Gabriel Præst

Created by Amulya Malladi

There’s nothing like a Dane?

Scandi Noir is everywhere, although mostly it seems to be woefully under-populated by private eyes. Mostly the detectives tend to be grizzled cops and inspectors (brilliant but anti-social, troubled, almost always divorced, almost always prone to bad habits) and homicidal spinsters (I’m looking at you, Maud!).

So it’s good to see an honest-to-goodness P.I. now and then, and Amulya Malladi’s GABRIEL PRÆST certainly fits the bill.

In her excellent series launch, A Death in Denmark (2023), we learn about Gabriel’s obligatory troubled past—he’s a straight arrow ex-cop, tossed out of the Copenhagen police force’s fraud division for sharing spilling the beans to a journalist, after his investigation (which lead to a cop higher up on the food chain) was squelched. Oh, and he’s still obsessed with his ex, but then aren’t they all?

Still, he makes for a fine private peeper, a jazz-loving clothes horse, wine snob, part-time musician and frustrated home owner. I’m not quite sure if I’d like him in real life—he’s a bit of a pretentious prig, dropping Kierkegard quotes like he’s getting paid by the word, and his name-dropping of various high-end brands gets irritating pretty fast, but he’s not afraid to follow his cases wherever they go and tough enough to get it done, which is a good thing. Because his first recorded case is a doozy—it finds him poking into the murder five years earlier of  Sanne Melgaard, the anti-immigrant attorney general of Denmark, on behalf of Yousef Ahmed, the Iranian refugee charged with stabbing her multiple times before slitting her throat. Nobody, apparently, believes Ahmed is innocent.

The trail eventually leads Gabriel into Denmark’s Nazi-collaborator past and present-day anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment, not to mention Russian thugs, a growing nationalist movement (including possibly some modern-day Nazis) and even a confrontation with the Danish prime minister.

It’s enough to make the Little Mermaid weep…


Novelist and screenwriter Amulya Malladi’s books include The Copenhagen Affair, A House for Happy Mothers, and The Mango Season, and her TV credits include Island, which aired on Amazon Prime Global. A Danish citizen who was born and raised in India, she currently lives in Los Angeles of course). A Death in Denmark is Amulya’s first foray into crime fiction.



Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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