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  • Reviews for Fever by Friedrich Glauser
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Reviews for Fever by Friedrich Glauser

'Friedrich Glauser's Fever (from the wonderful Bitter Lemon Press) has to be one of the more interesting books I've read in ages. It's a rather complicated mystery involving some dead sisters (who were each married to the same brother), the dead brother (died years before), a clairvoyant who claims the dead man spoke to him (putting events into action which resulted in the women dying), another dead woman from years before who knew somebody else in these confused families who might have been the one to kill her and maybe not one, not two but three different brothers of the dead man. Yeah - it's crazy. It's really not hard to read or follow though and the protagonist, Sgt Studer, doggedly follows the clues and keeps notes on what he finds and wonders if everyone is crazy that is involved in the case (there is also treasure - huge treasure). I really liked Studer - he wasn't dazzlingly brilliant or stupid, just a man who knows how to ask questions and keeps asking them until he gets answers. He also is capable of being distracted by a beautiful young woman - so no, he isn't perfect. (But he doesn't cheat on his loyal and smart wife, which is also cool.)

What really put Fever over the top for me though was reading about the author, Friedrich Glauser Usually a fiction author doesn't have a lot of bearing on whether or not I like the book - what matters is just if it's good or not. But Glauser is so utterly fascinating is his own right that it's hard to separate truth from fiction. I had never heard of him before but he is apparently quite the historical European crime writer. It's all a bit hard to believe when you realize he was addicted to morphine and opium most of his life and was committed to a Swiss insane asylum when he first started writing crime novels. Somebody needs to write a biography on this guy. (Or if it's out there in Germany, translate it into English!). There are five Sgt Studer mysteries but the one I'm really jazzed to get is In Matto's Realm about an escapee from an insane asylum - wouldn't you like to read about that environment by someone who had actually been there? Oh - and did I mention that Glauser died in 1939 - so he committed in the 1930s? How did he stay sane enough to write in that kind of place? It boggles the mind.'

- chasingray.com

'This great crime classic was first published in 1936; this is its first publication in English and the third in the 'Sergeant Studer series'. A welcome debut in English for this engaging sleuth.'

- The Good Book Guide
'Part of the appeal of Friedrich Glauser's Fever is the utterly unreal life led by the author. Glauser was an opium and morphine addict who first began writing crime novels while an inmate in a Swiss insane asylum. Originally published in 1936, Fever is the third of his Sergeant Studer series, but easily read (as I did) on its own. It involves two murders that look like suicide, a disappearance, two mysterious deaths from the past and a message (or two) from the dead. There is also treasure-of course there is treasure - and a lot of politics, both at the lowest and highest levels, which makes Studer's job of unraveling this mess much harder than it should be.
Oh-and there's a priest and his brother and maybe another brother.
The whole plot would sound like a joke if it wasn't so damn tightly wound that the reader keeps questioning where it will go next, and then shaking her head as Glauser points you in an unexpected direction. This is one very imaginative story and set as it is in pre-WWII Europe, there is all sorts of excellent tension pressing on the protagonist as Studer travels from Paris to Bern to Morocco. (Did I forget to mention that the French Foreign Legion is involved also?) The central question is whether he will solve the suicide/murders which will lead to the treasure and involve sorting out the earlier disappearance and maybe the murder from decades before. So many things hinge on two dead women who maybe sucked down the gas from the ovens, or maybe had someone make them suck that gas (prime suspect being the dead man who was married to one and formerly married to the other-oh, and did I mention they were sisters?)
Studer is doggedly determined to hang in there and get to the bottom of it all and the few times he isn't quite sure what to do, his very funny and smart wife kindly lends a hand. The plot zips along, clues are found, borders are crossed and when push comes to shove, Studer even rides a donkey to get from one off-the-beaten-track village to the next. Everything is revealed and explained in the end and no, you will not believe that someone made this all up. Fever is so complex and artfully crafted that it hardly seems possible that anyone, let alone a committed drug addict, could have put it all together. It's a fascinating dark tale of money, love and intrigue, and is just the first of several Sergeant Studer mysteries I plan to read.' - Eclectica Magazine
'First English translation of a European cult classic, the third in Glauser's absurdist Studer mystery series, Swiss police Sgt Jacob Studer investigates two questionable deaths in Bern and Basel-both by gas leaks, both victims elderly women once married to the same man. Clues vanish while suspects disappear and acquire different identities…At a French Foreign Legion Post, Studer eventually finds the answers, which seem so simple (or are they?), to this hallucinatory, morally ambiguous case. Glauser, the namesake for the German equivalent of our Edgar Award, was a schizophrenic and drug addict who spent much of his life in mental institutions and prisons. His books, although written in a straight forward style, reveal the fine line between sanity and madness.' - Publishers Weekly
'Obsessive police sergeant Studer investigates a pair of strange murders in a strange land. A pleasant meal in a Parisian bistro turns positively giddy for the imposing Studer, a Swiss Detective Inspector working his way back up the ranks since being busted after a scandal. The liberal drinking is interrupted by an exciting telegram telling him that he's to become a grandfather for the first time... When two elderly women are found dead in their flats, both gassed, local police are inclined to rule both deaths accidental, but not Studer, whose iconoclastic and sometimes paranoid probe spans the nation and stretches back a generation. The ensuing plot, like Studer's life, favors the scenic route over tight logic, taking us to Morocco and back. A fine ride with an old master.' - Kirkus Reviews
'Friedrich Glauser is one of those authors who, if he hadn't been real, wouldn't be believable as a fictional character. A morphine and opium addict, he began writing crime novels while an inmate in the Swiss insane asylum, Waldau. Diagnosed schizophrenic, Glauser spent two years in the French Foreign Legion in North Africa, worked as a coal miner, a hospital orderly and spent time in prison for forging prescriptions. In spite of, or perhaps because of, this, his detective stories are amazing. Glauser has been compared to Simenon for his ability to take almost stereotypic characters and, with a twist of description or dialog, turn them into totally believable people. Sergeant Studer is one of those stereotypes turned real. A former Inspector in the Bern police, Studer has been demoted to sergeant for political problems with a bank case he investigated. As Fever opens, Studer is wrapping up an assignment in Paris and celebrating the birth of a new grandchild with his French colleagues. The party is interrupted by the arrival of a strange priest who tells an incredible tale of a psychic corporal in the Foreign Legion who has predicted the murders of two sisters in Bern and Basel . More than a little drunk, Studer is in no mood to believe in prophecies and takes the train for home. A stop-over in Basel and the discovery of a questionable suicide by one of the sisters grabs his interest and the game is afoot.
Fever was originally published in serial form in 1937 and its structure of self-contained chapters reflects this. Chapter titles like, "The Story of the clairvoyant corporal, " "The short man in the blue raincoat and the tall man, " and "Muggers in Bern and a sensible wife, " hint at Conan Doyle with a distinctly 1930's twist. The mystery moves from Paris to Basel, to Bern and on to a killer climax in the Moroccan desert. The German language prize for detective fiction is named after Glauser and Fever shows why. This is a classic of European pre-war detective fiction, almost noir but with a certain humanity about its characters that is unique to the place and time. Run to the bookstore and buy this book.' - Iloveamystery
'Seventy years after its original publication, the third of Glauser's six classic Sergeant Studer crime novels (after In Matto's Realm) is available in English for the first time. The multilingual Jacob Studer of the Bern cantonal police thinks of himself as having "the odd screw loose" and is attracted to unusual cases. So when a priest tells him about a clairvoyant accurately foreseeing the deaths of two old women, Studer's interest is piqued. The case-in which men disappear, reappear, and switch identities-ultimately revolves around oil-rich land in Morocco, and its resolution includes surprises even for Studer, as it solves both recent and decades-old murders. Glauser (1896-1938), afflicted with drug addiction and depression, was institutionalized for much of his life. Yet his Studer novels live on; strong character development and concise prose keep this work from feeling dated and illustrate why Germany's most prestigious crime fiction award is named for Glauser.' - Library Journal
'Fevered dreams are caused by many things; love, disease, revenge and a pipe full of hashish all have similar effects. Still wonderfully fresh after all these years this novel superbly reflects Studer's chaotic mind and deserves to place Glauser as an important European crime writer.' - Eastern Daily Press

'Glauser is widely regarded as the German speaking world's answer to Simenon. His hero, sergeant Studer, is a dogged copper who hides his steely determination behind an avuncular façade. In this adventure, he has to unravel a murder mystery that involves psychic babble, a lost family treasure and the French Foreign Legion. The plotting is as gooey as a cheese fondue, but he's still worth reading for the quirkiness of his characters and the unusual pre-war setting.'

- Mail on Sunday

'Fever' is considered a crime classic in Europe- one of the most prestigious awards for German mysteries award is named The Glauser for this reason. In writing style, the book is almost two different tomes in one. The first half concentrates on getting the parts of the mystery together, each piece finding its place in the crime riddle. But as the story moves to the Foreign Legion it becomes more surreal, more other worldly. A scene where Studer watches a gazelle and dog play together in a room is extraordinary. The writing becomes more colorful, vivid and engaging.

"The sea was filthy and the waves were like fat old women with not quite clean hair- the scarves fluttered in the air as the women rolled laboriously on."

""In the sky was an improbably white moon, which was vainly trying to wipe away the clouds that kept floating past its flat nose."

The translation is also noteworthy. It was a very tricky task to be able to translate the subtleties of the Swiss German with its formal and informal forms of address. The du versus the Sie can alter the nuances of a scene but there are no separate words in English. Mike Mitchell has done an admirable job of coping with both an earlier, stylized form of writing and the use of German, Swiss German and French within the book.'

- Front Page Reviews
'With the fourth of Friedrich Glauser's Swiss "policier" novels now available in English and the fifth soon to come, I've gone back to catch up with the third in the series, Fever. Glauser has been called the Swiss Simenon, but his Sergeant Studer is quite different from Maigret. Studer is a loner (though more of his colleagues appear in Fever than previously), and he's a ruminative detective, reconsidering the evidence again and again. And in Fever, Glauser also adds some Sherlock Holmes into the mix, as well as some of Holmes's predecessors and competitors. Fever is in a way an adventure novel, full of clairvoyance, identity changes, an heiress and her doomed family, and so forth. The Gothic elements are carefully controlled, so that the novel is in some ways both an hommage and a parody of the detective-adventure stories of the previous century (Glauser and his Studer being from the years between the World Wars). The conclusion of Fever even suggests that this tale is the author's way of giving his character a chance to fulfill a childhood dream of the Foreign Legion (for the novel takes us from Paris to Basel to Bern and to the North African desert (with thrilling stops in between). The first two Studer books, Thumbprint and In Matto's Realm, were rather claustrophobic, set in a small town and an ominous hospital, with Studer's ruminative (rather than deductive) method adding to the sense of the stories' narrow confines. But in Fever, with the opening up of the story and its setting, Studer's method is helpful in simply keeping track of the cluttered plot (beginning with the death of two old ladies, sisters, in Basel and Bern, and with the mysterious priest who seems to be the key). And as might be expected in a tale that hovers close to parody, there is more humor in Fever than in the earlier books, and more about Studer's home life (his wife Hedy, though hardly a major character here, is a delight). Glauser was plainly enjoying himself, spreading out from the more philosophical In Matto's Realm into a more literary and comic mode. And so, eventually, on to the rest of Glauser...thanks to the U.K.'s Bitter Lemon Press.' - http://internationalnoir.blogspot.com
'Given the bleak sensibility of the international authors favored by small presses, the scarcity of modern German speaking writers seems surprising. Not many of them could outdo Friedrich Glauser in the gloom-and-doom department. Fever, a deviously plotted procedural first published in 1937 and featuring the bearish Sgt. Jakob Studer, is actually a rather benign entry from this Swiss author, a schizophrenic morphine addict who spent much of his life in psychiatric wards and also served some time in prison. Unlike the claustrophobic chills of In Matto's Realm, which is set in a lunatic asylum, the excitement is almost, well, feverish in Mike Mitchell's translation of the surreal Fever, as Studer travels all the way to a remote outpost of the Foreign Legion in pursuit of an elusive priest who may have had something to do with the apparent suicides of two old women who were once married to the same mysterious man.' - New York Times
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