The Collini Case

The Collini Case

4.6 3
by Ferdinand von Schirach
     
 

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The internationally bestselling courtroom drama centering on a young German lawyer and a case involving World War II

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

Overview

The internationally bestselling courtroom drama centering on a young German lawyer and a case involving World War II

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?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A magnificent storyteller” – Der Spiegel
 
“A miracle of purpose and precision that leaves most bloated thrillers on the starting blocks.” – Financial Times 
 
“Everything about Ferdinand von Schirach and The Collini Case… is extraordinary.” – Sunday Times (London)
 
“Terrific” – Elle (Germany)
 
“Von Schirach has a style that is elegant, precise and lean.” – The Toronto Star
 
“Not just entertaining but historically significant” – Library Journal
 
“The pleasures of the book are its particulars: of the law and how it is practiced in Germany, the anecdotes that give agency and motive to the characters, fascinating tidbits about detonators, the description of an autopsy. This is the stock and trade of crime fiction. All the conventions—even a love interest—are present; a regular reader will check boxes off a list, and yet this book works magic.” – Kirkus
 
“But the way Leinen digs for facts… animate what is a tight-lipped but involving mystery.” – Booklist
 
The Collini Case takes off running and, without manipulation or stunts other than a brilliantly orchestrated plot, proceeds to tell a whopper of a tale.” – ShelfAwareness
 
“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)
 
“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)
 
“…Extremely persuasive. The trial scenes are excellent.” – The Scotsman
 
“This is a small gem – sly, trenchant and provocative, none of its conclusions foregone.” – The Guardian
Publishers Weekly
Von Schirach, a prominent German advocate for the accused and author of two story collections (Guilt; Crime), disappoints with this present-day legal thriller, a “whydunit.” Fabrizio Collini, a toolmaker in his late 70s, pretends to be a reporter for an Italian newspaper when he calls on 85-year-old Jean-Baptiste Meyer, a German businessman, in his room at Berlin’s Hotel Adlon. Collini later confesses to shooting Meyer four times in the head, and then stamping repeatedly on Meyer’s face. Caspar Leinen, who has just begun work as a defense lawyer, accepts the case before realizing that Meyer’s real name is Hans Meyer, and that he’s an old friend; but Collini wants Leinen to stay on the case, despite this personal connection. 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. (Aug.)
Library Journal
In this international best seller, fledging defense lawyer Caspar Leinen despairs over a client who admits to the murder of a leading industrialist at a classy Berlin hotel but offers no explanation. Eventually, Leinen must untangle unpleasant truths about the German legal system stretching back to World War II.
Kirkus Reviews
Because the murderer makes no attempt to hide his crime, the mystery is the motive in this concise legal thriller. Caspar Leinen is a new lawyer; smart, hardworking, burdened with a sense of justice, even righteousness, but not fool enough to think this will excuse him from having to make a living. His first case is a sensational murder. Fabrizio Collini has killed a man: He admits as much, and the evidence is all over him. When Leinen learns he has a personal connection to the victim, he attempts to back out, but an older colleague, the famous Richard Mattinger, dissuades him. Mattinger is the victim's lawyer, the auxiliary counsel for the prosecution. It is not necessarily a matter of virtue that persuades Leinen to stay on the case. We know what will happen--the question is how: Evil is in the devil, the devil in the details. The pleasures of the book are its particulars: of the law and how it is practiced in Germany, the anecdotes that give agency and motive to the characters, fascinating tidbits about detonators, the description of an autopsy. This is the stock and trade of crime fiction. All the conventions--even a love interest--are present; a regular reader will check boxes off a list, and yet this book works magic. Von Schirach, prominent defense attorney in Germany, author of two highly regarded short story collections (Guilt, 2012, etc.), is renowned for his tone, the evenness with which he treats his facts, the unforced suspense that unnerves his readers. It is the care von Schirach takes with history, with the return of the repressed, that makes this short book remarkable.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143125648
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/27/2014
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
714,305
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“A magnificent storyteller” – Der Spiegel  
“A miracle of purpose and precision that leaves most bloated thrillers on the starting blocks.” – Financial Times 
 
“Everything about Ferdinand von Schirach and The Collini Case… is extraordinary.” – Sunday Times (London)
 
“Terrific” – Elle (Germany)
 
“Von Schirach has a style that is elegant, precise and lean.” – The Toronto Star
 
“Not just entertaining but historically significant” – Library Journal
 
“The pleasures of the book are its particulars: of the law and how it is practiced in Germany, the anecdotes that give agency and motive to the characters, fascinating tidbits about detonators, the description of an autopsy. This is the stock and trade of crime fiction. All the conventions—even a love interest—are present; a regular reader will check boxes off a list, and yet this book works magic.” – Kirkus
 
“But the way Leinen digs for facts… animate what is a tight-lipped but involving mystery.” – Booklist
 
The Collini Case takes off running and, without manipulation or stunts other than a brilliantly orchestrated plot, proceeds to tell a whopper of a tale.” – ShelfAwareness
 
“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)
 
“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)
 
“…Extremely persuasive. The trial scenes are excellent.” – The Scotsman
 
“This is a small gem – sly, trenchant and provocative, none of its conclusions foregone.” – The Guardian

Meet the Author

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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The Collini Case 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Barca6 More than 1 year ago
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. I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads Firstreads
GinaK More than 1 year ago
I have read both of Von Schirach's previous books that have appeared in English, and I was not disappointed in this one. Yes, the murderer's motivation was predictable, but the legal twist was sad and not a little horrifying. I can see why the German audience made this a best seller. I also love Von Schirach's simple, elegant prose style and his lifelike yet existential characters. But don't think this book is "literary" but rather an interesting story well-told. I look forward to Von Schirach's next book!