A child-murderer escapes from a Swiss insane asylum. The stakes get higher when Detective Sergeant Studer discovers the director’s body, neck broken, in the boiler room of the madhouse. The intuitive Studer is drawn into the workings of an institution that darkly mirrors the world outside. Even he cannot escape the pull of the no man’s land between reason and madness where Matto, the spirit of insanity, reigns.
Addicted to morphine, Friedrich Glauser spent much of his life in psychiatric wards and prison. He began writing mystery novels while an asylum inmate in 1935.
“In Matto’s Realm is both a compelling mystery and an illuminating, finely wrought mainstream novel.”—Publishers Weekly
“A despairing plot about the reality of madness and life, leavened with strong doses of bittersweet irony. The idiosyncratic investigation of In Matto’s Realm and its laconic detective have not aged one iota.”—Guardian
“With good reason, the German-language prize for detective fiction is named after Glauser. . . . He has Simenon’s ability to turn a stereotype into a person, and the moral complexity to appeal to justice over the head of police procedure.”—The Times Literary Supplement
When two women are “accidentally” killed by gas leaks, Sergeant Studer investigates the thinly disguised double murder in Bern and Basel. The trail leads to a geologist dead from a tropical fever in a Moroccan Foreign Legion post and a murky oil deal involving rapacious politicians and their henchmen. With the help of a hashish-induced dream and the common sense of his stay-at-home wife, Studer solves the multiple riddles on offer. But assigning guilt remains an elusive affair.
The third in the Sergeant Studer series.
Praise for the Sergeant Studer series:
“Thumbprint is a fine example of the craft of detective writing in a period which fans will regard as the golden age of crime fiction.”—The Sunday Telegraph
“In Matto’s Realm is a gem that contains echoes of Dürrenmatt, Fritz Lang’s film M and Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. Both a compelling mystery and an illuminating, finely wrought mainstream novel.”—Publishers Weekly
When, in later years, Sergeant Studer told the story of the Chinaman, he called it the story of three places, as the case unfolded in a Swiss country inn, in a poorhouse, and in a horticultural college. Three places and two murders. Anna Hungerlott, supposedly dead from gastric influenza, left behind handkerchiefs with traces of arsenic. One foggy November morning the enigmatic James Farny, nicknamed the Chinaman by Studer, was found lying on Anna’s grave. Murdered, a single pistol shot to the heart that did not pierce his clothing. This is the fourth in the Sergeant Studer series.
Friedrich Glauser is a legendary figure in European crime writing. He was a morphine and opium addict much of his life and began writing crime novels while an inmate of the Swiss asylum for the insane at Waldau.