Passport to Crime
The Finest Mystery Stories
from International Crime Writers
edited by Janet Hutchings
" He was still smiling when he reached the
top of the stairs and the door to his room. No, Father would never
forget his birthday. The question was merely whether he would solve the
puzzle in time, because he hadn’t shown any sign of that yet.
The silk flowers, hadn't they provoked any spark of recognition? But
Father almost never talked about his work, at least never when Armin
was there. Did he mention his investigations in the bedroom, as he
gently pushed the satin camisole up over Mama's shoulders?"
Reviewed by Carol Reid
2003, Ellery Queen
Mystery Magazine launched a monthly series of
stories for which they had commissioned translations. Passport to Crime
presents twenty-six stories from that series and includes authors
widely available in English, such as the Dutch writer, Baantjer; other
contributors, such as Cuba's Luis Adrian Betancourt, have their first
English-language publication here.
Hutchings says in her introduction to the anthology:
"All the forms
of English-language crime fiction are represented, but
rendered in ways that reveal profound differences from the American or
Despite the series' admirable goal of broadening the reader's
experience with international writing, several of the stories chosen
for the anthology are deeply stained with the literary blood of British
and American grand masters of the genre. The opening and closing
stories are tributes to Poe and Ellery Queen. Shades of Conan Doyle and
John Dickson Carr appear elsewhere in its pages. But many of the
stories have a texture and substance which owes little to the old
traditions and which bring the reader into unfamiliar
are arranged in what Hutchings describes as
"globe-hopping order", to maximize a feeling of variety and
distinction. The language of the translations is occasionally awkward,
as in Boris Akunin's Table
Talk 1882, in which we learn that,
"In order to
inveigle Erast Petrovich into her salon the hostess had
had to bring off an extremely complex intrigue consisting of many
parts- an undertaking at which she was an unsurpassed mistress."
great majority of the translators seem to successfully decode the
nuances of the tongues represented here including Norwegian, German and
Japanese and transform the work into evocative and readable English.
Not surprisingly, the stories for which the original author provided or
assisted with translation achieved the most seamless results.
styles of crime fiction appear in fine form, from psychological
suspense to noir and hardboiled. The selections I found most memorable,
such as Mitsuhara Yuri's
Eighteenth Summer, and Beatrix Kramlovsky's
fall into a category of their own which transcends tradition
and genre. In general, the collection does lives up to claims that it
presents a different sensibility. The stories reflect a mutable system
of morality, in which justice is meted out on a sliding, rather than
Passport to Crime
succeeded in sparking me to seek out more work by
many of its contributors and expanded my interest in crime and
detective fiction written in the non-English speaking world.
Carol Reid has
enjoyed crime fiction since the first time she wandered from the
children's room into the adult section of the public library and picked
up her first Agatha Christie.
She lives a quiet, happy life in a small town on the west coast of
Canada and has never been caught digging in her garden after midnight.
Publisher: Carroll and Graf (Now owned by Perseus Books)
Publication Date:Jan 2007
Editor: Janet Hutchings
Summer by Mitsuhara Yuri and An Urban Legend Puzzle
by Norizuki Rintaro were co-winners of the 2002 Mystery Writers of
Japan award for best short story. Wedding
in Voerde by Gunter Gerlach
won the 2005 Friedrich Glauser prize for short fiction awarded by the
German Crime Writers' Association. Isaka Kotaro's The Precision of the
Agent of Death won the 2004 best short story prize from
Writers of Japan.
Authors: Fred Kassak,
Beatrix Kramlovsky, Boris Akunin, Ingrid Noll, Mitsuhara Yuri, Theo
Capel, Kjersti Scheen, Marco Denevi, Carmen Iarrera, Luis Adrian
Betancourt, Baantjer, Bertil Falk, Rubem Fonseca, Paul Halter, Daliso
Chaponda, Gunter Gerlach, Isaac Aisemberg, Richard Macker, Mischa Bach,
Rene Appel, Isaka Kotaro, Georgi Godpodinov, Jutta Motz, Dominque
Manotti, Frauke Schuster, Norizuki Rintaro
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