Other books byFerdinand von Schirach
The Collini Case
The internationally bestselling courtroom drama centering on a young German lawyer and a case involving World War II A bestseller in Germany since its 2011 releasewith rights sold in seventeen countriesThe Collini Case combines the classic courtroom procedural with modern European history in a legal thriller worthy of John Grisham and Scott Turow. Fabrizio Collini is recently retired. He’s a quiet, unassuming man with no indications that he’s capable of hurting anyone. And yet he brutally murders a prominent industrialist in one of Berlin’s most exclusive hotels. Collini ends up in the charge of Caspar Leinen, a rookie defense lawyer eager to launch his career with a not-guilty verdict. Complications soon arise when Collini admits to the murder but refuses to give his motive, much less speak to anyone. As Leinen searches for clues he discovers a personal connection to the victim and unearths a terrible truth at the heart of Germany’s legal system that stretches back to World War II. But how much is he willing to sacrifice to expose the truth?
On a sweltering day in August, a small town drunkenly celebrates its six-hundredth anniversary with a funfair when an anonymous tip leads police to find a young woman brutally beaten, raped, and thrown under the floorboards of the very stage on which her attackers had just played a polka. An eight-member brass band composed of respectable family men with respectable day jobs is charged with the crime. A neophyte defense lawyer, still wet behind the ears and breaking in his attaché case, takes on the trial, only to lose his innocence in the process. So begins Guilt, Ferdinand von Schirach’s tense, riveting collection of stories based on real crimes he has known. In these brief, succinct tales, von Schirach calls into question the nature of guilt and the toll it takes—or fails to take—on ordinary people. In “The Illuminati,” the popular mean crowd at an all-boys’ boarding school wages a vicious attack against an outsider schoolmate, and ends up accidentally killing the boy’s beloved teacher. Attempting to hurdle through a midlife crisis, a housewife begins to steal trivial things no one will miss, an act that gives her a rush and staves off depression in “Desire.” And in “Snow,” an old man whose home is used as a way station for a heroin ring agrees to protect the identity of the lead drug runner, who receives his comeuppance in due course. Compassionate and seen with the same cool, controlled eye that propelled Ferdinand von Schirach’s debut collection, Crime, onto best-seller lists, Guilt is a stunning follow-up from one of Germany’s finest new writers.
Crime and Guilt
From Ferdinand von Schirach, one of Germany’s most prominent defense attorneys, comes a jolting debut collection of short stories that daringly brings to light the motivations stirring within the criminal mind. By turns witty and sorrowful, unflinchingly brutal and heartbreaking, the deeply affecting, quietly unnerving cases presented in Crime urge a closer examination of guilt and innocence. In “Fähner,” a small-town physician and avid gardener betrays little emotion when he takes an ax to his wife’s head, an act that shocks the locals but provides a long-awaited reprieve for the good doctor. Abbas, a Palestinian refugee who is cornered into a life of crime, finds true love and seemingly a saving grace with a beautiful student named Stefanie in “Summertime.” But when she is viciously murdered in a hotel room after having been paid to sleep with one of the country’s wealthiest men, is Abbas to blame or is it the man who seems to have it all? And in the startling story “Love,” a young man’s infatuation with his girlfriend takes a grisly turn as he comes to grips with his unconventional—and uncontrollable—impulses to truly know a woman. “Guilt,” writes von Schirach, “always presents a bit of a problem.” In this beautifully nuanced and telling collection, guilt is indeed never as clear-cut as the crime, and justice is more nebulous still.