Ferdinand von Schirach was a lawyer before he became a writer. A popular choice for lawyers. It can’t be that much fun. His first book was ‘Verbrechen’ or ‘Crime’ in English, his second book was Schuld/Guilt. He’s better known in the UK for his later books. The Collini Case and The Girl Who Wasn’t There. I read the Girl Who Wasn’t There first, it is nothing like the other fashionable crime books with girl in the title.
Crime is probably not the right word. I would label it a sophisticated thriller, a court room drama where we are treated to the murder at the beginning of the book. It’s not a who done it but a why they done it. They both are. Now, which one shall I start with? Let’s do it in chronological order of release shall we? I read them back to front.
The Collini Case tells of the murder of the industrialist Hans Meyer, who had been a Nazi officer in Italy. Murder is an appalling crime but is it an appalling crime to kill someone who has commit an appalling crime? It’s a fascinating exploration of morals and the grey shades in between right and wrong. The Girl Who Wasn’t There explores the same grey and the very concept of murder. I’ve never ventured much into court room dramas for fear of them being dry. I have been spoilt with Ferdinand von Schirach, his work is gripping and unlike any other crime book I have read. I hope we get many more books.