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End of the World in Breslau
End of the World in Breslau
Author: Marek Krajewski
The city of Breslau, which was the atmospheric heart of the first of Marek Krajewski's novels in English, "Death in Breslau", is as a Georg Grosz backcloth to the second of Criminal Counsellor Eberhard Mock's investigations into a series of seemingly unrelated murders in the late 1920s. While Mock searches for the key to the mystery which afflic...  more »
ISBN-13: 9781906694067
ISBN-10: 1906694060
Publication Date: 3/5/2009
Pages: 288
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.

3.3 stars, based on 2 ratings
Publisher: MacLehose Press
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review
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From the very first page, I disliked this book. It is a short book and I read fast, so I did what I usually do: finished it. And came to have some pleasure in realizing that I loved hating it.

The action takes place in 1927 in Breslau, Germany. The city became part of Poland in 1945, after WWII, and its name was changed to Wroclaw, Poland. This story takes place during the build-up to the war but does not feature much, other than common Jew-hating (it was hard to tell if Mock takes part in this or just notices it), that indicates the rising of the National Socialists or the depressed economy of Germany.

Criminal Counsellor Eberhard Mock leads the investigation of several related murders, each marked by a page from a daily calendar. He seizes upon the theory that the dates were all-important, and the victims were not. This theory takes him into criminal files dating back many years, and ultimately to ancient books on crime, to discover crimes that are being re-created.

Fictional serial killers are always more organized than real-life serial killers. They tend to have grandiose, if nutty, thinking processes that make a kind of sense. And so it is here. The killer is consistent and sticks to the theme. I found the theory more than a little ridiculous, but of course it belongs to the author so of course it is correct, in its way.

I can live with ridiculous reasoning in fictional serial killers. It is easy enough to suspend disbelief in that area. What I live for are interesting characters and plots that are complex enough to keep me going. I can appreciate and enjoy bizarre characters, even evil ones, if they are interesting enough.

The "bizarre" in this case doesn't meet my criteria. Mock is an alcoholic who beats his wife and ridicules others. He lusts after other women and both he and others tend to see women as sexual objects, period. I think of the humor here as more crude than witty. The writing is intelligent but it does not obscure the lack of compassion.

To be fair, many have found this book worth reading and have enjoyed it. I do hope that the next reader likes it more than I did.


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