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This novel is the start of a sensational series which sends Kutscher’s inspector Rath across the city of Berlin in the 1920s and 30s and right into the epicentre of the political and social changes of these years. The reader holds his breath when he discerns first signs of the rise of National Socialism and sees the main characters of the novel turning them down as harmless. And he is feverish with excitement by the side of the young investigator who grew up in Cologne, started his career with the local police, had to leave the city after firing a fatal shot and went to Berlin to find a new start there with the vice squad. Rath is fascinated with the vibrant atmosphere of the most American city in Europe, but also unnerved by the frequent raids on night clubs and brothels, and so he takes the first chance he gets to find his way back into murder investigations. A dead man without an identity, bearing traces of atrocious torture, puzzles the homicide squad in May 1929. Raths discovers a connection with a circle of oppositional exiled Russians who try to purchase arms with smuggled gold, in order to prepare a coup d’état. And there are other people trying to get hold of the gold and the guns. Raths finds himself up against paramilitaries and organized criminals. He falls in love with Charlotte, a typist in the homicide squad, and misuses her insider’s knowledge for his personal lonely investigations. Thereby he gets entangled in the case more and more, and eventually makes himself a suspect. It is a tale in classical American style. Volker Kutscher tells the story of a lonely and fiercely determined inspector in a city which, with all its restlessness, colourful life and hunt for pleasure, appears to be astonishingly modern and up-to-date – and whose fate is already traced out.
Sample Translation - The Wet Fish (pdf-file, 172kB)
Foreign rights sold to Denmark (Lindhardt og Ringhof), France (Le Seuil), Hungary (General Press), Italy (Mondadori), Japan (Tokyo Sogensha), Netherlands (Mynx), Norway (Bazaar), Serbia (Laguna), Spain (Ediciones B) and worldwide English (Sandstone Press).
Translations published in Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Serbia and Spain.
March 1930: The film business in a process of change. Talking films are taking over the silver screen and many a producer, cinema owner and silent movie star is falling by the wayside. Celebrated actress Betty Winter is hit by a spotlight while filming a talking movie. At first it looks like an accident. But inspector Gereon Rath finds clues that point to murder. While his colleagues suspect the absconded lighting technician, Rath’s investigations take him in a completely different direction – and he is soon left on his own. A second actress is found dead, leaving the police with a mystery. The cause of death is unclear but there has been an act of violence - The corpse has no vocal chords. Rath is caught between rival film producers, and his investigations take him to Berlin’s Chinese quarters, the underworld – and to the limits of legality. While a street battle develops between Nazis and Communists at Horst Wessel’s funeral, Rath has to steer clear of his superior Böhm who wants to take him off the case. When his father asks him to help Cologne mayor Konrad Adenauer with a case of blackmail, and ex-girlfriend Charly tries to renew their relationship, it all gets too much for Rath. Volker Kutscher follows on seamlessly from his bestseller Der nasse Fisch and brings 1930s Berlin back to life again in a complex and gripping mystery. He draws readers back into an era that is much closer to the present day than they might expect.
Foreign rights sold to Denmark (Lindhardt of Ringhof), France (Le Seuil), Hungary (General Press), Japan (Tokyo Sogensha), Netherlands (Mynx) and Spain (Ediciones B).
Translations published in Denmark, France, Japan, Netherlands and Spain.
Berlin 1931: The economic crisis is worsening, the conflict between Nazis and Communists is turning violent, a turf war has broken out among the city’s organized crime gangs, the Ringvereine, and Gereon Rath has been hired to shadow the US gangster Abraham Goldstein as a favour for the Bureau of Investigation. He has taken up position in the Hotel Excelsior, in which Goldstein has ensconced himself. The gangster seems to have resigned himself to the fact that he is under police surveillance, but this hasn’t stopped him from moving freely around the city and securing a revolver. Underworld boss Johann Marlow forces Rath to do some private investigating for him at the Berolina Ringverein. As he picks up the trail, Rath soon finds himself caught between the battle lines of an all-out gang war. Charly Ritter, Gereon Rath’s eternal would-be fiancé, has now been appointed as an assistant magistrate at the Lichtenberg district court. When a young homeless woman caught riding the tram without ticket manages to flee as Charly is interviewing her, her investigations clash with those of Gereon – provoking a huge argument between the two. Kutscher sets his thriller against the backdrop of a conflict-torn city hurtling towards fascism, and draws a cast of vivid, astonishingly modern and sympathetic characters. At the same time, he weaves a plot of breathtaking pace – pure suspense!
Sample translation - Goldstein (pdf-file, 177kB)
France (Le Seuil), Japan (Tokyo Sogensha) and Spain (Ediciones B).
Translations published in Denmark, France, Japan and Spain.
A mysterious series of murders takes Gereon Rath all the way to Masuria.
July 1932. The Berlin police are mystified: a man is found dead in the service elevator of the Haus Vaterland (“Fatherland House”), the legendary pleasure palace on the Potsdamer Platz, and all signs seem to indicate that he drowned there. Inspector Gereon Rath isn’t exactly thrilled about this new case – he already has enough problems as it is. His investigations into the mysterious hit man who is keeping the entire city on edge have been stalled for weeks, and his great love, Charlotte “Charly” Ritter, just back from a year studying abroad in Paris, is about to start work as a police recruit at Alexanderplatz – in the homicide division, of all places, which doesn’t exactly make things easier.
The Potsdamer Platz homicide seems to be part of a series of murders with traces leading far to the east. While Charly goes undercover as a kitchen assistant in the Haus Vaterland, Rath’s investigations take him to a small city in Masuria near the Polish border. Finding himself in a foreign world, the investigator from Berlin makes the acquaintance of tightlipped East Prussians, moonshine and the perils of nature. When he threatens to uncover a long-guarded secret, the resistance against him intensifies. Volker Kutscher composes another gripping and complex story against the backdrop of historical events. As street fights between Nazis and Communists lead to more and more deaths, Reich Chancellor von Papen carries out a coup against the Prussian democratic government, removing it from office – and, with it, the head of the Berlin police. That only complicates Gereon Rath’s position, since until now he had been able to count on the protection of Deputy Police Chief Bernhard Weiss…
Translation published in Denmark.
February 1933: The political situation in Germany is getting more and more tense; the Reichstag is set on fire shortly before the general elections, playing into the hands of the Nazi party who uses it as an excuse to push an emergency decree through Parliament which suspends basic rights guaranteed in the constitution – a first step towards the elimination of all political opponents. Meanwhile Gereon Rath grapples with a case that he inherited from his superior who has fallen from grace with the new Nazi police chief. The case leads him deep into the legacy of the First World War, back to March 1917, when German soldiers left behind scorched earth in Northern France during “Operation Alberich”. Unpunished murders, misappropriated gold bars from a French bank and a captain who falls into a treacherous booby trap result in a series of murders 16 years later. The key to it all seems to be the soon to be published war novel of retired Lieutenant Achim Graf von Roddeck.