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"A Grain of Truth, like every great crime novel, digs up more unsettling questions than it does answers; it also demonstrates the seemingly endless possibilities of the form itself to serve as smart social criticism." --Maureen Corrigan, on NPR's Fresh AirPraise for the first novel in the Teodor Szacki series:"In Entanglement Miloszewski takes an engaging look at modern Polish society in this stellar first in a new series starring Warsaw prosecutor Teodor Szacki. Readers will want to see more of the complex, sympathetic Szacki."—Publishers WeeklyIt is spring 2009, and prosecutor Szacki is no longer working in Warsaw—he has said goodbye to his family and to his career in the capital and moved to Sandomierz, a picturesque town full of churches and museums. Hoping to start a "brave new life," Szacki instead finds himself investigating a strange murder case in surroundings both alien and unfriendly.The victim is found brutally murdered, her body drained of blood. The killing bears the hallmarks of legendary Jewish ritual slaughter, prompting a wave of anti-Semitic paranoia in the town, where everyone knows everyone. The murdered woman's husband is bereft, but when Szacki discovers that she had a lover, the husband becomes the prime suspect. Before there's time to arrest him, he is found murdered in similar circumstances. In his investigation Szacki must wrestle with the painful tangle of Polish–Jewish relations and something that happened more than sixty years earlier.
Zygmunt Miloszewski was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1975. His first novel The Intercom was published in 2005 to high acclaim. In 2006 he published The Adder Mountains; in 2010, the crime novel Entanglement; and this year its sequel, A Grain of Truth.
A smart plot, an engagingly acerbic lead, and a nuanced portrayal of 2009 Poland lift Miloszewski's second mystery featuring Warsaw prosecutor Teodor Szacki (after 2010's Entanglement). After breaking up a human-trafficking ring in the provincial city of Sandomierz, Szacki decides to move there to begin his life anew, though he's soon disillusioned ("he had thrown the life he had spent years building down the toilet in exchange for a sodding pipe dream, and now he was left with nothing"). When someone repeatedly slashes the throat of Elzbieta Budnik and leaves her nude corpse on display in a ravine below Sandomierz's medieval walls, Szacki welcomes the chance to look into a serious crime. Discovery that the murder weapon was a knife used by Jewish butchers leads to speculation that Budnik was killed as a ritual sacrifice. More deaths follow, building up to an ingenious fair-play solution that matches the clever depiction of the protagonist's midlife crisis.