Dear Mr. M: A Novel
Dear Mr. M begins with an unknown person writing to an author who became famous after he wrote a book about a high school teacher who went missing and the two students accused of killing him. Mr. M is the author who is now starting to fade away from view and, from this mysterious person’s point of view, needs to update that story he became so famous for. It turns out he is part of the original mystery and might be able to shed some light on it, if Mr. M is willing to rewrite the story. However, it’s been a long time, and maybe Mr. M knows more about this mystery than his follower.
At first, I was interested in this book because it was mostly written from what I thought was the killer’s point of view. That turned out to not be the case and actually made it more confusing. It seemed like there was a lot more mundane material and not very much focusing on the crime. The story would change perspectives and time periods, even within the same chapter, without letting you know, which became quite hard to follow. In the end, it felt like the entire mystery wasn’t even worth the time to read it. The author kept mentioning that a bunch of teachers died in the same year, but made no mention of why. That seems like kind of a big deal that shouldn’t be left out.
This book got great reviews from other people, and it does have a bit of a twist ending. However, I personally wasn’t the biggest fan of this work, and I definitely wouldn’t compare it to Agatha Christie.
Herman Koch • Sam Garrett, Translator