Sébastien Japrisot

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Last Updated on May 9, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 377

Jean Baptiste Rossi was born in 1931, in Marseille, France. Under the pseudonym Sébastien Japrisot, he is a mystery writer, film director, screenwriter, and translator. He lives in France.

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Japrisot wrote and published his first novel in 1950, when he was eighteen years old. His first novel translated into English was The 10:30 from Marseilles (1963), which was published in its original French in 1962. The English translation was later published under a different title, The Sleeping Car Murders (1997). Drawing on the techniques of the police procedural novel, the story centers around a series of murders on a passenger train.

In Japrisot's novel Trap for Cinderella (original French edition published in 1964; English translation in 1964), two young women are burned in a house fire. The survivor is disfigured beyond recognition and suffers from amnesia. The mystery develops through a complex plot and descriptions of the same events from different points of view. The novel was awarded the Grand Prix de la Littérature Policiére.

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Japrisot's psychological mystery The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun (original French edition published in 1966; English translation in 1967) was awarded the Prix d'Honneur. It was followed by Goodbye Friend (original French edition published in 1968; English translation in 1969), in which a doctor returning from Vietnam is accused of murder. In One Deadly Summer (original French edition published in 1978; English translation in 1980), a daughter, conceived through her mother's rape, vows vengeance against her father, the rapist.

The English translation of The Passion of Women (original French edition published in 1986; English translation in 1990) was also published under the title Women in Evidence. It focuses on the death of a man falsely accused of killing a child. This novel was followed by A Very Long Engagement (original French publication in 1991; English translation in 1994), a tale of love and war, which won the literary Prix Interallia in 1991 and became a bestseller in France and abroad.

Japrisot's also penned Rider in the Rain (original French edition published in 1992; English translation in 1999), along with dozens of screenplays, some of them adaptations of his own novels, including The Sleeping Car Murders (1965), Trap for Cinderella (1965), and One Deadly Summer (1983). Negotiations were taking place in 2002 for a movie version of A Very Long Engagement, although Japrisot declined the invitation to write the screenplay himself.

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