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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but a little overwhelmed by its own weirdness
This is the second in a series of German detective novels, translated into English. I hadn't read the first novel, and it took me a little while to get to grips with the style of 'Morgue Drawer Next Door'. But you don't need to have read the first book: I enjoyed this well enough on its own merits.
It uses an entertaining storytelling device to complicate an...
Published on 15 July 2012 by Rowena Hoseason

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Idea for a Story
I found the idea of using ghosts as detectives an interesting idea. It allowed the author to use different ways of feeding information to the reader. The idea that a ghost can be in a room completely undetected could be a scarey concept to some people, but if it is a "good" ghost there is no danger.
The story itself was predictable, a simple case of theft by...
Published 19 months ago by FirstLord


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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but a little overwhelmed by its own weirdness, 15 July 2012
By 
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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This is the second in a series of German detective novels, translated into English. I hadn't read the first novel, and it took me a little while to get to grips with the style of 'Morgue Drawer Next Door'. But you don't need to have read the first book: I enjoyed this well enough on its own merits.
It uses an entertaining storytelling device to complicate an otherwise straightforward investigation which features a well-worn tradition of detective novels. The investigators are a mis-matched pair: an introspective pathologist who'd prefer a quiet life, and a wideboy loudmouth car thief... who happens to be deceased. And only the long-suffering pathologist can hear the agitated ghost. (Not that this is too new an idea; who remembers 'Randall and Hopkirk, Deceased?')
The result is a strangely-paced, offbeat investigation into arson and murder at a suburban convent, where the Sisters take care of society's unfortunates (but society doesn't thank them for it). This set-up delivers an intriguing dynamic between the protagonists: Pascha the car thief can see plenty but affect little, has time on his hands and a strange sense of mission. He's the essence of disembodied frustration, being able only to affect the actual world by goading Dr Martin into action. Martin would rather regain his privacy and stop being distracted by a disembodied voice yelping in his head. And then things get even more complicated when they are joined by a second ghost of a murdered nun... and Martin can't hear her, so some weird three-way conversations ensue.
At times the narrative gets overwhelmed by the clunky, repeated dialogue and too many shouted or tearful interventions from various ghosts. I became a little weary of the machinations of communication during the car chase scene - although the ghost aspect works much better when the dead people get to play poltergeist...

Underneath these storytelling tactics lurks a solid plot which touches on serious social issues, and a decent mystery to solve. Pascha's character quietly matures during the book, losing some rough edges and becoming rather more likeable by the end. But Martin remained something of a cipher to me. The story is told in self-conscious style by Pascha, and Martin as a person barely develops. He's just a vessel through which Pascha can act... trying desperately to build a Faraday cage around his life!
Overall, an interesting crime novel with a neat and original theme. But no so great that I'm tempted to buy the first book in the series straight away. I'd happily read another by this author, but won't be actively seeking them out. (Oh, and if you like the themes, then try The Coroner's Lunch: A Dr Siri Murder Mystery: A Dr Siri Mystery (Dr Siri Paiboun Mystery 1) which starts a series of investigations in the Far East, with a coroner whose investigations are influenced by a series of supernatural interventions. Very enjoyable.)
7/10
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Ghostly Help, 8 July 2012
By 
HJK (Gomersal UK) - See all my reviews
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This is the second novel featuring Pasha, the ghost of a murdered car thief, who helps the coroner Martin Gangeswein solve crimes.

It is translated from German.

In this novel he is joined by Marlene, a nun in her past life, who died when a fire broke out in her convent.

They believe that the deadly fire was no accident and are determined to uncover the truth which leads to some madcap adventures.

I enjoyed the first novel and enjoyed this one as well. It might be better to have read Morgue Drawer Four first but I think if you had not, it would not matter too much.

The book covers serious crimes but has a light-heartedness which makes them not too sombre and heavy whilst still getting a message across.

As with the first novel for me the one criticism is that the translation has been done into very AMERICAN English - as Pasha, who is from Cologne, speaks/thinks in a very colloquial style then this becomes very American slang which is sometimes hard to follow and also does not give the European feel that I think is needed for this novel.

However I did like reading this book and I if there are others to follow in the series I WILL be reading those.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pascha continues his haunting . ., 14 Aug. 2012
By 
Emile Zola reader "Gervaise" (Hants, UK) - See all my reviews
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This book is the sequel to Morgue Drawer Four and features the same central character of Pascha, a ghost, who in life was a likeable rogue. Unfortunately, Pascha stuck in limbo haunting the morgue in Cologne. This book also sees the return of gentle pathologist Martin, who is the only person on earth that Pasha can communicate with.

Frustratingly for Martin, Pascha is once again badgering him to help solve a murder - a nun is the victim of an arson attack on a monastery set in an area of land ripe for prime development. This time around, Pascha has another person with whom he can communicate - the dead nun is also stuck in a half-life and Pascha is forced to act as intermediary between Sister Marlene and Martin in order to solve the crime. The once bad-boy Pascha has to watch his language when speaking with Sister Marlene and there are many funny parts in the book when Pascha loses his restraint and vents his frustrations out on Martin.

Morgue Drawer Next Door is a decent enough thriller on its own, but it's the dialogue and relationship between the sweet, oddball Martin and reluctant ghost Pascha that makes the book. If you liked Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), then you will enjoy this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morgue Drawer Series, 19 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Morgue Drawer Next Door (Morgue Drawer series Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
I bought this book purely because i thought it was a weird idea for a story - the main character who tells the story is a ghost!

Bizarre but it works - the stories are great - well written and funny. The ghost is forced to try and get help from a very reluctant human who hates the idea he sees this ghost and comes up with ever more bizarre ways of getting rid of him - none of which work fortunately.

The mysteries themselves are really good and the novel idea for a detective makes them even better.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pascha and Marlene show - Highly entertaining, 9 July 2012
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I read the first book in the series, Morgue Drawer Number Four, with growing delight and this one lived up to the promise. Pascha, the bumptious, sexist murdered ex-car thief ghost is again the narrator; impossible as ever but learning a few 'people' skills as he finds himself working again in tandem with Martin Ganswein, living pathologist, to solve a fire which killed and injured nuns in a Cologne convent devoted to helping the homeless and downtrodden.
As well as Martin's girlfriend, Birgit, and his incredulous police friends Gregor and Katrin, we are joined this time by Marlene, ghost of the nun who died, who only Pascha can see and hear but who is determined (once she gets used to the idea of being dead) to help solve the mystery.
The whole story is quite mad, but once disbelief has been suspended, endlessly entertaining. Marlene and Pascha make a reluctant but increasingly competent team,learning to use radio waves and electrical engineering to gain their ends; unworldly Martin, still resenting the voice in his head, is drawn along in spite of himself and Birgit throws herself into the proceedings with enthusiasm.
I like the fact that this is translated from the German and enjoy the different patterns of speech and outlook. For all its unusual approach the story deals with homelessness, prostitution, prejudice and villainy seriously. I love the voice of the narrator, Pascha, and the way he deals with the very difficult decision he has to make at the end. Long may he live in Martin's mind, on the computer and in the airwaves. I want the next story now!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but but occasionally unintentionally entertaining, 7 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Morgue Drawer Next Door (Morgue Drawer series Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
Hmmm I liked the premise although the plot was a little thin. Essentially an unpleasant dead car thief's spirit is hanging around the morgue after his murder (Pascha). He teams up with a newly arrived nun who has died in an arson attack on her convent & between them (with the help of a couple of live humans) they go about solving her death. The language given to Pascha is sometimes anachronistic & I think this is a translation issue - some of the slang used struck me as very dated giving me a couple of unintentionally comic moments as the nasty car thief metamorphosed in to a "Carry-On" character. Its an easy read and it kept me hooked despite my reservations about the language, I might well try another in the series but but I think the books would be improved by a Europe based translator rather ran someone in the US with a toe in Europe.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Idea for a Story, 19 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Morgue Drawer Next Door (Morgue Drawer series Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
I found the idea of using ghosts as detectives an interesting idea. It allowed the author to use different ways of feeding information to the reader. The idea that a ghost can be in a room completely undetected could be a scarey concept to some people, but if it is a "good" ghost there is no danger.
The story itself was predictable, a simple case of theft by a corrupt official involving murder and misdirection. The one thing I did not like was the way the worldly wise ghost expressed his views about the Church and the dead nun's constant desire to pray every day.
A lightweight story suitable for holiday reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, entertaining and fast moving, 14 Aug. 2012
By 
Amazoniac (Norwich) - See all my reviews
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This is the first thing I have read by this author, and I have just ordered her previous novel as I enjoyed this one so much.
Dealing with death and ghosts can go one of two ways, I find, either a great story or slapstick. this story manages to combine both these outcomes to produce a fun but readable story.
The disembodied spirit of Pascha (a murdered car thief) finds that he can only communicate with one person, Martin.
When two nuns are killed in a local convent, Pascha and Martin investigate the crime.
It is a rollocking good story, and one you will not want to put down.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Who killed the penguin?, 29 Aug. 2012
By 
Annabel Gaskell "gaskella2" (Nr Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This unusual crime novel is narrated by Pascha - he used to be a car thief - the best young one in Cologne. Pascha has become a sort of detective, teaming up with Dr Martin Gänsewein, a forensic examiner for the city. They have a bit of a love-hate relationship, Martin is very good at his job, but is a little set in his ways; Pascha can be like an annoying dog, always nipping at his heels. Martin does believe in justice though, and Pascha's heart is in the right place for an ex-car-thief. They met in the morgue, when Martin was performing Pascha's autopsy - yes, Pascha is a ghost! Martin is the only person he can communicate with, which drives him mad - but the two do work together well. The story of their meeting, in which they investigate Pascha's own murder, is told in the first book of this series Morgue Drawer Four, which I've not read, (but would now like to).

In Morgue Drawer Next Door, the unlikely pairing have a new case to investigate. A convent in the posh area of Cologne, has a fire in which one sister perishes, and another is burned to a crisp, but hangs on in ICU. The run-down convent needs a lot of expensive restoration work done and the police are inclined to think that the fire was an accident. One person knows differently however - the nun who died, Sister Marlene. Marlene's spirit lingers - she has a mission to accomplish before passing on. When Pascha finds her, he takes her under his wing and vows to help. The only problem is that Martin is a) not supposed to be back at work yet after having been stabbed (in the previous novel), and b) would rather Pascha was not around so he can progress his fledgling romance with the lovely Birgit. Pascha becomes go-between, for Marlene can only communicate with him, and goaded on by the two ghosts, Martin grudgingly gets on the case.

Martin is gloriously grumpy and reluctant to get involved in another case - after all, he got stabbed the previous time. He also wants more downtime from Pascha being in his head. He's not a policeman, he's a pathologist, but knowing that the fire was no accident, he can't leave it. He must find a way of getting the right information on how to solve the crime to the police without them condemning him as a crackpot who talks to ghosts! Luckily for Pascha, Martin's new girlfriend Birgit is game for helping him out, and has no idea about the ghosts.

This brings me to Pascha and Marlene. Their interplay is so sweet and funny. You can imagine how a middle-aged nun would react to the testosterone-led mindset of a young man, yet there is no-one else for her to turn to to show her the ropes of being a ghost. Sister Marlene soon realises that, and the chalk and cheese pairing are soon whooshing all over the place and manipulating situations to find the proof they need. Although this all sounds delightful and irreverent, which it is, there is a more serious side to the novel regarding the work of the convent. Amongst other things, they run a night shelter for the homeless, and none of their neighbours like it. The surrounding area has gone up in the world, and the new posh inhabitants don't want bums on their doorstep, nor do the allotment owners nearby, or right-wing groups. The nuns are under pressure on all sides to shut up and ship out.

The novel is narrated throughout by Pascha, who maintains that he is writing a book, and there are frequent asides about his Editor. Initially, this was slightly irritating, but you can't help warming to Pascha. There is a lovely bit where he tries to justify his having been a car-thief to Marlene - generating wealth in insurance, people buying new cars etc, and keeping the manufacturers in work. Marlene too, although pious, is humane and does have a good sense of humour for a nun - something she had needed in her work one surmises.

If you enjoy crime novels with humour and a lot of heart, this may be one for you. Knowledge of the first volume is not necessary to enjoy this one, but I certainly want to read it now I've read the second.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Giving Up the Ghost, 13 Aug. 2012
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
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"Morgue Drawer Next Door," is second in the morgue-centered mystery series by German author Jutta Profijt, following MORGUE DRAWER FOUR. Like its predecessor, it's set in the beautiful, historic river city of Cologne, Germany, where forensic pathologist Dr. Martin Gansewein performs autopsies and copes as best he can with a ghost named Pascha Lerchenberg, who is haunting him, and who narrates this novel. So we have, thrown together, a shy, conscientious scientist and a chatty former car thief whose murder Gansewein found himself solving in Morgue Drawer Four.

Gansewein is finally able to return to work at the new book's opening, after a long hospital convalescence caused by serious wounds suffered while involved in Pascha's case. He's hoping for a little peace and quiet, and a chance to get his new relationship with the gorgeous banker Birgit off the ground. And that Pascha has finally shuffled off this mortal coil. But no such luck. Not only has Pascha not gone, he has joined forces with Marlene, the ghost of a nun killed in a fire that partially destroyed the beautiful medieval convent she called home, and killed another nun, Sister Maria, whose ghost, thankfully, is not also hanging around. At any rate, the two ghosts are adamant about finding out what happened at the nunnery. And Martin, and eventually Birgit must help them.

On the plus side, the book certainly isn't unduly violent or sex-suffused. It can almost be described as a cozy. And Pascha does have bits of appropriate knowledge about cars that he doles out occasionally. However, in a work such as this that has been translated from its original language, it's difficult to know whether author or translator is responsible for the specific flaws of the finished product. But I did not find it particularly well-written. I disliked its jokey tone. I found the dialog was sometimes leaden, as it was made to carry too much exposition. I did not particular enjoy the narrative or descriptive writing either. The plot was quite linear, not complex or puzzling enough for my taste. I guessed the villain quite early. I really disliked the author's use of a ghost as narrator. And Profijt gave me no sense of the city of Cologne, or, actually, of Germany, partially because either she or her translator heavily used lame American slang, such as `dude,' chick,' `bazooms.'

Profijt was born in Ratingen, Germany. She worked and lived abroad for some time, as an au pair, an importer/exporter, a business coach and business English instructor. Her first novel featuring coroner Martin Gansewein, MORGUE DRAWER FOUR, was published in 2003 and was shortlisted for Germany's 2010 Friedrich Glauser Prize for best crime novel. Translator Erik J. Macki worked as a cherry orchard tour guide, copy editor, Web developer and German and French teacher. He's a former resident of Cologne and Munster, Germany, and Tours, France, and now lives in Seattle, Washington. Based upon this sample, unfortunately, I don't think their work is for me.
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