight friend. I’m not saying goodbye. I told you when I had some meaning. I told you when I was sad, lonesome and final.