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Morgue Drawer Four (Morgue Drawer series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Jutta Profijt , Erik J. Macki
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Coroner is the perfect job for Dr. Martin Gänsewein, who spends his days in peace and quiet autopsying dead bodies for the city of Cologne. Shy, but scrupulous, Martin appreciates his taciturn clients--until the day one of them starts talking to him. It seems the ghost of a recently deceased (and surprisingly chatty) small-time car thief named Pascha is lingering near his lifeless body in drawer number four of Martin's morgue. He remains for one reason: his "accidental" death was, in fact, murder. Pascha is furious his case will go unsolved--to say nothing of his body's dissection upon Martin's autopsy table. But since Martin is the only person Pascha can communicate with, the ghost settles in with the good pathologist, determined to bring the truth of his death to light. Now Martin's staid life is rudely upended as he finds himself navigating Cologne's red-light district and the dark world of German car smuggling. Unless Pascha can come up with a plan--and fast--Martin will soon be joining him in the spirit world. Witty and unexpected, Morgue Drawer Four introduces a memorable (and reluctant) detective unlike any other in fiction today.

Morgue Drawer Four was shortlisted for Germany's 2010 Friedrich Glauser Prize for best crime novel.

Books In This Series (4 Books)
Complete Series

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    Product Description Review

    Q&A with Jutta Profijt

    The Friedrich Glauser Prize is one of the highest accolades a crime novel can receive in Germany. What was your first thought after you found out you’d been nominated? Has it affected your life or your approach to writing?

    Jutta Profijt: When I first heard the news, I could not believe it, because the success of the Morgue Drawer series is based on political incorrectness and black humor--two characteristics that usually find a lot of enthusiasm among readers but little appreciation among German awards committees. I was very happy, of course, but it hasn’t really changed my life or my writing. I still write for readers, not for awards committees.

    Q: How did you create such a memorable pair of crime fighters? Are Martin and Pascha based on anyone you know?

    JP: The idea to have a “ghost” investigating his own murder came to me when I visited the morgue in Cologne. There, among the bodies, I suddenly thought: “What if one of these deceased people is not as dead as he is supposed to be?” Thank god there is no one like Pascha around in my real life. I just wanted to create a character that really drives Martin--the only person who can hear him and who can’t get rid of him--up the wall. So I gave Pascha all the characteristics I don’t like in people: I made him uneducated, intolerant, narrow-minded, egocentric, and sexist. But he also touches my heart because he is so lonely, and his heart is in the right place. And readers like him, too.

    Q: Did a real morgue drawer inspire Pascha’s new home? Why number four?

    JP: Yes, there’s a real morgue drawer in Cologne, but the drawers are not numbered. I wanted Pascha to think of it as his last known address, so I chose that form; and the number had to be four because I liked the sound of the title in German.

    Q: You have quite a résumé: au pair, importer/exporter, executive coach, English instructor. Have these varied experiences shaped you as a writer?

    JP: I believe that everything I have done in life has had an effect on my writing, but my becoming a novelist was purely coincidence. I never planned to start writing, but it’s somewhat logical. I have always been interested in other people, curious to see what they do and to understand why they do it. Communication has always played a major part in my life, often in foreign languages as I taught and translated English and French. When writing novels, I can combine all these interests.

    Q: What’s next for unlikely hero Martin Gänsewein?

    JP: Pascha sticks around to give Martin a hard time. In his private life, in his job, even in the bathroom, Martin will be watched--and not just watched, because Pascha comments on and criticizes every move Martin makes. And because Pascha has reached eternity, there’s no end in sight for Martin to get rid of him.

    Reviews This entertaining mix of thriller and fantasy, which was shortlisted for Germany's Friedrich Glauser Prize, works a nice twist on a familiar theme. Car thief Pascha Lerchenberg is handed a couple of really big surprises: first, he's murdered; then he awakens in the morgue to see his body being autopsied. As if that isn't enough to drive a recently dead man around the bend, Pascha discovers that he can communicate with the coroner, Martin Gansewein (who is understandably gob-smacked when the dead man on his table begins talking to him). The nimbly translated tale follows Pascha and Martin—a decidedly mismatched pair—as they try to solve Pascha's murder. Pascha's first-person narration, including jaunty commentary on his post-death existence and his relationship with Martin, gives the novel an appealing extra dimension. Stories told by dead people tend to be either YA fiction or high-end literary fare—Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones comes to mind—but it's rare to find a thriller using the technique. Fans of crime novels and out-of-body fantasies should have a very good time with this one. — David Pitt, Booklist

    German author Jutta Profijt skillfully makes Morgue Drawer Four not only funny, but an insightful look at class and culture clashes, all wrapped in a sturdy plot that is part hardboiled, part heist caper, and enhanced throughout by lively dialogue." --Mystery Scene Magazine

    "This spooky little mystery...[has] a sense of humor." --Newark Star Ledger

    About the Author

    Jutta Profijt was born in 1967 in Ratingen, Germany. After finishing school, she lived abroad working as an au pair, an importer/exporter, a coach to executives and students, and a business English instructor. She published her first novel in 2003 and today works as a freelance writer and translator. Her first novel featuring coroner Martin Gänsewein, Morgue Drawer Four, was shortlisted for Germany’s 2010 Friedrich Glauser Prize for best crime novel.

    Erik J. Macki worked as a cherry-orchard tour guide, copy editor, web developer, and German and French teacher before settling into his translation career--probably an inevitable choice, as he has collected foreign-language grammars, dictionaries, and language-learning books since childhood and to this day is not above diagramming sentences when duty so calls. A former resident of Cologne and Münster, Germany, and of Tours, France, he did his graduate work in Germanics and comparative syntax. He now translates novels and nonfiction for adults and children from his home in Seattle, where he lives with his family and their black lab, Zephyr.

    Product details

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 390 KB
    • Print Length: 245 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1611090326
    • Publisher: AmazonCrossingEnglish (13 Dec. 2011)
    • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B004M8T10G
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Enabled
    • : Not Enabled
    • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #22,585 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Different kind of crime novel 11 Dec. 2011
    By Sarah Lambert VINE VOICE
    Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
    I enjoyed this book about poor Martin, who is minding his own business getting on with his job as a coroner, when suddenly the ghost of one of his "clients", Pasha, starts to talk to him. Martin is really not the type of man to go out solving crimes, especially when this involves visiting criminals and prostitutes, but he is the only person Pasha can communicate with. They form an unlikely partnership as they hunt down Pasha's killer. This book is a good read and is a different take on the usual detective fiction. The book appears to be the first in a series so it will be interesting to see how the storyline develops.
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    5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars From a Ghost's Viewpoint 3 Dec. 2011
    Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
    The novel starts with Pasha, a small-time car thief in Cologne, stealing a car to order - soon after that he finds himself in the Morgue - in Drawer Four - to be precise - as in the title.

    Martin is a doctor working for the coroner's office and he does the autopsy on Pasha.

    Pasha finds he can communicate with Martin and the story goes on with this unlikely duo investigating the cause of Pasha's death. (The concept reminded me of a TV series from the 70s or 80s? called "Randall and Hopkirk Deceased"? who were a private investigation team and one of them was a ghost)

    The story is told from the viewpoint of Pasha - first alive and then the ghost. It is a very different take on the forensic science novel.

    There is a lot of wit and humour in this novel and the story was very interesting moving through the seedy parts of the city and the world of car smuggling - the ending came very suddenly and one was left wanting more. There are more novels by Jutta Profijt - I wonder if they are about Martin only or does Pasha appear again - will have to wait to see when they come out in translation.

    The ONE thing I did NOT LIKE about the novel was the TRANSLATION - the original written in German has been translated and I am sure very well but the language is very AMERICAN English and I found it hard to picture a European city and its low life when the language evoked American situations with American slang - so for me it did not conjurer up the feeling of a novel set in Europe - however that is a personal view and the book with mixture of light hearted and serious is a good read.
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    7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Morgue Drawer four 28 Dec. 2011
    By Kate VINE VOICE
    Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
    I was very attracted to the idea of this book but my main feeling as I started to read was that it was written by two different people, one doing the character of Martin, the morgue pathologist, the other that of Pascha the victim and ghost. I liked Martin but I quickly tired of Pascha's laddish attitude and I didn't find his patter very funny. Whether this was the writing of the original author or the slant put on it by the translator I don't know but it didn't work for me. The interaction between the two characters was entertaining but I found the plot predictable and rather obvious.
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    13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Ghostly Goings-On 4 Dec. 2011
    By Emile Zola reader TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
    Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
    Morgue Drawer Four reminded me a little of Randall and Hopkirk Deceased, the TV programme first broadcast on TV in 1969.

    The story begins when Pascha, a likeable rogue who lives on the fringe of Cologne's underworld, gets himself ready for work. Pascha's `occupation' is stealing cars to order for a gang of international car smugglers.
    Just before he hands the stolen car over, Pascha is shocked to discover the dead body of a young woman in the boot of the Mercedes SLR. Without mentioning the body, Pascha takes his money and decides to lie low for a time. Unfortunately for him, whilst descending a temporary set of stairs on a railway overpass, Pascha falls 6 metres to his death.

    Pascha's death is deemed to be accidental by Martin, the prim and uptight Coroner for Cologne (he collects maps of cities) and the police are satisfied that no crime has been committed. However, the spirit of Pascha rises from Morgue Draw Four to confront poor Martin and demand that he investigates his `murder'. This is the start of the comical and sometimes menacing escapades in the quest to find the person who pushed Pascha to his death.

    I read this book in two sittings, it's an easy and enjoyable read. However, two little niggles: I did find that halfway through the book the language became a little `wordy' and irrelevant - one sentence often turned into a short paragraph. Secondly, I would have liked the characters of Pascha and Martin to be fleshed out a little more. Perhaps this will happen in Ms Profijt's follow-ups entitled Morgue Drawer Next Door and Morgue Drawer to Rent.
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    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining, but Unlikely Partnership 30 Nov. 2011
    Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
    Morgue Drawer Four is translated from the German as part of the Amazon Crossings programme. The title refers to the place of residence of the body of the late Pascha, a small time car thief who has come to a violent end. Not quite an absolute end though since his spirit is still hanging around and attaches itself to Martin, the coroner who appears to be the only person he can communicate with.

    This is quite a light weight book in terms of its length and quite light hearted as to its content. The story is told by Pascha, who is clearly sharp witted with a strong measure of native cunning and with quite an edge of sarcasm. His observations and running commentary, particularly on the subject of Martin's perceived failings, are at times extremely funny. It is absolute irony that circumstances have attached him to Martin as the two are as different as chalk and cheese. Martin is studious and serious, and goes about everything in a slow, methodical, reasoning fashion. Pascha is impulsive and used to living life in the fast lane. When he enlists Martin's help in seeking his killer, Martin's measured approach is a constant source of irritation to Pascha.

    Initially I thought the translation a little awkward, but I think this was due to the literal translation of colloquial German expressions which did not mean much in English. However, overall, I think the translator did an excellent job and the story flows very well. The reader is only occasionally aware that this is a translation.

    This is not a page turner, but it is highly entertaining. The story and delivery certainly appealed to me with my warped sense of humour although I imagine the style will not appeal to everyone.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    3.0 out of 5 stars Morgue drawer 4
    A different style of book. It was OK but not really gripping me.
    Published 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
    5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book
    I chose this rating because it was a very entertaining read gripping in parts but also funny and I am very much looking forward to reading the next book. Read more
    Published 19 days ago by Newbe
    2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
    Not my cup of tea
    Published 25 days ago by J.M.Wilson
    5.0 out of 5 stars An unusual book
    One of the strangest books I have ever read. The lead character is basically a ghost and told from his perspective. Well worth a read. Read more
    Published 1 month ago by grumpya
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Great read
    Published 1 month ago by Alison Digney
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Took a while to get into it, but once i did - fabulous
    Published 1 month ago by Pol
    5.0 out of 5 stars Romp of a mystery
    Oh my god, excellent read! So funny, so clever, just a romp from beginning to end, but a full-blooded murder mystery. Loved the concept, and the voice from beyond the grave. Read more
    Published 3 months ago by Liz Bailey
    1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
    Rubbish and oblivious
    Published 4 months ago by carljohn
    4.0 out of 5 stars Something a bit different. Great translation.
    A bit of a different read. I think it will develop well in later stories. A special mention for the translator, I couldn't believe it wasn't originally written in English.
    Published 4 months ago by Algolthedemonstar
    4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
    This unusual prospective works really well. The contrasting main characters were well rounded and I found it difficult to put down. Read more
    Published 4 months ago by Miss Daphne J. Adams
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