inspector pia korritki, lübeck

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Pia Korritki had been a member of the homicide squad of the Lübeck District Criminal Investigation Department for eleven weeks now. At first, she had been confident that sooner or later she would be accepted in the new department. However, the weeks had passed without any improvement in her status of being “tolerated”. In the meantime, Pia thought with a touch of gallows humour that it would be easier to find acceptance in the national football team than in this police station. …
However, as she passed Broders, who claimed the middle of the room for himself, he hissed softly at her: “Get the hell out of here, sweetheart! You’ll never make it here.”

from: Kalter Grund
(own translation)

A Young Woman, Manhood and the Dark Secrets of the Lonely Baltic Coast

There is a lot going on on the Baltic coast and the Lübeck CID always has its hands full – so you would think that any reinforcement of the team would be welcomed with enthusiasm. Unfortunately, however, this is not the case, as Pia Korritki, admittedly still quite young, has to experience first-hand, because she is only a woman. The criminal investigation department, especially the homicide department, is a male domain, as apparently all her colleagues think – and women should be more concerned with filing files, writing protocols and making coffee.

Pia sees things differently and always stays on the ball: no matter what the cost. Whether bodies turn up on an old farm, wash up on a lake or go overboard from ships, Pia always wants to be in on the action and stretches to the ceiling to be allowed to play with the big boys. Of course, this comes at a price.

I would first like to say something about the series. Pia Korritki has been working her way through the Baltic Sea landscape and her criminal cases for about eight to nine years now. The novels were published over a period of about 20 years. So there is a chronology, but in the novels the clocks run a little slower.

Pia’s problems with her male colleagues prove to be tough and persistent. Chauvinism is in full bloom when she starts as a detective inspector in Lübeck. Even her first investigative successes change little. She is quite quickly promoted to detective chief inspector – I think from this point on it becomes a little easier for her in a man’s world.

Finally, a few years later, she is even offered the position of head of the department, but she turns it down for personal reasons. Which brings us to the very interesting private life of Pia Korritki.

How did it all begin?

At seventeen, eighteen, Pia works as an au pair in Portugal and falls in love with a policeman from Germany. She returns to Germany and starts training with the police. Finally, in her mid-twenties, she joins the Lübeck criminal investigation department: straight into the homicide squad.

Over the next few years, several men cross her path, some from the police world, some not. Pia falls in love, Pia has one-night stands and Pia has a child, a son, Felix. She becomes a single mother whose job doesn’t exactly make it easy for her to always take care of her little son the way she would like to. Pia has to keep trying to find a balance between her demanding job and her gruelling private life, but she finds it. At the beginning she still cultivates her hobby of painting, but later this probably gets lost in favour of Felix.

With Felix’s father she has more of a friendship, but no love. So the two never become a couple. Eventually she meets someone she loves and who loves her and her son, but only to lose him tragically soon after. And in between there are many little acquaintances and love affairs that sometimes backfire – but Pia is tough.

Her family is not exactly a help to her: mother, stepfather, half-brother and -sister and their spouses are rather distant. It gets worse, because her family gets involved in a criminal case that Pia is working on … and that’s not the end of it. The family is more of a stress factor in Pia’s already stressful life and not a rock on which she can seek refuge.

Pia’s private life plays a role in all the novels and, together with the criminal cases, provides a multi-faceted overall picture. While Pia’s life may not be easy most of the time, and may require logistical moves when she discovers that her fridge is empty in the evening, or when the babysitter cancels at short notice, Pia always lives in the present and struggles with realities. Her murder cases, on the other hand …

On the Baltic coast there are many small villages, idyllic villages, but also run-down farms, lonely mansions, highly indebted people who have been struggling for decades to preserve their family heritage. The past and origins still have great significance here in the countryside. Family feuds are nurtured for decades. Black sheep exist in every large family. Inheritance disputes are the order of the day. Abuse in families is covered up.

In many investigations, Pia encounters closed village communities that remain silent. Even if there is currently a crime or even a child missing, the priorities for many local people seem to lie elsewhere. Often, crimes from the past come to light and lead to new crimes because people feel they have to save face.

But it is this mixture in the rather lonely Baltic Sea landscape that makes the novels interesting, apart from the fact that Pia’s further development naturally arouses curiosity. In her cases, which she of course never works on alone, Pia usually develops an idea of what it is all about quite quickly. She has the famous gut feeling and sets out to catch the culprit.

And therein always lies a problem: Pia is a loner who likes to deviate from the known paths of investigation on her own in order to test and prove her theories. This often doesn’t sit well with her, and she has to go through dangerous situations and recover from injuries time and again. Her solo efforts are questionable, especially in the later volumes, because she loves her young son more than anything and does not seem to realise the danger she is putting herself in by her spontaneous decisions. Time and again, when she wants to get her head through the wall and prove her assumptions, she upsets her colleagues, then sets off on her own … hoping that nothing will happen and that she will solve the case. … and she always solves her cases.

When is the next volume coming?
It is worth reading the volumes from the beginning … if only because of the private developments that keep getting mixed up with the cases.

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a faint cold fear thrills through my veins ... william shakespeare