Verbrechen (Crime) – Ferdinand von Schirach (Week II)

The German Literature Month is hosted by Caroline @ Beauty is a Sleeping Cat and Lizzy @ Lizzy’s Literary Life. The reading theme for the second week is Crime Fiction. I read a volume of short stories titled Verbrechen/Crime by German author Ferdinand von Schirach, in the original German.

About the author: Ferdinand von Schirach is a defense counsel from Munich. He is specialized in handling controversial cases of his high-profile clients. His grandfather – Baldur von Schirach – the Nazi youth leader later convicted of being a war criminal, is not the only reason Ferdinand is world famous. In 2009 Ferdinand von Schirach published his debut book entitled “Verbrechen” or “Crime.” The book stayed on the bestsellers’ list of Der Spiegel magazine for over forty weeks.

About the book: Verbrechen is a collection of eleven short stories about law and crime. It is a work of fiction; but even if not entirely based on reality, the book certainly draws inspiration from real events.
Summary: A nameless lawyer, the narrator, describes random cases to the reader. From an old man murdering his dominating wife after forty years of marriage to a young girl poisoning her brother to end his difficult life; the stories deal with shocking events, introducing us to everything from drugs, abuse and cannibalism to incest.
My thoughts: The mere thought that these gruesome stories might be rooted in truth can haunt the reader’s mind. The book is touching, at times heart-breaking, and a frightening glimpse into the world of law and crime. The author’s own vast experience in the field is clear throughout the entire book – from the way he describes crime scenes, to the way he analyses motives.
So much is expressed, without really diving into anything too emotional. The book is frank, it only relates the facts. The reader has to add the dabs of emotion wherever necessary. The writer is impartial. In each case, at the end, the “guilty” is punished; but whether he is rightfully punished is left for us to judge. The stories seem real and believable, as much as the reader wants to convince himself they couldn’t possibly be. That, according to me, is what gives the book credibility.
I never liked any short stories quite as much as I loved these eleven. (Do check out Risa’s Bread Crumb Reads for Short Stories on Wednesday.)
I’d recommend this book, original or translation, not just to fans of the crime genre, but to just about everyone who cares to listen!!

4 thoughts on “Verbrechen (Crime) – Ferdinand von Schirach (Week II)”

  1. This does sound incredibly good. I think it's a book Lizzy liked a lot as well. I'm keen on reading it. Especially the fact that it seems to be good no matter whether you like crime or just a fascinating book appeals to me.


  2. Wonderful review, Priya! Nice to know that you are participating in German Literature Month and you are reading the books in German. Envy you 🙂 This book looks really fascinating from your review. I will look for the translated version.


  3. I forgot to mention one more thing. I love the new look-and-feel of your blog. The header imagine, the papery feel of the background, the font – it is all so beautfiful!


  4. beautyisasleepingcat – The book isn't like most crime fiction I have read. I'm not the biggest fan of the genre either, which is why I'd recommend it to any readers. It's a good read.

    Vishy – Thanks, I was going for a bookish look for the blog 🙂
    I wanted to read books in German for GLM. I have read only a couple till now, but what's the use of learning a language, when you don't read its literature, right?
    Crime is a great book, you should check it out!


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