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Bernard Eichner: The Author as Undertaker and Gravedigger

Bernard Eichner: The Author as Undertaker and Gravedigger

With “Broll + Baroni” and “Totenfrau”, two adaptations of Bernard Eichner’s crime novels are shown on ORF TV almost simultaneously. A conversation with the bestselling author about Bible stories and his penchant for curious investigators.

At the age of nine, Bernard Eichner wanted to be a priest – today he hears confessions of fictional killers in his crime novels. This is definitely related. “Our village chief gave incendiary speeches because of his job. Every Sunday he had his theater at the altar, it was a bit like acting,” Eichner told Press am Sonntag. Fascinated by Bible stories. “The Bible is full of crime stories – they fascinated me when I was in elementary school.” His mother talked to him about this career choice, but his love for stories remained. At the age of fifteen, he regularly hid in the woods in order to “continue writing” in his own world. He later worked as a photojournalist and advertisement so he could take on his passion: “I worked 60 to 80 hours a week and wrote books at night.” Initially with moderate success. His first collection of short stories, Babylon, sold 300 copies. He was “so proud” of it at the time. That was in the year 2000. It wasn’t until a decade later that Eichner started following his style of suspense that the success began. . .

Extraordinary investigators. Even before he hit a bestseller with the “Totenfrau” trilogy about an active criminal undertaker, his crime series about gravedigger Max Brühl, who pursues criminals with his friend Baronie, was published. Now these extraordinary detectives come almost simultaneously ORF-TV: First, Laurence Rupp (as Max Broll) and Jürgen Vogel (Baroni) search for Broll’s mother in “Forever Dead,” who has been kidnapped (while the two were watching a zombie movie at the improvised open-air cinema in a cemetery). Rupp and Vogel are “the perfect representatives of the two crazy people I invented there,” enthuses Aichner. The script and direction come from Harald Sicherheititz, who has done episodes of “Tatort” among others. But none of them has the grave due to such an important role: Broll sometimes puts himself in it.

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