Mandels Büro is a first for me. It’s the first e-Book that I’ve read and it’s the first book I’ve borrowed and read from Onleihe. I’m also willing to admit that I’m a bit partial to the title character due to his last name’s resemblance to my own. But I’m not the only one full of firsts. Mandels Büro is also the first novel for rock journalist turned author Berni Mayer.
Max Mandel and his business partner Sigi Singer are music journalists turned private investigators. After quitting their jobs in Berlin they set up shop but forget to advertise. When Veronica Malleck, the wife of a famous rock star (the fictional band DEMO’s Leo Tilmann. Yes, DEMO — all capital letters. As someone who ran a music website for many years, I appreciated that joke.), herself a famous actress, walks in things change. The wife wants evidence of her husband’s affairs so she can pursue a divorce. But as the duo begin work on the job, the plot takes a twist that sees murder and the involvement of Neo Nazis while the less savvy Sigi finds himself falling in love with their client, Malleck. Mandel, meanwhile, plays the clever straight man that everyone respects and who always seems a step ahead of the game.
Mandels Büro is entertaining. The first half of the book sucks you in with its mix of noir, mystery and hints of comedy. Anyone who is also a rock music fan will find the story doubly enjoyable as Sigi, the narrator, will go off on the odd tangent about music. One finds him waxing poetic about his favorite Slayer tunes while many others involve him mocking Tilmann’s lyrics. Mayer’s got a good sense of humor — there’s a running gag that the beer always inexplicably seems to be Dutch (or, in one case, Czech) — and builds a decent mystery.
For German language learners, there’s plenty of good vocabulary. Mayer’s writing style isn’t overly complex so it’s easy to jump into and get started.
Decent enough, apparently, as Mayer has just published his third book in the Mandel series. I look forward to reading them and seeing how the story and the characters progress.
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