Published online by Cambridge University Press: 14 April 2022
This chapter explores whether it is possible to talk meaningfully of an African brand of crime fiction. It seeks broad trends in localized examples but, in so doing, it privileges those texts that have resonated beyond national and indeed continental borders. Following a survey of the role played by the Parisian publishing industry in the global dissemination of African crime fiction, the focus turns inwards, examining how authors including Benin’s Florent Couao-Zotti and South Africa’s Margie Orford and Deon Meyer stage the continent’s social realities, typically in the wake of independence. Crucial here is the appropriation of the city. On the other hand, authors including Mali’s Aïda Mady Diallo and Moussa Konaté and Ghana’s Kwei Quartey and Nii Ayikwei Parkes use their work to subvert the literary myths of rural Africa. The chapter argues that Sub-Saharan African crime fiction has an important anthropological function, adapting the genre’s urban DNA in order to map the tensions between the traditions of rural Africa and life in its modern cities.