“The destruction was patiently planned”


The French writer Jean-Christophe Grangé, author of ‘The purple rivers’, published in Spain the novel ‘Death in the Third Reich’ (Destiny), a historical thriller that investigates the “malignant drive” of Nazism.

In a recent telematic meeting with the media, Grangé (Paris 1961) observed that Nazism “is the darkest and darkest thing imaginable” and that this evil part of the human being is what attracts that period, which also explains the number of novels and essays of the time.

In the novel, the psychoanalyst Simon Kraus, the Gestapo agent Franz Beewen and the psychiatrist Minna von Hassel investigate the murders of the wives of senior Nazi party officials who appear on the banks of the Spree, in Berlin, in which one of them was wanted — Beewen — saw “the horror of the system” from within and was overcome.

He explained that what fascinates him most about human beings is that there is a moment when everything turns to an impulse of destruction, as seen in Nazi Germany or in the war in Rwanda: “Human reason was placed at the service of an impulse of evil” during Nazism, becoming a political system.

Grangé said what sets the Nazi regime apart is its organization: “The destruction was patiently planned”, adding that it is an example of how far the human mind can go.

“During Nazism, Germany was ruled by trolls”, highlighted the writer, who defined their leaders as hateful beings who, during the 12 years they ruled, were already arriving to wreak havoc with destruction and violence.

In the novel also have an important weight the dreams and nightmares, which for the writer are the way of the human being to project his “soul of anguish”, and I have said that he is more interested in the complicated characters, with problems and obstacles, than those happy.


Jean-Christophe Grangé had the feeling that he would end up writing a novel against the background of Nazism, which coincided with a time when he is “tired” of the present from the perspective of the detective genre and prefers past times.

His next novel -already published in France- is set in the 1970s, and for him times are more interesting when the characters need to move around to collect information than being “behind the computer” as in today’s detective novels.

Grangé said that writing a crime novel set in Nazism forces us to read Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series, which had that “ability to throw us into an era” based on the details, and highlighted that it was a great reference when facing ‘Death in the Third Reich’.

The author considers himself an “eternal student”, because when he documents for his novels he does as much research as he did when he was a journalist, a profession that has served as raw material for his books.