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Bloody Streets of Paris Paperback – December 9, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Bloody Streets of Paris is a classic detective story set against the Nazi occupation of Paris. Newly discharged from a WWII prisoner of war camp, Nestor Burma finds himself unraveling a convoluted mystery surrounding the death of an associate. The fast-paced, tightly plotted story is suspenseful and gripping. But the genius in The Bloody Streets of Paris is its depiction of wartime Paris. The Nazi occupation flips the Parisian life on its head. Their familiar surroundings are suddenly ominous and fraught with danger. It's with this looming presence as a backdrop that Burma attempts to solve the mystery. French illustrator Jacques Tardi adapted The Bloody Streets of Paris to graphic novel form. Born at the end of World War II, Tardi heard stories of both world wars from his grandparents. His grandparents' stories greatly marked the illustrator as a child. In an interview for a French periodical he explained, "What interests me [about war] is daily life: how do people continue from one day to next under such conditions?" Tardi's black and white illustrations brilliantly evoke the gritty urban atmosphere of forties' Paris.--Leigh Gable

From Publishers Weekly

Adapted from the late author Malet's 1942 novel, 120, Rue de la Gare, this old-fashioned, highly entertaining detective story has real heft. The story takes place during the German occupation of France, in a POW camp where a detective, Nestor Burma, meets a mysterious amnesiac with a specific message. The story moves to Lyon, then Paris, as Burma attempts to understand the connection between the amnesiac and the murder of a colleague. In doing so—as in any good detective story—he gets embroiled in an intricate plot that remains ambiguous until the book's final pages. Along with the fun, suspenseful narrative and snappy dialogue, there's the backdrop of curfews, rationing and other details of life under occupation. Though never addressed directly, WWII adds an ominous and culturally intriguing dimension to the story. Tardi makes gorgeous comics; his loose cartoon line flirts with realism, but never restricts his drawing's fluidity. His characters are set against realistically rendered wartime backgrounds, making the book a remarkable piece of historical documentary. Because Tardi's detail-oriented approach and moody graphics sync so well with the tone and specificity of Malet's writing, the artist is able to bring the story to life while still retaining all of its heart—a rare feat for a comics adaptation. The text translation is excellent, and the book only falters in its presentation. The paper is thin and flimsy, and the publisher adds a vague historical introduction, as well as poorly written biographies of Tardi and Malet. These stumbles are atypical of this otherwise excellent comic, a rare treat for lovers of comics, art and mysteries.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: IBooks; Graphic No edition (December 9, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743474481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743474481
  • Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,084,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Michael K. Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
The time is 1940-41 and the focus of this engaging and engrossing yarn is Nestor Burma, captured and interned by the Germans -- along with most of the rest of the French army -- following the blitzkrieg and the government's capitulation. Before the war, Burma ran the Fiat Lux detective agency in Paris and his investigative skills are needed again in finding the origin and identity of an amnesiac fellow prisoner -- and also the killer of an old friend and associate murdered before his eyes at a railway station. The cast of characters includes journalists, cops, lawyers, and crooks -- both big-time and two-bit. The German occupation is always in the background but it's not really part of the story. Rather, this is a classic "noir" murder mystery, complete with a wrap-up scene where everyone involved comes together to hear the detective explain the clues and identify the murderer. This is a sort of minimalist approach to the graphic novel form: Straight story-telling in black-and-white, each bit in its own rectangular frame, emphasis on the words rather than artsy effects. And it's an excellent piece of work.
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Format: Paperback
You can get a synopsis from the professional reviews. The question is will a reader of "crime fiction" paperbacks pick up this book? In my opinion, many should as it is a seldom seen mix of hard-boiled detective fiction (with a slight European texture) and exquisitively detailed graphic novel.

Nestor Burma is a detective from the Marlowe mold: he gets into fights and wins, drinks too much, smokes too much, and bullies women into confessing their wrongs. But no hard-boiled detective I have ever read in American fiction has ever shamefacedly apologized to a woman wrongly accused - with flowers!

The artwork is dark and filled with details that bring occupation-era Paris to life. The war and its battles are shown only at the edges of the plot, but every panel can remind you that it is there. This illustrates the way the French citizens tried to get on with the process of living while being occupied.

If you have read Chandler or Hammett and like watching a tough man attempting to survive a universe that does not care about him, you will like to read about Nestor Burma. And if you have never read a graphic novel before, you can certainly read this one without fear that someone will think you are reading a "comic book."
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I haven't read this book yet, but it's a graphic novel, so I can comment on the art and printing. If you are a Jacques Tardi fan, you should pick this one up. The pages are large and clear. It's a paperback and the paper quality is more like glossy magazine (which is how it was first serialized). It displays the artwork very well. It's in black and white with grey tones. This artwork represents a period after his Adele Blanc Sec work. His lines are bolder and more confident than that earlier work, but still sharper than his later work. to compare, Fantagraphics books (who didn't publish this) publishes Tardi in handsome, well-designed, translated, and edited hardback editions with nice thick paper. But the pages are a bit smaller. It's nice to see the larger pages. I like all of Tardi's work, and I'll take it any way I can get it. Looking forward to reading it.
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Format: Paperback
In 1942, French writer Leo Malet began his long-running "Nestor Burma" series of crime novels with "120, Rue de la Gare." Renowned French illustrator Jacques Tardi adapted that book (and four others which have yet to appear in English) to his own graphic style, and the result is this fairly engaging crime graphic novel set during the German occupation of France during World War II. The book opens in late 1940, with ace pipe-smoking Parisian private eye Burma in a German P.O.W. camp, interned with all the other French soldiers waiting to be processed and demobilized. Among those he encounters in camp are a shifty burglar, a doctor he once helped out, and a haunted-looking amnesiac. Just before dying in the camp infirmary, the amnesiac cries out a mysterious address and the name "Helené" in Burma's presence. Several days later, Burma and a trainload of other repatriated soldiers are idling at the train station in Lyons, en route to Paris. From the train, Burma spots his old partner Bob on the platform and calls out to him. Bob runs toward Burma, yells out the same mysterious address as the amnesiac, and is gunned down by an unknown assailant before he says any more.

Burma leaps from the moving train and immediately begins his investigation into the puzzle. Where is the address? Who is Helené? Why was Bob in Lyons? Who was the amnesiac? What was his connection to Bob? And who was the beautiful woman at the train station? Fortunately, Burma has a journalist pal in Lyons, and through a network of friends of friends, starts digging -- all against the backdrop of the German occupation. The cast of characters is classic crime stuff, rumpled newspaper hacks looking for a scoop, thin-lipped disapproving women, fat-cat lawyers, befuddled cops, a mysterious beauty.
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Format: Paperback
this masterpiece of european comics, based on the leo malet detective novel, is impeccably drawn by Jacques Tardi and beautifully translated by Jean-March and Randy Lofficier. For mature readers due to a few questionable panels of nudity and contextual violence, it takes the reader into the heart of WWII occupied France with style, tension and detail. A not-to-be-missed graphic novel mystery.
--from ibooks, the publisher
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