cover image The Minotaur’s Head

The Minotaur’s Head

Marek Krajewski, trans. from the Polish by Dabusia Stok. Melville International Crime, $25.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-61219-342-7

An awkward framing device mars the concluding volume of Krajewski’s quartet featuring German detective Eberhard Mock (after The Phantoms of Breslau). The book opens in 1939 Lwów with the discovery of the battered corpse of a toddler, whose wounds lead the community to accuse the Jews of ritual murder. Commissioner Edward Popielski refuses his boss’s directive to handle the investigation, because the crime has to do with the “case of the Minotaur.” The story then shifts to 1937 Breslau, where former policeman Mock, now serving in the Abwehr, looks into the murder of a young woman who “was raped, had half her face devoured, and was strangled” (in that order). Her killer is dubbed the Minotaur after the mythical half-human creature. Popielski joins forces with Mock to investigate this horrific murder. Readers are likely to either forget or wonder about the relevance of the 1939 crime. [em](Aug.) [/em]