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Ferdinand von Schirach: Crime and Guilt
on 13 January 2013
I discovered von Schirach through 'The Cassini Case,' and the spare, taut character of that book is carried through in this collection. The book brings together in English translation two separate titles first published in German. In total there are perhaps 30 short accounts, some very short, of cases with which von Schirach has dealt (names and details changed, of course). You will need a strong stomach to read some of these tales. Not because they are gory: very few are. However, the sheer misery and brutality of some people's lives, and what they do in response to their circumstances will, I think, sometimes take your breath away. This is von Schirach's achievement: to present, candidly and without the slightest patronising note, the utter hell which some people (perhaps very many) endure day after day, and what happens when finally they can take no more.