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imageShortlisted for the 2016 Walter Scott Historical Fiction Prize

And so to the finale of Allan Massie’s atmospheric crime quartet set in Vichy France. (Parts 1 and 2 are reviewed here, Part 3 here.). It is the early summer of 1944. The Germans have lost the war and the allied invasion is expected, eagerly or with apprehension depending on the choices made during the Occupation. For Superintendent Lannes the end can’t come quickly enough, even though his family will suffer one way or the other, given that one son is happily working for Vichy France, the other has joined the free French and his daughter has fallen in love with a fully-fledged German sympathiser, now fighting in Hitler’s  army. For himself, Lannes just wants to be able to work again, free from political interference. At the beginning of this novel, however, he is suspended at the order of the Germans – he’s paying the price for doing the morally right thing in the previous novel.

But he is not bitter. He understands that his boss Schnyder was simply being expedient “determined to survive, however things turned out.” He is suffering from ennui, however, and so when he is approached by the Count of St. Hilaire to investigate the disappearance of his grand-niece, he accepts. The case brings him into contact with the real bogey man of the quartet, the lawyer Labiche. Throughout the quartet Lannes has crossed swords with Labiche multiple times, and with the end of the Occupation in sight, Lannes senses his chance for revenge.

Continuing to tread the streets of Bordeaux, Lannes meets the circle of friends and adversaries that have populated the previous three novels, and I do think that this may be confusing to those coming to End Games without prior knowledge. This is one series where I would advise starting at Book One. That way the jumps to the parallel lives of Lannes’s sons and Michel, his daughter’s lover, will not disconcert. Nor will their purpose. Not a single one of them comes out of the other side with their ideals intact ….

… and even Lannes, desperate to be free from intolerable political pressures, has to recognise that the time has not yet come. Now that the Boches have gone, justice will have new masters. In the words of Judge Bracal:

For four years the prevailing wind has come from Vichy. Now the wind has shifted. It blows with the Resistance, and … for weeks and perhaps months to come, the Law will be whatever the Resistance says it is.

I have followed Lannes during the dark years trying to uphold justice in the face of Vichy/Nazi law. He has at least tried to maintain his own integrity. He has not always succeeded. Finding now that similar struggles will continue through the Expiation and beyond,  he is finally embittered and filled with hatred for the hypocrises of his fellow countrymen.  Rising above it all is sometimes an impossible task.

© Lizzy’s Literary Life 2016

imageShortlisted for the 2016 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction

You can always tell when the weather’s good in Scotland – this blog goes quiet. (Good days are too precious to waste inside on the computer.) However, normal service has been resumed, and I am once again sheltering inside. Time to start on the Walter Scott shortlist, which I shall attempt to read in its entirety before the winner’s announcement is made on 18th June.

Let’s start with the only lady on the list, and a novel that is curiously not available in the UK. I had to import the book from Australia to read it. At least this made me realise how lucky we are in the UK, where books are more reasonably priced ….

Salt Creek is Lucy Treloar’s debut novel which has also been longlisted for the 2016 Miles Franklin award. It is set primarily in 1855 in the Coorong, a remote and inhospitable coastal region in Southern Australia. Stanton Finch, following a failed business venture, refuses to accept charity from his wealthy in-laws and moves his family to establish a dairy farm in Salt Creek. The fact that he must build his new home from driftwood, the remnants of ship-wrecked vessels, is presentiment enough for what is to follow.

Neither climate nor pasture are ideal – salt from the sea permeates the landscape. So the odds are stacked again Stanton Finch, who besides having no business sense, does not understand the ecology. Unlike the Ngarrindjeri, the aboriginal tribe who are about to be displaced – though not in a violent clash of cultures. This is a gradual dispossession – though sickness brought by the settlers, and a betrayal of Stanton Finch’s values by Stanton Finch himself who believes himself to be an enlightened Christian man ascribing to the maxim that all men are born equal. With that in mind he sets out to help the Ngarrindjeri, with gifts of food and clothing, protecting their fresh water supplies, and he semi-adopts an aboriginal child, inviting Tull into his home to educate him, the hope being that Tull will spread the values of civilisation through his own people.

Which is all very well until life deals him one blow after the next. A stubborn man, Stanton Finch exacts the price of each failure on his family. When Tull makes the naive mistake of believing himself to be equal, the despot in Stanton Finch rises while the downward spiral accelerates, shattering any remaining semblance of family cohesion. The family saga (and saga it is – perhaps a little too domestic for my taste) is told in retrospect by Hester, Stanton Finch’s eldest daughter. The harsh years at Salt Creek are the formative years for her and her siblings, and the place one they must escape if they are not to descend to the depths of their father. Not all of them do.

This is not your standard pioneering tale – a tale of man waging a successful battle against the elements, of “civilising” those who have no need of it. Rather it is anti-heroic, a “decivilisation” if you will. There are no miracles, just harsh realities depicting the self-deception of the settlers, with hard questions asked of their Victorian world view.

The role of hero in these pages is reserved for the landscape. As Treloar notes in her acknowledgements, The Coroong is strange and secluded and grand enough to humble. That’s a lesson that the presumptious Stanton Finch must learn very much to his cost.

© Lizzy’s Literary Life 2016

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The pelican lifted up its head and beak, and shook them, wobbling its neck, trying to force the pigeon further down the sac of its throat. The pigeon was still very much alive; its fight-back stretched the skin of the pelican’s gullet until it was almost translucent, with the dark outline of the smaller bird clearly visible. It was a ferocious fighter, and Peter found he couldn’t tear his gaze away as the pigeon succeeded in struggling back up the pelican’s gullet and into its beak, and for a moment it looked as if it might manage to get free.

I love a good metaphor and this one on page 254 of Gillian Slovo’s Ten Days perfectly sums up the struggle for political survival between the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary. But who is swallowing whom and why? Do politicians need motivation other than the lust for political power.  I’d say no, but there has to be a catalyst for the declaration of war and a power grab.

Cue riots on the streets of London, ostensibly triggered by the death of a black man under police restraint. In reality, however, the resulting peaceful demonstration is hijacked by those with other agendas. Look back at the UK riots of 2011 to see how events escalated into anarchy; a trajectory mirrored in Slovo’s novel with the impact on individuals and key players depicted in mesmerising detail.

Cathy Mason – a middle-aged single mother, living in the disadvantaged, restless and soon-to-be-condemned Lovelace estate, desperately trying to keep her community together. Her life is complicated by her love for Banji, the only man she has or will ever love, although he appears not to deserve her.

Commissioner Yares, Metropolitan police chief, the Prime Minister’s man, who starts his new job on the day that all hell breaks loose. A sitting duck (or should that be pigeon?) for the Home Secretary, who, while the Prime Minister is attending important negotiations elsewhere, loses no opportunity to score political points against perceived incompetence and “soft” policing.

The Home Secretary and his women: wife and PA/lover. No political drama would be complete without shenanigans of this ilk.

The Prime Minister – more off the page than on. Nevertheless, a smooth operator, not to be under estimated.

Slovo punches with both fists exposing the machinations of the powerful, the cynicism at the heart of the Met’s recruitment policies, and the sincere, but ultimately powerless hearts of the common man. That would be powerless in the face of higher authorities, but also in matters of love. The lovers (Banji and the home secretary’s PA) providing the most unexpected twists of them all in a narrative covering ten critical days that – like the riots at their centre – cannot be predicted.

This is a gutsy read;  a warts-and-all  journal of each main character’s experience, sometimes with overlapping timelines. (So reader, pay attention.) Interspersed are redacted confidential police reports, using police jargon, for the forthcoming inquiry. (Thankfully there is a helpful glossary at the back). These reports are chilling in their emotional distance, but they do provide another more objective viewpoint of police decisions that outsiders (and politicians) are quick to criticise. Further balance is provided by the experience of Chief Inspector Billy Ridgeton, who is called in from a day off to help out with the escalating unrest and doesn’t come off duty for a week.

I’ve been meaning to read Slovo since publication of The Ice Road in 2004. Glad to have rectified that omission in my reading now and am looking forward to acquainting myself with her back catalogue.  In producing this novel, filled with players and their power plays, Slovo has herself played an absolute blinder!

5stars.GIF

© Lizzy’s Literary Life 2016

imageI’ve never been happy with my review of Kehlmann’s Measuring The World from nine years ago. I always felt that I had been blindsided by the humour of the piece; that I hadn’t got to the core of things. In the years since, I have heard Kehlmann referee a translation duel and speak of the style he used – everything in indirect speech, putting a distance between reader and subject, endowing the action with a cinematic quality. I must read it in German, I thought. I still haven’t done that. However, as my second reading of Carol Brown Janeway’s fluid translation immediately followed my reading of Andrea Wulf’s The Invention of Nature, I returned to Kehlmann’s novel with fresh eyes.

But firstly let me say that Measuring the World has, in the intervening years, has lost none of its charm or entertainment value. It remains an absolute humdinger. However, knowing much more about the obsessive Alexander Humboldt gave me a better insight into Kehlmann’s talents. It is the historical novelist’s job to

a) show us the human reality that the historical record glosses over. Such as how impossible Humboldt must have been to live with. Poor Aimé Bonpland takes the brunt of this for 5 years in the South America wilderness. The man deserved a sainthood! Gauss, too, a curmudgeon, best left alone with his head in the clouds of higher mathematics.

b) condense the lives of the two greatest scientists of their time into just 260 pages. Their differing backgrounds, their radically different modus operandi, nothing to share but their genius and an incredible number of discoveries.

But to do so artistically, in a new, a novel way. I’ve already commented on the humour. Kehlmann also uses structure to good effect, starting his novel at the only time when the two men met before looping back into the past to tell their histories in parallel. (Demonstrating from the offset, the Gaussian theory of parallel lines meeting?) The literal highpoint of Humboldt’s career at 18,690 feet, at the point where a ravine stops Bonpland and himself from climbing to the summit of Mount Chimborazo. This episode occurs dead centre in the book. Not that everything was downhill for Humboldt after that, but he was never to experience the same exhilaration.

A novelist can also use poetic licence, concatenating events, perhaps even changing them for dramatic effect. I’m now suspicious of the electric eel adventure I highlighted in my first review as Andrea Wulf tells it differently. Humboldt and Bonpland sent horses into the pond of electric eels. Kehlmann emphasises how they used their own bodies. Which made me a little suspicious of Eugen Gauss’s calamitous experience in Berlin. Great for the novel but life surely couldn’t be that cruel? Facts, it seem, are somewhat different. Not that this detracts in iota from Kehlmann’s telling. Historical novelists are not oath-bound to tell the truth!

imageAnd so to the 2012 film starring Florian David Fitz as Gauss and Albrecht Schuch as Alexander von Humboldt. Interestingly Gauss taking centre stage on the DVD jacket. An indication that his story (the poor kid made good) was the more interesting and coherent on film. Humboldt’s more panoramic storyline more difficult to convey when confined to short episodic bursts. Some of these scenes, such as the hallucinations on Mount Chimborazo just didn’t work at all. That said, the film is a visual treat and the overlay of a narrator, not only necessary to hold it all together, but also a nod Kehlmann’s indirect narrative. A word of warning though. Watch only if you are a German speaker as half the English subtitles are missing!

My thanks to TJ at My Book Strings. Her choice of Kehlmann’s Measuring The World as #4 of 12 Germans for 2016 gave me the necessary push to revisit an old favourite. TJ’s review is here and Naomi at Consumed by Ink has also joined in here.

© Lizzy’s Literary Life 2016

imageWinner of the 2015 Costa Biography Award

When Alexander von Humboldt, at the age of 30, took himself off to South America in 1799 little did he, or the world, realise that he would be there for 5 years and that he would formulate the theories and proofs that would shape and inspire scientists and thinkers for centuries thereafter. He would show that the earth, the sea currents, the air currents, the ecosystems are bound together in one living organism, a great chain of cause and effect. Disrupt one link in the chain and you disrupt the whole. He was the first to become concerned with the ecological damage we humans cause in general and with deforestation in particular. Not only that, he knew how to engage the public. His writings presented his findings in a way that was inclusive – blending science with literary flourish and sentiment to enable non-experts to understand his discoveries. His drawing of the natural landscape and the plant distribution in the Andes was revolutionary.

Geography of Plants in the Tropics (from wikmedia)

The books he published were magnificent. Lavishly illustrated, no expense spared. The production team consisting of the best cartographers, illustrators, typesetters and bookbinders available to him. By the time he published the first volume of Cosmos in 1845, they were collector’s items before they even left the presses and the rest of world waited breathlessly until a translation became available. (I’ve added an activity to my bucket list. I need to see an original one day. )

So how did Humboldt, the discoverer of continental drift, the magnetic equator and the inventor of isotherms we see every day on the weather maps, become “The Lost Hero of Science” in the English-speaking world? We may have chosen to forget him due to his nationality and the course of 20th century history. ( A supreme irony in that he was happier in France than in Germany and would have chosen to stay in Paris, had he not been dependent on his income from the King of Prussia. His inheritance was spent financing the South American trip.) Or we may have assimilated his ideas so completely, that their originator has been rendered invisible. Andrea Wulf wrote her book in order to find him, to make him rematerialise and to reassess his importance to our current understanding of the world.

Her book is a wonderful read, written in an accessible style that Humboldt would approve. Tracing Humboldt’s early years of restlessness and frustration, staying in Germany on the orders of his mother – no inheritance otherwise. Sailing to South America with Aimé Bonpland on that life-defining and dangerous adventure, one which Wulf brings to life. Returning to the Europe of the Napoleonic Wars, striving to remain apolitical until recalled to Germany to serve the king. His restlessness never leaving him. Making his final expedition across the Russian Steppes and into China at the age of 60! What a man! What a mind! His monarch, Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia once called him “the greatest man since the deluge”. I wouldn’t ascribe to that but I understand  the sentiment.

The final third of the book is devoted to the influential scientists, writers and environmentalists who took up Humboldt’s ideas and ran with them: Charles Darwin, Henry David Thoreau, George Perkins Marsh, Ernst Haeckel and John Muir. These chapters are as immersive as Humboldt’s biography, with every word proving Wulf’s point that the man who shaped the way we understand the world, whose centennial in 1869 was celebrated with parades on the streets of America but is now largely forgotten, deserves to be restored to his rightful place in our collective memory.

© Lizzy’s Literary Life 2016

 

It is a truth universally quoted that Edgar Allan Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841) is the father of the modern detective story. Well, Germanist and translator Mary Tannert has something to say about that The Emergence of Crime Fiction in German (Chapter 2 of Crime Fiction in German).

imageHaving first explained the social factors that enabled the development of crime fiction in Germany, namely the late-C18th move away from a judicial system based on the extraction of confession through torture to one based on judges and examining magistrates, she points to the Adolph Müllner’s novella The Calibre (1828), one she has herself translated in the volume Early German and Austrian Detective Fiction. Unfortunately the anthology is out-of-print and a small fortune to buy second-hand. Fortunately though Detective Siddal tracked down a reference copy in the Glasgow Goethe Institute.

As a crime story written very much in the Romantic tradition, The Calibre made for an interesting and amusing read. ( I can’t help it – all those highly strung emotions make me smile.) Here we have two brothers, a stash of cash, a love interest, a bandit, and – remember the Romantic bit – a forest! And a pistol shot which rings out as the two brothers are fighting over the money. The younger one wants his inheritance to marry. The elder one isn’t for allowing it. After the pistol shot rings out, the elder, stingy one lies dead.

Ferdinand reports that a bandit has shot his brother and immediate evidence vindicates him. Second thoughts, however, rack him with guilt and by now a giddy, tempest-tossed soul confesses to his brother’s murder. It falls to his defence to establish the facts. Dr Rebhahn introduces reasoning or ratiocination to the case, and sets about seeking the physical evidence to resolve the mystery.

And there we have it, a ratiocinative resolution.  We’ll come back to that, particularly with regard to Poe.

For now, though let’s travel back in time with more German crime fiction; Mademoiselle de Scudéri – E T A Hoffmann (1819) and The Duel – Heinrich von Kleist (1811) being oft-quoted examples. While it’s tempting to argue that Mlle de Scudéri is the first example of a female detective, that would be a flimsy argument. Her role is pivotal in ensuring that an innocent man does not die for a crime he did not commit, but she doesn’t actively seek the evidence. It lands in her lap so to speak. There’s no detective at all in Kleist’s story, which depicts the medieval judicial system of trial by duel. That said, it is an exploration of whether truth can be uncovered by divine intervention, feeling or material evidence, and uncovering the truth is what crime fiction is all about.

It does appear that the precursors to German crime fiction as we now know it lie within the German Romantic movement. I hesitate to add to that corpus Schiller’s The Criminal of Lost Honour (1786), but only because I can never remember when Schiller fell out with the Romantics. What I can say, is that the familiar Romantic elements are there: the forests, the bandits.  This a must read for lovers of The Robbers, even if it’s not exactly the Robbers in prose. It’s also a surprising read in that it examines sociological reasons for criminality  and the downward spiral into hardened crime in an enlightened way.

The cards are stacked against Schiller’s protagonist Christian Wolf from the start.

Nature …. bestowed on him an appearance so repulsive that it made all women recoil on him ….

To seek favour with his beloved, he gifts her the proceeds of his poaching. Inevitably he is caught and sent to prison. Ostracised when he returns, he has no other options than to become an outlaw. From bad to worse is the only route open to him, and when he takes vengeance on the cause of his initial incarceration, there is no way back.

imageI read Schiller’s story in the anthology German Stories of Crime and Evil from the 18th Century to the Present, translated by M Charlotte Wolf, which contains three other early German crime stories. The first, A Noblewoman Amongst Murderers by August Gottlieb Meißner (1785) features Baroness R, a resourceful resilient lady, who single-handedly foils the robbery of her castle (and is a refreshing change from the usual Romantic female leads.). Christian Heinrich Speiß’s Mariane L – A True Incident from the Year 1788 (1801) tells of a judicial tribunal’s investigation into the murder of the 13-year old Mariane. Like Müllner’s The Calibre the emphasis is on witness testimony and hard evidence and it has more in common with Poe than Willibald Alexis’s The Pledge of the Three Thieves, published in 1845, four years after The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841).

imageWhich brings us neatly  to Poe and the claim that he is the father of all modern detective crime fiction? Do I agree? Let’s break it down using the evidence presented in this post.

Poe – father of crime fiction? No, based on the evidence of the 6 German crime stories discussed here, all of which predate The Murders In the Rue Morgue,  I have to agree with Tannert’s assertion that accepted notions regarding the parentage of the genre must be revisited.

Poe – Father of detective crime fiction? Tricky or in German Jein! I’m splitting hairs pointing out that Müllner’s Dr Rebhahn isn’t a detective – he’s an investigating magistrate, a combination of police detective and district attorney rolled into one. But he does solve the case using evidence and reason (backed up with a coincidental confession). No divine interventions or emotions at play here. So in that respect, it could be argued there’s a pattern for Dupin to follow, although I couldn’t tell you if Poe read The Calibre.

Poe as the father of all modern detective crime fiction? If we’re talking about a protagonist solely as detective, relying entirely on his superior powers of logic and reasoning, then yes. In re-reading The Murders in the Rue Morgue I was struck by how frequently Dupin refers to his favourite word – ratiocination. What I was less convinced by was the ease of his resolution. How acquainted could Dupin have been with the anatomy of an orangutang? That felt suspiciously like a suprarational deduction to me.


This post is the second in a series inspired by Crime Fiction in German: Der Krimi edited by Katharina Hall.  Coming soon Chapter  3: Austrian Crime Fiction.

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Fresh from the book launch in Swansea, crime fiction blogger Mrs Peabody (aka editor Katharina Hall) has paid us a visit (along with her sidekick, Erich, the Bavarian duck). Seeing as this book is going to be a foundation stone in my reading for the rest of 2016, I couldn’t resist asking a few questions – particularly fiendish number 5.

What were your objectives?

When I started researching German crime fiction in 2006, I realised there was no comprehensive overview of the Krimi in English. This seemed surprising given that there was so much great German-language crime fiction already in translation – from Friedrich Dürrenmatt to Jakob Arjouni to Ingrid Noll – and sowed the idea of the book. The volume showcases the most interesting Krimis from the nineteenth century to the present day, and places them in their larger social, historical and cultural contexts, hopefully helping readers to appreciate the richness of crime fiction from the German-speaking world.

Who is your target audience?

We hope that the volume will be useful to academics in the field, but have also written very much with the general reader in mind. The first chapter is a standalone overview of German-language crime (which can be downloaded for free here! https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa25191) and the idea is that readers can dip into other chapters that interest them. There are chapters on early crime fiction, Austrian crime fiction, Swiss crime fiction, women’s crime fiction, historical crime fiction, the Afrika-Krimi (crime set in or about Africa) and the Fernsehkrimi (TV crime drama). We’ve tried to focus on crime novels that are already translated, and hope that readers will seek out lots of lovely Krimis as a result!

Did you have any difficulties finding contributors / or a publisher? Crime fiction is hardly an academic subject…

There’s actually been lots of academic work being carried out on crime fiction – it’s a really vibrant area with articles and books being published all the time. But these need to be less expensive if they are to reach wider audiences. Bridging the world of academia and the world of crime blogging/discussion is one of the main aims of the ‘Mrs. Peabody Investigates’ blog, and it’s why we’ve made the first chapter of the volume available to everyone for free. We’re having giveaways of the volume and German crime fiction as well – spreading the Krimi love all around the world.

Finding contributors was an organic process over time, and they’ve been brilliant in terms of their commitment to the project. We’re a truly international bunch, based in Germany, the UK, Ireland, the USA, Kuwait and Namibia. As for finding a publisher – this proved to be remarkably easy. The University of Wales Press (just down the road from Swansea University) already had an established series called ‘European Crime Fictions’, with volumes on French, Italian, Scandinavian and Iberian crime, so we slotted in quite nicely there.

How much fun was this project? How many Krimis did you read for it?

Researching the volume was enormously fun. As editor, I must have read over a hundred Krimis that were new to me, and discovered all sorts of gems thanks to the expertise of the contributors. I particularly enjoyed reading social crime fiction from the 1970s by Richard Hey (whose novels feature the first female German police inspector, Katharina Ledermacher) and watching vast quantities of TV crime drama. A favourite was the black and white East German crime series Blaulicht (Blue Light) – I can still remember the tune of the police siren in the opening credits!

My own wishlist has grown exponentially (and I’m only two chapters in.) Could you create an essential reading list by recommending just one Krimi from each chapter of your book?

This is such a hard task! I could have created at least five different lists! But here we go:

Chapter 1 (Crime Fiction in German) – Jakob Arjouni, Happy Birthday, Turk! (No Exit Press, trans Anselm Hollo). This novel was published in 1985 and features the first Turkish-German private eye – Kemal Kayankaya – in German-language crime fiction. An innovative social crime novel with biting humour and an unforgettable investigator.

Chapter 2 (Early Crime Fiction) – Auguste Groner, The Case of the Golden Bullet (Amazon, trans unknown). This popular female author was a pioneer of Austrian crime fiction and created the first German-language police detective series. Joseph Müller investigates in this opening novella, originally published in 1892.

Chapter 3 (Austrian Crime Fiction) – Paulus Hochgatterer, The Sweetness of Life (MacLehose, trans Jamie Bulloch). This crime novel won the 2009 European Literature Prize and shows Detective Ludwig Kovacs and psychiatrist Raffael Horn working on a murder case in which the only witness is a girl too traumatised to speak. Like many Austrian crime novels, it explores the darker sides of small-town society.

Chapter 4 (Swiss crime fiction) – Friedrich Glauser, In Matto’s Realm (Bitter Lemon Press, trans Mike Mitchell). Originally published in 1936, In Matto’s Realm is the second in the landmark ‘Sergeant Studer’ series. Studer is shown investigating the escape of a murderer from a psychiatric institution, a setting that holds a mirror up to pre-war Switzerland.

Chapter 5 (Afrika-Krimi) – Bernhard Jaumann, Steinland (Stoneland/not yet translated). Steinland is set in Namibia, which was once a German colony, and explores the tensions created by the government’s land reform policy, which aims to return land appropriated during colonialism to its rightful owners. It features the wonderful Namibian police inspector Clemencia Garises.

Chapter 6 (women’s crime fiction) – Doris Gercke, How Many Miles to Babylon (Women in Translation, trans Anna Hamilton). This crime novel features iconic, world-weary Hamburg investigator Bella Block, who is called to a seemingly idyllic village to investigate two suicides that may have been murder. A classic example of the Frauenkrimi, which inspired a long-running TV series.

Chapter 7 (historical crime fiction) – Simon Urban, Plan D (Vintage, trans Katy Derbyshire). This ambitious novel blends police procedural, detective novel and alternative history genres. Set in a 2011 in which the Berlin Wall still stands, it explores East-West tensions as the GDR teeters on brink of bankruptcy. A biting social satire.

Chapter 8 (TV crime drama) – ‘Cenk Batu’ Tatort episodes. This groundbreaking set of episodes from the famous TV drama Tatort (Crime Scene) plays in Hamburg and features Turkish-German undercover policeman Cenk Batu. The episodes are currently available in the UK with subtitles via All 4/‘Walter Presents’ – Walter has described them as ‘Montalbano on speed’ (http://www.channel4.com/programmes/cenk-batu/on-demand/63253-001).

The Giant Krimi Giveway is currently underway at ‘Mrs Peabody Investigates’ and is open until Sunday 17 April.

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