Kommissar Löhr - a Cologne-based thriller
In the 1960s, Cologne was often known as "Chicago on the Rhine", famous for its criminal underworld. Peter Meisenberg, a Cologne author, has unearthed many stories from this period and developed them as part of a series, featuring his fictional detective, Kommissar Löhr.
For Meisenberg, Löhr represents not just a policeman, but the Cologne "Urcharakter" - the essential character of the city. He weaves together the real people and places of Cologne to create a hint of the city's seamy past. There is the important overlap, too, between the establishment and the life of the underworld. Meisenberg himself remembers occasions when, for example, the president of the "Karneval" - carnival, which is a key event in Cologne's annual calendar - was found in a brothel.
One of the most important areas for criminality in Cologne was the Eigelstein district, which Meisenberg describes as "the buzzing quarter", with "a distinctively Cologne mix of junk shops, small stores and prostitution". He remembers, as a schoolboy, the "highlight" of school life - trailing the headmaster to the Eigelstein district, on his visits to local prostitutes.
Meisenberg believes that there is a simple reason why the Cologne thrillers are so popular, despite their seamy setting, with the residents of Cologne themselves: "The Cologners are fairly vain, and like to recognise themselves, or characters who they know, in the thrillers - and especially the places which they know."
Biography of Peter Meisenberg
Very short biography of thriller author, Peter Meisenberg, who also writes scripts for German soaps and detective series. In German.
Detective stories set in Cologne
Cologne is a popular location for detective stories and thrillers. In German.