Review: Phantoms of Breslau by Marek Krajewski, Translated by Danusia Stok
Melville House | January 2014 | Reviewed by Amanda Horn
The year is 1919, and in Breslau, the mutilated bodies of four sailors are discovered. The hard-drinking, cynical Criminal Assistant Eberhard Mock arrives on the scene, only to find that the killer left an ominous, personal message—Mock, admit your mistake. So begins Phantoms of Breslau, the third Inspector Mock novel by award-winning Polish writer Marek Krajewski.
Mock, haunted by his years as a soldier in World War I, lives with his father in a run-down tenement. A frequenter of bars and brothels, Mock’s only friend is the well-educated Dr. Ruhtgard, who is in the midst of his own struggle with his vivacious daughter. After the gruesome discovery of the murdered sailors, Mock immediately goes to work on the case, following a lead that takes him on a simultaneous tour of Breslau’s underworld and aristocracy, mansions and slums. But there’s a catch: each person Mock interviews becomes the next victim of the apocalyptic, brutal murderer.
As the esoteric messages become more and more fervent, filled with religious imagery, Mock must navigate the all-too-familiar network of brothels and bars, fighting against the police department that wants to pull him from the case to figure out who is behind the murders. The killer wants a confession from Mock, but for what? And why?
With red-headed seductresses, run-down tenements, decadent mansions, male gigolos, and secret societies, Krajewski brings Breslau to life, invoking a gritty, textured city lost in a turbulent history. Atmospheric, dark, and haunting, Phantoms of Breslau is a dynamic blend of history and intrigue, a perfect read for International Crime Month (June).
For more information, please visit Melville House’s website.
Phantoms of Breslau
Marek Krajewski, Translated by Danusia Stok
Posted: May 21, 2014
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