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The Powers That Be

334 pages, 26 illu­stra­tions. 2018.

Powers


My way of joking is to tell the truth. It's the funniest joke in the world.
George Bernard Shaw. John Bull's Other Island.


In 1936 Germany and Japan sign a treaty with two oil companies: The two countries divide among each other the oil exploitation in Siberia. The diplomatic courier carrying the German version of the treaty from Tokyo to Berlin disappears while crossing the Soviet Union traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

Nearly seventy years later Jack Boulder, a Canadian living in the Swiss city of Basel, is asked by the German Foreign Office to trace the original copy of the treaty.

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Berlin Export

364 pages, 24 illu­stra­tions. 2018.

Berlin Export


Difficile est saturam non scribere.
It is difficult not to write satire.
Juvenal. Saturae I, 30

You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty.
Jessica Mitford.


Two German tourists die in traffic accidents in Egypt. Their bodies are used to transport a huge amount of dollar bills into Germany. Why are the responsible German authorities not interested in this case?

In the guise of a Canadian journalist Jack Boulder is sent to Egypt by a minor German secret service to inquire about the background, traveling with a German government minister's delegation. Unintentionally, an airline physician gives Boulder a lead that finally takes him to Spain.

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Occident Express

approx. 300 pages, 20 illu­stra­tions.
Preliminary date of publication: spring/summer 2021.

Occident Express


I hate things all fiction ... there should always be some foundation of fact for the most airy fabric –
and pure invention is but the talent of a liar.
Lord Byron in a letter to his publisher John Murray — London 1817.

Προαιρεῖσθαί τε δεῖ ἀδύνατα εἰκότα μᾶλλον ἢ δυνατὰ ἀπίθανα.
Probable impossibilities are preferable to improbable possibilities.
Aristotele. Poetics. 1460A; c. 335 BC.


The third volume in the series ... you live and learn, Jack Boulder realizes, but to which purpose? What doesn't kill us makes us strongerThe lie is a condition of life (both quotations by Friedrich Nietzsche; and Boulder will find out both).

From Basel to the Mediterranean, from Berlin to Istanbul — and beyond.

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The Stamp Collector

approx. 300 pages, 20 illu­stra­tions.
Preliminary date of publication: autumn 2022.

Occident Express


Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it is awfully hard to get it back in.
Harry Robbins Haldeman. Watergate and Related Activities. 1973.


Some high-ranking diplomat in the German Foreign Office seems to have an eccentric hobby: vintage and antique stamps, mostly of the times of the German Reich, between 1871 and 1945.

He steals them together with old envelopes from the archives of the Foreign Office. However, when his home is searched secretly, no trace of these stamps can be found. Nor does he sell them – anyway, they are not very valuable. What happens to them?

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Der Detektiv in der Li­ter­atur • Ein Essay

140 pages. 2018.

Berlin Export

Der Autor hat diesen Essay vor einiger Zeit ge­schrie­ben, um sich selbst einen klei­nen Über­blick über die De­te­ktiv­ge­stal­ten in der Li­tera­tur zu ver­schaf­fen und zu ver­suchen, die klas­si­schen Cha­rak­tere und teil­weise auch die Hand­lungs­ab­läufe zu be­schrei­ben – des­halb auch der Un­ter­titel des kleinen Buches: "Zum Ei­gen­ge­brauch".

This book is available in German only.

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The Author

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Contact

Peter de Chamier has a doc­­to­r­ate in hi­st­ory and works for an inter­­nat­io­nal scien­tific and hum­ani­tarian non-govern­­men­tal or­gani­z­ation.

The author has written and edited a number of non-fiction books that were trans­lated into seven lan­gua­ges. He has con­tribut­ed numerous news­­paper arti­c­les for the cul­­ture and arts sec­­tions of se­ve­­ral lead­­ing news­p­apers, and has a re­gu­lar column in a scien­­ti­fic news ma­ga­­zine.

de Chamier's novels are written in the form of the poli­­tical thril­ler, moral­­ly neu­tral — still moral, vi­gi­­lant, full of sus­­pense, ton­gue in cheek, and on solid fact­­ual and hist­o­rical found­a­tions. They are written in English.

spaceholder new red   Author's Remarks


spaceholder red yellow   Things were easier for the old novelists who saw people all of a piece. Speaking generally, their heroes were good through and through, their villains wholly bad.
W. Somerset Maugham. A Writer's Notebook. 1949.

spaceholder red yellow   But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid.
Raymond Chandler. The Simple Art of Murder. An Essay. 1950.


spaceholder new blue   I am a slow writer. Thus, some­times I get this question:

"Have you written a new detective novel?"

My personal response is: I do not write detec­tive novels, at least not in the orig­inal sense of the genre; hardly anyone writes detec­tive novels nowadays. I write books that are labeled as "political thril­lers", which may be an appro­priate descript­ion, but it doesn't do them full just­ice.

Enter­tain­ment and suspense: yes, absolu­tely; descript­ion of society: yes, wanted; liter­ature: natural; history and stories. It is difficult to squeeze them into one genre: are they adven­ture novels, spy novels, de­velop­mental novels, "enter­tainments" in the sense of Graham Greene — or perhaps satires?

Not justice and mora­lity dominate the world, but il­legal­ity, in­just­ice and egoism. The de­pict­ions of an ideal world, in which an evil­doer is imm­edia­tely tracked down and ex­pell­ed from so­ciety, are — as in English detect­ive liter­ature — mere fairy tales. Spy novels live from espion­age and all its side effects. They are, in turn, primarily a British, and to a lesser extent – and later – an American li­ter­ary genre.

In my novels I write what I want to write and read. How­ever, I also read books of many other genres. And I don't write to sell books and cap­ture as many readers as poss­ible, rather for my own pleasure. If others enjoy them, it is also my pleas­ure. Many authors write on the one hand for them­selves, on the other hand and primar­ily for their readers.

In most cases, there is no direct feed­back between both — although authors usual­ly enjoy receiv­ing en­courage­ment, praise and advice. Un­fortuna­tely, there are also un­founded mali­cious criticisms, which can only be avoided by ig­nor­ing them.

Then there are readers who cannot or do not want to dis­tin­guish a novel from real­ity in every­day life. They accept many things in a spy novel, for example, as facts – even readers from "educated" circles. Things get bad when detective novels or poli­tical thril­lers are written in the first person, which some readers inter­pret as auto­bio­graphy. Bruce Marshall writes in the preface to his (almost detect­ive) novel "The Divided Lady"(1960):

"So many intel­ligent persons mis­inter­pret the novelist's trade that I feel I must explain that not only are all the char­acters and events in this story imagin­ary, but that the narrator is too and that his creator does not always share his views or commend his conduct."

Most detect­ive novels and poli­tical thril­lers are written in English — and in the end it is an English genre. The choice of lang­age is also re­flect­ed in the atmo­sphere of chara­cters and plots.

I wrote "The Powers That Be" (2007; 2018) in both English and German and adapt­ed the respect­ive ver­sions to the respect­ive langu­age. The effort involved is con­sider­able and not feasible in a profit-oriented publ­ish­ing rou­tine - even if the result should reach a high liter­ary quality.

This raises the question whether there is an ideal langu­age for detect­ive novels: de Chamier's choice of langu­age for other and further novels remains — English.