“Famous First Words”


“Go to Hell!”

“The devil take it!”



The first three are the opening words in the three published Alex Kertész mysteries and the last is the first word in the fourth book in the series, which I hope to publish soon.  How did I get in the habit of starting each book with a curse (or at least a mild expletive)?  I don’t know, but in fact these opening words contain more information than is seen at first glance.  These relatively meaningless remarks introduce the languages spoken by the main characters in each story.  While the first two in the series are given in English, the following sentences in the books explain that “Go to hell!” is a translation from Hungarian and “The devil take it!” was exclaimed in Russian.  “Scheisse!” and “Istanem!” are in the original German and Hungarian.  It’s appropriate that Hungarian, the native language of the hero of the series, appears twice.

So as a literary device, these introductory curses may not be a bad idea, since they leave no doubt that these are what may be called “Euro-mysteries”.

The Alex Kertész Mysteries by Janet Hannah include:

The Wish to Kill

Murder with a French Accent

Mystery Time

(Death of a Gypsy)




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