You Can Tell It’s Noir!

I’m spotlighting this recent collection purchase because it’s actually a bit of a mystery and I need to do some more research on it. We acquired this pulp novel and its original cover artwork back in August:

 I wasn’t intentionally going for noirish photography, I promise. The window was just the best lighting I could get to take a photo by.

The book is Jean Murelli’s La Nuit des Trespasses, a novel in which a brave French journalist discovers that an odious American businessman is kidnapping beautiful women and, Stepford Wives-like, building robots in their image and doing away with the real women themselves. He is of course determined to bring the fiend to justice! The volume is one of three held in libraries across the world. It was published as part of a series of Fleuves Noir, a 1960s French pulp series dealing with the morbid and the fantastical. As near as I can tell, this was also Murelli’s only book, though I suspect it’s likely it was a pseudonym for another author as was often the case during this period.

Here’s a close-up of the oil and gauche painting:

 Remember, ladies, to always coordinate your heels with your feathers!

I have a fun idea in mind, if it could be managed, to track down other volumes in the series and try to build a collection of French pulp SF. I’m sure there were some similar lines in other countries. Anyone know of any?

One thought on “You Can Tell It’s Noir!

  1. Hi Cait,

    I’m in the process of cataloging this book as i write. “Jean Murelli” is indeed a pseudonym, but one which the author seems to have used consistently (i.e., you can find “Murelli, Jean” in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France catalog, but not his real name, Péheu, André). Murelli did write other books in the same series (Angoisse), most published by Fleuve noir. One of them was translated into Spanish. There are records in WorldCat, but most of the holdings are in French libraries.

    My problem in cataloging “Les nuit des trépassée” is establishing the name of the illustrator. The book itself does not mention who created the cover illustration. The blurb Mr. Weintraub gave us gives his name as “Michel Gordon,” but most websites spell the surname “Gourdon.” And, the heading “Gourdon, Michel” established by the Library of Congress apparently refers to a different person. Our illustrator was born in 1925; according to one website he died in 2011. Once I can verify the correct spelling of his name (and, if possible, find a more authoritative source for his death date), I can move forward.

    I agree, the picture is classic!


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