Jakob Arjouni was only 20 when his first bestselling crime novel was published in Germany and was such a literary prodigy that he had managed to create a substantial and durable body of work by the time of his death at the age of 48. This output includes the five pioneering novels featuring Kemal Kayankaya, a Turkish-German private eye, that began with Happy Birthday, Turk! in 1985. An immediate success, it was filmed by the director Dorris Dörrie in 1992. The final Kayankaya novel, Brother Kemal, which Arjouni wrote against the terrible knowledge of a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, will be published in the UK later this year, alongside reissues of the earlier books in the series, by No Exit Press, the Hertfordshire-based publisher which championed his work in English translation. He is survived by his wife, Miranda, their children, Emil and Lucy, and a daughter, Elsa, from a previous marriage.
Author photo © Miranda Junowicz
Kemal Kayankaya is a Turkish-German private eye who operates in the seedy underworld of Frankfurt, on the margins of legality and gets deeply involved in cases which invariably summon up the bleaker side of contemporary life. The son of Turkish immigrants, Kayankaya is a modern investigator per se who gets involved in social matters, sex trafficking, the consequences of the Balkan War and the limits of religious tolerance amongst others and provides invaluable insights into the nature of contemporary society as the best of crime writing nowadays succeeds in doing. Sadly, Arjouni, his creator, recently died at the early age of 48 and there will be no more Kayankaya novels. The others were Happy Birthday, Turk, More Beer, One Man, One Murder and Kismet.
Introducing Kemal Kayankaya, a wise-cracking private detective in Frankfurt-or, as Kayankaya calls it, "e;the ugliest town in Germany."e; As a Turkish immigrant raised by Germans, he's regularly subjected to racism in the gritty, working class town, and getting work isn't easy. So when his immigrant friend Rosario asks Kayankaya to protect him against some thugs demanding protection money from his restaurant, the down-and-out Kayankaya takes the job-except these are no ordinary thugs. They turn out to be battle-hardened Croatian nationalists looking to take over the rackets in Frankfurt, and they do not take kindly to Kayankaya's interference with their plans. What ensues is a brilliant novel about organized crime, immigration, the fallout from the Balkan wars, and the madness of nationalism from one of Europe's finest crime writers.
Love is never easy-especially when your girlfriend is an illegal Thai prostitute who has been kidnapped (again) by a gang of sex traffickers. Fortunately for the hapless fiance, wisecracking gumshoe Kemal Kayankaya is on the case. The son of a Turkish garbage collector, he knows a thing or two about living in the ethnic fringes of the ugliest German city of them all: Frankfurt.Kayankaya plunges into the city's underbelly, where the police don't care if you live or die, and the powerful view an illegal alien as just another paycheck. One Man, One Murder populates its pages with unforgettable characters, whip-smart dialogue, and a connoisseur's collection of grim details. But it is Arjouni's dead-on description of contemporary Europe's racial politics, vacuous nationalism, and social injustice that make his novels rise above the rest.
Wisecracking PI Kemal Kayankaya cares more about sausage and beer than politics, but when he is hired to defend four eco-terrorists charged with murdering the owner of a chemical plant, he finds himself stuck in the middle of Germany's culture wars. It doesn't take long for Kayankaya to realize that the whole situation stinks and that both the Left and the Right have blood on their hands. And is the fiery journalist Carla Reedermann dogging his steps because she smells a story, or is she after something more? A hardboiled noir in the Chandler tradition that also provides a wry critique of contemporary racial and environmental politics, More Beer shows why Jakob Arjouni's series of Kayankaya novels has become a bestselling international sensation.