EBERHARD Mock is an unlikely hero. The chief of detectives in the German town of Breslau in 1933 has to tread a careful line in any investigation as the Gestapo are permanently watching over his shoulder.

He is middle aged and married and his great strength is that he knows the vice of every prominent citizen.

Mock is investigating the heinous rape and murder of an aristocrat’s daughter. The Gestapo supply him with a culprit that he has to accept, even though he suspects the man is innocent. Later, Mock helps a young homicide detective from Berlin re-investigate the case, all the time trying to balance politics and the search for the truth with his own survival.

A compelling story set in a decadent and harsh Germany where confessions are beaten from suspects and Jews are sent to concentration camps. It’s the first of four prize winning Eberhard Mock novels that has been translated from the original Polish. Highly recommended.