• European crime fiction: The novels of Fred Vargas and Andrea Camilleri

      West, Sue (University of Chester, 2013-11)
      This dissertation considers the crime fiction of French writer, Fred Vargas and Italian writer, Andrea Camilleri. It places them in the context of the current growing popularity of crime fiction as a literary genre and their place in the literary history of their respective countries; in France, the Roman Noir and in Italy, the Gailla. It discusses in particular the key elements in their crime fiction which differentiates it from other contemporary European crime writers, particularly from Scandinavia. The use of myth, legend and fairy tales, a unique feature in the novels of Fred Vargas is discussed in detail, as is the use of the natural environment as a metaphor in storytelling. Likewise, the role of place and local culture, crucially important in the novels of Andrea Camilleri which are based exclusively in Sicily in a fictionalised version of his home town, is also discussed in detail. In this context, the role of the local Mafia is referenced. The development of character plays a key role in the work of both writers who create convincing alternative protagonists in Vargas’s intuitive, ‘cloud-shovelling’ Jean- Batiste Adamsberg and Camilleri’s gourmet Salvo Montalbano with his ‘weather vane’ temper. In this context, character development of their respective colleagues is discussed. The use of the crime fiction genre as a metaphor for political comment and challenge is clearly identified in the novels of Camilleri, echoing the legendary Leonardo Sciascia. Vargas presents moral concerns around family and other relationships, through the messages implicit in the story telling tradition of fairy tales, myth and legend.