cover image Self's Murder

Self's Murder

Bernhard Schlink, , trans. from the German by Peter Constantine. . Vintage/Black Lizard, $15 (262pp) ISBN 978-0-375-70909-8

The successful film adaptation of Schlink's The Reader should give a boost to his third mystery to feature aging German PI Gerhard Self (after 2007's Self's Deception ). On his way home to Mannheim during a snow storm, Schlink helps a stranded driver, Bertram Welker, who on learning Self's profession offers him a job. A partner in the region's oldest private bank, Welker is writing its history and asks Self to identify a silent partner in the bank. What appears to be a straightforward assignment becomes a double murder inquiry once Self comes to doubt Welker's account of how his wife perished in a hiking accident the year before and the bank's unofficial archivist dies in a suspicious car crash after handing Self a briefcase full of money. Crisp prose and some well-handled plot complications, which include the emergence of a man claiming to be Self's son, will keep readers turning the pages. (Aug.)