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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » April 8, 2009
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Crime Writer Investigates Paris Book Scene
April 8, 2009   
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Crime writer Marek Krajewski represented Poland at this year's 7th Salon du Livre international book fair in Paris, which attracted around 1,200 exhibitors from 37 countries March 13-18.

Krajewski is the author of Breslau, a best-selling series of detective novels published in Poland, Germany, the netherlands, Italy and Britain. French translations of his novels have recently been published.

The books are set in prewar Wrocław in southwestern Poland, a city that before World War II was part of Germany and was called Breslau.

Born and raised in Wrocław, Krajewski is a graduate of Latin studies and a former lecturer at the University of Wrocław. He made his literary debut in 1999 and has since been one of the most popular crime writers in Poland. In 2004, the novel The End of the World in Breslau won him the Great Caliber Award for best Polish-language detective/action novel from the "Skeleton in the Closet" Association of Crime Fiction Fans and the Instytut Ksi±żki publishing house. In 2005, Krajewski received the Witryna Booksellers' Award for the best book of 2005.

Krajewski's Breslau series opens with Death in Breslau, published in 1999. The novels are set in 20th-century Wrocław, spanning a period from before World War II until the 1960s. The main character of the novels is a police officer in Wrocław named Eberhard Mock, who like the author himself is a linguist by education and a graduate of Latin studies. Over the decades, Mock gets to investigate and solve a number of baffling crime mysteries. The novels combine noir fiction, psychological thriller and horror, a blend that critics say is reminiscent of American crime fiction writer Raymond Chandler.

The series consists of five novels: Death in Breslau (1999), The End of the World in Breslau (2003), Phantoms in Breslau City (2005), Festung Breslau (2006), and The Plague in Breslau (2007). The novels transport the reader straight into early-20th-century Wrocław, a city rife with social and cultural antagonisms that sometimes lead to intricate crimes.

In his novels, the author makes the occasional nod to master crime writer Agatha Christie. His books also owe their popularity to their simple and clear language and the main character who, despite being a guardian of morality and law and order in the city, has flaws like any other human being. He frequently chooses not to abide by moral and legal codes and does not always stand up in the defense of the weak and underprivileged.

Krajewski has been recently working on a new series of novels together with Mariusz Czubaj, a journalist for Polish newsweekly magazine Polityka. The new series is set in contemporary Gdańsk in the north of Poland. So far two books of this series have been published in Poland, Aleja samobójców (Suicide Avenue) and Róże Cmentarne (Cemetery Roses). The latter was launched Feb. 11.
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