Alexis Gensoul : Un morto al telefono, Gribouille est Mort , 1945 (=A dead man who speaks to telephone, 1945) - I Gialli del Secolo, N.113 del 16 maggio 1954 (1954, May 16).
Today we speak about an unknown novel, published in 1954 by
Gherardo Casini Editore in the great series of detective novels, "I
Gialli del Secolo (=The Century "Yellow" Crime Novels Fiction)" that it
should be said right away, go down in history for being abridged: it is
novels in the file of just over 90 pages, two-column layout, as the old
"Yellow" Novels Mondadori until the 80s, smaller font, showing authors
and novels often forgotten now entered only in the memory of those who,
like myself , is interested to know also and above all the unknown
authors, even at the cost of reading other novels thrown.
At the Casini Publications, the covers are never original, but they
are frames taken from famous movies of the time that the situation can
recall the title of the novel: in our case, for example, 'cover image is
taken from "Red Snow". The actor holding the phone is the great Robert
Ryan, an unforgettable protagonist of the film mentioned above, one of
the best noir of the '50s, On Dangerous Ground (1951), by Nicholas Ray.
these novels often descriptions of the atmosphere has been sacrificed
in favor of the police bare fact: it can be an advantage or a
disadvantage. Nevertheless they are the only chance we
have to acquire information about forgotten authors.
The novel in question is by Alexis Gensoul, French writer active
after World War II and remembered even today in some circles for a
wonderful Locked Room written in collaboration with Charles Grenier, La Mort vient de nulle part (1945) and for another written by him alone in the same year, 1945, L’Énigme de Téfaha.
must have been a very fruitful 1945, end of the Second World War, in
the production of Gesoul, because of the same year is also Gribouille
est mort, translated by Casini with "Un morto al telefono (=A dead man
on the phone)"
Alexis Gensoul whose biographical information absent,
we only know he was a physician and that between 1945 and 1946 he
published four novels from the same publisher STAEL, three in 1945 and
one in 1946: the first of these was L’Énigme de Téfaha, which
has a fairly simple Locked Room, the second work was written with
Grenier that still stands as one of Locked Rooms signposting written
after the war, the eastern third was Gribouille est Mort, a great novel with a crime impossible, the fourth novel more on the adventure, L'Affaire de la maison Faroux (1946).
Gribouille est Mort would be a Locked Room , if it had
not the window opened, but all other conditions are impossible for the
crime: sealed door, missing weapon, and above all, since that
distinguishes this novel, the dead, Gréje, which prophesies the first
his own death, writing the letter to an acquaintance of his, Godinet,
and call and talk to a policeman friend of his, Corbellet, somewhat
naive cop, when he was already dead, the house littered with false
evidence and strange clues, and jokes, also. Additionally, there is such
Ternaud, with yellow boots that everyone is looking because he was seen
at the crime scene, outside the house, and then he ran away; out of the
fencing off of the house there 's whole class of school that draws, and
the instructor, Tresquat, is none other than the illegitimate son of
the victim and sole heir to a fortune of two hundred thousand francs at
the time: he obviously suspected, even if no one saw him jump over the
fence, because at some point has moved away from his students with the
excuse to go look for mushrooms in the forest; a mysterious person
phoned the local police station from the house of Greje to denounce the
murder, but not the murderess, and there is a nearby curious Gourgeot;
then there is a weapon found by a policeman amateur Vérannes, before
Corbellet, a gun for women, size small, still stuck with a piece of
rope, and many characters that are the corollary: Police Commissioner
Estreval unlucky in his moves, and which moreover has the his few
successes to the collaboration of an underground Sherlock Holmes in the
shadows, who signs his suggestions and his letters with a nickname
alluding to Perspicax; and the judge Blacy who believes smart himself.
All Ternaud chase, then tried to charge Tresquat, then they find
Ternaud and they should wish he proclaimed himself guilty for taking
them off the embarrassment of an investigation that does not go forward,
especially since the open window, the only possible escape of the
murderer ,overlooks a small garden in front of which there’s the famous
fence beyond which there are many small children playing draw, all
witnesses of the fact that no one may have missed it. Yet the murderer
has jumped from the window: There are his footprints in the ground. At
some point there is a revelation: an acquaintance of the victim Godinet
that will reveal something to the police, but as the best dramas, the
precious witness is found at the bottom of a ravine in the burning car.
At this point we need to find the culprit and then a lot of
reconstructions face again: Estreval tends to blame Ternaud, Vérannes
frames no the murder but a spectacular suicide with a lot of crow
flapping at the crime scene and crucial because you do not find a
certain thing; and then at the end, Perspicax reveals how Ternaud was
not murderer but blackmail, in his turn of the real murderer who is the
least to be suspected.
Great test of skill of Alexis Gensoul in having created a novel
that approaches the impossible and never cross it, vividly illustrating
the French province and subtle psychology of the characters.
in this novel, I emphasize the dependence about the British detective
novel: the Perspicax solution is identical to that of Evil Under the Sun,
by Agatha Christie, novel written in 1941, in particular where the
victim has made an agreement with his unknown associate with whom they
want to play a joke to others, in pretending to be dead, only that the
murderer is not expected by the victim and he murder the victim.
The final solution, fine, is opposed to the other two solutions
(not less effective, particularly that of Vérannes): the killer, when
killed Gréje, was motivated by revenge and Perspicax says in practice
he should waive the right to designate him as the real murderer (felt
against him "an instinctive sympathy and inexplicable") if that had not
spotted the second death, that of Godinet, so could not be acquitted. A
choice that makes Perspicax more than one investigator, a real sort of
executioner in the shadows, very close to Arsene Lupin by Maurice
Pietro De Palma
For the benefit of fans of the detective novel, not Italian, I
will say that the Yellow, in Italy, is the detective story par
excellence. The term "Yellow" in the sense derives from the yellow cover
of the first novels published in Italy, "The Yellow Book", by
Mondadori, in 1929. Since then, because those
Mondadori novels had an overwhelming success, the term "The Yellow Book"
condensed itself in "TheYellow". For derivation, many publishing houses
arose like mushrooms on the success of Mondadori, called their books "Yellow", to engage the phenomenon Mondadori.