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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immersive story telling.
I was pitched into the stultifying summer heat of pre-war Breslau with this gripping tale that has me waiting in great anticipation for Krajewski's next offering. A dark world of ritual murder, sexual frisson and summer heat.As suggested before this is a darker, more noir take on Philip Kerr's detective Bernie Gunther. I really was able to generate a wonderfully immersive...
Published on 8 Feb. 2009 by Michael Gale

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment in Breslau.......maybe harsh
The book is set in Breslau a pre-WW2 town in Germany in 1933, subsequently Polish post-war.

In a nutshell, a triple murder, double rape has occurred and Mock the policeman or Kriminaldirektor is tasked with solving the case. Most of the narrative takes place during 1933, with the concluding passage wrapping things up in 1951.

I'm undecided as to my...
Published on 3 Oct. 2012 by col2910


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immersive story telling., 8 Feb. 2009
By 
Michael Gale (Dorset) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Death in Breslau: An Eberhard Mock Investigation (Paperback)
I was pitched into the stultifying summer heat of pre-war Breslau with this gripping tale that has me waiting in great anticipation for Krajewski's next offering. A dark world of ritual murder, sexual frisson and summer heat.As suggested before this is a darker, more noir take on Philip Kerr's detective Bernie Gunther. I really was able to generate a wonderfully immersive sense of both place and character when I read this story.
Its a shame you cant enjoy a book twice the same way you did the first time.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Silesian noir,.,..., 3 Oct. 2009
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This review is from: Death in Breslau: An Eberhard Mock Investigation (Paperback)
Gripping....a simple word for this novel that i just cannot stop reading, i am not a fan of crime fiction, the genre that has created a whole heap of nothing but this Polish thriller is above and beyond some of the formulaic tripe of our times.

The regional german city of Breslau is the setting, in 1933, as the Nazi's start to take control of every aspect of urban life. (Breslau is now the large poliash city of Wrocslaw). Heavy summer heat,depravity and the endless twists and turns of patronage, from Nazi thugs to aristocratic perverts, makes this a dizzy and desperate tale of the times.

The actual crime fiction elememts are fairly standard but its the wonderful feel of the novel that draws you in, be warned though, this isnt a jolly read, the perversions and violence are nilhistic and unsettling.

Not quite similar to Mankell with his questioning,intellectual mastery but a thinking persons novel of stifling summer heart and suspense.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SEX AND SCORPIONS - SIMPLY THE BEST, 9 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Death in Breslau: An Eberhard Mock Investigation (Paperback)
This is probably the best detective story/ thriller I've ever read, although I probably liked it as a novel more than as a whodunnit. The plot itself is over-elaborate and slightly unconvincing involving a vendetta which reaches back to the Crusades. Set in the 1930s in what is now Poland where the Nazis are just coming in to power, its central character Eberhard Mock is an extremely ambitious, brothel-loving senior policeman. In other circumstances the 'gloomy neurotic' Mock would have been a morally flawed, not particularly pleasant man. What the author Krajewski does so well is show how the particularly appalling brutalitiy of the Nazis can turn an ordinarly morally flawed being like Mock, into someone verging on the evil. Mock is prepared to let a young Jewish girl become a morphine addict and prostitute, her father to be killed, and probably the only person he has ever genuinely loved go mad in order to further his career. Yet despite that, the author manages to make Mock sympathetic. You too, he seems to say, under the pressures of the SS and the Nazis, might behave in the same way. The Nazi regime put Mock to the test in the way that most of us never are. Mock failed as most of us probably would under similar circumstances.

Like Rankin, Krajewski is in love with a city - in this case Breslau - and lovingly details its cafes, restaurants, buildings and streets. Unfortunately he is as meticulous in recording the torture inflicted by the SS and by Mock and his assistant. Sexual and physical violence seep from every pore of his characters, from the effete barons with their exquisite paintings and orgies, to the red-faced sweating SS torturer.

If I've made the book sound nasty, it is. Not just sex and violence, but scorpions also creep through its pages. But Death In Breslau escapes all the tired conventions of the detective story and provides a really convincing picture of the slow corruption of a city and its inhabitants under the influence of the Nazis.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trouble Ahead, 30 Oct. 2013
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This was the first Eberhard Mock story and it has to be admitted that although it doesn't perhaps have the polish that the later stories have it is still an enthralling and clever read. There are comments on here with regards to the translation. I myself do not read or speak Polish, however from those who do I have been told that this is a very good translation by Danusia Stok.

Although the very beginning of this story takes place in 1950 we then go back to the years 1933-34, and then pick up again from where this started, and then it ends in 1951. As you can see this takes in an eighteen year period. Breslau (modern day Wroclaw) isn't a nice place to be when we go back to the Thirties. The place has not only the normal crimes that go on there to deal with, but also the intrusion of the S.A., the Gestapo, the SS, and the Abwehr. If a crime can be laid at the doors of Jews, Freemasons, etc., then all the better for the Nazis, as they can use it as propaganda for the unblemished racial purity that they want, and the perverseness of others. Eberhard Mock is brought into this as he can get a promotion if he just accepts that a certain person viciously raped and killed two women, along with a male railway worker. These victims were left with scorpions in their stomachs. Unfortunately for Mock he has to walk a fine line between the Nazis and Freemasons, and as one of the murdered victims was a Baron's daughter, and the Baron is a high ranking Mason, this particular crime comes back to haunt Mock. A year later a burnt out heavy drinking policeman from Berlin, Herbert Anwaldt is called in to follow up the crime.

For Eberhard Mock this is a hard time as he finds himself between a rock and a hard place as he tries to stay one step ahead of everyone else, he can't let his Freemason fellowship come out if he wants to keep his job, for one thing. Thus follows a case of blackmailing, power struggles, prophecies, vendettas and murder as slowly the truth behind the original crime is revealed.

Krajewski brings to life the town of Breslau and the position it and other places under German control found themselves in before the War, as well as giving us a really dark and cleverly plotted novel. Will Eberhard Mock, our shifty anti-hero manage to come out of all this unscathed? You will have to read this to find out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment in Breslau.......maybe harsh, 3 Oct. 2012
By 
col2910 (Bedfordshire,UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Death in Breslau: An Eberhard Mock Investigation (Paperback)
The book is set in Breslau a pre-WW2 town in Germany in 1933, subsequently Polish post-war.

In a nutshell, a triple murder, double rape has occurred and Mock the policeman or Kriminaldirektor is tasked with solving the case. Most of the narrative takes place during 1933, with the concluding passage wrapping things up in 1951.

I'm undecided as to my feelings about the book overall. Clichés such as un-put-down-able or page-turner definitely don't apply in this instance. Occasionally you read a book that instead of leaving at home in the morning, you take it to work in the car, you read a few pages when you park, then pop it in your desk drawer ready to catch a chapter at lunchtime......hmmm, not this time.

I suppose my main reaction is ambivalence, I didn't feel any empathy or connection to Mock or his underling Anwaldt. I wasn't outraged by the crimes in the beginning and I wasn't that fussed by the outcome at the end.

Krajewski was skilled at evoking the mood of pre-war Germany and the menace felt by those who though part of the establishment, weren't part of the growing Brown-shirted, Gestapo loving, Hitlerite factions. Loyalties, alliances and confidences were undertaken with caution, a fact which ratcheted the tension in progressing the investigation into the crimes.

That alone made the book a worthwhile read, though in my opinion the whole raison d'être for the crimes struck me as wholly implausible.

Decide in haste and repent at leisure. I can't actually recall why I bought this book, or the following two Krajewski Breslau/Mock that follow, but whilst I will read the second and third titles eventually; had I only bought the first, I wouldn't be rushing to the shops for numbers two and three.

I have some Philip Kerr/Bernie Gunther pre-war Berlin books that I'm looking forward to a lot more. I wouldn't put anyone off from reading this, but neither would I rush to recommend it either........3 from 5 probably, 2 would be too harsh.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars no heroes or anti-heroes just villians, 12 Aug. 2012
By 
Rob Kitchin - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Death in Breslau: An Eberhard Mock Investigation (Paperback)
This book should have been right up my street - strong characters, historical pre-World War II setting, interesting plot - but it just never clicked for me. I did enjoy it, but I felt I should have loved it. Somehow it fell a little flat. I've been trying to work out why. I think part of the problem is that every character in the book is highly flawed and criminally inclined. All the female characters are prostitutes or madams, all the male characters are police or Gestapo or aristocracy, all highly corrupt. There were no `good guys' only those that weren't Nazis. I read somewhere that Death in Breslau was Chanderesque. I'll go along with the idea that Krajewski's writing is noir, but its doesn't have the first person narrative of Chandler, nor his craft at creating a way of seeing the world - Chandler always had very rich descriptions of placee that didn't just put you in the landscape but made sure you were seeing it through his lenses. And Eberhard Mock is not an anti-hero in the Philip Marlowe mould, he has institutional power and he uses it, even torturing and disposing of people to get the information he needs. I'm starting to think that the book had no heros or anti-heros, just villains. As a reader I was left with little vested interest in any character. As the plot unfolded it became a little fantastic, with the connections to The Crusades and some of the coincidences stretching the story to almost breaking point. Given all that was happening during this period there was really no need for this kind of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' kind of angle. Death in Breslau passed a few hours, but something just didn't click for me in the way that I hoped it would.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Putting the anti into anti-hero, 25 Sept. 2010
By 
Woolgatherer (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Death in Breslau: An Eberhard Mock Investigation (Paperback)
It is difficult to feel much sympathy for any of the characters in this book, apart from the doomed Jew Isidor Friedlander, and his similarly ill-fated daughter, Lea. The "hero" Mock, frequents prostitutes, doesn't lift a finger to help Isidor because it helps his own career not to do so, and manipulates Anwaldt into murdering Baron von der Malten into order to cover his own Masonic tracks. Anwaldt, who is the nearest we have to a "goodie" is an alcoholic with a tenuous grasp on reality and a proclivity for violence. Although the minor characters were reasonably well fleshed out, some were outlandish and none particularly appealing.

The story is, largely, set in pre-war Germany at the time of the rise of the Nazis. The inter-departmental rivalry and scrabble for survival are factors for all the characters, and the book could be read as showing how an inhuman system crushes the humanity of all involved in it. Personally, I like my heroes to be more traditional, and to stand up for the weak against the strong, even at risk to themselves. That probably doesn't happen very often in the real world, but it doesn't seem too much to ask for in a novel. Maybe I'm just naive.

All of that said, this was an interesting book. There were plenty of twists in the (albeit far fetched) plot, and the technique of writing in very short sections that covered a few hours of the story at a time allowed for frequent changes of perspective, which made for a more exciting story. The translation was well done, and led to a fluid style that was reasonably easy to read.

Overall, I would read more of the Mock quartet if I stumbled across one, but I don't think that I would go out of my way to look for them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death in Breslau, 23 May 2012
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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This is a dark, noir novel, which is both bizarre and extreme. In the heat of a pre-war summer a seventeen year old girl and her governess are discovered murdered in a railway carriage, with their intestines and stomach slashed, scorpion's in the stomach cavity of the girl and strange writing, in blood on the wall. Enter Councsellor Eberhard Mock, the Deputy Head of the Criminal Department of the Police Praesidium, who knew the young girl since she was a child and owes much of his career to her father, Baron von der Malten. However, the discovery of who murdered young Marietta is complicated by many things, including a large number of people who have a rather cynical view of the truth. For the novel takes place in Breslau in 1933, where the rise of the Nazi party is causing power within the police department to change hands and those with secrets, which includes virtually everyone in this novel, have reason to fear the truth coming out.

I feel this will be something of a marmite book. It is neither a straightforward crime story, nor really a story about the rise of the Nazi's, although it encompasses both. Rather it is a dark and twisted tale of revenge, mysterious curses and the underbelly of a city in Europe which is changing beyond all recognition. Be prepared to simply go with the flow and enter the author's world. I am sure that I will be reading on in this series.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars darker noir, 5 Sept. 2008
By 
Gary Warner "film noir buff" (england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Death in Breslau: An Eberhard Mock Investigation (Paperback)
this book held my attention from page one, taut and compelling. very much anovel to compare with phillip kerr and bernie gunter,somewhat more graphic when observing the scenes of torture, but did add up to realistic view of the period. the story held together very well and held my attention untill the end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Polish noir, fascinating in its detail; I will search out the remaining books in the quartet, 21 Feb. 2015
By 
Dr R (Norwich, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Death in Breslau: An Eberhard Mock Investigation (Paperback)
The author Marek Krajewski, b. 1966, has published a quartet of books featuring Kriminaldirektor Eberhard Mock; they are set in Breslau, the present-day Wrocław, and Death in Breslau, published in 2006, is the first. The very engaging translation is by Daniusa Stok. Krajewski is a classical philologist specialising in Latin linguistics who taught at the University of Wrocław. Whilst this background is evident in the plotting of this book, only rarely does intrude.

The action is mainly set in Breslau in 1933-34 but opens in a psychiatric hospital in Dresden, in 1950, and closes in a New York hotel a year later. The cover illustration gives an indication of the salacious background to the story that also brings in the Gestapo, a decadent Baron, Freemasons, a barbarous Turk, scorpions and hornets, the Crusades and many gruesome killings. Behind the fictional characters, real-life characters add weight to the plot.

Krajewski's research into the period is evident in every page and the Breslau of the interwar years is described in a manner that almost allows the reader to walk or drive around its streets in an Adler. Mock is in charge of the investigation into three deaths on a train, notably the murder of the seventeen-year old daughter of Baron von der Malten, a wealthy philanthropist to whom Mock owes much of his professional success; both are Freemasons and, therefore, at risk from the Gestapo.

An unusual feature of the killings enables Mock to identify the involvement of Isidor Friedlander who confesses under interrogation by the Gestapo; Mock takes the credit, thus advancing his career, and Friedlander `commits suicide' before he can face trial. However, some time later the Baron receives information indicating that the murderer is still at large. Criminal Assistant Herbert Anwaldt is transferred from Berlin to assist Mock in a confidential investigation to identify the person/s responsible.

This novel and the quartet will most obviously appeal to readers with an interest in the period and/or the region. There are a great many characters, almost all of which are strongly fleshed out and believable, despite their moral failings and extreme behavior [drunkenness, sexual perversion, torture]. However, some only pop up now and again, and a cast list might have been helpful for the reader to keep track.

The two main characters are less than appealing - Mock is a pragmatic workaholic, operating in the dangerous area between the Abwehr and Gestapo [one of whose men has been planted as his assistant], and spending much time gaining information to blackmail those in a position to bring him down; given what is going on in Breslau he is not short of evidence. He is a lover of ancient literature, chess and brothels and combines the latter two interests in a rather unusual manner. He is not averse to torture and, as we see on the final page, is unwavering in his search for the guilty.

Anwaldt was brought up in an orphanage, reads the classics, struggles to keep his drinking under control, smokes more than he eats and reacts badly to torture. The relationship between the two policemen is at the heart of the book and is utterly convincing. The author sends Mock on holiday for a significant part of the book and this allows us to see Anwaldt operating independently and also trying to control his addition to alcohol. Both men are intensely lonely and pursue their respective vices in order to escape the reality of their lives. Whether they can find comfort and support is an ongoing element of the story.

Mock and Anwaldt come to realise that the original murders may be linked to the content of ancient oriental texts being translated by an eminent Semitologist, Dr Georg Maass, whose non-academic tastes centre on `schoolgirl' prostitutes, and this leads them through a rather complicated plotline to a surprising conclusion that explains what has gone on in Breslau and Dresden over almost twenty years. Only occasionally, such as when the author needs to explain the medieval sectarian background to the texts, does the exposition intrude on the narrative. The inventiveness of the tortures and killings is horrendous but, with one exception, depressingly real.

This is Polish noir, reflecting the sadism, prejudices and underlying fear of the period, and this is reflected in the activities and speech of its characters. There is much eating of sausages, mustard and sauerkraut, and I look forward to catching up with their munching in the remaining three novels, 9/10.
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Death in Breslau: An Eberhard Mock Investigation
Death in Breslau: An Eberhard Mock Investigation by Marek Krajewski (Paperback - 4 Sept. 2008)
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