cover image Death in Breslau

Death in Breslau

Marek Krajewski, trans. from the Polish by Danusia Stok. Melville International Crime (Random, dist.), $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-61219-164-5

Set in 1933–1934 Breslau, Germany, this impressive first in Polish writer Krajewski’s quartet featuring Criminal Counsellor Eberhard Mock will please Philip Kerr fans. An emergency call late one night takes Mock from a house of ill repute he frequents to a train car, where the bodies of a 17-year-old girl, a baron’s daughter, and her governess have been found. Live scorpions writhe in the butchered girl’s entrails. The police detective has to proceed carefully in the rapidly shifting political climate, since the Nazis have already purged many of Mock’s colleagues and sent them to concentration camps. Meanwhile, Berlin dispatches another detective to assist with the case, Herbert Anwaldt. The troubled, alcoholic Anwaldt may hold the key to the solution of the horrific murders. This intelligent, atmospheric crime novel, which flashes forward to such events as the 1945 Dresden firebombing and the beginnings of the cold war, possesses a distinctly European, Kafkaesque sensibility. (Sept.)