Monday, February 25, 2008
literary criticism as murder investigation
I read the recent New Yorker article about Krystian Bala. A man's corpse was found bound and tortured in a Polish river and the case was cold for three years, until a a detective realized the victim's cell phone had never been recovered; he learned that the cell phone had been sold on eBay days after the murder, and when he researched the seller, it turned out that that man, Krystian Bala, had recently published a book in which a character commits a cold-blooded murder. Polish detectives pored over Bala's novel, Amok, for clues relating to both the real-life murder and what they considered the author's possible homicidal proclivities. The situation became public and the police were mocked and excoriated in the press. But then it turned out that Bala's ex-wife had been involved with the man who was found in the river. Bala was convicted of murder.