Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Upmarket True Crime Fever!

The news just in is that they're making a mini-series out of Ferdinand von Schirach's debut Verbrechen (published in English as Crime, trans. Carol Brown Janeway). The defence lawyer followed that up with another collection of fictionalised cases, Schuld (Guilt), and has just brought out a brand new novel by the name of Der Fall Collini (The Collini Case). I wouldn't want to be his client, frankly, but then I probably couldn't afford it anyway. Dang, better not commit any heinous crimes this year then. His books are major sellers but critics seem to find them just kinda OK, although those who like their prose plain are generally more enthusiastic. I haven't read them.

Meanwhile, though, there's been a slight rash of other writers working a similar concept. The version being sold as sexier is by Jochen Rausch and is called Trieb (Drive). I don't think the sexy thing applies to the respective writers, though, because if you compare and contrast Schirach with Rausch it's pretty much out of the frying pan into the fire, if you ask me. Think ex-Young Conservative versus spectacularly bespectacled media type trapped in the eighties. Or am I falling into the cliché trap? Anyway, a brief flick through an online sample revealed staccato sentences and pop psychology.

Next up is a collection of craaaa-zy court cases with the title Es juckt so fürchterlich, Herr Richter! (It's So Terribly Itchy, Your Honour!), written by the crime reporter Uta Eisenhardt. Looks rather fun actually, if you like books with exclamation marks in their titles.

And then there's another one just out by the literary critic Ursula März, which just goes to show how terribly posh the whole phenomenon now is. Called Fast schon kriminell (Almost Criminal) - which sounds so utterly twee to me that I'm tempted to think it's all an elaborate hoax - the book's billed as a literary gem. I had a look at the sample from this collection too, and it does seem to be well written and rather clever.

Gone are the days of true crime = trash. I shall miss them as I pay just under €20 for a terribly literary hardback.

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