Phantoms of Breslau by Marek Krajewski

Phantoms of Breslau by Marek Krawjeswki

Polish crime fiction

Translator – Danusia Stok

Now any one the follows me on twitter or have read comments I ve placed around blogosphere know I been singing  the praises of this book .This is the third in the Eberhard Mock series all set in 1919 Breslau (a city in south-west Poland )it was the capital of the upper silisea region as part of the germany in 1919  ,it is now called Wroclaw and has been in Poland since 1945 .The book opens with the gruesome discovery of four sailors naked and on top of one another on a small island in the river Oder .Thus enter the lead character Eberhard Mock  there is a message left for Mock this means it may be a serial killer on the loose ,this bring him into the dark streets of Breslau ,where there are drinking dens and prostitutes as he is trying to stop there being ,more victims .But as the case unfold we find a world on male escorts and women wanting men dressed up as sailor and workmen etc .This leads Mock down another line of enquiry .When this drop through the door I thought oh no not another european crime novel ,I had a few sent and read in last twelve months but I admit the hard back cover as you can see above is very eye-catching in fact on could say macabre .So I decide to give it a roll rather than but it on the not tojust yet  read pile and boy I m so pleased I did ,yes its crime and dark crime ala Jo Nesbo or Ian Rankin but then its historic but not in the sub Christie way as a lot of historic crime is set around this time ,no this is something different more in common with the american fiction I ve read of the day which is little .Krajewski Main talent is detail the eye for detail from cigarettes smoke in a pip ,to th food they eat he makes 1919 Breslau come to life .We get drawn into a dark and dangerous place as the people there come to terms with the post war world of 1919 .Mock is a hard-drinking trouble detective I felt a german Phillip Marlowe (but a policeman).

he rolled a cigarette of Georgian blend tobacco and lit it up .Listening to the chimes of the school chapel bells ..

He crumpled up his shirt stained by the copper and stuffed it into his bag …

the slabs of glass shattered ,the formaldehyde sluiced over Ruhtgard as he lay curled up on the floor ..

Three snippets of descriptions from the book .

I feel this is the perfect autumn read as the nights draw in you can get drawn into the dark side of Breslau .

Marek Krajewski is a resident and grew up and still lives in Wroclaw (Breslau as was ) .he teaches classic at Wroclaw university .he has written six Mock books also two that of shoot from them and also two modern crime fiction set in Gdansk .The mock series follows the city of the time well (according to the Polish wiki page )the mock books have been translated into 14 languages .Here by Danuisa Stok she has translated the other books in the series as well as the screenplay for three colours .

Have you read this or any in the series ?




10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. parrish
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 16:19:13

    An interesting addition to your crime shelf, every now & then I have a crime/ thriller phase and this would appear an ideal book for that time. Thanks.


  2. The Book Whisperer
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 16:41:04

    You raved about this on my blog, Stu, and it sounds like rightly so. I must hunt me down a copy 🙂


  3. Nana Fredua-Agyeman
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 18:29:18

    I like it when crime novels/whodunit could also be literary. After all, there is an overlap between genre novels and literary ones.


  4. farmlanebooks
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 20:25:01

    Sandy from You’ve Gotta Read This raves about this author: and I have been keeping an eye out for a copy ever since. I’m glad to hear that you enjoy him too. My library doesn’t stock copies – I guess I’ll just have to buy a copy some time soon.


  5. Max Cairnduff
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 15:00:20

    Interesting find. Have you read any of the others in the series Stu?

    1919 Poland. That alone makes it intriguing.


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