The Inspector Barlach Mysteries: The Judge and His Hangman & Suspicion
The Pequod Review:
The Inspector Barlach Mysteries combines two of Friedrich Durrenmatt's strongest detective novels: The Judge and His Hangman (1950), and Suspicion (1951). Both stories center on Hans Barlach, an aging police commissioner in Bern, Switzerland, and while they are in some ways standard police procedurals, Durrenmatt subverts the typical ways in which detectives operate. Instead of using power and threats to advance his investigation, Inspector Barlach appears weak and egoless which allows him to better manipulate his suspects (to say nothing of his colleagues). Durrenmatt was best known for his excellent philosophical plays (especially The Physicists and The Visit) but he brings highly original characters and themes to his crime novels too.