Polish literature

photo: Anna Juszkiewicz

Wojciech Chmielarz

Born in 1984, he is a detective novelist and a journalist, winner of the High Caliber Award (2015). He is also editor-in-chief of niwserwis.pl, which covers crimes, terrorism, and international security. He lives in Warsaw.

Regarded to be one of the most promising mystery writers of the younger generation, Wojciech Chmielarz has written a series of novels whose main protagonist is a Warsaw policeman, Commissioner Jakub Mortka. These are stories of police procedures with urban drama thrown into the mix. Mortka is a hard-boiled cop, dealing with post-divorce trauma, coping badly with his mood swings and endless financial problems. This is not a great obstacle to his work as an officer, however. And he has a lot on his hands, often dealing with several cases at once. A key element of the criminal intrigue in Chmielarz’s novels is bringing in hot media topics for the main themes; in The Doll Farm (2013) this is the sex trade, while in The Party (2014) it is drug smuggling.

Chmielarz has an interesting and true-to-life perspective on the work of the Polish police force, mainly focusing on its dark side: its underfinancing, omnipresent bureaucracy, and overworked policemen. As in every good urban detective novel, the city space is one of the novel’s protagonists. Chmielarz knows how to effectively interweave the city space with the action to make the criminal intrigue, as we see in The Party in the murder scenes and the chase on Krakowskie Przedmieście Street during a rally to commemorate the Smoleńsk catastrophe.

We ought also to mark Chmielarz’s style, based on short, spare sentences that perfectly correspond to the dynamic of the novels’ events.


  • Podpalacz, Wołowiec: Wydawnictwo Czarne, 2012.
  • Farma lalek, Wołowiec: Wydawnictwo Czarne, 2013.
  • Przejęcie, Wołowiec: Wydawnictwo Czarne, 2014.
  • Wampir, Wołowiec: Wydawnictwo Czarne, 2015.
  • Osiedle marzeń, Wołowiec: Czarne, 2016.
  • Zombie, Wołowiec: Czarne, 2017

  • Cienie, Warszawa: Marginesy, 2018

  • Żmijowisko, Warszawa: Marginesy, 2018

  • Rana, Warszawa: Marginesy, 2019

  • Wyrwa, Warszawa: Marginesy, 2020

  • Prosta sprawa, Warszawa: Marginesy, 2020



  • Pyromane [Podpalacz], tłum. Erik Veaux, Villenave-d’Ornon: Agullo Éditions, 2017.
  • La Ferme aux poupées [Farma lalek], tłum. Erik Veaux, Villenave-d’Ornon: Agullo Éditions, 2018.
  • La Colombienne [Przejęcie], tłum. Erik Veaux, Villenave-d’Ornon: Agullo Éditions, 2019.
  • La Cité des rêves [Osiedle marzeń], tłum. Erik Veaux, Villenave-d'Ornon: Agullo Éditions, 2020.