If you’re criminally minded, a propos your fiction, here’s something for you – a crime series I’ve been meaning to read for ages set as it is in my former home of Frankfurt am Main.  As an avid crime reader myself, I know that crime fiction readers can be a little pernickety and want to read a series in order.  So there’s no point in splitting this set up.  This week one lucky reader will win the whole lot!

Here’s what’s on offer.

Happy Birthday, Turk (trans Anselm Hollo)

When a Turkish labourer is stabbed to death in Frankfurt’s red light district, the local police see no need to work over-time. But wisecracking private detective Kemel Kayankaya, a Turkish immigrant himself, smells a rat. The dead man wasn’t the kind of guy who spent time with prostitutes. What gives?

The deeper he digs, the more Kayankaya finds that the victim was a good guy, a poor immigrant just trying to look out for his family. So who wanted him dead, and why? On the way to finding out, Kayankaya has run-ins with prostitutes and drug addicts, gets beaten up by anonymous thugs, survives a gas attack, and suffers several close encounters with a Fiat.

And then there’s the police cover-up he stumbles upon…

More Beer (trans Anselm Hollo)

Wisecracking PI Kemal Kayankaya cares more about sausage and beer than politics, but when he’s hired to defend four eco-terrorists charged with murdering a chemical plant owner he finds himself stuck in the middle of Germany’s culture wars. It doesn’t take long for Kayankaya to realize that the whole situation stinks and that both the Left and the Right have blood on their hands. And is the fiery journalist Carla Reedermann dogging his steps because she smells a story, or is she after something more?

A hardboiled noir in the Chandler tradition that also provides a wry critique of contemporary racial and environmental politics, More Beer shows why Jakob Arjouni’s series of Kayankaya novels has become a bestselling international sensation.

One Man, One Murder

Love is never easy—especially when your girlfriend is an illegal Thai prostitute who has been kidnapped (again) by a gang of sex traffickers. Fortunately for the hapless fiancé, wisecracking gumshoe Kemal Kayankaya is on the case. The son of a Turkish garbage collector, he knows a thing or two about living in the ethnic fringes of the ugliest German city of them all: Frankfurt.

Kayankaya plunges into the city’s underbelly, where the police don’t care if you live or die, and the powerful view an illegal alien as just another paycheck. One Man, One Murder populates its pages with unforgettable characters, whip-smart dialogue, and a connoisseur’s collection of grim details. But it is Arjouni’s dead-on description of contemporary Europe’s racial politics, vacuous nationalism, and so- cial injustice that make his novels rise above the rest.

Kismet (trans Anthea Bell)

As a Turkish immigrant raised by Germans, he’s regularly subjected to racism in the gritty, working-class city, and getting work isn’t easy. So when his friend Romario asks Kayankaya to protect him against thugs demanding protection money from his restaurant business, the down-and-out Kayankaya takes the job.

Except these are no ordinary thugs. They turn out to be battle hardened Croatian nationalists looking to take over the rackets in Frankfurt, and they do not take kindly to Kayankaya’s interference with their plans. But try as he might, Kayankaya just can’t seem to stay out of their way…

What ensues is a brilliant novel about organized crime, immigration, the fallout from the Balkan wars, and the madness of nationalism from one of Europe’s finest crime writers.

Blurbs are from Melville House Press, whose generosity this German Literature Month has been staggering and who are therefore forgiven for calling Frankfurt am Main is the ugliest city of all (cf blurb 3).  Well, actually there are bits that aren’t so pleasant …….

The competition is open internationally and to enter please let me know of a favourite crime read and your reason for nominating it.  1 draw entry for a non-German crime title, 5 entries for one originally written in German.  An extra 5 entries to anyone who says I can enter my own draw! 😉

Winners of previous giveaways may reapply.

Winner to be announced in the week 2 wrapup post on Sunday 13.11.2011.  And should you wish to imbibe a refreshing something in the run up to the announcment, Melville House Press have suggestions on what to drink when reading Jakob Arjouni.