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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 14 April 2022
The history of crime fiction in Spanish and Portuguese extends back a century and a half to ratiocinative works inspired by Poe and Gaboriau. Yet until recently, Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries have scarcely sustained continuous local crime fiction traditions and produced few internationally recognized crime writers. This chapter examines impediments to the consolidation of modern crime fiction in the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world and distinguishes phases in the assimilation of foreign genre formats. The chapter addresses local crime fiction variants including the transatlantic neopoliciaco and the sicaresca (hitman novel) and narco-novel. We argue that while semi-specialized genre authors such as Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Paco Ignacio Taibo II and Rubem Fonseca have made significant contributions, the most distinctive and transcendent crime fiction consists of non-serial works by canonical authors including José María de Eça de Queirós, Jorge Luis Borges, José Cardoso Pires, Gabriel García Márquez and Roberto Bolaño, who have transformed genre conventions to reflect local realities including rampant criminal impunity, authoritarianism and state criminality.