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Death in Breslau

(Eberhard Mock #1)

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  1,561 ratings  ·  139 reviews
Breslau was a German city on the border of Czechoslovakia. It is now, since World War II, Wroclaw, in Poland. Marek Krajewski has written a quartet of novels which unfold the history of this exceptional city, standing on the faultline and crossroads of 20th century Europe. In Breslau 1933: the mutilated body of a young woman, an aristocrat, is found dead on a train. Scorpi ...more
Paperback, 247 pages
Published 2008 by MacLehose Press (first published 1999)
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3.51  · 
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 ·  1,561 ratings  ·  139 reviews

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Christian Dumais
Jan 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s difficult to wander any bookstore in Poland without coming across a shelf devoted to Krajewski’s quartet of Breslau books, which include, in order, Death in Breslau, The End of the World in Breslau, Ghosts in the City of Breslau, and Breslau Fortress; and I was thrilled when I discovered a translated copy of the first book in a bookstore in Berlin. My interest in reading this series in particular – outside of learning about a new Polish author – was that the books were set in (you guessed i ...more
Nancy Oakes
First in a series of five novels, Death in Breslau might just possibly be my favorite crime fiction novel so far this year. I hadn't even finished this book and bought the next two, The End of the World in Breslau and The Phantoms of Breslau. If the cover doesn't grab you, the story will.

The story begins in 1950 in a Dresden psychiatric hospital, where the director is being pressed by a Stasi official who wants to question the patient named Herbert Anwaldt. Herbert Anwaldt's identity and the rea
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Translated murder mystery fans
Recommended to Thomas by: Gooreads friend
Shelves: e-europe-crime
I enjoyed reading this book and give it 4.5 stars(rounded up to 5). Eberhard Mock is a Police Inspector in Breslau, Germany in 1933(present day Wroclaw,Poland). He is called to the scene of 2 horrific murders. Two women have been horribly mutilated and 1 of them is the daughter of very powerful man, Baron Von Malten. Mock is between a rock and a hard place, as solving the murders means antagonizing the Gestapo and not solving them means that the Baron will betray him to the Gestapo.
The plot mov
May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a dark, noir novel, which is both bizarre and extreme. In the heat of a pre-war summer a seventeen year old girl and her governess are discovered murdered in a railway carriage, with their intestines and stomach slashed, scorpion's in the stomach cavity of the girl and strange writing, in blood on the wall. Enter Councsellor Eberhard Mock, the Deputy Head of the Criminal Department of the Police Praesidium, who knew the young girl since she was a child and owes much of his career to her ...more
Oct 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, k
The book is set in Breslau a pre-WW2 town in Germany in 1933, subsequently Polish post-war.

In a nutshell, a triple murder, double rape has occurred and Mock the policeman or Kriminaldirektor is tasked with solving the case. Most of the narrative takes place during 1933, with the concluding passage wrapping things up in 1951.

I’m undecided as to my feelings about the book overall. Clichés such as un-put-down-able or page-turner definitely don’t apply in this instance. Occasionally you read a book
Dec 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The city of Breslau. Don't look for it on a map. It doesn't exist anymore. Once upon a time, it was a German city sharing a border with Poland. After the atrocities of World War 2, the Soviets drove out the German populace and gave it to Poland. It is now Wroclaw.

Back to the book. Breslau, 1933. A teenage girl and her nanny are murdered and ritually disemboweled on a train car in Breslau. Inspector Mock knew the girl and her father, a local aristocrat. To assist Mock in solving the crime, the Be
Mar 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Giving up. This book is a disappointment; artificial and contrived. The translation is awkward. There are better places to put my time. It's a pity because there are one or two sections where the writing does come to life....
Nancy Martira
Breslau, 1934. The head of the local police, Eberhard Mock, enjoys playing strip-chess with prostitutes. This is perhaps his most endearing quality, as he is a corrupt sadist. Herbert Anwaldt is an alcoholic grown-up orphan with an education in the classics. His commander in Berlin has had it with him and is only too happy to ship him off to Bresalu on an errand. Together, Mock and Anwaldt must solve the murder of Baron von der Malten's daughter: the young woman was attacked in her train car, ra ...more
May 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very dark, historical crime novel with policemen who are violent, drink too much, extort and whore as protagonists. Underneath all the evil and violence, it is book about lonely people longing to belong and seeking escape from this harsh reality. And it is a book about a society that's disappeared under the politics of war.

The characters are way more complex and interesting than the standard fare coming in shovel-loads out of the "land of the brave and the free". In these pages, you won't find y
Somewhat disappointing novel after the reviews that made it sound more interesting than the relatively banal thriller/mystery it turned out to be with centuries long grudges, agents that could do anything until they ran afoul of the author so to speak, etc

Some good parts here and there - the cynical attitude of the main character and the all around depravity - but overall the novel does not transcend its genre and as I said many times, you read a thriller, you read all and I mostly got bored rat
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was rating this much higher for about 2/3 of the book, but then it fell apart. There were times I didn't even know what was going on (and I can read, and like, weird shit). I don't know if this was due to the translation or plotting. It's seems too easy to blame the translator for a failure that extends for about a third of the book. (It was working fine before that.)

The set-up for the novel is fascinating. 1933, Breslau is in the first throes of the Nazi takeover, and local cop, Inspector Mo
Clay Stafford
Author Marek Krajewski’s set of four crime novels featuring Counsellor Eberhard Mock have been translated into 14 languages. To my knowledge, this first book in the series is the first release of any in the U.S. proper.

In the novel, the city of Breslau (which later became Wroc’law after WWII) is swarming with Gestapo in 1933 and the Nazis are sliding their fingers into all things law enforcement, political, and Jewish. The story plays forth and back between this time and around 1945. The novel f
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Seventeen-year-old Marietta von der Malten was on the floor , naked from the waist down. Her loose, thick, ash-blonde hair was saturated with blood, like a sponge. Her face was contorted as if by a sudden attack of paralysis. Garlands of int3estines lay scattered at the sides of her slashed body. The torn stomach revealed remnants of undigested food. Mock caught sight of something in the abdominal cavity. Overcoming his revulsion, he leaned over the girl's body. The stench was unbearable. Mock ...more
Barbara McVeigh
The Independent described this book “as noir as they get”. I also love some of the other reviews. They give you a sense of the muscle in the book:

“A dark and compelling novel, full of perverse sex and violence as the world begins to spin off its axis.”
-The Mail on Sunday

“The city of Breslau is as much a character in this thriller as the parade of gothic loons that inhabit it...This addictive soup has an air of burlesque about it.”
-The Daily Telegraph

“Krajewski relishes the period detail as takes
Aug 19, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Do editors still read books before they are published? It's hard to know if the bad writing in this book is due to the translator or the author. The translator clearly isn't fluent in English, often using incorrect words when clearly something else is intended. For instance, literary digression is referred to as "retardation", and "pushy" is used when what is meant is "horny." (That reference comes in a discussion of a quote from the ancient author "Hezjod", whom I thought must be some heretofor ...more
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-poland
This is as good as it gets in crime fiction.
While its certainly not difficult to find books in this genre with police inspectors with self loathing and questionable ethics, few take it to the levels of this series. The self hatred is almost visceral and manifests itself in behavior which isn't simply questionable, it's anti social, despicable, and well...illegal. It all seems fitting perhaps in the backdrop of 1930's Germany where our "hero" Eberhart Mock is called on to solve a case involvin
Julie Stielstra
Jun 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery-crime
Hmm. Interesting setting: Breslau in the 1930s as the Nazis are moving in and taking over. An utterly corrupt, corrosive, decadent city. One morose, scheming, devious middle-aged policeman and one young naive, alcoholic, floundering policeman, joining forces to investigate the really nasty double rape and murder of two women connected to one of Breslau's socially prominent noblemen. You want dark, you will get dark. You want bloody, sadistic, deliberate brutality, yep, lots of that, plus scorpio ...more
Alex Marshall
Jul 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hey, Goodreads, Krajewski is in English now, you know? This is a good, tough, even funny read (if it's Death in Breslau, that is) if you can accept that the um, hero, Inspector Mock, is a corrupt cop in a corrupt age, doing what he has to to get by. And what he has to do ain't nice. It wouldn't be, would it, in an outpost of the Reich where the Gestapo are moving in on the action. There are no heroes, really, or even sympathetic characters other than the innocent victims. The other one I've read ...more
May 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the type of book I wouldn't normally read as it very dark and gritty, but was recommended to me so gave it a read.
It's an interesting story of a corrupt police office working in the town of Breslau in Germany during the 1930's. It tells the story of the murder of a young girl and the investigation to find murderer. It's not the typical detective story, it very dark with plenty of murder and corrupt police officers who don't think twice about killing someone to get some information. Ther
Oct 21, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
As someone else stated, "Why did I read this?" The book seemed to have potential: a murder in Breslau during 1933/1934 as the rise of Hitler and the Gestapo begins to take over the German government. The police are trying to work cases while by-passing any Nazi interference. Sounds good. But: the story veers into corruption and debauchery along with a winding tale of why the murder came to be. Too much and by the end, I just didn't care anymore. Sorry~
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very dark, but very entertaining. I look forward to reading more in the series.
Jim Perillo
Apr 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book was such a disappointment. It was recommended to me by its publisher (Melville International Crime) as an alternative to the Duca Lamberti "Milano Quartet" of novels- of which MIC disappointingly decided to only publish the first two (very good) volumes. This book (also a series of novels) was extremely slow-paced and unfocused. There were long sections where I was forcing myself onward despite no actual interest in what was going on. While labeled as an Inspector Mock Investigation, m ...more
Robert Carraher
Nov 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Conjuring visions of rain slick leather trench coats, decadent Nazi night clubs and brothels, secret cults and ancient curses. Marek Krajewski gives us an atmospheric noir novel from a Europe in the grips of fear. Fear of the Gestapo, fear of our neighbors, fear of the occult and fear of wakening the next day to only find that things can get worse.

Death In Breslau is a historic crime novel set in the pre WWII German city of Breslau (now the Polish city of Wrocław) and is part of the Breslau quar
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 11, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely the worst police procedural I've read in 40 years. The original crime was the rape and evisceration of a woman and teenage girl, with scorpions inserted into the opening to insure that they died in the most horrible way. Along the way the protagonist was beaten, tortured by the Gestapo, and committed patricide.

Every character in in the book was degenerate, weird, cruel, perverted, and/or thuggish. The plot was based upon a preposterous premise. I was unable to maintain the suspension
Hans Brienesse
Jun 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
I began this book some time ago and just couldn't get into it. So I put it down and picked it up again just recently and began re reading it. I found out why I put it down originally. With a plot that scrambles around with no seemingly clear direction, distracting chapter headlines and a disappointing ending it has gone straight into the box for donation to the next book fair.
Nov 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: finished, 2017
A quite well written noir crime story. I found its "dark"ness interesting: the gray morality among the supposed to be good and bad guys. An intriguing background story adds an extra layer to the story, although I am not so sure about the portrayal. All in all, a good reading.
Rafal Klat
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good criminal with fantastic portaits of main characters. I'm used to Agata Christie's style and - wait for it! - this is just better :)

One star less for introducing too many characters, who didn't play any significant roles.
Bill Berger
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent police mystery set in Breslau, Germany during the early Hitler years. Great plot and characters with a real sense of the city at that they me. Recommended
Sarah Kasperek
Mar 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
I think I would've liked it better, but the English writing was really heavy and hard to read.
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The Melville Hous...: Why International Crime fiction? 15 43 Feb 28, 2013 07:11AM  

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Polish classical philologist, specialist in Latin linguistics, former academic teacher of University of Wrocław. Author of very popular series about Eberhard Mock and interwar Wrocław. In 2005 he got Polityka's Passport and Big Calbier Award for best crime story of 2003

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Eberhard Mock (9 books)
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“Навлизаха в Зоненплац. Градът пулсираше с тайния си живот. На завоя скърцаше трамваят, който возеше работниците втора смяна от фабриката на Линк, Хофман и Лауххамер, газовите фенери мигаха. Завиха надясно по Гартенщрасе: пред закрития пазар се тълпяха каруци, докарващи картофи и зеле, стражът на каменната сграда в стил сецесион на ъгъла на Театерщрасе ругаеше и поправяше лампата при портата, двама пияни немски студентки закачаха проститутките, които гордо се разхождаха с чадърчета пред Филхармонията. Минаха автомобилния салон на Коченройтер и Валдшмит, сградата на шльонския Ландтаг и няколко хотела. От нощното небе в мъглата пръскаше дъждец.” 1 likes
“След една такава дълга партия Мок отпочиваше на дивана и четеше на момичетата своите разсъждения на тема човешките характери. Това беше неговата трета страст, която разкриваше единствено в своя любим клуб. Криминалният съветник, любител на античната литература, който изненадваше своите подчинени с дълги латински цитати, завиждаше на Непот и Теофраст, и създаваше, не без литературни претенции, характеристики на лицата, с които се беше сблъсквал. За основа му служеха собствените наблюдения и полицейските дела. Средно веднъж в месеца правеше описание на един човек, а вече съществуващите допълваше с нови факти. Тези допълнения и новите характеристики, които Мок описваше, причиняваха голямо объркване в изморените главици на момичетата. Но те не обръщаха внимание на това, седяха в краката на Мок, гледаха в неговите кръгли очи и чувстваха надигащата се в клиента вълна на щастие.” 0 likes
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