Crime : stories

by Ferdinand von Schirach

Other authorsCarol Brown Janeway (Translator)
Hardcover, 2011





New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2011.


A collection of nine stories features a coolly intelligent protagonist who makes compassionate observations about such characters as an abused small-town doctor, a pair of privileged but neglected siblings, and the card-playing youngest member of a family of petty criminals.

User reviews

LibraryThing member austcrimefiction
The author of CRIME, Ferdinand von Schirach is a criminal lawyer in Berlin. He's also an extremely good storyteller.

The stories incorporated in CRIME (as the publicity material puts it) were specifically chosen to demonstrate the relationships between truth and reason, law and compassion. They are real-life cases from the author's own experience. The subject matter, frankly, is frequently much much easier to imagine as fictional - but they are not. Whilst it's clear they are tales chosen to trigger certain emotions and reactions in the reader, in von Schirach's hands, the telling isn't overblown or overtly manipulative. There's something restrained, dry, matter-of-fact in the author's storytelling which makes the subject matter striking, but somehow more palatable (for want of a better word). Palatable only in the reading mind you. Consideration of what is happening in each of these tales, on the other hand, is more challenging.

There's lots of things to find interesting about this book - not just the nature of truth, reason, law and compassion, but also the more practical elements - the way that the justice system works in Germany, the glimpses into the world of the criminal lawyer. More than once I finished one of these stories wondering how it is that people get themselves into these situations, and how they ended up on von Schirach's doorstep afterwards. Perhaps the first part of that statement is what the book does best - really makes you wonder / think / consider the nature of justice.

The only downside to the book is that it might be best to read in small snippets - a story at a time, and then give yourself some thinking time and then onto the next. I certainly have found myself drawn back to reading some of the entries again, which, for somebody with a lot of reading matter available to them, is about the highest praise I can think of.
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LibraryThing member icolford
These stories from defense lawyer Ferdinand von Schirach are truly startling in their originality and their willingness to delve into the grusome depths of the criminal psyche. Narrated with the unemotional, clinical detachment of someone with no stake in the outcome, von Shirach's grotesque tales of murder and mayhem examine the often twisted and surprising journey from the conception and execution of the criminal act itself to the punishment handed down by the justice system. The reader is usually given plenty of background information on the perpetrator, placing the crime within a context that explains why and how it was committed. Surprisingly, there is room for compassion in these stories, and the justice system will treat an offender with leniency when such is warranted. The author knows how to create suspense and tension, but downplays overt literary tricks and simply allows the events he is describing to pull the reader along. There is nothing fancy in these pages. The writing is terse, and the stories are each assembled in a formulaic fashion, like an episode of Law & Order. All of this is admirable and effective. Crime is compulsively readable, impossible to put down.… (more)
LibraryThing member cmparkhurst
Good entertaining tales of a few unusual cases of a German criminal defense attorney. Each is a short story and the book is a quick read. The adage that "you cannot make this stuff up" comes to mind.
LibraryThing member borhap
I wouldn't necessarily praise his style as many have done before.
It *just* contains interesting, suspenseful stories based on his real-life cases, with often interesting turns.
LibraryThing member TheCrow2
Interesting and unusual cases from a defense attorney about the difficulties to judge someone "guilty".
LibraryThing member gayla.bassham
An unsettling (in a good way) and ultimately thought-provoking collection.
LibraryThing member abendsternchen84

Ferdinand von Schirach hat es in seinem Beruf alltäglich mit Menschen zu tun, die Extremes getan oder erlebt haben. Das Ungeheuerliche ist bei ihm der Normalfall. Er vertritt Unschuldige, die mit dem Gesetz in Konflikt geraten, ebenso wie Schwerstkriminelle. Deren Geschichten erzählt er – lakonisch wie ein Raymond Carver und gerade deswegen mit unfassbarer Wucht.


Ferdinand von Schirach, geboren 1964, arbeitet als Strafverteidiger und Schriftsteller in Berlin. Seine Storybände »Verbrechen« und »Schuld« wurden, genau wie sein erster Roman »Der Fall Collini«, zu internationalen Bestsellern. In mehr als dreißig Ländern erschienen Übersetzungen. Schirach wurde mit dem Kleist-Preis und anderen - auch internationalen - Literaturpreisen ausgezeichnet. Zuletzt veröffentlichte er im September 2013 seinen Roman »Tabu«. In seinen Essays und Reden äußert er sich regelmäßig zu großen gesellschaftspolitischen Themen.

Meine Meinung:

Bei Verbrechen handelt es sich um ein Buch das insgesamt 11 Kurzgeschichten enthält. Jede handelt davon das jemand mit dem Gesetz in Berührung kam und zumeist einen Strafverteidiger brauchte. Diese Fälle wurden von Ferdinand von Schirach vertreten. Er erzählt uns mit Verbrechen über 11 Fälle und deren Ausgang. Die erste Geschichte handelt von einem Mann, der sich mittlerweile in Ruhestand befindet, und mit jungen Jahren seine Ehe mit den Worten bis das der Tod uns scheidet besiegelte. Jetzt in seinem Ruhestand, beging er eine grausame Tat. Interessant war zu lesen wie der Fall ausging. Kurz darauf erinnerte ich mich auch, diesen Fall auch einmal im Fernsehen gesehen zu haben.

Lustig fand ich die Geschichte mit den 9 Brüdern und wie einer der Brüder versuchte, seinen Bruder damit vorm Gericht zu retten. Die Verwirrung des Richters und der Staatsanwaltschaft war richtig heraus zu lesen. Ich fand diesen Fall irgendwie recht amüsant.

In einem weiteren Fall wurde sogar ganz zum Schluss Geld gesammelt, damit der Angeklagte zurück in seine Wahlheimat reisen konnte. Da fragte ich mich ob es wirklich so etwas gibt.

Verbrechen bereitete mir angenehme Lesestunden. Da die Geschichten nicht allzu lang waren, konnte man immer eine so zwischendurch weg lesen und schon war das Buch auch beendet. Die Fälle waren interessant geschrieben und auch einfach zu lesen. Keine großen Abschweifungen sondern direkt meist auf den Punkt gebracht. Die Sätze waren nicht zu sehr in die Länge gezogen.

Wieviel Wahrheit hier nun wirklich drin steckt, ist nicht ganz klar. Ich denke allerdings das die Geschichten um die Straftaten eine Mischung aus Realität und Fiktion sind.
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LibraryThing member fist
Short stories, each one about a specific crime (most often involving murder), whereby each story is masterfully constructed. As a criminal lawyer, Ferdinand von Schirach has personally seen many of similar cases up close, and he narrates them with in clear sentences with a crisp logic and deep understanding of human nature. The fact that the author is the grandson of Baldur von Schirach, the founder of the Hitler Youth, provides a totally unjustified extra frisson. But it probably has made him think from an early age about good and evil, or temptation and virtue. Each story could almost be made into a separate novel; that's how good the plot, the character development and the story details are.… (more)


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