Miloszewski, Zygmunt: Rage
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AmazonCrossing © 2016, 426 pages [amazon]
Teodor Szacki is a prosecutor in the Polish city of Olsztyn, a dreary, drizzly place beloved by locals and growing on Szacki, a transplant from Warsaw. Evidently prosecutors in Poland have investigative duties that in the U.S. would be the work of the police. Szacki's case in this outing involves a skeleton that's been found in an old cellar. Initially it seems routine: it's some old German, a John Doe, whose bones will soon be off to the medical school to be prodded by students—except that the bones proves to be anything but routine upon examination.
Rage is the third and final book in a trilogy featuring Prosecutor Szacki. I regret not having read the others first: it's a failing I'll soon correct. But in my defense I didn't realize until I was well into it that this wasn't a stand-alone novel. Usually there are giveaways, often clunky exposition summarizing previous exploits. But there's nothing at all clunky here. Miloszewski tells an absorbing story, and the book is written very well. (Kudos also to translator Antonia Lloyd-Jones.) Szacki is a complex and, to the author's credit, not entirely likable character, impatient and imperfect. His faults can get him into trouble. Rage is also a book in which setting plays an important role—not that the events couldn't play out in some other city, but the weather and architecture of Olsztyn are very important to the book's feel. Honestly, I'd like to see the books adapted into a BBC mystery à la Wallander, another great, atmospheric series. I'd call it Warmia, after the region of Poland in which the books is set.