Morgue Drawer Four by Jutta Profijt
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Take the “buddy cop” mystery formula, where two cops or detectives with contrasting and conflicting personalities have to work together to solve a case. Substitute a forensic pathologist for one of the detectives. Now, substitute an apprentice auto mechanic and a small-time criminal for the other one. But wait, make the other guy dead. Yes, dead. The pathologist works together with the ghost of the expired auto mechanic to find his murderer. That’s the premise of “Morgue Drawer Four” by the German author, Jutta Profijt. The pathologist, Martin Gansewein, and dead Pascha Lerchenberg meet when Martin finishes cutting Pasha’s body. The plot takes place in the city of Cologne, Germany.
Although I do not particularly like the premise (I am not fond of any paranormal elements in literature), it could probably work great, were it well developed. Unfortunately, there is not much of a payoff from the contrast between the physical and the spiritual detectives. The plot is pretty pedestrian and the author relies way too much on the novelty of the premise.
The prose is chatty. There is nothing wrong with chatty writing, if the author has interesting things to chat about. Unfortunately, both Martin and Pascha are quite uninteresting people. Their observations are shallow and predictable. There is little sense of the place in this novel. The plot could be taking place in any city of any country. The little humor present in the novel is limited to Pascha’s fascination with the size of female breasts. Quite low-level stuff.
One and a half stars.
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