The Inspector Barlach Mysteries By Friedrich Dürrenmatt
Translated by Joel Agee
Foreword by Sven Birkerts
Read How You Want, (2010)
EasyRead Large Print, in 16 Point Font (Originally Published in Standard Print by University Of Chicago Press)
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Reviewed by Harry S. Chou - April 11, 2011
The Inspector Barlach Mysteries contains two novellas by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, The Judge and His Hangman and Suspicion. These novellas were originally published in 1950 and 1951 respectively, and both follow the adventures of the curmudgeonly Inspector Barlach, who is getting close to retirement, but has been told by his doctor that he is unlikely to live long enough to actually retire. In the meantime, he suffers from constant stomach pains and is often sick. Consequently, Barlach is a man with nothing left to lose, and finds himself more interested in seeing that 'justice' is carried out, even if the means of this justice is unlawful.
Barlach is a member of Criminal Investigation Department of the Bern Police, in Germany. These stories where originally written in German, and have been translated into English by Joel Agee. These are not mysteries in the truest sense of the word. Barlach is more interested in seeking justice than in capturing criminals. Consequently, these stories can be seen more as a battle of wills between good and evil, rather than as a traditional search for a criminal.
In the first novella, The Judge and His Hangman, the story begins with the investigation into the murder of a police lieutenant. The investigation soon leads into Barlach's own past and an old challenge that has come back to haunt him. A challenge that will lead Barlach to commit a murder by proxy. In the second novella, Suspicion, Barlach finds himself on the trail of a Nazi doctor who has been in hiding since the end of the war. To catch this war criminal, Barlach, who is truly sick, undertakes the task of going undercover as an ill patient to try and trick the doctor into revealing his true identity. The only problem is, the doctor immediately recognizes Barlach as a cop, and thus begins a game of cat and mouse which, more likely than not, will end with Barlach's death.
More than mysteries, these stories are psychological thrillers that will make you question your own definitions of morality and justice. Artistic, and somewhat avant-garde, The Inspector Barlach Mysteries are stories that can be read not only for pleasure, but also as an excursion into a unique literary realm crafted by Dürrenmatt.
The Inspector Barlach Mysteries is available from Read How You Want, an on-demand publisher that makes books available in a variety of formats including Braille, DAISY, and five different large print formats. This range of formats makes this, and other books, available not only to visually impaired individuals, but also anyone with a reading or physical disability that makes reading standard print books difficult.
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