The Missing Bureaucrat

Hans Scherfig, Author Fjord Press $8.95 (207p) ISBN 978-0-940242-25-8
For 18 years, bureaucrat Teodor Amsted has left work at 5:00 p.m. and walked the same 20-minute route home, avoiding cracks on the sidewalk and stepping on certain manhole covers (``He was a man with a strong sense of duty''). But one day, he doesn't arrive home at 5:20or at all. His wife is frantic. Then the police discover what they think is his body, blown to smithereens by dynamite. A few days later, his boss receives Amsted's suicide note in the mail. Case closed? Not so in this absorbing and amusing satiric mystery, a sequel to Stolen Spring and first published in Denmark in 1938. There is a second missing man to consider, and other oddities manifest themselves, much to the dismay of Mrs. Amsted, who, like her husband, is a prisoner of the bureaucratic mind-set (to conceal the unsavory circumstances of Mr. Amsted's death, she composes a funeral notice that announces: ``Teodor Amsted died suddenly without any preceding illness''). With trenchant wit and ironic detachment, Scherfig (d. 1979) unravels the mystery and, in the process, explores how freedom and imagination are stifled by the modern world. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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