French crime fiction
Cambridge University Press
59 - 76
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The Cambridge companion to crime fiction
‘The detection of crime is evidently not an art that has been cultivated in England.’ ‘Our Detective Police’, Chambers Journal, 1884. It is not for nothing that Moriarty was otherwise known as the Napoleon of crime, that Poe's Chevalier Dupin invented ratiocination from a comfortable armchair in a darkened room in Paris, or, for that matter, that Sherlock Holmes takes such pains to scoff at the French police, notably a certain detective named Lecoq, who, he claims, 'was a miserable bungler'. French contributions to the development of crime fiction, in particular the detective story, are significant in the sense that one cannot conceive of the developments in nineteenth-century English detective fiction without them. Holmes's arrogance towards the continental police, notably the French, nevertheless bespeaks a certain amount of insecurity with regard to the fearsome reputation of the French police established during Fouchè's reign of terror under Napoleon, a reputation further consolidated throughout the nineteenth century. © Cambridge University Press 2003 and Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Published Version (Please cite this version)https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521803993.005