Mr. Monk Goes To Germany

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Today my latest MONK novel, MR. MONK GOES TO GERMANY, hits the bookstore shelves nationwide in hardcover. Here’s what it’s about:

Adrian Monk is actually doing well lately. He’s
solving murders as fast as they come, and he’s been noticeably less
compulsive—he doesn’t count his morning Wheat Chex until they’re in the bowl. Progress is progress, and Monk knows he owes it all to his therapist, Dr. Kroger.

So when Dr. Kroger attends a conference in Germany, Monk ends up in
trouble. He can’t tie his shoes, forgets how to swallow, and loses
track of his blinking. Desperate to regain his footing, Monk follows
his shrink to Germany. And that’s where Monk sees the man across a
crowded town square. The man he’s never stopped searching for.

The man with six fingers. The man responsible for his wife’s death.

Or did Monk imagine crossing paths with him?

Now, in a foreign land full of… foreigners, Monk must deal
with his multitude of phobias and contend with an especially unfriendly
polizei department in order to find the six-fingered man. He must also
confront someone who thinks Monk may have just gone officially
insane—his own psychiatrist.

Over the weekend, the book got big play in the newspaper in Lohr, Germany, where much of the story is set (if you can read German, you can see part one of the article here and part two here in PDF format). And the German edition of the book doesn’t even come out until this fall. I wish I could get coverage like that here!Lohr article0003

13 thoughts on “Mr. Monk Goes To Germany”

  1. Wow. Absolutely fantastic. It’s good to see it happening. It’s sort of amazing.
    Maybe you CAN get some coverage like this in the U.S. One entrepreneur whose book I’ve just read says he sent the NY Times a one-page press release about his company, which was very small and virtually unknown. They sent a reporter and the story made page 1 of the business section. Can you get a translation of the article, and maybe post it on your website, photos and all, and send out some press releases? Or is your agent doing so?
    It seems to me that your story is more interesting than a small start-up. Maybe the Times would like your take on doing TV business in Germany as it’s a pretty big market. You’ve got nothing to lose and lots to gain. Besides, Mr. Monk is now an icon and people will be interested to read about him, and you.

  2. I think it’s unlikely the book will get that kind of coverage here — TV tie-ins aren’t that unique. It’s special in Germany because MONK is very popular there and I think the last think people expect is for the character to show up in their country. Also, it was a big deal in Lohr, because very few (if any) novels have been set there…certainly not one featuring a character as internationally popular in the country as Adrian Monk (unless you count Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, reputedly set in Lohr)

  3. Two questions: (1) Any chance of putting up a translation of the German article (or even the original, for those of us with bad touristendeutsch)? (2) I know it’s too late for the hardcover, but do you suppose the paperback might have a dedication to Stanley Kamel? It would be a nice touch…

  4. I have added a link to the files in the post. The book is dedicated to my wife and daughter…and, with all due respect to Stanley Kamel’s memory, I have no plans to change that for the paperback.

  5. Where am I going wrong?
    There’s an article in about German cultural spending going up for the fourth year in a row to $1.8 billion dollars, with their previous spending sparking an investment in German film-making of about $855 million dollars.
    Lee made a film in Germany, has set a book in Germany, has been written up in German publications, met many Germans in the film industry, spoke at a German film industry event and has insights on how Americans can connect with the German film and TV industry — so why is this not news? Why is this not being written up in the NY Times? This is a slam dunk.
    Why hasn’t the NY Times received a press release letting them know all this and that Lee is available for quotes?
    Then again, maybe it’s just my take on it. (But it sure looks like news to me.)

  6. I will provide a translation of the article in the German magazine (Wochenendmagazin) about Mr. Goldberg’s book “Monk Goes to Germany” and his stay in Lohr, but it will take a day or two. After all, it’s a long article:-)
    Big G from Germany

  7. We’re also getting one from Ute, who leads the Diagnosis Murder fan club in Germany…so don’t feel obligated.

  8. Here’s a rough translation by Ute von Hartz. Thanks Ute!
    Two Murder Cases and a Psychiatrist in Lohr
    “Mr. Monk Goes to Germany”: New detective book is a homage to Berlin and the town in the Spessart.
    by Monika Buedel
    Monk, the main character of one of the best known TV detective series, comes to Lohr. Never before has a novel taken place in this little town in the Spessart – except Katrine von Huttens autobiographic story “Im Luftschloss meines Vaters”.
    “Mr. Monk Goes to Germany” is the title of the new book by Lee Goldberg based on the mystery TV series and will be published on Wednesday. The investigator is better known through the TV series than the books. The high-rated series has aired for six years in the USA and has aired for four in Germany.
    Why does the detective come from San Francisco to Germany even though he has phobias against people, germs and flying? It’s because he can’t stand to be at home without his therapist Dr. Kroger, who has left to attend a conference in Lohr. Adrian Monk feels abandoned and is almost unable to live his daily life. Natalie Teeger, his assistant, doesn’t know what to do, so she agrees to search for Dr. Kroger in Germany.
    When Monk finds his therapist in Lohr at the hotel Franziskushoehe, he believes that the psychiatrist is playing a bad game with him. Monk is desperate, fighting his phobias as a tourist in the town and suddenly sees a man with six fingers on one hand at the market place. He follows the man but loses him in the crowd. Monk’s wife Trudy was killed some years ago and ever since he has been searching for the murderer: a man with a six-fingered hand.
    And where-ever Monk goes there are corpses. An experience Natalie has gone through again and again. “Wherever Monk is you can be sure that sooner or later a dead body appears.”
    In Lohr, it is not only one dead body but two close to the Franziskushoehe. The local police soon find harmless explanations for the two deaths. Monk contradicts their theory. He believes they are murders and investigates, which leads him to Berlin and back to Lohr.
    Why did the American author think of setting a story in Lohr? Lohr is known in the area because of its psychiatric hospital. But is it also known in Los Angeles? No – Lohr is unknown there and the last murder here was years ago.
    The American author Lee Goldberg came to Germany through the company MediaXchange, which brings together American and European script writers. Producer Hermann Joha works in cooperation with MediaXchange to bring new ideas to German TV productions. In his hotel Franziskushoehe in his hometown of Lohr he organized two Writers Rooms training programs in 2007. One of the lecturers was Lee Goldberg from Los Angeles. It was his first visit to Germany.
    “I was amazed by Lohr” Goldberg raves on the phone one year after his last stay in Spessart. “That’s why I wanted to write about Lohr and immediately thought of Monk. The TV series it is very popular in Germany, so hopefully people there will want to read the book.”
    In the book, Lohr offers some challenges for the detective, who suffers from some psychological problems. The cobblestone pavement and the crooked houses in the old town are horrible for him. Monk needs order, straight lines, everything symmetrical. No disinfectant tissues can help him deal with all the forests, the mud and the many animals.
    Lee Goldberg describes Lohr and its surroundings out of a tourists view: the castle, the Bayer’s Tower, the streets, and the hiking trails. He tells the reader about witches being burned on the market place, about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and the half-timbered houses.
    “The villages are so well preserved and charming. They look like Hollywood sets or theme-parks instead of real places. The place has remained almost unchanged for centuries.”
    Those who know Lohr will smile about the details they recognizes, those who don’t know Lohr will be curious about the “houses that are so low, only dwarfs can live in them.” They don’t need to buy a guide book, Goldberg’s information is comprehensive: From the former hospital for lung diseases to the church, he doesn’t miss any special place in the small town. That’s Goldberg’s intention: He wants his fellow US people to visit Germany. “Germany as travel destination isn’t very popular in the USA. I met a lot of tourists from Spain, France and Italy, but hardly from America.” And so the author from the west coast even promotes German food and says that Wiener Schnitzel has nothing in common with the same named Californian fast food restaurants and the hot dogs they serve there.
    Still the Cold War in Mind
    Goldberg uses Monk’s and Natalie’s investigative trip to Berlin to bring to life the capital’s history. They talk about the wall, visit the Brandenburger Tor, watch the expensive shops at Friedrichstrasse and they visit Checkpoint Charlie.
    “I love Berlin” the author says. “It is exciting. I was so surprised. For many Americans, Berlin has a bad image. They still connect it with the cold war, with the wall. It is a shame.”
    Berlin has other qualities for Monk: The buildings made with precast concrete slabs satisfy his desire of straight lines and harmony.
    In total Lee Goldberg was only two weeks in Lohr and only a few days in Berlin. In Lohr he was working as lecturer for most of the time. How did he get all the knowledge? “I took a lot of pictures and talked to a lot of people. I went to the tourist information office and learned much about Lohr.” The tourist information office is also mentioned in the book. “It is my job to research my stories. I walked a lot in the forest behind Franziskushoehe and studied the area. Hermann Joha arranged a meeting with someone from the history society. In Berlin I toured around for three days asking myself what would attract an American police officers attention here.”
    Add his [Goldberg’s] imagination: At the Writers Room early 2007 he noticed a band-aid at a woman’s finger. “What happened?” – “Cut” she answered. “No” Goldberg said. “At noon today there was a bank robbery in Lohr and that [cut] results of a grazing shot.”
    Will we see Lohr once in the future in a Monk episode on TV? “I doubt that. It is too expensive. And it isn’t possible to rebuild it. But I am planning to come to Lohr to sign books when the German version will be published. It is a terrific place.”
    Sweeps and “machines”
    Lee Goldberg hopes that his book will bring many tourists to Lohr so they can see that all he described is real. Most of it: In the preface he explains that a lot is true – and some is invented. Visitors will search in vain for the Bed-and-Breakfast Monk and Natalie are staying at.
    Goldberg still is surprised by three things: most German people speak English, the street sweepers who clean the road each morning, and that there are vending machines for cigarettes on residential streets.
    What happens to Adrian Monk? Natalie demands a compensation for the hard days in Lohr. She wants a short trip to Paris since they are already in Europe. Monk wants to go back to his more or less orderly conditions in San Francisco. But after a skillful move by Natalie, Monk says: “You win. We go to France.” Will she regret it? The title of the next book is: “Mr. Monk is Miserable”.
    Personal Data: Lee Goldberg
    Lee Goldberg (45) is author and TV writer in Los Angeles (USA). He is married to a French woman and has two kids. Before he wrote scripts he was working for newspapers, magazines and TV papers. He wrote for Diagnosis Murder, Martial Law and Monk. Goldberg was involved with “Fast Track – No Limits”, an American style action story shot in Berlin. This movie was produced by Hermann Joha (Action Concept / Hürth) and was presented at this year’s European Film Market during the Berlinale. Short thereafter the story about illegal car races aired on Pro 7. Goldberg wrote the Monk books (as already published in German):
    “Mr. Monk und die Feuerwehr” (also produced as a TV episode), “Mr. Monk besucht Hawaii”, Mr. Monk und die Montagsgrippe”, “Mr. Monk und seine Assistentinnen”, “Mr. Monk und die Ausserirdischen” (available from Sept. 11th in bookstores) and “Mr. Monk geht nach Deutschland” that will be published in the USA on July 2nd, but which can also be ordered through German bookstores. The German translation is announced for November 21st. In December “Mr. Monk is Miserable” shall be published in the USA. Goldberg wrote the Germany Monk in Los Angeles, in hotels in Lohr, Cologne, Munich, London and Montreal, and in airplanes and trains taking him to these places.
    Monk celebrates 4th anniversary on German TV
    Adrian Monk is a person troubled by compulsions. The detective is a genius. The successful US American mystery series is named “Monk”. It has aired since 2002 in the USA. After tomorrow, it will have aired for four years on RTL. The creator is Andy Breckman. A line of books were written by the American author Lee Goldberg. Adrian Monk (played by Tony Shalhoub) was homicide cop with the San Francisco Police Department. When his wife Trudy was killed by an attack all his ticks become serious psychological disorders. He didn’t leave his home for three years and was dismissed from SFPD. When the series begins his condition was better but countless phobias remain. He needs the help of a personal assistant. Until season three it was Sharona Fleming (Bitty Schram) a former nurse. Her main task is to keep those things away from Monk that frighten him. He can’t stand disorder and things that aren’t symmetric. Since the dismissal from SFPD he is working as private investigator and counselor for the police.
    Even though or maybe because of his phobias he has a special sense for things that aren’t all right. Natalie Teeger (Traylor Howard) is his assistant since actress Bitty Schram left the series.
    Natalie is less understanding for Monk’s disorders but she has a kind of humor and sarcasm that helps her getting along with it. In the first chapter of “Mr. Monk Goes to Germany” Natalie – the books are written in her point of view – describes precisely that it isn’t easy to work for him. The most successful episode on German TV reached 4 million people. The series has won several Emmy Awards and got many Golden Globes – mainly for best actor Tony Shalhoub.

  9. FYI — the reporter got a few things wrong.
    I spent months in Berlin, not just a few days. And I have only one child, not two.
    But otherwise she’s correct, I visited Lohr twice for five days, both times teaching a TV writing seminar for German writer/producers. I snuck out to explore the town and the forest in-between classes.
    I was writing MR. MONK IN OUTER SPACE at the time, so Monk was very much on my mind. I couldn’t help thinking how Monk would react to the half-timbered houses, the cobblestones streets, and the legend of Snow White. Before I knew it, I’d made up my mind to set my next book there.
    Once I visited Berlin, and got to know the city, I also realized Monk would love it there. There is so much that is, well, orderly and symmetrical. And when I saw them selling pieces of the Berlin wall at a gift shop, I got the giggles thinking about how Monk would react to it.
    MR. MONK IS MISERABLE came to me while I was taking my daughter on a tour of the Catacombes in Paris. I couldn’t help thinking how Monk would react to the millions upon millions of bones stacked in the tunnels beneath the city. Just as I was thinking this, my daughter said to “imagine what Monk would do here!” and I knew I was on to something good.

  10. Good work in getting the translation! And what’s not to like?
    A good plot (the return of the six-fingered man).
    An interesting setting (Germany, which I have never considered as a tourist destinatiion, but now I will).
    And a connection to the German film and TV world.
    But the article leaves me wanting more. More details about TV and film in Germany, how Lee got involved, what the German culture minister is trying to achieve, what we can expect in the future, how Americans can fit in.
    This interest combined with the announcement that $1.8 billion will be spent this next year by the German Culture Ministry makes Lee’s take on it news in this country.
    So when will the other shoe drop? Who is sending the press release to the NY Times?
    (This isn’t the time to be shy or modest. Lee’s insights can help both the American writing community and the German film industry. When the national cultural interest of two countries is involved, and Lee can help, why wouldn’t the Times want the story?)

  11. Hi, Lee, I’m a relatively new discoverer of the Monk book series, having picked up a copy of the first book at a church book sale. I fell in love immediately and have been reading the whole series non-stop over the last couple of months (in fact I just got my copy of Mr. Monk goes to Germany in the mail today.) I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been reading a Monk book in public and someone will come up to me and say, “There’s a book series? I didn’t know that. I MUST get a copy!” I think word is spreading. Please keep them coming!!!

  12. Thank you, Mr. Frog! Each book does better than the one before it, so the audience is definitely growing.


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