The Winter of the Lions
Im Winter der Löwen

im winter der loewen jan costin wagner
February 2009 / 288pp

The Goethe-Institut supported the English translation of this book.

Get information on the English version here (UK).


Here’s an original – and to many, no doubt, a not unwelcome – idea: a series of murders sparked off by a chat show. A forensic specialist whose work involves investigating causes of death, and a puppet-maker whose stock-in-trade consists in making images of people killed in accidents, have recently appeared together on the show and are both stabbed to death shortly afterwards. And the chat show host himself only narrowly escapes the same fate. Finnish detective Kimmo Joentaa, who is called in to investigate the case, has also had a strange experience, when a young prostitute, who has recently visited the police station, arrives on his doorstep and offers herself as his lover.

Joentaa is a loner in the best Philip Marlowe tradition, but his psychological instincts and knowledge of loneliness (his wife has just died of cancer) enable him to guess the killer. He and she share the narration, an effective device which enables the reader to learn of the traumatic tragedy which has led her to her present state. But will the detective arrive at the truth in time to stop her completing her revenge by going on the show herself? Fast-paced and unputdownable.

press quotes

‘In his own careful, nuanced language, Wagner brings the reader close not only to the psyche of his characters but also to the beauty of Finland.’– Focus

‘Literature explores human abysses … Jan Costin Wagner is remarkably good at this.’– Andrea Maria Schenkel, author of The Murder Farm

about the author

Jan Costin Wagner, born in 1972 near Frankfurt, was highly praised for his first novel, Nachtfahrt, for which he was awarded the Marlowe Prize for the best crime novel in 2002. His second novel, Eismond, also highly acclaimed, has been translated into eleven languages. Its French edition was was nominated for the Prix Coeur Noir and its American edition for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Das Schweigen, his fourth, was awarded the German Crime Prize in 2008. Its English-language version, translated by Anthea Bell, will be published by Harvill Secker in 2010.

Previous works include:
Das Schweigen (2007); Schattentag (2005); Eismond (2003); Nachtfahrt (2002) – all Eichborn.

rights information

Eichborn AG
Kaiserstr. 66
60329 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Tel: +49 69 25 60 03 767
Contact: Jutta Willand

Eichborn was founded in 1980, and is one of Germany’s few independently-owned general publishers still operating. Its imprints include Die Andere Bibliothek (‘The Other Library’), founded by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, and Eichborn Berlin, which concentrates especially on first novels by young German authors. Its non-fiction list covers humour, gift and reference books, among other subjects. Many titles originally published by Eichborn have been translated into English, including W.G. Sebald’s The Emigrants and The Rings of Saturn; A Woman in Berlin by Anonymous (winner of the 2006 Schlegel-Tieck award); Jenny Erpenbeck’s The Old Child and Book of Words; Walter Moers’ The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear; and Jan Costin Wagner’s Ice Moon.

translation assistance

The Goethe-Institut supported the English translation of this book.

Get information on the English version here (UK).

share this recommendation

Share this on twitter, facebook or via mail.

All recommendations from Spring 2009