He was a close friend of Georges Simenon, the author whose fictional detective, Jules Maigret, became a TV hit in 1960s Britain. But despite writing 300 crime thrillers and selling 200 million books in his native France, Frédéric Dard remains almost unknown in Britain. Not one of his novels is in print in English.

But all that is about to change. Sixteen years after Dard’s death, a British publisher is gambling on him being the next big thing in detective fiction. On 2 June, Pushkin Press will publish Bird in a Cage under its Vertigo crime imprint, the first in a planned series of Dard’s psychological "novels of the night".

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