cover image The Chinaman

The Chinaman

Friedrich Glauser, , trans. from the German by Mike Mitchell. . Bitter Lemon, $14.95 (186pp) ISBN 978-1-904738-21-3

First published in 1938, Swiss author Glauser's fourth Jakob Studer novel to be made available in English (after Fever ) finds the Bern police sergeant in usual form—too smart to be trusted by his superiors and too superior to be dismissed from his post. When the body of James Farny is found lying atop the grave of the recently deceased wife of the poorhouse warden, the local doctor assumes the death is a suicide. Noticing that the man's clothes are intact despite a shot through the heart, Studer suddenly realizes he met the victim some months before, and Farny predicted his own murder. Dubbing the case the “story of the three locales,” Studer discovers the key suspects are from the poorhouse, a horticultural school and a village inn. Slowly, he puzzles out the relationships and the motives and reveals all in a traditional gathering of the suspects. Glauser's sharp portrayals of local institutions and customs add luster to this somewhat dated classic. (Jan.)