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A Grain of Truth (Polish State Prosecutor Szacki Investigates) Paperback – January 8, 2013


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Product Details

  • Series: Polish State Prosecutor Szacki Investigates
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press (January 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908524022
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908524027
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #545,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Polish mystery writer Miloszewski’s first novel, Entanglement (2010), earned the High Calibre Award and was made into a movie. This second in the series finds state prosecutor Teodor Szacki tackling anti-Semitism in Poland. Szacki has left Warsaw after ending his marriage and settled in Sandomierz, a picturesque town with beautiful churches and museums. As an outsider, he is not welcomed by the residents. When a woman is found dead with her body completely drained of blood, Szacki investigates, despite the lack of cooperation from the local police. The killing looks like ritual slaughter, and it triggers anti-Semitic paranoia in the close-knit community. Szacki must face the painful history of Polish-Jewish relations and the aftermath of an event that occurred 60 years earlier. Miloszewski’s compelling mystery offers a revealing glimpse of life in modern Poland, a country still dealing with its complicated past. --Barbara Bibel

Review

PRAISE FOR ENTANGLEMENT (978-1904738-442) "Miloszewski takes an engaging look at modern Polish society in this stellar first in a new series starring Warsaw prosecutor Teodor Szacki. Readers will want to see more of the complex, sympathetic Szacki." Publishers Weekly "ENTANGLEMENT has everything I want from a thriller. It opens with a murder and quickly develops into a fast-moving and tightly plotted whodunit with a host of colourful characters and vivid descriptions of contemporary Cracow. But it's the unsatisfactory personal life and emotional turmoil of its hero, State Prosecutor Teodor Szacki that steal centre stage." Oxford Times

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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The plot moves at a good pace and the characters are real and believable.
Jeff Damron
It gives a fascinating look at the Polish legal system, life in modern Poland, and the antisemitism that remains in the minds of some Poles.
David
I can recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a murder mystery with an unusual twist.
Eric A. Foster

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sandy Harcourt on January 8, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Zygmunt Miloszewski's `A Grain of Truth' is what Bitter Lemon Press is all about - the cream of European detective fiction perfectly translated into English. Among English detective writers, only P.D. James matches Miloszewski's elegance and style of plot and writing. Teodor Szacki, the cultured, thoughtful, lonely protagonist is James' Adam Dalgliesh.
If not for Bitter Lemon Press, much of the best of modern European literature - yes, whodunits can be literature - would be unavailable to us. As it is, we have a classic tale of gruesome murders, jealousy and long-simmering hate. Set in Sandomierz, a claustrophobic small-town in Poland, the story has the added ingredient of continuing anti-Semitic bigotry in this country of so many of the Nazi extermination camps.
May there be as many more murder cases for Szacki to unravel as Dalgliesh has solved over the years.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"A Grain of Truth", by Polish author Zygmunt Miloszewski, is the second in his Teodor Szacki series. Set in Poland, Szaki is a Warsaw-born state prosecutor, who after his personal life takes a hit in Warsaw, moves to a beautiful town, Sandomierz, to "start over". He brings, along with his battered feelings, his well-earned reputation as a crime-solver. And there are some real crimes to be solved in the city of Sandomierz.

Sandomierz is located in southeast Poland and is a real city with a rather interesting history. It was the home, before WW2, of a fairly large Jewish population and a visitor can find today remnants of that society. Most of the Jews of Sandomierz and the surrounding area were killed by the German occupiers, and the complicity of the native Polish Catholic has been questioned in the past 70 years. Certainly, the few Jewish survivors who returned after the war were not welcomed home by the Polish Catholics who had, in many cases, appropriated their homes and businesses. That's a different story from the three murders that occur in the city in 2008 that Szaki and his joint legal/police team are charged with solving. But the problems of the past directly affect the crimes of today, as Teodor Szaki discovers.

Sandomierz, the real place, is home to a real church with anti-Semitic art work on the walls. One large picture shows medieval Jews engaging in blood lust; killing Christians for their blood in rather horrifying ways. Another large picture shows 365 days of the year and the ghastly deaths of saints on each day. This blood-libel myth, combined with murders of three Polish Catholics, sends Szaki looking in directions not normally indicated in a murder investigation. All three murders were done in ways that would indicate a Jewish killer.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on January 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
In 2009 former Warsaw Prosecutor Teodor Szacki knows his unfulfilling affair with reporter Monica Grzelka destroyed his marriage, and left him alone without family in exile in Sandomierz, a provincial city that shuts down at 6 PM. However, he became a local celebrity when he solved the case of a murdered Ukrainian prostitute that led to him breaking up a human-trafficking ring.

An unknown psychopath viciously slashes numerous times the throat of Elzbieta Budnik before dumping her nude body for all passersby to see in a ravine below the city's medieval walls. Szacki leads the homicide investigation in which the exorbitant number of cuts and draining of the blood imply a crime of ritual passion. Szacki learns a knife used by Jewish butchers is the murder weapon, which has the prosecutor wondering if a religious sacrifice occurred. Additional similar murders occur including Budnik's spouse and Szacki feels pressure to end the serial ritual killings.

The second Polish State Prosecutor Szacki case (see Entanglement) is a great murder mystery that hooks the audience from start to finish as the whodunit takes center stage but cleverly enhanced by a close look at Szacko's middle age despair. The terrific storyline contains ties to anti-Semitism dating back to WWII, but leaves the reader pondering until the super climax whether it is a Jew enacting vengeance or a non-Jew using a convenient scapegoat.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David on June 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book. This is an outstanding mystery novel. It centers around bizarre and puzzling crimes, leading to a surprising ending. The characters, especially prosecutor Teodor Szacki, are complex, very human and ultimately likeable. It gives a fascinating look at the Polish legal system, life in modern Poland, and the antisemitism that remains in the minds of some Poles.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By schateau on May 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
State Prosecutor Szacki is an appealing character with his outward appearance of order and personal inner chaos. His investigation of a brutal crime uncovers unexpected layers of conflicted history and religion in the small historical town, to which he has been banished. Although replete with gruesome details the story fascinated because of the way the reader may accompany the thought process of the prosecutor at the same time as learning something about Polish society.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Cioffi on March 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author's first novel to be translated into English, "Entanglement," was also good, but this one is even better IMHO. The hero, Teo Szacki, is a more sympathetic character in this one, and the subject of Polish-Jewish relations is handled in a very sensitive way that takes into account not only wartime complexities, but also the current state of Polish-Jewish relations in Poland.
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