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The Collini Case: A Novel Hardcover – August 1, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
Von Schirach, a prominent German advocate for the accused and author of two story collections (Guilt; Crime), disappoints with this present-day legal thriller, a whydunit. Fabrizio Collini, a toolmaker in his late 70s, pretends to be a reporter for an Italian newspaper when he calls on 85-year-old Jean-Baptiste Meyer, a German businessman, in his room at Berlin's Hotel Adlon. Collini later confesses to shooting Meyer four times in the head, and then stamping repeatedly on Meyer's face. Caspar Leinen, who has just begun work as a defense lawyer, accepts the case before realizing that Meyer's real name is Hans Meyer, and that he's an old friend; but Collini wants Leinen to stay on the case, despite this personal connection. Given the advanced ages of the two principals, readers will have no trouble guessing that the killer's motive has something to do with WWII. Even the courtroom scenes lack genuine drama. (Aug.)
This spare novel follows the publication of the English translation of von Schirach’s debut short-story collection, Crime and Guilt (2011). The author’s unique perspective and experiences as a defense attorney gave credibility to that collection, as it does to this novel. An Italian living in contemporary Berlin enters a hotel suite and brutally murders its occupant. Then he waits in the lobby to be arrested. All that is known of the killer is that he is a retired machinist at Mercedes-Benz. The victim is one of the richest men in Germany. The focus is on court-appointed defense attorney Caspar Leinen, who has been qualified for only 42 days. This is a pretty typical David-and-Goliath legal case, with Leinen pitted against one of Germany’s top prosecutors. But the way that Leinen digs for facts—and his eventual discoveries, which go back through his personal past and extend to the Holocaust—animate what is a tight-lipped but involving mystery. --Connie Fletcher
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I always wonder what makes Von Schirach so popular, especially in Germany. I would think that part of the answer is his family name but this in itself would certainly not be sufficient to make the best sellers lists. The author has narrative talent which he uses to describe very often the dark sides of human nature and behavior but ,in my opinion, in a compasionate, even sort of impartial " legal" manner so the reader may be the judge himself.
All in all not a masterpiece but very solid literature.
The book leaves the reader to draw many of her own conclusions about guilt and innocence. That is a good thing, I would have given it 5 stars if there had been a little more development of the two main characters.
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The Collini Case
John Dwaine McKenna
Secretly, every writer fantasizes about their book becoming a best seller.Read more