"The 14 crime stories set in Prague in this superior entry in Akashic's Noir Series offer armored car robbery, kidnapping, murder masked as suicide, and more--not bad for a burg that, as the editor notes in his intro, didn't even have 'the profession of private detective' until 1990...In the varied and polished content of this volume, readers will find much to amuse."
"Murder and mayhem erupt, even in fairy-tale Prague. Editor Mandys maintains that it may be hard to imagine dark doings taking place virtually in the shadow of Prague Castle, yet he manages to harvest 14 artful tales that speak directly to the contrary. Although there are few standard whodunits, Prague's long history provides fertile ground for evildoers...Perhaps nowhere but Prague do vice and enchantment live at such close quarters, and Mandys' collection captures both beautifully. A lovely addition to Akashic's venerable series."
"The collection includes some of the biggest names in Czech contemporary fiction and is full of surprises, offering us a Prague that lurches deliciously from the magical to the seedy, from a misty past to a hi-tech future."
--Radio Praha in English (Czcech)
"The stories are strong and have heart. They don't mince words or try to make themselves look better. This is the Czech Republic as it is."
--Journey of a Bookseller
"Prague's top writers explore the hidden corners of the 'City of a Hundred Spires,' pulling back the curtain to reveal gloom and despair, in this entry in Akashic's Noir Series."
--Publishers Weekly, Spring 2018 Announcements, Mysteries and Thrillers
Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each book comprises all new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the respective city. The noir quotient of this legendary Eastern European city will enthrall and terrify readers from across the globe.
Brand-new stories by: Martin Goffa, Štěpán Kopřiva, Miloš Urban, Jiří W. Procházka, Chaim Cigan, Ondřej Neff, Petr Stančík, Kateřina Tučková, Markéta Pilátová, Michal Sýkora, Michaela Klevisová, Petra Soukupová, Irena Hejdová, and Petr Šabach.
From the introduction by Pavel Mandys:
How do you write noir in a city where, until 1990, the profession of private detective didn't even exist? Where the censors cultivated a positive image of the police in both media and literature? Where, in essence, organized crime was nowhere to be found, and the largest criminal group was the secret police?...If, however, the concept of noir is extended and considered a label for literary works that contain elements of crime, danger, and menace, or where main characters find themselves in a critical situation, then you will find fourteen such stories in this collection...
I see Prague Noir as a chance for Czech authors to introduce themselves to international audiences...Contemporary Czech literature is vivid, vibrant, and informed by contemporary world literature which--thanks to active translators--is usually available in Czech very fast. It is global and local, poetic and humorous, filled with stories from the past, present, and from imaginary worlds. And it is waiting for when, in addition to all the enthusiastic Czech readers, it will also gain a great international audience.
Table of Contents
Part I: Sharp Lads
“Three Musketeers” by Martin Goffa (Vyšehrad)
“Amateurs” by Štěpán Kopřiva (Hostivař)
“Disappearances on the Bridge” by Miloš Urban (Charles Bridge)
“The Dead Girl from a Haunted House” by Jiří W. Procházka (Exhibition Grounds)
Part II: Magical Prague
“The Magical Amulet” by Chaim Cigan (Pankrác)
“Marl Circle” by Ondřej Neff (Malá Strana)
“The Cabinet of Seven Pierced Books” by Petr Stančík (Josefov)
Part III: Shadows of the Past
“The Life and Work of Baroness Mautnic” by Kateřina Tučková (New Town)
“All the Old Disguises” by Markéta Pilátová (Grébovka)
“Percy Thrillington” by Michal Sýkora (Pohořelec)
Part IV: In Jeopardy
“Better Life” by Michaela Klevisová (Žižkov)
“Another Worst Day” by Petra Soukupová (Letná)
“Olda No. 3” by Irena Hejdová (Olšany Cemetery)
“Epiphany, or Whatever You Wish” by Petr Šabach (Bubeneč)