A Paragon of Virtue

Christian von Ditfurth, Author, Helen Atkins, Translator . Toby $24.95 (329p) ISBN 978-1-59264-220-5

German historian Ditfurth’s fictional alter ego, Josef Stachelmann, makes an engaging protagonist in this well-crafted crime thriller, the first in a new series. Stachelmann, an academic based in Hamburg, is popular with students, but the thesis he needs to complete to get tenure has stalled amid an overwhelming mass of papers the professor calls his “mountain of shame.” He’s roused from his rut by an old classmate, Oskar Winter, now a local police commissioner, who enlists his help in solving a baffling series of crimes that have claimed over the years the life of the wife and two children of respected local businessman Maximilian Holler. Despite Holler’s sterling reputation, the probe’s discovery of some unusual real estate deals suggests he’s hiding something, perhaps connected with Holler’s Nazi father. The author sensitively handles the difficult issue of how modern Germany has dealt with its past. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/07/2008
Release date: 03/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
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