Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Evolution of the Mystery Genre

The Day of the Jackal

by
Frederick Forsyth

The Day of the Jackal (1971) is a thriller novel about a professional assassin who is contracted by the OAS, a French dissident paramilitary organization, to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France.

The novel received steller reviews and praise when first published in 1971, and it received a 1972 Best Novel Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. The novel remains popular, and in 2003 it was listed on the BBC's survey The Big Read.]

While the OAS did exist as described in the novel, and the book opens with an accurate depiction of the attempt on the life of President de Gaulle led by Jean-Marie Bastien-Thiry, the subsequent plot is fiction.

Best Known Novels:

• The Day of the Jackal
• The Odessa File

• The Fourth Protocol

• The Dogs of War

• The Afghan

• The Negotiator

• The Devil's Alternative

• The Fist of God

Frederick Forsyth (August 25, 1938)


The son of a furrier, Forsyth was born in Ashford, Kent. He was educated at Tonbridge School and later attended the University of Granada in Spain. Before becoming a journalist, he joined the RAF and was a jet fighter pilot. He joined Reuters in 1961 and later the BBC in 1965, where he served as an assistant diplomatic correspondent.


In a BBC Documentary on the Nigerian Civil War, Forsyth reported on his early activities as a journalist. His early career was spent covering French affairs and the attempted assassination of Charles De Gaulle. He had never been to what he termed "black Africa" until reporting on the Nigerian Civil War between Biafra and Nigeria as a BBC correspondent. He was there for the first six months of 1967, but few expected the war to last very long considering the poor weaponry and preparation of the Biafrans when compared to the British-armed Nigerians. After his six months were over, however, Forsyth - eager to carry on reporting - approached the BBC to ask if he could have more time there. He noted their response:

"I was told quite bluntly, then, 'it is not our policy to cover this war.' This was a period when the Vietnam War was front-page headlines almost every day, regarded broadly as an American screw-up, and this particularly British screw-up in Nigeria was not going to be covered. I smelt news management. I don't like news management. So I made a private vow to myself: 'you may, gentlemen, not be covering it, but I'm going to cover it.' So I quit and flew out there, and stayed there for most of the next two years." He thus returned to Biafra as a freelance reporter, writing his first book The Biafra Story, in 1969.

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