The very first Romanian detective stories translated into English


On November 30, Profusion Crime Publishing House organised a book launch event in London to mark the translation of the first Romanian detective novels into English.

Atac in biblioteca (Attack in the library), by George Arion and Ucideti generalul (Kill the General), by Bogdan Hrib can now be also read in English.

Read in Romanian: Premieră pe piața de carte britanică: romane polițiste românești traduse în limba engleză

On Wednesday evening everything was set for the book launch event, but the atmosphere in the room was as tense and as highly charged with emotion as it usually is in the final scene of Agatha Christie’s detective stories with Hercule Poirot. The dim lights, a certain coldness of the corporate room and the intense emotions of those taking part in the event made the tension hard to bear and it was difficult even for the fiddle trio to bring some calm and relaxation to those there.

However, the uneasiness was not caused by waiting for the verdict and the revealing of a murderer, as it happens in Hercule Poirot’s investigations, but by the enthusiasm and the mystery associated with new beginnings. The beginnings of Romanian crime fiction translated into English.  It was only after Ramona Mitrica’s and Mike Phillips’ speeches that the atmosphere finally seemed lighter. 

Keep calm and read on

Mike Phillips said that the entire project was very challenging and it took more than two years to take shape. The whole process of coming up with this idea, approaching the writers, ensuring that the translation would not alter the specific features of Romanian language and, eventually, publishing the books was indeed demanding. But the effort was worthwhile.

Only two of the four novels to be published within the Profusion Crime Project were launched at this event. These are Attack in the Library, written by George Arion and Kill the General, by  Bogdan Hrib. In the spring of 2012 two more will be published, Anatomical Clues, written by Oana Stoica Mujea and the non-fiction book Rimaru – Butcher of Bucharest, by Mike Phillips and Stejarel Olaru.

George Arion, one of the best known and most appreciated crime writers said at the book launch event about his novel, Attack in the library that “in was a miracle the novel appeared in Romania where it managed to fool the communist censorship, as well as in Great Britain where it didn’t have to fool anybody”.

Many other novels have made their way to British bookshops, however this is the first time that English readers can enjoy Romanian crime fiction. This fact is perceived by writers and editors as a rebirth as this type of literature is much more appreciated abroad than it is in Romania. Speaking to Ziarul Romanesc about this aspect, Bogdan Hrib, the author of Kill the General, said that having books written by Romanian authors translated into English is like playing in the Premier League.



by Florin Bratescu

Ziarul Romanesc


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