Blue Night – Simone Buchholz #blogtour

I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour today for Blue Night written by Simone Buchholz, translated by Rachel Ward and published by Orenda Books. Many thanks to Anne Cater for organising the blog tour.

After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, the career of Hamburg’s most hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chastity Riley, has taken a nose dive: she has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble. However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital, Chastity’s instinct for the big, exciting case kicks in. Using all her powers of persuasion, she soon gains her charge’s confidence, and finds herself on the trail to Leipzig, a new ally, and a whole heap of lethal synthetic drugs. When she discovers that a friend and former colleague is trying to bring down Hamburg’s Albanian mafia kingpin single-handedly, it looks like Chas Riley’s dull life on witness protection really has been short-lived.

Simone Buchholz Picture
Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award as well as runner-up for the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

A sky is a sky is a sky: I grew up under the high, blue sky of southern Germany, on a hill with masses of forest all around me, and most days in the year there was a clear, quiet dome above me, on which stood the sun, bringing cheerfulness and stability. When I think back to my childhood, there’s a girl in clogs and a dress, and it practically never rains. For the last twenty years I’ve lived under the big, animated sky of northern Germany, and that has done something to me. The sky changes people. Of course I love the sun, I need the summer and the warmth; every year that I get older, I freeze more rapidly and deeply, but if I hadn’t had the clouds above me, I’d have become a different person. Without those clouds, maybe I’d never have begun writing crime novels.

Clouds make you think differently, just because you hold your head differently when the wind blows, and in northern Europe clouds generally go with wind, which is not the case in Saigon, for example. OK, we know that kind of cloudy weather here too, there are sometimes weirdly hot days in June when a southern breeze brings the heat and sand from the Sahara, but the clouds weren’t quick enough, or just have longer legs than that desert wind, so they linger on higher up. That makes for really crazy weather conditions, beneath which the wackiest things happen in a city that’s used to lots of fresh air and a summer that might be short but is at least clear and bright. Then, the lack of oxygen, the dull light and the heat cause a kind of collective intoxication, as if everyone was drunk, and then the Hamburgers act like drunkards. They either just let it all hang out or they keel over altogether; either way, they do it in company.

But let’s get back to the usual weather conditions, to clouds with wind and horizontal drizzle, and, yes, that really is a state that tickles the dark corners of your imagination. Like I said: your head, your posture. Leaning down a bit, shoulders hunched, frowning, eyebrows meeting in the middle, your pace rapid. You’re grumbling to yourself, now and then you take a deep breath that tastes amazingly good, you go ‘ah!’, sink your shoulders and raise your head, and at that moment the wind opens up the clouds and the sun breaks through. Then it really kicks off in your head! Everything tumbles over everything else, rearranges itself, and pow, an idea falls out. Then the blanket of cloud closes up again, the wind strengthens, turns to the north-west, a downpour might hit at any moment, the weather chases you through the streets, you have to watch out, pay
attention, because you’re going so fast, you watch the street very closely and lying around on the street are the stories, especially the ones about the street and last night, and if you tell them, it doesn’t take long to become a crime story because that’s what plays out at night, or at least that’s how it feels.

Besides, a cloudy, grey sky could be tailor-made for laying out a couple of corpses beneath.

But maybe that’s all just utter nonsense and I’m trying to sugar-coat my kitschy soul, and in the end it’s really much simpler than that: have you ever seen what happens when dark falls over a lit-up port under a cloudy sky? It starts out lavender, then pink, then orange. And it ends up on fire. The lights are on all night in cloudy port cities, and that helps the little girl get to sleep.

If you would like to follow the Blue Night Blog Tour, you can do so at the following dates:
BLUE NIGHT Blog Tour Poster

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