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Witold Gombrowicz, Lillian Vallee

London and Gdansk make a good combo

Death Can't Take a Joke (Kiszka and Kershaw) - Anya Lipska Where the Devil Can't Go - Anya Lipska

There is something irresistible about this series about the odd couple of Natalie Kershaw, spunky rookie London cop, and Janusz Kiszka, the brooding Polish middle-age emigre private eye. Kiszka is the more interesting character: he settled in London after various run-ins with the Communists during the Solidarity era in Poland. I should be more drawn to him, especially as he comes from Gdansk, where I lived for 4 years in the eighties. But the author (an Englishwoman married to a Pole) captures the Cockney voice and psyche of Kershaw more accurately in my opinion  In fact, I found the author's insertion of various Polish words and phrases rather irritating in the first book, Where the Devil Can't Go, as they were frequently misspelled, and even wrong (worst error that I spotted: the author used the Polish word masa to mean the service that Catholics attend on Sunday; the proper word is msza--masa means "mass" in the sense of "quantity"). Nevertheless, I still kept reading, and even picked up the second book in the series immediately after finishing the first. I think what I like about these books is both the gripping quality of the plots and the setting, which bounces back and forth between London and various spots in Poland. I especially like that the London neighborhoods focused on aren't the posh ones that we Americans so often hear about, but rather the less-known places where middle- and lower-class Londoners actually live. Anyway, the language problems clear up in the second book, Death Can't Take a Joke, and, as Janusz and Natalie get to know each other better, we get to know them better too (always a plus in a mystery series). Both books are super-absorbing, and the second one has a surprise ending that I totally didn't see coming.