A bestseller in Germany since its 2011 release, with rights sold in seventeen countries, The Collini Case combines the classic courtroom procedural with modern European history in a legal thriller worthy of John Grisham and Scott Turow.
Fabrizio Collini is recently retired. He's a quiet, unassuming man with no indications that he's capable of hurting anyone. And yet he brutally murders a prominent industrialist in one of Berlin's most exclusive hotels.
Collini ends up in the charge of Caspar Leinen, a rookie defense lawyer eager to launch his career with a not-guilty verdict. Complications soon arise when Collini admits to the murder but refuses to give his motive, much less speak to anyone. As Leinen searches for clues he discovers a personal connection to the victim and unearths a terrible truth at the heart of Germany's legal system that stretches back to World War II. But how much is he willing to sacrifice to expose the truth?
"Given the advanced ages of the two principals, readers will have no trouble guessing that the killer's motive has something to do with WWII. Even the courtroom scenes lack genuine drama." - Publishers Weekly
"Not just entertaining but historically significant." Library Journal
"It is the care von Schirach takes with history, with the return of the repressed, that makes this short book remarkable." Kirkus Reviews
"A miracle of purpose and precision that leaves most bloated thrillers on the starting blocks." Financial Times
"[The] way Leinen digs for facts animate what is a tight-lipped but involving mystery." Booklist
"Von Schirach has a style that is elegant, precise and lean." The Toronto Star
"This certainly isn't a comfortable story, but it is an important one and like all the best murder mysteries, this one has a twist." The Spectator (UK)
"Everything about Ferdinand von Schirach and The Collini Case is extraordinary." Sunday Times (UK)
"This is a small gem sly, trenchant and provocative, none of its conclusions foregone." The Guardian (UK)
" Extremely persuasive. The trial scenes are excellent." The Scotsman (UK)
"Don't tell John Grisham but legal dramas don't actually need to be gratuitously cliffhanger-packed, 4,000 page affairs Von Schirach's economy of writing and knowledge of his subject are key to The Collini Case's success." Metro (UK)
"A magnificent storyteller." Der Spiegel
"Terrific." Elle (Germany)
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Rated of 5
Interesting legal thriller
The Collini Case by Ferdinand Von Schirach is a well written book about the first defense case for young Caspar Leinen representing the 67 year old Italian, Collini who admits to the murder of 85 year old Hans Meyer but refuses to give a motive. Through his investigation and trial preparation, readers learn of the history of Caspar, Collini, and Meyer. This was an interesting glimpse of the legal system in Germany, a partial evolution of its Criminal Code, and how the law was interpreted while prosecuting Nazis. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading courtroom procedural dramas or WW II historical fiction.
Ferdinand Von Schirach is one of Germany's most prominent defense lawyers and a prolific author. His short story collections, Crime and Guilt, were instant bestsellers in Germany and have been translated in more than thirty territories. He lives in Berlin.
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