Suz on Publishers Weekly: Maryla Szymiczkowa's MRS. MOHR GOES MISSING
Writing as Maryla Szymiczkowa, the writing duo of Jacek Dehnel and Piotr Tarczynski deliver a thoroughly engaging read in the first of their Zofia Turbotyńska mysteries to appear in English. Society Nineteen will be running an interview with the authors soon, but for now, an introduction to their excellent work. The setting is 1893 Kraków, which I'm ashamed to admit I knew absolutely nothing about when I began the book. (An "Author's Preface" provides some helpful historical context for those similarly challenged.) Though the names and cultural references are both literally and figuratively foreign to British and American readers, the story "translates" perfectly, and the reader is immediately drawn into the novel's world. At 38, professor's wife Zofia Turbotyńska finds herself at loose ends: having bolstered her husband's career and organized her household, there's little scope for her copious energy. Then, at a nursing home run by nuns that she visits to promote her pet charitable cause, she becomes involved in the search for a missing resident. Sleuthing provides the perfect outlet for her curiosity, drive, and predilection for management. In addition to being thoroughly entertained by Zofia, I loved the book's colorful character and locales, deft pacing, and smart, ironic voice. Even the summaries at the start of each chapter are delicious—my favorite reads, In which Zofia Turbotynska shows no interest in the digestive tract of the salamander, lurks in a gateway, and brings up topics at table that a woman of propriety should not discuss while eating catfish. I ask you, how could one not love a chapter like that? You can read my Publishers Weekly review of the book here and my interview with the authors here, and buy the book on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore.