Rossi, Jean Baptiste 1931-2003 (Sébastien Japrisot)
ROSSI, Jean Baptiste 1931-2003 (Sébastien Japrisot)
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born July 4, 1931, in Marseille, France; died March 4, 2003, in Vichy, France. Film director and author. Rossi was a popular French crime novelist best known under his pseudonym, Sébastien Japrisot. After attending—and being thrown out of—a Jesuit college, he went on to study philosophy at the Sorbonne. However, he was more interested in writing than studying, so he dropped out of university and completed his first novel, Les mal partis (1948), under his real name when he was only seventeen years old. The erotic plot concerning the forbidden love between a nun and a fourteen-yearold boy caused a scandal, but sold very well, being translated in 1950 as The False Start and again two years later as Awakening. With this initial success, Rossi was asked to translate J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, which he did as L'attrappe-coeur. Rossi then set out to write a series of police procedurals under his pseudonym, beginning with Compartiment tueurs (1962) and Piège pour Cendrillon (1962), the latter of which won the Grand Prix de la Littérature Policiére. He also won the 1966 Prix d'Honneur for La dame dans l'auto avec les lunettes et un fusil (1966), later translated as The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun and also adapted as a film. Rossi spent more time making films during the 1970s than writing, but his L'été meurtrier (1978), one of only two books he published in the 1970s, is often considered his masterpiece. Although his later books are often thought of as having a slower pace than his initial crime stories, works such as Un long dimanche de fiançailles (1991), translated as A Very Long Engagement (1994), and Le passager de la plui (1992), translated as Rider in the Rain (1999), were still met with critical praise. Considered a worthy successor to French writer Georges Simonon, Rossi will remain one of the most acclaimed novelists of police procedurals of the twentieth century.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2003, p. B10.
Times (London, England), March 20, 2003.