Katarzyna Bonda

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  • Katarzyna Bonda / fot. Anna Powierża

Katarzyna Bonda (born 1977) is a prose-writer, documentary filmmaker and journalist.

Most of her writing is in the genre of crime fiction. She made her debut in 2007 with the detective novel The Case of Nina Frank [Sprawa Niny Frank] (nominated for the Great Calibre Award for the best mystery of the year and reprinted in 2011 under a new title, The Ninth Rune [Dziewiąta runa]). It began a series featuring the Silesian police psychologist Hubert Meyer, which also includes the novels Only the Dead Don’t Lie [Tylko martwi nie kłamią] (2010) and The Florist [Florystka] (2012). In 2014, she published her best-selling novel The Absorber [Pochłaniacz], which was the first part of a crime trilogy featuring the female profiler Sasza Załuska as the main protagonist. Bonda was the first writer to introduce the character of a police profiler into Polish crime fiction, resulting from her collaboration with Bogdan Lach, a well-esteemed Polish profiler. Together they wrote the non-fiction book An Imperfect Crime [Zbrodnia niedoskonała] (2009), which takes a close look at the methodology and practice of police profiling, based on real-life criminal cases.

In her crime prose, Bonda successfully combines formulas originating from Scandinavian crime fiction with a crime novel formula involving police procedures, based on meticulous documentation of the methods employed by police in their work. The author sets the action of her crime novels in various urban environments, such as Katowice (Only the Dead Don’t Lie [Tylko martwi nie kłamią]) and the Tri-City area. An important role is played in Bonda’s novels not only by the main characters, the profilers Meyer and Załuska (who are depicted in an interesting and psychologically deep manner), but also by the secondary characters, with great attention paid to detail. This stems to a large extent from the complexity of the storylines in these crime novels, in which the author focuses not only on the criminal intrigue, which serves as the “backbone” of the story. It’s worth stressing that, despite the abundance of plots and sub-plots, Bonda creates very clear stories in her novels which maintain a strong level of suspense right to the very end. Making reference to the currently popular Scandinavian style of crime novel, Bonda weaves social and moral storylines into the criminal intrigue, exposing the problems which Polish society wrestles with. For example, in The Florist she writes about problems concerning ethnic minorities and trauma caused by the loss of a child, and in The Absorber – about alcoholism among women.

Bonda has also written a book of reportage, Polish Female Murderers [Polskie morderczynie] (2008, the text was adapted as a film and a play), in which she presents, through references to court records and interviews with female murderers, the portraits of women condemned to long-term prison sentences for heinous crimes, showing that layers of aggression are inherent in every person and are able to drive someone to commit a crime.

Bibliography

  • Sprawa Niny Frank, Chorzów: Videograf II, 2007.
  • Polskie morderczynie, Warszawa: Muza, 2008.
  • Zbrodnia niedoskonała, Katowice: Videograf II, 2009.
  • Tylko martwi nie kłamią, Chorzów: Videograf II, 2010.
  • Dziewiąta runa, Chorzów: Videograf II, 2011.
  • Florystka, Chorzów: Videograf, 2012.
  • Pochłaniacz, Warszawa: Muza, 2014.
  • Okularnik, Warszawa: Muza, 2015.
  • Lampiony, Warszawa: Muza, 2016.