Large Print Reviews
By Friedrich Glauser
Also available: 20 point Super Large Print edition
By Friedrich Glauser
Translated from the German by Mike Mitchell
Read How You Want, (2010)
EasyRead Large Print, in 16 Point Font
(Originally Published in Standard Print by Bitter Lemon Press)
Reviewed by Harry S. Chou - December 20, 2010
Born in Vienna in 1896, Friedrich Glauser was an odd duck by anyone's estimation. He was a morphine and opium addict throughout most of his adult life, and he was diagnosed as a schizophrenic. During his short life, he held many jobs including serving a stint in the French Foreign Legion, as well as trying his hand a variety of endeavors from working in coal mines to being a hospital orderly and working in a tree nursery. He also spent a great deal of his time in prison, when he wasn't confined to an insane asylum. Glauser died in 1938 at the age of forty-two. Despite his hectic lifestyle, he managed to pen a number of books. Of his many works, his Sergeant Studer crime mysteries gained international acclaim. These Sergeant Studer novels include not only Thumbprint, but also Fever, In Matto's Realm, The Chinaman, and The Spoke, all of which are available in English translation and in large print editions.
Thumbprint was originally published in 1936, and is the first book in the Sergeant Studer series. The story is set in Switzerland during the 1930's and it is a gritty, period police procedural that gives readers a glimpse into Swiss life during this period. His detective, Sergeant Studer, is sharp witted and he is pitted against a series of foes that challenge his intellect and his police skills. He is assigned to the Criminal Investigation Department of the Cantonal Police. The mystery in this story centers upon the murder of Wendelin Witschi, a merchant and traveling salesman. At first glance, the case is easily solved and the culprit is put behind bars in the first few pages of the novel. In short, initially this is a case that is not worthy of Studer's immense talents. However, as the detective delves deeper into the case, he finds that there is more to Witschi's murder than first appeared, and he may not have apprehended the real killer after all. Studer is determined to get to the truth of the matter.
Well paced and engrossing, Glauser's dialogue is sparse and to the point and his descriptions ably evoke the ambiance of the settings and the period in which the story takes place. Glauser's characters are well wrought. The bad guys are suitable evil, and Studer's investigative skills are well honed. While his deductions may seem a bit haphazardous at times, you will find that they are very intelligent and reasonable, once all the pieces of the puzzle are finally laid out for the reader.
Thumbprint is a fine mystery novel that will be enjoyed by anyone who likes police procedurals. It will also interest anyone seeking something a little out of the ordinary - both in terms of the mystery and in terms of Glauser's terse writing style. This is a novel that will also be a hit with fans of period pieces. Glauser does an excellent job of evoking the feel and ambiance of Switzerland in the 1930's and the facade of Switzerland being a peaceful and picturesque county. As the story unfolds, Glauser shows that as with all things, outward appearances can hide a corrupt and tarnished interior...
Thumbprint 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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