Jakob Arjouni event / A trip to Swansea Library / Maigret

News of an event tomorrow night that will be of particular interest to those in London:

No Exit Press, together with Pancreatic Cancer UK, is hosting an event at Daunts Books (112-114 Holland Park Avenue, London, W11 4UA) on Tuesday 26th November, 18:30-21:00, to celebrate the life of German author Jakob Arjouni (1964-2013) and to raise funds for research into pancreatic cancer (http://www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk/). Barry Forshaw will be hosting and there’ll be German food and drink available. Entry is free.

The event will also launch Arjouni’s fifth and final Kayankaya novel, Brother Kemal. Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m particularly fond of the first in the series, Happy Birthday Turk!, which was an absolutely ground-breaking German crime novel back in the 1980s – see my earlier post here. I can also thoroughly recommend Brother Kemal, which provides a wonderful conclusion to the Kayankaya series.

In other news, I’ve been down to my local library to stock up on some crime fiction! I’m particularly blessed that Swansea Central Library is on my doorstep, which has an impressive range of crime fiction, including lashings of international crime. I came away with a satisfying selection including the first Arabic detective novel in English translation (Abdelilah Hamdouchi’s The Final Bet), some Spanish crime (Eugenio Fuentes’ At Close Quarters) and M.J.McGrath’s second Arctic novel, The Boy in the Snow. I’ve now read the first two, which were both excellent in their own ways, and am looking forward to meeting Edie Kiglatuk again soon.

Aside from the quality of these novels, it’s been a relief to read some crime that doesn’t open with the gruesome murder of a young woman. All too many of the novels sent to me by publishers begin with blurbs such as the following: ‘the body of a young woman is found carved up and buried in a forest glade’ / ‘a young woman is discovered in her apartment bound and gagged, the victim of an extraordinarily brutal attack’ / ‘a young woman has been brutally killed, her body abandoned in a car boot as a warning to others’ / ‘a young girl has been brutally murdered, her body arranged in bed with her hands over her eyes’. And so on… There does seem to be a depressing pattern here of an opening set piece featuring a young, sadistically brutalised female, and I’m getting pretty fed up with the gratuitousness of it all. I think a few more trips to the library are in order soon.

And finally… I’ve set up a new Maigret tab on the main menu of the site, where I’ll post mini-reviews of Simenon’s 75 Maigret novels as they are reissued by Penguin once a month. The idea is to build up a nice record / resource over time, and to track interesting developments in the series. It’s a (very) long-term reading challenge, which you are most welcome to join – either for the whole or for part of the way.

Jakob Arjouni 1964-2013

Some very sad news. German crime writer, playwright and author Jakob Arjouni has died of cancer at the age of 48.

Jakob Arjouni: Mit "Happy Birthday, Türke!" zum ganz großen Erfolg

Photo courtesy of Diogenes

Arjouni’s groundbreaking crime series featured the irrepressible Turkish-German P.I. Kemal Kayankaya. The first novel in the series, Happy Birthday, Türke (1986), was written when he was just nineteen. The third, Ein Mann, ein Mord / One Man, One Murder (1991), won the Deutscher Krimi Preis (German Crime Fiction Prize) in 1992. The fifth and final installment, Bruder Kemal / Brother Kemal, was published just last year.

Kayankaya was recently selected as one of Mark Lawson’s fifteen ‘literary detectives’ for the Radio 4 ‘Foreign Bodies’ series. Arjouni was interviewed in Berlin for the programme and spoke at length about his creation and the issues tackled in the books.

With thanks to Lauren for passing on this news.


‘Jakob Arjouni Dies’, Booktrade Info

Legendärer Krimi-Autor: Jakob Arjouni ist tot – Spiegel online (German)

‘Jakob Arjouni’s Turkish-German Kayankaya series’ – Mrs. Peabody post, Nov. 2012

The Kayankaya series in translation – No Exit Press

List of all Arjouni’s works – Diogenes Press (German)