. . .on other historical mystery/thrillers . . . these came to mind after reviewing William Ryan’s “The Holy Thief” . . .
Hans Fallada wrote in his 1946 Foreword to his great postwar novel of the Nazi years in Germany, “Jeder stirbt für sich allein ” [Everyone dies alone]:
Many readers will think that there is an awful lot of torturing and dying in this book. The author takes the liberty of pointing out that this book deals mainly with people who fought against the Hitler regime, them and the people who persecuted them. In these circles in the years 1940 to 1942, and before and after, there was a considerable amount of dying. About one third of the book takes place in prisons and mental hospitals, and in them dying was in full swing. The author often did not want to paint so dark a picture, but more light would have been a lie.
This is my own translation from the Rororo 1990 German edition of this book, originally written and published in 1946. I shall be returning to this novel and its recent translation by Michael Hofmann Every Man Dies Alone later in this blog.
John LeCarré wrote in his 1989 introduction to his first greatly successful novel, “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold:”
It was the Berlin Wall that got me going . . . I will never forget the time when a disgusting gesture of history coincided with some desperate mechanism inside myself, and in six weeks gave me the book that altered my life.
What do you say?