Original title: Mafie v Praze
Druhé město, 2011
Croatian (Profil, 2013), Slovenian (Sanje, 2014), Bulgarian (Paradox, 2014) and German (Deuticke/Zsolnay, 2014; Buchergilde Gutenberg, 2015)
This summer in the metropolis is anything but a silly season. In Prague’s municipal district 11 someone is watching and occasionally mugging politicians of the opposition and citizen activists protesting against the Three Balks development, which is about to get underway. Meanwhile beautiful broker Diana of the Patria finance group is being blackmailed by the Russian mafia, and Minister of the Interior Stanislav Langross relieves of his position on the Witness Protection Programme former lobbyist Darek Balík, who holds compromising material on a number of Czech politicians at an unknown address (causing the bald patch of Šesták, Deputy Minister of Defence, to glisten more than it used to.) Suddenly journalists on Prague’s leading daily have so much material they don’t know what to write about first. A Prague godfather of some renown called Mord is forced to hurry back to the capital from his yacht in Croatia, while a contract killer called Ras gets another ‘job’ from his boss in the provincial town of Příbram.
And these are just the opening scenes of the new book by the Czech Republic’s favourite writer, who, after ten novels, two collections of stories, three novellas, two diaries, two volumes of feuilletons, two collections of literary parody, several film screenplays, a stage play and a children’s book has turned for the first time to crime fiction.
As is often the case with Michal Viewegh, what may at first appear to be light reading turns out to be a work of some complexity.
“I wanted to write a crime novel that was deft and witty, unlike the less ambitious kind of detective story,” says Viewegh of The Mafia in Prague. “And I wanted it to paint a dangerously truthful picture of Czech realities and be a merciless, biting satire on them.”
Over 85.000 copies sold in the Czech Republic alone