Marek Krajewski's protagonist Eberhard Mock falls nothing short of off-putting in his latest venture in The Minotaur's Head. Pig-headed, gluttonous, indolent and an all-round shady character, Prussian police captain Mock is exactly the sort of shock to the sensibilities enjoyed by fans of Krajewski's popular detective noir series.
In a change of pace from the previous trio of Mock novels set in Krajewski's own hometown of Breslau, the mystery begins to unfold in 1937 in Lwow, Poland, where the mauled body of a young woman is found in a seedy hotel. Not too long afterwards, two more girls are found murdered in a similar fashion, to the consternation of Commissioner Edward Popielski. As the dead ends pile up, Popielski is forced to accept Mock's help, unaware that the monster on the loose lurks closer to home.
Even by noir standards, Krajewski pushes the limits of the labyrinthine darkness masked by the genteel world of European society. In Mock, readers will find a figure far from sympathetic, yet strangely compelling in his wilful dissimilarity to his detective kin, cementing the theme of brutal irony surrounding his cases.