BASTARDS DIE HARD (Les Salauds ont la vie dure) by André Héléna. Translated by Paul Sharkey.
In his 2011 book ‘The Pleasures of Crime: Reading Modern French Crime Fiction’ Professor David Platten, a lecturer in French literature and culture at the University of Leeds, looked at, among other French noir writers, André Héléna’s ‘Occupation’ novels from which we have taken the following extracts relating to Les Salauds ont la vie dure, which we have translated as ‘Bastards Die Hard’
“… In Héléna’s Les Salauds ont la vie dure, written shortly after the Liberation, the reader can still feel the heat of oppression and conflict as the main character literally blazes a trail across the country. Héléna’s peripatetic writing existence — he moved frequently from Narbonne to Paris to Leucate, and back again — is reflected in the adventures of Maurice Delbar, hero of Les Salauds ont la vie dure is an outlaw and miscreant with very achy feet. What we read about the Occupation in these novels is funnelled through the perspective, not of a detective, but of a young, mid-ranking gangster from Pigalle, the traditional red-light district of Paris adjoining Montmartre, which is known locally as La Butte, traditional home not only of the French chanson but also of the Parisian gangster.