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  • Reviews for Thumbprint by Friedrich Glauser
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Reviews for Thumbprint by Friedrich Glauser
'Friedrich Glauser, the Viennese born author of THUMBPRINT (Bitter Lemon Press, 197pp) - first published in a 1930s periodical - was addicted to opium and its derivatives. He wrote this book while in Waldau asylum, and died in 1938 on the eve of his wedding. He has left to us his dour policeman, Sergeant Studer, who is trying to work out if the person whom he cuts down and saves, having chanced upon him dangling in a prison cell, is as obviously guilty of the murder of a travelling salesman as he seems to be. And so the story develops. But the principal character here, indeed the culprit, seems to be small town Switzerland and the generally inward looking Swiss themselves. Sergeant Studer's attempts to get around the natives' mistrustful connivance in the matter of a murder keeps us turning the pages.' - Goethe Institute

'Thumbprint is a nifty police procedural that gets the reader into the heads of its likable protagonist, Sgt. Studer, and some of the inhabitants of the Swiss village of Gerzenstein where a local man, Wendelin Witschi, has died of a bullet wound behind his right ear. Don't look for Glauser to do any book signings. He died in 1938. But thanks to Bitter Lemon Press and to Germany's Glauser Prize for crime fiction, his legacy is alive. He's also been dubbed "the Swiss Simenon, " I think present-day readers will welcome Glauser's quick psychological profiling and his sharp eye for details. "Thumbprint" is a fortuitous start for Bitter Lemon Press.'

- The Albuquerque Journal

'First published in 1936, Glauser's novel is a real curiosity; a detective novel set in a small Swiss village. Sergeant Studer, the engagingly idiosyncratic hero, is called into investigate the death of a salesman. Glauser was once hailed as the Teutonic answer to Georges Simenon, and the unusual setting and Thirties atmosphere make it a compelling read.'

- Mail on Sunday

'Devoid of Hollywood car chases and gratuitous sex, Thumbprint is a classic mystery where Studer reads more in a reactive face than the remark that follows.'

- Montana News

'Sgt Studer has the ideal murder case-open and shut. The body of a travelling salesman found in the forest of Gergenstein pointed to an obvious suspect who also
confessed. Some things just don't ring true, however, and Studer pursues the discrepancies into the dangerous worlds of power and money. Often compared to George Simenon, Glauser is a cult figure in Europe, and his work is reflective of his own dark years of drug addiction and institutionalization. Beautifully written and translated, this is his first English publication. This European crime classic was originally published in 1936.'

- Martha Farrington, Murder By The Book

'It's a fine example of the craft of detective writing in a period which some fans still regard as the golden age of crime fiction.'

- The Sunday Telegraph

'With this book alone Bitter Lemon Press fully justifies its mission as a new publisher to bring the best of world crime fiction to English speakers. Friedrich Glauser himself is a legendary figure in European fiction. Aware of human frailty in a way classic English crime fiction isn't, his view of investigation is as much complicated by Studer's human errors as by the clever out workings of the plot. Slicly written and character driven, the novel is rooted in its Swiss environment, one which quickly shows itself to be just like anywhere where malice and money meet.'

- Belfast Telegraph

'With good reason the German prize for detective fiction is named after Glauser…His Sgt Studer novels (thumbprint being the first) are a cathartic exploration of the coercions and resistances to small town family life, inflected by international finance, trade, exploration and the pull of Paris. They explore a Depression ridden, pre war Europe…Glauser's abilities include a gift for suggesting voice offs and histories more complex than even Studer can reveal…Glauser 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 .'

- Times Literary Review
'Reveals the enormous debt owed by Dürrenmatt, Switzerland's most famous crime writer, for whom this should be seen as a template.' - The Guardian

'Ever thought that all the Swiss have given the world was chocolate and the cuckoo clock? If so, then think again because Thumbprint by the Swiss crime writer Friedrich Glauser is an absolute treasure for fans of crime writing. Set during the 1930's it concerns the death of a travelling salesman in the forest of Gerzenstein on the Swiss-French border and its subsequent investigation by local policemen Sergeant Studer. At first an ex-convict seems the most likely suspect but Studer's enquiries soon highlight disturbing discrepancies in his confession. The picture postcard beauty of Switzerland's towns and villages conceals darker truths as a confused and murky plot unfolds. First published in 1936 the most apparent influences on Glauser's writing are art movements such as Surrealism, Dadaism and Freudian psychoanalysis. Using vivid descriptive prose, which conjures striking and memorable images, he explores in detail the lives of the inhabitants of a small community. Petty criminals and the actions of desperate people are treated with compassion and humour and the figure of Studer is conceived of as both fallible and humane. Glauser's life is in itself a fascinating subject having spent time variously in psychiatric institutions, the Foreign Legion in North Africa and in prison. His experiences as a morphine addict and his interest in Dadaism can be felt in many of the books dream-like motifs and passages. Insightful, brilliantly written and leavened with dark humour Thumbprint is classic crime writing.'

- Crime Time

'Just out is an English translation of Glauser's 1936 novel, Thumbprint. A travelling salesman is found dead in a forest in Switzerland. Thus begins a classic search for the truth behind the salesman's murder. Studer must work his way backward into the tangled past and secretive present of the suspect's family and friends. In the old-fashioned way of 1930s mysteries, the story is helped along by several minor coincidences that stretch believability. However, Glauser beautifully portrays characterization, motivation and the sheer urgent confusion of emotion in times of crisis. Mysteries, at their best, are about the endless ramifications of violence that radiate outward from any murder. Glauser's stories also are imbued with a strong sense of moral responsibility. He evokes atmosphere particularly well and attends carefully to the taut emotions among his characters.'

- The Tennessean
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