cover image Phantoms of Breslau

Phantoms of Breslau

Marek Krajewski, trans. from the Polish by Danusia Stok. Melville International Crime, $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-61219-272-7

Set in 1919, Krajewski's second Eberhard Mock mystery (after 2013's The End of the World in Breslau) finds Mock, who's assigned to the Breslau Police Praesidium's vice department, transferred to the Murder Commission to assist with a strange case. Some schoolboys on an island discover the corpses of four men, naked except for sailor's hats and leather pouches over their genitals, with their eyes gouged out and limbs broken. The suspicion that the victims may be gay leads Mock's superiors to believe that his experience with the Breslau sexual underworld might be of use. The autopsies reveal that their killer probably broke their arms and legs by jumping up and down on them. A note threatening more "gouged eyes" if Mock does not admit a past mistake raises the stakes. Krajewski does his usual solid job of establishing mood while setting the stage appropriately for a grim and disturbing resolution. (Jan.)