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In Matto's Realm (Sergeant Studer Mystery) Paperback – 1 Jan 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press (1 Jan. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904738060
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904738060
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 768,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Despairing plot about the reality of madness and life, leavened with strong doses of bittersweet irony.The idiosyncratic investigation and its laconic detective have not aged one iota" Guardian

About the Author

Diagnosed a schizophrenic, addicted to morphine and opium, Glauser spent the greater part of his life in psychiatric wards, insane asylums and prison. His Sergeant Studer novels have cusured his place as a cult figure in Europe. Germany's most prestigious crime fiction award is called the Glauser prize. Mike Mitchell has translated some thirty books, including Simplicissimus by GrimmeIsbausen and all the novels of Gustav Mcyrink. He won the 1998 Schlegel-Tieck German translation prize.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Marian B.G. on 9 Feb. 2008
Format: Paperback
Friedrich Glauser, 1896 - 1938, Swiss crime writer and adventurer, knows what he does, when he places the story of his novel "In Matto's Realm" at what at the time was called an "asylum". Apart from a stay at an institution for maladjusted children as a teen, he spent many years of his short life at both prisons and, exactly, asylums.

Seargent Studer is sent for by the vice-director of the mental institution Randlingen, Dr. Laduner, after the institution's director, Brauchli, has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The worst is feared for, since Brauchli's office shows signs of a struggle having taken place, and one of the institution's inmates has disappeared the very same evening as Brauchli himself. Vice-director Laduner wants to be "covered by the authorities" in this disastrous situation.

At first glance an exciting and entertaining novel about four murders/suicides and their clear-up, which nevertheless leaves the reader with the unpleasant feeling that, parallel to the supposed central story, a true mass-murder is committed, "covered by the authorities".

Glauser is a sharp observer of human defence mechanisms toward the unknown, fear-evoking. Artistically, he easily compares with internationally renowned writers like Max Frisch or Friedrich Dürrenmatt, although the last chapters of "In Matto's Realm" show signs of Glauser being under pressure to finish the novel. "In Matto's Realm" is Glauser's most fascinating novel when it comes to criticism of society and of the System, and it hasn't lost any of its relevance since 1936.

As it often is the case, Glauser, too, became a victim of the society, the System, he criticized. He died in 1938, very likely as a consequence of insulin-shock "treatment".
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The book suffers from a rather bad translator as some of the sentences make no sense in English. The plot itself was rather uninspiring, however I haven't read the first in the series so maybe I missed something. The best part was Dr Laduner's summary of Studer's incompetence, it was rather funny.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 2 Nov. 2005
Format: Paperback
This is an odd little novel; a crime-fiction "classic" orginally published in 1936 but only now seeing its first English language translation. Glauser, a morphine addict who died just before his wedding and spent time in a mental instituion, is an intriguing figure and, you would suppose, an excellent person to write this kind of twisted, atmospheric detective story. Correct. He is. And that's exactly what this book. It's an atmospheric, twisted detective story. Glauser writes fluidly, engagingly, and keeps on an admirably human, flawed level with his protagonist Sergeant Studer, who is by no means a brilliant detective (he gets things wrong, makes stupid mistakes, as all real people do), but is still a man trying to do the right thing in an odd, kinked situation. The book is atospheric, has a ncie sense of place, and is nicely claustrophobic (set in an asylum, it would be hard not to be all of these things, though). The characters are an intriguing lot, but they are many, and the reader is thankful that Studer has almost as much trouble remembering them all as they do. The crime itself is complex and there is more to it than at first there seems. However, towards the end things do get a little muddled as Glauser tries to explain a very complex crime in quiet a simple way, and things feels a little disjointed, that there are perhaps a couple of chapters or expositions missing. Nonetheless, In Matto's Real is a rewarding and very interesting novel that is a worthwhile read even just for the picture it gives us of inter-war psychiatry. Even though it perhaps seems a little outmoded now, some of the ideas in this books were, i suspect, hugely revolutionary in the year it was published.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 9 Nov. 2005
Format: Paperback
This is an odd little novel; a crime-fiction "classic" orginally published in 1936 but only now seeing its first English language translation. Glauser, a morphine addict who died just before his wedding and spent time in a mental instituion, is an intriguing figure and, you would suppose, an excellent person to write this kind of twisted, atmospheric detective story. Correct. He is. And that's exactly what this book. It's an atmospheric, twisted detective story. Glauser writes fluidly, engagingly, and keeps on an admirably human, flawed level with his protagonist Sergeant Studer, who is by no means a brilliant detective (he gets things wrong, makes stupid mistakes, as all real people do), but is still a man trying to do the right thing in an odd, kinked situation. The book is atospheric, has a ncie sense of place, and is nicely claustrophobic (set in an asylum, it would be hard not to be all of these things, though). The characters are an intriguing lot, but they are many, and the reader is thankful that Studer has almost as much trouble remembering them all as they do. The crime itself is complex and there is more to it than at first there seems. However, towards the end things do get a little muddled as Glauser tries to explain a very complex crime in quiet a simple way, and things feels a little disjointed, that there are perhaps a couple of chapters or expositions missing. Nonetheless, In Matto's Real is a rewarding and very interesting novel that is a worthwhile read even just for the picture it gives us of inter-war psychiatry. Even though it perhaps seems a little outmoded now, some of the ideas in this books were, i suspect, hugely revolutionary in the year it was published.
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