Review – Foreign Bodies

Posted July 1, 2024 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Review – Foreign Bodies

Foreign Bodies

by Martin Edwards (editor)

Genres: Crime, Mystery
Pages: 288
Series: British Library Crime Classics
Rating: three-stars

Today, translated crime fiction is in vogue - but this was not always the case. A century before Scandi noir, writers across Europe and beyond were publishing detective stories of high quality. Often these did not appear in English and they have been known only by a small number of experts. This is the first ever collection of classic crime in translation from the golden age of the genre in the 20th century. Many of these stories are exceptionally rare, and several have been translated for the first time to appear in this volume. Martin Edwards has selected gems of classic crime from Denmark to Japan and many points in between. Fascinating stories give an insight into the cosmopolitan cultures (and crime-writing traditions) of diverse places including Mexico, France, Russia, Germany and the Netherlands.

Foreign Bodies, edited as usual by Martin Edwards, is an interesting addition to the British Library Crime Classics series. The series normally focuses on British work or at least work published in English, but this series of short stories is from the same era but in translation, by a range of writers that are much less familiar.

It was an interesting choice, and it was fascinating to see some familiar tropes and themes from a slightly different angle. I was horrified at the punctuation of two of the stories, and I don’t understand why it wasn’t edited — when you’re writing dialogue, the punctuation goes inside the quotation marks. It was really jarring to read. I don’t mean to be prescriptivist, but it jumps out because it’s so far out of the ordinary.

A fascinating collection, though to those who are purists about what should be included in the British Library Crime Classics series, undoubtedly an annoying aberration.

Rating: 3/5

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