Thursday, October 25, 2012

This was what he missed

Mock got up from his chair and cast his eye over the assembled men. This was what he had been missing for the past three years. Briefings, focus, pertinent questions, suggestions exchanged and spiced with political discussions. One could not discuss politics in Breslau any more. Only one set of values was permitted, and only the Austrian Corporal honoured. Mock breathed a sigh of relief. How he missed this smoke-filled world of meetings and swearing, and the quest for corpses! In distant Lwów he had found what he had longed for back in his sterile office, where he analysed information and wrote endless reports and statements.


The room was filled with the sound of chairs scraping against the floor, pages turning and cigarettes hissing as they were extinguished in the damp ashtray. Mock filled his lungs with air. This was what he missed. For the first time in his life he thought with gratitude about Kraus, who had wanted to banish him but instead had awoken in him something nobody would ever be able to eradicate: the happy excitement of an investigator who could display on his the standard the slogan investigo, ergo sum — "I detect, therefore I am."

— from The Minotaur's Head, by Marek Krajewski.

This is what I've been missing. I finally got my hands on a copy of this, the fourth Eberhard Mock investigation to be available in English, though it seems there are two more books in the series that predate this one but have yet to be translated.

It shouldn't matter if they're read out of order, as each books covers a different period of Mock's life and career, seemingly in no particular order. The Minotaur's Head features the most mature incarnation of Mock yet. It starts in 1939, though most of the story occurs in 1937, so you can be assured a backdrop of heightened pre-war German–Polish tensions.

Less grisly than the other books — maybe I've gotten used to it, or maybe I just haven't gotten to that part yet. Oh, except for the opening chapter — that was pretty gruesome.

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