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The Arbogast Case Hardcover – 28 Nov 2003

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"Breathtaking . . . A gripping legal thriller."
--"Frankfurter Rundschau"
"Coolly detailed and surely paced, "The Arbogast Case" is an intelligent, involving forensic drama. Thomas Hettche goes beyond the procedural in search of something deeper."
--Stewart O'Nan, author of "The Night Country"

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tense, strange, good. 10 Nov. 2003
By Candace Siegle, Greedy Reader - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Hans Arbogast picks up Marie Gurst on a German country road in 1953. He is a traveling salesman, she a refugee from East Germany living in a displaced person's camp. The two enjoy some rough sex during which Marie inexplicably dies. Did he kill her? Less than ten years after the end of WWII, Germans were sick of perversions but not ready to challenge the report by a leading forensic scientist. Hans goes to prison for life where he remains for sixteen years. A journalist and a novelist become interested in his case and bring an East German forensic scientist to the West to offer another scenario for what might have happened on that warm September afternoon.
The Arbogast case was a sensational crime of its time, and Thomas Hettche has written a compelling and creepy novel. If you like action and big climaxes, you won't find them here. This is a very subtle novel of psychological suspense, written with just the right tone and given a sharp, immediate translation by Elizabeth Gaffney. If "The Arbogast Case" is typical of Hettche's writing, his other novels should find eager readers in the U.S.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, gorgeously written and erotic 12 Dec. 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This thriller is based on a sensational case that made the headlines in post-war Germany. It is an evocative story of a salesman who picks up a hitchhiker and during passionate sex she suddenly dies. It's not clear how, but Arbogast is tried and convicted of murder. One of the most astonishing aspects of the book is how Arbogast becomes changed by his years in prison, how the solitude and quiet close in on him until his cell feels more comfortable than any kind of contact with the outside world. And his memory of the day spent with his hitchhiker expands until it takes over his entire reality. Meanwhile, a writer and lawyer collaborate on getting the case reopened and they pull in a pathologist from East Berlin to re-examine the evidence. The judicial and forensic details are truly fascinating and make for a compelling page-turner. The resolution is stunning and leaves the reader waiting anxiously for the next book from this talented author.
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