Thursday, February 2, 2017
Detective fiction is now an equal opportunity genre. Sleuths no longer need to be professionals - they can come from any walk of life and detection can be a part time hobby. Even real historical figures are sometimes drummed into service, as in Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen mysteries, where she solves murders in the undocumented regions of her biography.
But they're usually human. Akif_Pirincci, a German writer, goes one better and makes his detective a cat. I read his 1989 novel, Felidae, several years ago and was hugely impressed. The video above is the 1994 animated film, and equally good.
If you like your cats internet cute, then this film isn't for you. It's a violent, Gothic horror story with feline sex and multiple murders - the animation doesn't pull any punches either. Francis, the urbane, clever protagonist moves to a house that his 'life partner' is renovating. There he meets the neighbourhood cats, who are being horribly killed. Francis makes a friend in Braubart, or Bluebeard, the very essence of tom cat, and they set out to solve the murders. Braubart thinks it's being done by the 'can openers', but Francis isn't convinced. Along the way, they discover a world of mad scientists, insane religious cults, and echoes of the master race before solving the crimes.
Which brings me to Pirincci, who is a controversial figure on the far right, and a racist Islamophobe. I didn't know anything about this until I looked up the wikipedia entry, having previously enjoyed both the book and and the film. I still do, though Pirincci's opinions are vile. But knowing what I now know adds a darker perspective to the plot.