Bernhard Jaumann’s Afrika-Krimis and European crime drama The Team

It’s been a little while since I last posted, because I’m on a final push with the Crime Fiction in German volume. I’m nearly there – the entire draft’s been printed out and just needs some final checks before it goes off to the University of Wales Press. I’m obviously biased, but think it looks rather splendid.

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One bonus in the final phase of editing has been finding out more about the Afrika-Krimi – German-language crime fiction set in Africa – courtesy of a chapter by Julia Augart, who’s based at the University of Namibia. Namibia was a German colony between 1884 and 1915, and one novel she discusses is Bernhard Jaumann’s Steinland (Stoneland, 2012), which explores that post-colonial legacy in the context of current land reform policies. I hoovered up the novel while I was editing the chapter, and it was a fascinating read. While that one’s not translated yet, Jaumann’s 2010 novel The Hour of the Jackal is out in English (John Beaufoy Publishing): like Steinland, it features the excellent detective inspector Clemencia Garises.

Although things have been a bit hectic, I’ve managed to keep up with Broadchurch on ITV. The general reaction to this second series has been disappointment, as it’s definitely not lived up to the quality of the first. But I’m still watching, as (eye-raising legal daftness aside) I love the Hardy and Miller dynamic, and Olivia Coleman’s acting in particular. By contrast, Spiral series 5 (the one I’m not watching…) has been getting strong reviews.

Some very interesting news in – thanks to Jacky Collins – about a European crime drama called The Team, which is currently in production. Based on the work of Interpol, the drama will follow a European team as it investigates three murders, in Antwerp, Berlin and Copenhagen, and will switch between Dutch, German and Danish as the location of the action changes. It’s a product of the EBU (European Broadcasting Organisation), and is funded via the EU and eight of its member states.

The Team: Jasmine Gerat (Germany) Lars Mikkelsen (Denmark) and Veerie Baetens (Belgium)

The Team: Jasmine Gerat (Germany) Lars Mikkelsen (Denmark) and Veerie Baetens (Belgium). Photo: The Telegraph/EBU

And look who’s in it! I think the whole thing is a stroke of genius on the part of the EBU: the concept of a European Union is undergoing something of a battering at the moment, not least in the UK. What better way to persuade audiences of the positive benefits of European cooperation than a top-notch crime drama? Other ‘Eurocrime’ novels and series have existed before (such as Arne Dahl’s ‘Intercrime’ series), but as far as I’m aware, this is the first time that one has been instigated and funded via the EU itself. I love the deliberately multicultural and multilingual approach the makers are taking, and hope it does really well.

You can find out more about The Team here. It’s being shown in Denmark, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden and Belgium later this month. Let’s hope it makes its way here very soon.

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15 thoughts on “Bernhard Jaumann’s Afrika-Krimis and European crime drama The Team

  1. Congrats, Mrs. P, on getting that final draft ready! I’m really keen to read it when it’s ready. And what a fascinating-sounding look at German crime fiction set in Africa. Of course it makes lots of sense, but not something I know enough about. That new crime drama sounds great, too. I hope it’ll be available where I live at some point.

    • Thanks, Margot! It’s been quite a long journey, so it’s great to have the finishing line in sight. I didn’t know very much about the Afrika-Krimi myself – it’s only been properly looked at by Julia Augart as a subgenre relatively recently. It’s made me explore Germany’s colonial history more deeply than I have before; Namibia is a particularly interesting case, because it became a South African protectorate after World War 1 and only became independent in 1990 after a long struggle. So there’s a double past of German colonialism and apartheid, whose legacy is still visible today.

      Yes, fingers crossed for The Team!

  2. I like the sound of the multi European crime series The Team. Lets hope BBC4 gets its fingers out, and gets it onto our screens pronto, before some other channel nabs it. Well done in getting your final draft ready by the way. One more thing to tick off your list!

    • It does sound good, doesn’t it? I hope that BBC4 has its feelers out already. And thanks, getting the volume off will definitely be a biggie off the list 🙂

  3. That does sound rather promising – I’m an Interpol/Eurocrime afficionado. Hope it hits our screens shortly (or at least French ones).
    And congratulations on your book! Must be so lovely to see it DONE! I’d love to feature it on CFL if I may. I was planning to do a feature on German crime fiction, but you may have done the work for me.

    • There’s a whole subgenre of European crime out there (by which I mean investigations with a specifically European dimension), and I’m really keen to look into these in more detail, to see what their conception of Europe and European identity is. Perhaps we can put together a list?!

      You probably have a good chance of catching The Team in France. Will check to see where it’s being broadcast.

      And thanks! It’ll be wonderful to see the volume in print. I do think it’s going to be good, not least because it will provide the first thorough overview of German-language crime for an English-speaking audience. Perhaps we can talk again once we’re closer to publication? The manuscript is going to an expert reader in the first instance; once we’ve taken on board any extra comments/amends, we’ll be set to go!

  4. The Team sounds great. Hope it heads to the States sometime soon. I’m still waiting for Happy Valley to appear here in DVD format.
    Yes. I could stay home all day and watch European crime fiction TV episodes. I’ve done a lot of that lately, and the end result is: less reading of books. However, I’ve seen so many great programs, and am waiting for the next Broadchurch season, The Fall, Hinterland and more.
    Whatever may be disappointing about Broadchurch’s second season will still be superior
    to what passes as crime fiction TV over here, which entails a lot of gun play, gruesome
    and gory crimes, forensics and autopsies, etc. Very little fodder for the mind, which
    European crime dramas tend to provide.
    Best wishes on your forthcoming book. Hope it meets with your expectations. I’m
    sure it will be fascinating.

    • I’m hanging in there with Broadchurch. As you say, it’ll still be better than a lot of the stuff out there. Continued happy viewing to you!

      Yes, nearly there with the book. Thanks for the good wishes; I’m sure it will all be worth it 🙂

  5. Pingback: Deutschi Crime Night and the ‘Crime Fiction in German’ volume | Mrs. Peabody Investigates

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