Unsolved murder in Alūksne is inspiration for novel

A real-life unsolved murder in a northeastern Latvian town is the inspiration for a new mystery novel by Ottawa-based writer Ilze Berzins. The book, Aluksne, is due to be published March 22, Berzins told Latvians Online in an e-mail.

The story, she said, spans three generations beginning around World War I and continuing to the 1990s. It involves a man named Ernests Eglītis who assumes ownership of the most prominent house on a street in Alūksne. The historic house once belonged to a noted tile stove setter and potter.

“As work commences in the former pottery, which is still outfitted with ancient kilns, disturbing evidence of foul play is discovered,” Berzins said. “Before long Eglītis is entangled in murders and intrigues which span generations.”

Aluksne will be the author’s ninth mystery novel. Her first, Death in the Glebe, was published in 1999. That book followed her 1997 autobiographical story Happy Girl, which was about her attempt to repatriate to Latvia. Berzins also recently published a book about her late mother, Portrait of a Latvian Beauty.

The 327-page book will be published by Albert Street Press. The cost is CAD 30 plus CAD 5 for postage for Canadian customers, or USD 30 plus USD 5 for postage for U.S. customers. The book may be ordered through Berzins’ Web site, www.ilzeberzins.com

Berzins also recently unveiled a redesign of her Web site. It now includes a blog focusing on the time she spent in the 1960s as an art student in Paris.


Ilze Berzins’ latest novel, Aluksne, is a mystery spanning three generations.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

One thought on “Unsolved murder in Alūksne is inspiration for novel

  1. I love the cover photo. This was my husband’s grandfather’s house in Aluksne. He was offered it back but would have been obligated to spend millions in repairs. So the government took it back again. I hear it is being occupied by a series of drunks and vagabonds. Ah well…

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