This is the first of four books, the Eberhard Mock Quartet set in the German city Breslau which has since become the Polish city of Wroclaw.
Marek Krajewski is a lecturer in Classical Studies at the university in Wroclaw and his books are a homage to the city he knows so well and its turbulent history. I was lucky through the medium of the internet and a translator to be able to ask Marek a few questions.
1) I really enjoyed Death in Breslau is there a tradition of crime writing in Poland?
I am extremely pleased that you liked my novel. I am bursting with pride that in Great Britain-the homeland of Conan-Doyle and Christie- my debut novel was so well received.
In Poland between the wars there was a very faint tradition of crime writing, then, during the communist period authors were writing under pseudonyms [most often English, eg. Joe Alex=Maciej Slomczynski, a popular translator of Shakespeare] or created ideologically loaded police novels.
The situation changed after 1989, now we have many Polish crime writers, including me.
2) Do you read much crime fiction from the English speaking world and has anyone inspired you?
Fiction from the English speaking world is the real empire of crime novels and thrillers, although Scandinavia slowly becomes a criminal superpower too. I read of course, and have read many authors writing in English.
I was especially impressed with two, who were my true literary inspiration:
Frederick Forsyth and Raymond Chandler. These are true masters!
I also like novels by Elisabeth George. Recently I have taken real delight in reading Val McDermid.
3) What crime fiction novel would you like to have written?
If I understand correctly, you ask whether I envy any author their novels? It is not so much a question of envy, but rather of literary mastery I would like to achieve.
I hope that one day I will write a novel as good and thrilling as "The Long Goodbye" by Raymond Chandler.
4) Eberhard Mock is a detective for his time and place; did you base his character on a real life person or is he drawn purely from your imagination?
It is an entirely fictional character although his name is authentic. I found it in a prewar address book and really liked it, because it creates interesting stress patterns.
[To be continued]