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Grain of Truth by Zygmunt Miloszewski


This week I took my first dip into Polish crime fiction with Grain of Truth by Zygmunt Miloszewski. In this country it seems that there is a different division of labour to the British and Nordic jurisdictions where most of my previous “procedural” reading has been based. Instead of being a Detective Chief Inspector, Teodor Szacki is a Prosecutor, which seems to involve working with the police as an investigator but also leading the case for the prosecution in court.

The names present a few challenges. I’ve met quite a few Poles over the years but there are still combinations and even individual letters that are unfamiliar to me. Fortunately I wasn’t reading out loud but there were one or two points when I had to apply extra thought to which character was involved in a scene. More irritating was the frequent repetition of the “grain of truth” phrase from the title. I wonder if this is a Polish idiom that loses something in translation?

Aside from that though, and the amount of time Prosecutor Szacki spends in bed with various women, it is a deftly plotted book. The final solution fits together elegantly although so did the one before that before you realised that Milozewski had woven his strands in an intricate illusion. I will definitely seize on the opportunity to revisit this author.

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