When Professor Holda Weisel receives an unexpected visit from her student, Lars Koch, she is shocked to learn that his father, the infamous TV talk show host, died two days earlier under unexplained circumstances. His death appears to be linked to old diaries written by his grandmother and great-grandmother, which he was reading at the time. Lars, a usually withdrawn and unlikeable loner with disturbing alt-right leanings, resolves to investigate the mystery.
With the aid of Holda and her husband Rupert, the town’s archivist, Lars begins to dig deeper into his murky family history, uncovering unsettling secrets at every turn. The reader is drawn into a world of prejudice, prostitution and malicious folklore set during the occupation of the Rhineland and up to World War II. As he explores further, Lars realises how these events link him inexorably to the far-right, anarchistic Reichsbürger movement – revealing he is directly in harm’s way. Yet this is only the beginning of his nightmare…
In this fast-moving mystery, Cathy Dobson
combines evocative narrative, compelling characters and a breathtakingly
audacious plot to create a story which will haunt the reader for a long time.
I was at the Teloy-Mühle this afternoon for an event and took a couple of photos of the staircase up to the upper levels. For those who have read The Devil’s Missal, this is the setting for a dramatic scene.
Last night we went on an unofficial tour, led by Josh Simpkins, of Düsseldorf’s Altstadt to explore Düsseldorf’s dark side. Josh has spent the best part of a year researching all the terrible crimes and supernatural happenings in the town and this tour is the result of that. Although the walk calls itself ‘haunted Düsseldorf,’ it actually involves a creepy mixture of ghost stories, unsolved historical murders, assorted grisly crimes and other anecdotes.
Josh had the great idea of constructing his own portable projector which he used to illustrate his stories as we went along… suddenly walls, doors, even trees became screens for images from the past… this added a strong visual dimension to the experience.
Of course Düsseldorf by night is beautiful anyway, especially as the old town is still lit by around 14,000 original gas lights. These lend an almost Dickensian atmosphere to the streets when you are listening to ghost stories, tales of serial killers and unsolved murders.
A little tip to anyone living in or around Meerbusch. It seems to be a very good year for sloes. These are a native form of wild plum, quite bitter, but when combined with gin and sugar makes a magical concoction called sloe gin.
The German term for the bush is Schwarzdorn, so called because in spring the flowers appear before the leaves, so the bushes are black prickly twigs covered with white flowers.
Meerbusch boasts a fantastic Stadtwald or public forest which is open to everyone to walk in. It is a mixed forest with quite a variety of deciduous (beech, oak, sycamore) and evergreen (pine) trees.
Sadly Meerbusch has been suffering, like so much of Germany, with a combination of extreme weather and airborne disease which in particular is affecting the pines. Wherever you look it seems that the evergreens are dying off.
Let’s hope that enough survive to provide the foundation of new growth in the future.
Schloss Pesch is really easy to get to by car. It is only a stone’s throw from the Geismühle service station on the A57, and right next to the Meerbusch intersection with the A44.
Of course being this close to a busy motorway junction is both a blessing and a curse. Great for those who wish to make a quick getaway… a source of perpetual background noise and pollution for those who live there.
Perhaps it’s time to reforest the land between the schloss and the road.