Suspicion (Inspector Barlach 2) by Friedrich Durrenmatt and Joel Agee (translator)
|Suspicion (Inspector Barlach 2) by Friedrich Durrenmatt and Joel Agee (translator)|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A very different beast to the other Barlach adventure – both in style and substance.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 160||Date: July 2017|
|Publisher: Pushkin Vertigo|
Inspector Barlach is dying. We did know that, more or less, from the first book to feature him, but it's confirmed here by us opening on him in a clinic bed, with a year left to live. But his doctor is helping him in other ways – sustaining his policing career as much as his life. When his doctor blanches at the sight of a magazine photograph featuring a Nazi camp doctor at work, a story slowly starts to emerge, one that may prove to be a wicked conspiracy to keep the Nazi alive and still practicing, under someone else's name. Barlach, clearly well suited to go under cover as someone needing to go under the knife, works up a plan to check whether his suspicion is correct. What's the worst that could happen after all? – even were he to regret his decision, it would never be for long…
This summary made me relish a great book, at the start – a book about surviving Nazi doctors, written so early in the 1950s, when the whole flavour of that particular evil should still have been so strong. But unfortunately things never reached what I hoped for. The plot is a small one, but still seems padded at this small length, by Kantian thoughts, Don Quixote, and a horridly uninteresting character who is tasked with something and thereafter is never missed. The playwright in Durrenmatt gives a large monologue to one person late on that is partly the reason why we don't get that post-Nazi milieu through event and character – it's here in diatribe form.
Still, I can well see something that might appeal to the expert in the history of crime fiction. I mentioned last time that Barlach seemed to be an early example of the flawed investigator, with his mental capacity and health not quite in parallel, and here we could well have a very early example of the modern serial killer genre, with a man able to get his prey into the middle of his web, and spout off a whole chapter about how he thinks he's allowed to do what he wants, and to justify his evil intent. But (a) I could be wrong in that theory, and (b) it still doesn't make this book a huge success for the casual genre fan or passing modern reader – said spider web normally carries a lot more tension than these pages.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Later on, of course, we had the likes of The Boys From Brazil by Ira Levin featuring a similar brand of baddie.
You can read more book reviews or buy Suspicion (Inspector Barlach 2) by Friedrich Durrenmatt and Joel Agee (translator) at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Suspicion (Inspector Barlach 2) by Friedrich Durrenmatt and Joel Agee (translator) at Amazon.com.
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