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Criminal Minds: International True Crime

December 2019

Image: Igor Malijevský, “Petr’s Shadow,” Čelechovice, 2000. Courtesy of the artist.

This month we bring you accounts of true crime from seven countries. While the offenses range from identity theft to murder on the high seas, the reports here are uniformly arresting. In their Muriel Award-winning graphic novel, Marek Šindelka, Vojtěch Mašek, and Marek Pokorný track an obsessed reporter on the trail of an elusive cult leader. João Paulo Cuenca finds himself the victim of a unique form of theft, while Du Qiang talks with one of the few survivors of a bloody mutiny. Graphic novelist Jake Raynal takes a sardonic look at the flexibility of facts. Shoko Ugawa gives a harrowing account of a banquet turned bloodbath. Cezary Łazarewicz reports on a young woman bludgeoned in her bed. And Miguel Ángel Hernández returns to his hometown to take a stab at uncovering the truth behind a baffling murder. WWB’s Susan Harris provides an introduction.

Forced Confessions: On True Crime Writing
By Susan Harris
The pieces here map the translation of event into prose—the creation of true crime writing.
The Sixth Victim
By Shōko Egawa
It all began about the time that the men and women were finishing their first drinks.
Translated from Japanese by David Boyd
St. Barbara
By Marek Šindelka, Vojtěch Mašek & Marek Pokorný
It’s not your job to solve this case.
Translated from Czech by Julia Sherwood & Peter Sherwood
I Found Out I Was Dead
By João Paulo Cuenca
“She’s the one who identified the body with your name, address, and document number.”
Translated from Portuguese by Elizabeth Lowe
By Jake Raynal
Like most gruesome crimes, the case also reveals something of society’s ills.
Translated from French by Edward Gauvin
The Pain of Others
By Miguel Ángel Hernández
Twenty years ago, one Christmas Eve, my best friend killed his sister and threw himself off a cliff.
Translated from Spanish by Anna Milsom
Lusia Murdered
By Cezary Łazarewicz
“Must you put on a fur when someone shouts ‘murder’?”
Translated from Polish by Sean Gasper Bye
A picture of a choppy ocean
Photo by John Towner on Unsplash
Massacre in the Pacific: A Personal Account
By Du Qiang
“It’s not a crime to kill someone on the high seas, you know.”
Translated from Chinese by Nicky Harman & Emily Jones