In his history of crime fiction, Bloody Murder, Julian Symons called it ‘the detective story to end detective stories… a dazzling and perhaps fortunately unrepeatable box of tricks’.
The novella has never been a hugely popular form. It’s often seen as a kind of in-between fiction, neither long enough to allow for satisfying character development and plotting, not brief enough to provide the concentrated impact of the best short stories. But it’s a form that I’ve always enjoyed and at its best it can combine something of the complexity of the novel with the economy of the short story
My first notion of Calypso Bergère was a kind of female Tintin, an intrepid teen-detective and adventurer inhabiting a slightly unreal, slightly indeterminate 1930s setting. But Tintin is ageless and sexless, and, to be blunt, two-dimensional.
This is the third in an occasional series of posts about the artistic and social world inhabited by Calypso Bergère. This post focuses on the third novella in the series, Calypso and the Accidental Recording, set in Paris in the spring of 1932.