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In Matto's Realm : A Sergeant Studer Mystery
"Despairing plot about the reality of madness and life, leavened with strong doses of bittersweet irony. The idiosyncratic investigation and its laconic detective haven't aged one iota."-Guardian
A child-murderer escapes from a Swiss insane asylum. The stakes get higher when Detective Sergeant Studer discovers the director's body, neck broken, in the boiler room of the madhouse. The intuitive Studer is drawn into the workings of an institution that darkly mirrors the world outside. Even he cannot escape the pull of the no man's land between reason and madness where Matto, the spirit of insanity, reigns.
Addicted to morphine, Friedrich Glauser spent much of his life in psychiatric wards and prison. He began writing mystery novels while an asylum inmate in 1935.
First published in 1936, this golden age gem contains echoes of Durenmatt, Fritz Lang's film M and Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain. Just as Mann's Berghof Sanatorium mirrored the schadenfreude of the world outside, so the Swiss madhouse in Glauser's psychologically wrenching Sergeant Studer novel, the second to be translated into English (after 2004's Thumbprint), darkly illuminates the anguish and disorientation of Germany between the wars. When Peter Pieterlen, a child murderer, escapes from the Randlingen Psychiatric Clinic in Bern, Dr. Ernst Laduner asks Det. Sgt. Jakob Studer to investigate. Studer soon discovers the body of Randlingen's director in the clinic's boiler room, his neck broken. Despite the clinic doctors' claim that Pieterlen killed the man, Studer has doubts that leave him wondering if someone is using pseudopsychological theories and pretenses to commit murder. Both a compelling mystery and an illuminating, finely wrought mainstream novel, this classic will make it clear to American readers why the German-language prize for detective fiction is named after Glauser (1896-1938). (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Bitter Lemon Press
December 31, 2006
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