When Stanislas-André Steeman inspired Clouzot
Stanislas-André Steeman, who was born in Liège on 23 January 1908, was a French-speaking Belgian writer and illustrator. Few crime novel authors can pride themselves on seeing a dozen of their books turned into films. Henri-Georges Clouzot was the person who most successfully adapted his books, with "Le dernier des six (The Last One of the Six)" (adapted from "Six hommes morts (Six Dead Men)"), "L’assassin habite au 21 (The Murderer Lives at Number 21)" and "Quai des orfèvres (Quay of the Goldsmiths)" (based on the book "Légitime défense (Legitimate Defense)").
Between 1928 and 1933, Steeman worked as a journalist for the daily newspaper "La Nation Belge". Together with Sintair, a pseudonym for Herman Sartini, a colleague from the newspaper, he wrote a pastiche of a crime novel, "Le Mystère du zoo d'Anvers (The Antwerp Zoo Mystery)" (1928). They went on to write four more novels together, after which Sintair stopped writing while Steeman continued writing alone. In 1931, he was awarded the Prix du Roman d'Aventures (Adventure Novel Award) for "Six Dead Men". This was the first novel to feature his hero, Wenceslas Vorobeïtchik, alias Monsieur Wens. The height of his career came in 1939 with the publication of "The Murderer Lives at Number 21". It tells the story of a London serial killer whom the police cannot identify, although they suspect he is one of the lodgers at a family boarding house located at 21 Russell Square; unfortunately, each time a suspect is arrested a new crime is committed, sending the investigators back to square one. In the cinematic adaptation, the intrigue takes place in Paris, the boarding house is called "Les Mimosas" and located at 21 Avenue Junot in Montmartre and the protagonists have French names. In 1994, this novel was also turned into a cartoon, with a script by André-Paul Duchâteau and drawings by Xavier Musquera.
Adaptations of other works were released at the cinema in the 1950s and early 1960s, including "Brelan d'as (Full House)" by Henri Verneuil in 1952, which adapts part of the novel "Six Dead Men", "Dortoir des grandes (Inside a Girls' Dormitory)" by Henri Decoin, adapted from "Dix-huit fantômes (Eighteen Ghosts)" in 1953 and "Que personne ne sorte (Nobody Leave)" by Yvan Govar, adapted from "Six Hommes à tuer (Six Men to Kill)" in 1962. Three of the Liège novelist's works have also been adapted for television: "L'Ennemi sans Visage (The Faceless Enemy)" by Teff Erhat, adapted from the novel of the same name, in 1970, "Les Grands Détectives (The Great Detectives)" by Jacques Nahum, adapted from "Six Men to Kill", in 1975 and "Le Charme brumeux du Crime (The Hazy Charm of the Crime)") by Jacques Bourton, adapted from "Le Trajet de la foudre (The Path of the Lightning)" in 1994.
Incidentally, we should mention the fact that French critics nicknamed him the "Belgian Simenon", forgetting that both authors came from the Fervent City - Liège.
Stanislas-André Steeman, who died in Menton on 15 December 1970 at the age of 62, was chosen as one of the One Hundred Walloons of the century by the Institut Jules Destrée in 1995. Furthermore, a centre in Chaudfontaine specialising in paraliterature has been named after him.