My criminal novels: at the heart of a true story Version française

Account of major french criminal cases

by Viviane Janouin-Benanti

The novels inspired by a criminal case are a great classic of French literature. It is enough to name some of the most famous: Le rouge et le noir of Stendhal, Madame Bovary of Gustave Flaubert, Thérèse Desqueyroux of François Mauriac… Anglo-Saxon authors are also fond of the genre, I will also suffice quote In Cold Blood of Truman Capote….

My training as a lawyer and my passion for true stories have naturally pushed me along this path.

As a novelist, I have not limited myself to the long documentary work needed to understand the facts. I have, for each novel, consulted the newspapers that appeared at the time, the transcripts, the interrogations, the statements of the various witnesses. But to bring my characters back to life, I also studied the historical, social, religious and political context in which they evolved. Finally, I undertake an in-depth analysis of their psychology and the motivations that lead to their tragic gestures. My characters are often complex, I do not try to simplify their personality; On the contrary, I try to penetrate the heart of their innermost thoughts.

Once the documentation is gathered, begins the long and patient work of the writer. I have at heart to produce books "general public" which the reader delights in. At my work table, I compose every morning to refine the style of my books. Nothing gives me more pleasure than criticisms where chronicles that emphasize that I have "a nice pen" and that my style is "alert", "clear", "limpid", "alive", "with always words Just","borrowing of poetic license"… I see in it the reward of my efforts. However, on reflection, what makes me even more delighted is when the critic or the reader forgets the style to retain only the delicious moment he spent reading my novel.

For each of my books, I spend a year with my characters. It goes without saying that I choose my stories carefully so that these characters and their actions come out of the ordinary and are worthy of interest. As a committed writer, in each of my novels, I address the divisions, conflicts and societal issues brought to light by the affairs I am dealing with. You will get an overview with the list of my criminal novels, below: