cover image Prague Noir

Prague Noir

Edited by Pavel Mandys, trans. from the Czech by Miriam Margala. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-61775-529-3

The 14 crime stories set in Prague in this superior entry in Akashic’s noir series offer armored car robbery, kidnapping, murder masked as suicide, and more—not bad for a burg that, as the editor notes in his intro, didn’t even have “the profession of private detective” until 1990. For long years under the control of a police state, the ancient city earlier witnessed Nazi occupation, and before that the legend of the golem haunting the ghetto. Chaim Cigan—billed as “currently the chief rabbi of the Czech Republic”—draws authoritatively on the city’s mystic background in “The Magical Amulet”; Michal Sýkora’s “Percy Thrillington” presents a by-the-book puzzle-style mystery with clues from the music catalogue of Paul McCartney. Petr Stancík spins a lively and unusual tale in “The Cabinet of Seven Pierced Books,” in which figures such as the “autarchic detective, one Egon Alter” can drop casually into the action—delightfully reminiscent of Avram Davidson’s fantastical adventures of Dr. Eszterhazy. In the varied and polished content of this volume, readers will find much to amuse. (Feb.)