“Phantoms of Breslau is a cynical, moody thriller which solidifies Krajewski’s position as a distinctive voice in contemporary European fiction.”
Breslau, 1919: The hideously battered, naked bodies of four sailors are discovered on an island in the River Oder. When Criminal Assistant Eberhard Mock, back from the war, arrives at the scene to investigate, he finds an enigmatic note addressed to him insisting that he admit to past mistakes and become a believer.
As he endeavors to piece together the elements of the brutal crime, Mock combs the brothels and drinking dens of the then still-German city of Breslau and is drawn into an insidious game: it seems that anyone he questions during the course of the investigation is destined to become the next victim.
Meanwhile, Mock uncovers a secret society that has the Criminal Assistant himself clearly in its sights.
Dark, sophisticated, and uncompromising, the distinctive Breslau series has already received broad critical acclaim. Phantoms of Breslau confirms Eberhard Mock as one of the most outrageous and original detectives in crime fiction.
Set in 1919, Krajewski's second Eberhard Mock mystery (after 2013's The End of the World in Breslau) finds Mock, who's assigned to the Breslau Police Praesidium's vice department, transferred to the Murder Commission to assist with a strange case. Some schoolboys on an island discover the corpses of four men, naked except for sailor's hats and leather pouches over their genitals, with their eyes gouged out and limbs broken. The suspicion that the victims may be gay leads Mock's superiors to believe that his experience with the Breslau sexual underworld might be of use. The autopsies reveal that their killer probably broke their arms and legs by jumping up and down on them. A note threatening more "gouged eyes" if Mock does not admit a past mistake raises the stakes. Krajewski does his usual solid job of establishing mood while setting the stage appropriately for a grim and disturbing resolution.