cover image The Spoke

The Spoke

Friedrich Glauser, , trans. from the German by Mike Mitchell. . Bitter Lemon, $14.95 (185pp) ISBN 978-1-904738-27-5

Originally published in 1937, the fifth and final Det. Sgt. Jakob Studer mystery (after The Chinaman ) offers just enough eccentricity to support the author's reputation as the Swiss Simenon. The Bern policeman and his wife are on holiday in the town of Schwarzenstein, where their daughter is getting married, when a man, Jean Stieger, is found dead in the Hôtel zum Hirschen, stabbed with a sharpened bicycle spoke. The local police take the obvious suspect, bicycle mechanic Ernst Graf, into custody. Studer, however, isn't convinced they have their man. Then Stieger's financier boss is poisoned to death. As Studer investigates, using his own peculiar method of ratiocination, he discovers any number of suspects in what is essentially a variant on the classic locked-room murder puzzle. If the forensic methods the detective employs appear quaint to the contemporary reader, that's half the fun. (Jan.)