Thumbprint, Friedrich Glauser

June 28th, 2007

Friedrich Glauser was born in Vienna in 1896, dying at aged forty-two after a tumultuous and way too short life. Diagnosed as schizophrenic, addicted to morphine and opium, he spent much of his life in psychiatric wards, insane asylums and, when he was arrested for forging prescriptions, in prison. He also spent two years with the Foreign Legion in North Africa, after which he worked as a coal miner and a hospital orderly. His Sergeant Studer crime novels have cult status in Europe, Germany's most prestigious crime fiction award is named after the author, and Thumbprint has now been published in English by Bitter Lemon Press.

Image from Amazon
Thumbprint by Friedrich Glauser, Mike Mitchell

The death of a travelling salesman in the forest of Gerzenstein appears to be an open and shut case. Sergeant Studer is confronted with an obvious suspect and a confession to the murder. But nothing is what it seems. Envy, hatred, sexual abuse and the corrosive power of money lie just beneath the surface. Studer's investigation soon splinters the glassy facade of Switzerland's tidy villages, manicured forests and seemingly placid citizens.

Don't make the mistake I did when you sit down to Thumbprint, and assume that 197 pages will be a quick read. Thumbprint is enthralling, involving, dense and endlessly fascinating, but it begs to be read slowly. The dialogue is lively, Studer's methods partly eclectic, partly dogged. Thumbprint is a magnificent book though, and I'm really looking forward to my next book from this all too small collection of books.

Melbourne Writers Festival - Opening Dinner

June 27th, 2007

As part of the general celebrations 4MA (my all time favourite book discussion list on the Internet) has a tradition of an opening dinner at all conferences that a bunch of subscribers to the list attend.

MWF has become a bit of a 4MA gathering as a heap of us who met through the list get together each year to drink, eat, read.... sorry I mean attend sober and intelligent book discussions.

Anyway, if you'd like to join us would you mind wandering over to:

indicating what you'd like to see in terms of a celebration dinner so that I can narrow our choices down to a relevant venue.

More General Ramblings

June 26th, 2007

Well the world of puppies is starting to improve. Clancy is almost, perhaps, when he gets confused, looking like he might just forget himself and play with Jedda. We live in hope. She's also had a couple of large outings out and about in the garden which have wetted the appetite for more very much - once she figures out stairs I suspect we're going to spend a lot of time trying to work out where she's gone this time.

In the meantime, the new collaborative / community based austcrimefiction is chugging along. I'm in the process of duplicating the database of author / book records at the moment, but in the meantime there's some polls and odds and ends you can have a play with if you'd like:

Have a wander over and see if you can double guess the Ned Kelly judging panel :)


June 24th, 2007

Well, my reading speed has slowed to the pace of an unwell snail thanks to her ladyship and the general upheaval of a new puppy in the house, so I thought why not just ramble on.

It's been one week now since we bought her home. The first couple of days did not go well - she was fine - the other resident dogs had a nervous breakdown so we ended up having to doll out anti-anxiety medication to them for a day or so until they settled down. (We probably needed anti-anxiety medication for ourselves by the end of the first couple of days). But a very short burst of a day on the anti-anxiety and we got past that little hiccup.

Now we still can't get the older Australian Terrier to play with Little Miss - all he wants to do is magic her to another place outside his kingdom - but he'll just have to suck it up and get used to it.

We've been gradually opening up her horizons to more parts of the garden but it's been a bit limited because it's positively arctic conditions here at the moment and she's so tiny she does get wet and cold very quickly. But she's now very comfortable with wandering around the big front deck, she thinks the area around the big worm farm is fascinating and today she got her first foray into one of the main vegetable gardens (unfortunately terminated very quickly when the moron next door who can't read basic instructions from the local Council started his third illegal burn off in two weekends - you just have to despair that this "education campaign" is ever going to work - we seem to be surrounded by people who have been failed by the local education system - can't tell time / can't read a calendar to figure out what day it is)... Sigh.

Still - hopefully some of these fools will go to work tomorrow and I can continue to take her out and about in the garden without the need for the breathing apparatus, because the site of the masks scares her witless and they are promising rain for Tuesday.

The new AustCrime fiction is still bubbling away. We're in the process of putting up quizzes, some polls for everybody to see how close they can get to the voting of the Ned Kelly Panel and a bunch of other "toys". Soon, I know, you've heard it all before, but soon.

Talk about grinding to a halt!

June 20th, 2007

If you want to create a massive dint in your personal productivity I can offer no better solution than one of these:

Jedda in butter wouldnt melt in her mouth mode

One 8 week old Australian Terrier can stop an entire household dead in its tracks!