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 soas in any good detective storyhe 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 hearta 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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