Because the sight of the dead man on the street has also affected Inspector Hufschmidt. "He was ashen-faced and needed the open door of his Opel for support," yet he wants to appear cool. Especially since he is convinced that he has finally caught Kryszinski. For the policemen the matter is clear: Kryszinski drove probably again completely closely much too fast and did not see the poor fellow in time, whom he ran over then. When Inspector Menden arrives at the scene of the accident, however, Kryszinski sets the record straight – somehow: "I'm innocent," was all that came to mind. Seeing Menden and uttering this sentence is sometimes like opening the door to two cult recruiters and closing it again right away. It has something automatic, inevitable. Both sides would be kind of gobsmacked if it would go differently.". But not only that: "Moreover, I was numb, enraptured, as if anesthetized. After all, you don't run over a person every day. Not even I, I should perhaps add. And then without intention."For in fact Kryszinski is innocent. To him the unfortunate man was simply thrown in front of the car. However, Kryszinski does not allow himself to be used as a murder weapon without further ado and therefore investigates on his own. He finds out that the dead man comes from Russia – and soon has not only various secret services, but also the Hells Angels on his tail.
With "Bis zum Hals" Kryszinski returns to the Ruhr area after his excursions to Switzerland, on a cruise ship and the Wild West. He meets old acquaintances like Stormfuckers boss Charly and in the pathologist Dr. Korthner a new friend. This one used to work as a laboratory doctor. The blood samples police investigations analyzed. Among them was once of Kryszinski. "The result hangs framed in the office of the ward physician." He seemed completely enthusiastic. I less so, because subliminally I suspected what this was leading up to. "Neither before nor ever after is a higher dose. Greater variety of psychotropic agents detected in a single blood sample. (…). What my colleagues and I always wondered: You were, after all, arrested in the commission of a crime at the time, so you were not only conscious, but active to boot. How … How did you manage to physically and, above all, psychologically coordinate this multitude of substances, some of which have opposing effects??". "Hard to say," I admitted. "But if I remember correctly, half a bottle of vodka usually brought something like a bit of order to the whole mess." Thanks to Korthner's enthusiasm for his blood results, Kryszinski learns something about the dead man, and also has a contact point in the future for his own injuries, and it already becomes clear that Kryszinski has an important quality for investigations in the Russian milieu: a high tolerance for alcohol. And given the amounts of vodka consumed during these investigations, few private detectives would have been able to hold their own there.
The first-person narrative form typical of Juretzka's Kryszinski series and the many direct dialogues create a high narrative tempo, and he also entertains and amuses with few words. Beyond that, there are always moments when a whole world reveals itself with a short sentence. After Kryszinski and Anoushka, the dead man's wife, had a collision with unknown persons, they flee across the highway where a recent accident took place and save themselves in a car. "The tow truck driver looked surprised, pissed, understanding, insightful. All within the snap of a finger. But he said not a word. Instead, he swung into his seat, slammed the door, and started the engine. Looked over at us again, crammed into a passenger seat, looked at Anoushka, barefoot, torn down after a night on the run, clutching her suitcase held together by twine like a last stand in a world without a bottom, at me with my swelling, bleeding forehead, registered our hurried, backward glances over and over again, and just drove off. "I'm from Kosovo," he said as he let us out at an S-Bahn stop, wishing us luck." This surprising moment of solidarity from those fleeing is touching and memorable.
Nevertheless, "Up to the Neck" is one of the more conventional Kryszinski novels: The hard-boiled private detective meets a femme fatale and plenty of shady characters, there are a few skirmishes, and it all ends in an over-the-top action-packed finale. That it's all entertaining is beyond question. But that in the series still far more potential is, shows Juretzka in particular in the following novels.
Jörg Juretzka: Up to the neck. Ullstein 2007.