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Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681374185
Pages: 208
Publication Date: August 11, 2020

No Room at the Morgue

by Jean-Patrick Manchette, translated from the French by Alyson Waters, with an afterword by Howard A. Rodman

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An NYRB Classics Original

No Room at the Morgue came out after Jean-Patrick Manchette had transformed French crime fiction with such brilliantly plotted, politically charged, unrelentingly violent tales as Nada and The Mad and the Bad. Here, inspired by his love of Dashiell Hammett, Manchette introduces Eugene Tarpon, private eye, a sometime cop who has set up shop after being kicked off the force for accidentally killing a political demonstrator. Months have passed, and Tarpon desultorily tries to keep in shape while drinking all the time. No one has shown up at the door of his office in the midst of the market district of Les Halles. Then the bell rings and a beautiful woman bursts in, her hands dripping blood. It’s Memphis Charles, her roommate’s throat has been cut, and Memphis can’t go to the police because they’ll only suspect her. Can Tarpon help?

Well, somehow he can’t help trying. Soon bodies mount, and the craziness only grows.

alyson waters


[A] clever crime novel . . . Manchette plays this story for ironic humor . . . Manchette remains essential reading.
Publishers Weekly

If Marx, Freud, and Jim Thompson collaborated on a noir, this might be the result.
Kirkus Reviews

This is a sharp and funny novel, with a quick moving plot and well-defined characters that blends a classic detective style with modern flourish.
—Don English, Hopscotch Translation

Jean-Patrick Manchette—polymath, chess whiz, jazz superenthusiast, comic-book lover, literary genius . . . Manchette was impossibly overgifted, able to do anything supremely well with playful grace and intelligence . . . Manchette compels us to examine the stories we tell ourselves in light of the bigger oppressive stories unfolding around us, to think about history as something we collectively make as well as something that makes us.
—Gary Indiana

"The crime novel," [Manchette] claimed, "is the great moral literature of our time"—shortly before he set about proving it.
—James Sallis, The Boston Globe

Manchette was a decades-long hurricane through the Parisian cultural scene. We must revere him now and rediscover him this very instant. Jean-Patrick Manchette was Le Homme.
—James Ellroy