Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Allmen and the Dragonflies” as Want to Read:
Allmen and the Dragonflies
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Allmen and the Dragonflies

(Allmen #1)

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  931 ratings  ·  64 reviews
A thrilling art heist escapade infused with European high culture and luxury that doesn't shy away from the darker side of human nature.

Johann Friedrich von Allmen, a bon vivant of dandified refinement, has exhausted his family fortune by living in Old World grandeur despite present-day financial constraints. Forced to downscale, Allmen inhabits the garden house of his
Paperback, 187 pages
Published May 8th 2018 by New Vessel Press (first published 2011)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Allmen and the Dragonflies, please sign up.
Recent Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  931 ratings  ·  64 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Allmen and the Dragonflies
Maine Colonial
This is the first volume in a caper series featuring Johann Friedrich von Allmen, gentleman thief. Allmen’s father had been a farmer whose shrewd property dealings made him a fortune. Wanting to give his son a higher station in life, he sent him to the best international schools and indulged every desire of Allmen for travel, fine clothing, dining, entertainment and all the accoutrements of high society. Unfortunately, only a few years after Allmen’s father’s death, Allmen has run through all ...more
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is something about reading the works of Martin Suter that calms me. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but I suspect it has something with the calm yet steady pace of his plots. In Allmen und die Libellen (or Allmen and the Dragonflies )he takes his uncomplicated – yet somehow elegant – use of language and characterization into the mystery genre. The book’s description calls it a mystery book. Suter says, “Each of my novels is an homage to a literary genre. This is one to crime series and ...more
Brooke Salaz
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Light but fun. Allmen is a character one shouldn't like, inherited fortune, frittered it away, no work ethic but for some reason he's appealing. He refuses to concede to his dire straits and continues his life of dissipated indulgence, in debt to everyone. His "valet" Carlos is basically working for him for free and is the source of any bits of common sense filtering down to his boss. Allmen accidentally stumbles onto a crime through his own kleptomania and despite all his flaws manages to ...more
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
The author is darkly comic as they say and I enjoyed the change of pace from the regular detective or crime genre. The book was translated to English and read fast and easily....a short book. Fun to read. Am looking forward to the follow up book due out soon I understand.
Aug 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now that I've finally started reading Martin Suter, I thought I should continue with some of his crime novels. And I wasn't wrong with my choice. The first of his Allmen novels is a very interesting take on the whole private eye genre. As with many crime novels that I like, the whole thing is about so many different things but rarely about the crime itself.
I'll definitely continue reading Suter's books.
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german-books
Seriously... Martin Suter can do no wrong in my mind. And yet, for the first half of the book I thought I would be disappointed by him for the first time. But then he turned it around and now I want to read all the other books in the series (which I fortunately received as a gift last Christmas). The main character Allmen is a spoiled brat to say the least, but in the end I ended up pulling for him anyways.
Jennifer Malinowski
Jul 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I was unfamiliar with Martin Suter prior to reading Allmen and the Dragonflies. The short book, translated from the German, was an enjoyable way to spend the evening. Built upon a theft of the Art Deco glass artist Emile Galle's dragonflies pieces, I found the story plausible, but less the "thrilling art heist" described in other reviews of the book (some reviews not on Goodreads). In some ways, it reminded me of an Agatha Christie book: not so much thrilling or heart-racing storytelling, but ...more
Jul 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
This was a quick read, but I generally enjoyed it. For an international art heist caper, this was pretty low key (mild spoiler: (view spoiler)). I think part of the issue was the character development for Allmen--an issue that many first books in a series have to deal with, but I really didn't mind reading about Allmen's past and lifestyle, etc. In a sense, Allmen reminded me of ...more
Kylah Peterman
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, giveaways
No longer rich, Johann Friedrich von Allmen, emphasis on the A, refuses to give up his indulgences and lifestyle, relying on credit and his former good standing. When a one-night stand leads him to discover the valuable Dragonfly bowls in his lover’s home, what could be the harm in nicking just one? After the man he sells the bowl to is found murdered and an attempt is made on Allmen’s life, Allmen and his valet, Carlos, try to find a way to extricate themselves from a theft gone horribly wrong ...more
R Fontaine
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: french-milieu
The first of what will be a series of Johan Frederick Von Allmens quirky main character.
He and his ‘Guatamalian assistant’ Carlos barely are barely able to keep their head above water given the exorbitant lifestyle Von Allman has led - and wants to continue to lead. The plot crystallizes when Von Allmen’s credit is no longer good and he runs into a potentially violent holder of his debt.
Solution: Steal a Vase created by the French artist Émile Gallé decorated with a dragonfly motif that is (if
International heist mystery that is slow to start and a little confusing with regards to timeline - the present and the past blurred into one before the story kicked off when we arrive back in the present.

JF van Allmen is the antihero, who finances his lifestyle through thefts and insurance frauds, before deciding to use his skills for good rather than evil. But that is only after using theft as a means also to pay off his creditors, only to have it taken away again. The mysterious manservant
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: brettlikesbooks

a delightful romp through allmen’s world of art, thievery, and living beyond his means + this first book of the series establishes allmen as a thoroughly likable scoundrel, flâneur, wastrel, and bon vivant

“And luxury was one of Allmen’s greatest weaknesses...
The opera premiere subscription was another core item on Allmen’s list of basic needs. If you couldn’t afford that, you really were broke.”

instagram book reviews @brettlikesbooks
An interesting, convoluted-enough, story about a man who inherits great wealth, squanders it, sells most of his possessions and then resorts to crime. Then a change of fortune (this is where the convolution comes in), then a change back, then the possibility of a new career. Fun.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
great sense of humour
Christian Mahncke
Nice introduction to a series of cases which invites to casual reading
Becci West
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Suzanne Zeitouni
Apr 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Very quick, low key art caper. First in series.
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Allmen is involved in an art heist to recover debt. During this escapade, the characters dark sides come out. I good quick read with more books to follow.
Christoph Weber
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick and easy read, fun enough and should be a start to a nice series that I can read inbetween.
Seizure Romero
3.5 stars, really.
M.A.  Wohl
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So different, so refreshing, such a perfect mystery novel !
John Beckham
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sherlock Holmes mixed with Arsin Lupin. This is a great story, fun and fast moving. Great scenery and food. Suspense.
Anne, Unfinished Woman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angela Beske
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
LOVED that book! Written with a marvelous amount of humor. Excellent translation.
Wish I could find Kindle editions for under $10 - that is just too expensive. I'll be in Germany in a couple of months and buy them there. I did find an English paperback of "Small World" used on Amazon.
Jan 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read a Suter and I got one. As expected, good story telling, interesting characters, a good style and a very good understanding of human nature.

Allmen und die Libellen is the first book in the Allmen series. Allmen used to be the very rich, very spoiled, very oblivious to the costs of his life-style son of a selfmade millionaire. After all the riches are gone, he now lives in the garden house of his former villa, assisted by his former gardener Carlos.

The book tells the story of how
Oct 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh you just simply can't go wrong with Martin Suter!!!!
Read the book in one go today!

Need to wait until m next stay in Germany to get the rest of Suters books..!!!

Every sentence is just a poem, how is he doing that? <3
Good and smooth read, interesting characters
John Wintersteen
Mar 09, 2019 marked it as wish-list-possibles  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: priorities
This has been translated from German. From NYT international books mar 2019. There’s a second in the series that has been translated too
Peter Jakobs
The plot is less important and somewhat trivial. But the person von Allmen got well introduced in this book and Suter's writing is always a light pleasure.
Pat Gerber-Relf
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Martin Suter's first attempt at a detective story. Not bad, can only get better.
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Schuld
  • The Collini Case
  • Verbrechen
  • Herkunft
  • La stanza del Vescovo
  • Kaffee und Zigaretten
  • Faserland
  • Das größere Wunder
  • Becks laatste zomer
  • Il diavolo nel cassetto
  • Soloalbum
  • Engadiner Abgründe
  • Tschick
  • Der Club
  • Auris
  • Lost in Fuseta (Lost in Fuseta, #1)
  • Venere privata (Duca Lamberti, #1)
  • Lost in Fuseta:  Spur der Schatten (Lost in Fuseta, #2)
See similar books…
Martin Suter (b. February 29, 1948, Zürich) is a Swiss author. He became known for his weekly column Business Class in the Weltwoche newspaper (1992–2004), now appearing in the Tages-Anzeiger, and another column appearing in "NZZ Folio". Suter has published seven novels, for which he received various awards. He is married and lives in Spain and Guatemala.

[from Wikipedia]

Other books in the series

Allmen (6 books)
  • Allmen und der rosa Diamant
  • Allmen und die Dahlien (Allmen, #3)
  • Allmen und die verschwundene María (Allmen #4)
  • Allmen und die Erotik (Allmen, #5)
  • Allmen und der Koi
“Allmen musste ein Buch, das er einmal angefangen hatte, zu Ende lesen, selbst wenn es noch so schlecht war. Er tat dies nicht aus Respekt dem Autor gegenüber, sondern aus Neugier. Er glaubte, dass jedes Buch ein Geheimnis habe, und sei es auch nur die Antwort auf die Frage, weshalb es geschrieben wurde.” 3 likes
More quotes…