For parents, who like their gore with a little flair: a literary quiz, “How well do you know your crime fiction?”
When it comes to murder and mystery, are you a whizz… or a dud? Twenty questions to test your knowledge!
Alain Fisette is an author and poet. Born in Ville LeMoyne in 1955, he lives in Montréal. Fisette studied literature at l’Université du Québec à Montréal. He has published poems and criticism in various literary journals, including Hobo-Québec. Fisette was an engaged contributor to the development of the arts and cultural industries for nearly 25 years.
How well do you know your detective novels?
Edgar Allan Poe is usually credited as the inventor of detective fiction. Which work garnered him the title?
a) The Gold-Bug
b) The Fall of the House of Usher
c) The Purloined Letter
d) The Murders in the Room Morgue
Which of the following detective novelists has been included in the famous “Bibliothèque de La Pléiade” of Éditions Gallimard?
a) Agatha Christie
b) Fred Vargas
c) Georges Simenon
d) Arthur Conan Doyle
Of the following Agatha Christie novels, which does not feature Hercule Poirot?
a) The Big Four
b) Five Little Pigs
c) The Moving Finger
d) Death in the Clouds
Black Mask magazine was started in the United States in 1923. Many famous authors who contributed to it thus contributed to the emergence of noir fiction, where the solution to the intrigue often supports a pessimistic, violent worldview. Which Dashiell Hammett novel was the first to be serialized in Black Mask?
a) The Maltese Falcon
b) Red Harvest
c) The Big Sleep
d) The Big Knockover
Raymond Chandler is not only considered a great detective novelist but also a great novelist period, genre be damned. Philip Marlowe, his cynical, disabused hero, was portrayed by Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, James Garner and Dick Powell on the silver screen. During his career, Chandler adapted a number of his peers’ works for film. Which of the following detective novelists did not see their work adapted by Chandler?
a) Patricia Highsmith
b) James Cain
c) Rachel Field
d) Dashiell Hammett
In the early 1950’s, Auguste Le Breton and Albert Simonin took the French detective novel by storm. Simonin was then considered the master of the crime novel. He wrote two trilogies: Max le Menteur and Le Hotu. Which of the following works is not part of the Max le Menteur trilogy?
a) Don’t Touch the Dough (Touchez pas au grisbi)
b) A bullet in the Chamber (Une balle dans le canon)
c) Dough or No Dough (Grisbi or not grisbi)
d) The Sucker Rebels (Le cave se rebiffe)
Born in 1933 in Brooklyn, New York, Donald E. Westlake was a writer and screenwriter renowned for his sense of humour… and his pseudonyms. Under the pen name Richard Stark, he published the adventures of Parker, a violent thief. As Tucker Coe, he wrote about Mitch Tobin, a cop dismissed for gross misconduct. Under his own name, he gave life to fatalistic thief John Dortmunder. He is also the author of The Ax, adapted for the big screen by Costa-Gavras. How many known pseudonyms did Douglas E. Westlake employ in publishing his work?
Pierre Daigneault portrays Père Ovide in Les Belles Histoires des pays d’en haut, a television drama series based on the novel Un homme et son péché. Under the pseudonym Pierre Saurel, Daigneault published hundreds of stories and detective novels. Which of the heroes listed below was not a Pierre Saurel creation?
a) Max Beaumont
b) The one-armed man (Le manchot)
c) Albert Brien
In 1973, publisher and printer Guérin created the “Le Cadavre Exquis” imprint, which published avant-gardist detective novels. It published, among other titles, Sexe pour sang, as well as Meurtres à blanc, Yolande Villemaire’s first novel. Which Quebec poet edited this imprint?
a) Gaston Miron
b) Gilbert Langevin
c) Louis Geoffroy
d) Renaud Longchamps
Quebec seems to be a recurring inspiration for detective novelists. Of the authors listed below whose investigations have been set in Quebec, only one was born in the province. Which one?
a) Louise Penny
b) Johanne Seymour
c) Kathy Reichs
d) Florence Meney
Didier Daeninckx is a French novelist born in 1949 in Saint-Denis, north-east of Paris. He is a renowned representative of the socio-political detective novel. His first novels set the scene for Inspector Cadin, who, from one investigation to next, is sent to various French cities. Which Didier Daeninckx novel is set in Paris and Toulouse?
a) Dead the First Go Round (Mort au premier tour)
b) Murders for the Record (Meurtres pour mémoire)
c) The Unfinished Giant (Le Géant inachevé)
d) The Executioner and his Double (Le bourreau et son double)
How many times was Fred Vargas awarded the Trophée 813 for best francophone detective novel?
Not unlike Daniel Pennac, Tonino Benacquista gave the detective genre a few masterpieces before seeking out new literary horizons. A great connoisseur of the human soul, he succeeds in moving the reader as well as making them laugh. Of the titles listed below, which is set in the visual arts world?
a) The Misdeal of the Sleeping Cars (La Maldonne des sleepings)
b) Three Squares on a Black Background (Trois carrés rouges sur fond noir)
c) The Losers’ Commedia (La Commedia des ratés)
d) The Bites of Dawn (Les Morsures de l’aube)
During the 1970’s and 1980’s, a few authors breathed new life into the English detective novel. Derek Raymond, better known as Robin Cook outside of the United Kingdom, was among them. In the English-speaking world, the writer used the pseudonym Derek Raymond in light of the immense popularity of American novelist Robin Cook, a medical crime story specialist and the author of Coma. In one of the English Robin Cook’s novels, the killer chops up his victim, boils the remains, and then leaves them lined up in bags against a wall in the warehouse. Which novel is this?
a) The Crust on Its Uppers
b) He Died with his Eyes Open
c) How the Dead Live
d) The Devil’s Home on Leave
Dennis Lehane is a American master of the detective novel. Among his works, Mystic River, Shutter Island and Gone Baby Gone were all runaway hits on the big screen. The heroes of his first five novels are Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro. When in a tight spot, they often call on Bubba, a friend as ill-reputed as he is loyal. What is Bubba’s full name?
a) Bubba Rogowski
b) Bubba Laplante
c) Bubba Gump
d) Bubba Zemeckis
Joe Pickett is a game warden in the state of Wyoming. He’s one of the best-known investigator characters of C.J. Box, whose novels’ plots foreground respect for the natural world. Of the following assertions about Joe Pickett, which is false?
a) He is a vegetarian
b) He is a bad marksman
c) He once issued a fine to the Governor of Wyoming
d) He goes through a great many state vans
Nordic detective novels are all the rage with French publishers. Of the following detective novelist, which is a Swedish national?
a) Ake Edwarson
b) Arnaldur Indridason
c) Gunnar Staalesen
d) Jussi Adler Olsen
A number of South-African detective novelists (Roger Smith, Mike Nicol, Wessel Ebersohn) reached new heights, popularity-wise, in the 2000’s. But none described the climate of corruption reigning over South Africa better than Deon Meyer. Of the following characters, which one was not created by Meyer?
a) Benny Griessel
b) Pylon Buso
c) Mat Joubert
d) Vaughn Cupido
We know little about Australian detective novelists. Of the following authors, which one showed a particular interest in Australia’s indigenous peoples?
a) Pete Corris
b) Jane Harper
c) Emily Maguire
d) Arthur Upfield
Curious fact: a certain detective novelist is also a fictional character in the works of a great author of American noir fiction. What is the name of the detective novelist in question?
a) Tana French
b) Megan Abbott
c) Alafair Burke
d) Gillian Flynn
CAREFUL – ANSWERS
1. d) The Murders in the Room Morgue
Edgar Allan Poe was declared the inventor of the detective novel with the publication of “The Murders in the Room Morgue” in 1841. The work introduces knight Auguste Dupin.
2. c) Georges Simenon.
3. c) The Moving Finger. The main character of this 1942 novel is Jane Marple, better known as Miss Marple.
4. b) Red Harvest.Published in 1929, Red Harvest is Dashiell Hammett’s first novel published in Black Mask. “The Big Knockover” was published in 1927, but it is a short story. The Big Sleep is a Raymond Chandler novel.
5. d) Dashiell Hammett.
6. b) A bullet in the Chamber (Une balle dans le canon). Published in 1958, this novel continued the Max le Menteur trilogy. Les Tontons flingueurs is a film adaptation of Simonin’s Grisbi or not grisbi.
7. c) 17.
8. a) Max Beaumont. The Les Exploits fantastiques de Max Beaumont series was written by Maurice Lenoir. Notably, Pierre Saurel sold over 600,000 copies of his Manchot (one-armed man) adventures.
9. c) Louis Geoffroy. This author had the life of a bonafide noir fiction hero. Anarchist poet, film buff, jazz and erotica fan, he died in 1977 in a fire at his apartment, a cigarette between his fingers. Among his publications, Le Saint rouge et la Pécheresse (Éditions du Jour, 1970), LSD voyage (Éditions québécoises, 1974) et Être ange étrange (Éditions Danielle Laliberté, 1974).
10. b) Johanne Seymour. Louise Penny was born in Ontario, Kathy Reichs in the United States, and Florence Meney in France.
11. b) Murders for the Record (Meurtres pour mémoire). This Didier Daeninckx won the Grand prix de littérature policière in 1985. It invokes the sad day of October 17, 1961, when the Parisian police massacred 400 French Muslims during a peaceful protest.
12. c) 4. Fred Vargas was born in Paris in 1957. She was awarded the Trophée 813 for best francophone detective novel for L’Homme à l’envers in 1999, Pars vite et reviens tard in 2002, Sous les vents de Neptune in 2004, and Dans les bois éternels in 2006. No other author has won the award as many times.
13. b) Three Squares on a Black Background (Trois carrés rouges sur fond noir). An art hanger in a gallery, the main character finds himself missing an arm after pursuing a criminal in vain.
14. d) The Devil’s Home on Leave. This work was brought to the screen by Laurent Heynemann, based on a screenplay by Bertrand Tavernier. Jean-Pierre Marielle and Jean-Pierre Bisson starred in the main roles.
15. a) Bubba Rogowski. Of course, Bubba Gump is a nod to Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump, starring Tom Hanks.
16. a) He was a vegetarian. Joe Pickett, his wife Marybeth, and his daughters Sheridan, April and Lucy are all great carnivores. At the Pickett table, game is often on the menu, particularly elk.
17. a) Ake Edwarson. Gunnar Staalesen is Norwegian, Arnaldur Indridason is Icelandic, whereas Jussi Adler Olsen is Danish.
18. b) Pylon Buso. Accompanied by Mace Bishop, Pylon Buso is one of the heroes of a Mike Nicol detective novel series. Among these, Payback and Killer Country.
19. d) Arthur Upfield. Born in England in 1890, Arthur Upfield died in Australia in 1964. Arriving in Australia in 1910, he lived most of his life down under. He is credited with pioneering the ethnographic detective novel. Born to an indigenous mother and an unknown European father, his fictional mixed-race detective is called… Napoleon Bonaparte. Bony for short.
20. c) Alafair Burke. Here, I can recognize the answer is a tricky one. Novelist Alafair Burke is the daughter of James Lee Burke, famed creator of the epic Dave Robichaux saga. Truth be told, the daughter of Dave Robichaux in the Burke novels is Alafair Robichaux, not Alafair Burke. But don’t we say that a novelist’s characters are a little bit their children? It is worth noting the character of Alafair Robichaux grows up as the novels progress. In the last James Lee Burke novels, she’s studying in university, just like Alafair Burke at the time. Alasfair Burke’s novel The Wife is being adapted for the screen by Amazon Studios.