This article discusses the status of the African detective writer in francophone Africa, using examples by Driss Chraïbi and Mongo Beti, two key figures of francophone African literatures. I offer a reading of L’inspecteur Ali and Trop de Soleil tue l’amour as novels that signal the shift of both writers from the realist novel to crime fiction. I also scrutinize the metafictional comments in the novels, that is, passages when fiction deals with the writing of fiction as a whole, and the conventions and potentialities of detective fiction in French-speaking Africa. I therefore propose that the practice of detective fiction does not necessarily lead to the popularity of the writer. Rather, I suggest that—given that the novels I have studied also expose love, murder, and politics, none of which seems to guarantee celebrity—the ultimate lesson with regard to the status of the French-speaking African detective writer is that he seems to only enjoy a post mortem popularity, one that clearly rests on profanation.


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pp. 38-49
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