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Der Richter und sein Henker

(The Inspector Bärlach Mysteries #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  8,723 ratings  ·  363 reviews
Die Hauptthematik von Der Richter und sein Henker findet man unter anderem bei Dashiell Hammett, Rex Stout, Raymond Chandler und Georges Simenon. Grundthema: der Kampf zweier Parteien, deren eine ein einzelner Detektiv ist. Die gute Partei, Inspektor Bärlach, ist todkrank, und es bleibt ihm nicht mehr viel Zeit, den Verbrecher Gastmann zu überführen."Die Hauptthematik von ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published January 31st 2002 by Diogenes (first published 1951)
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Glenn Russell
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"The difference between humans and wild animals is that humans pray before they commit murder."
-Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1921-1990), Swiss novelist and dramatist

In his short review of this extraordinary novel, my good friend Mark Hebwood from London wrote: "Loved it! This is a bit like taking the essence of detective novels and distilling it down to concentrate. Great plot, excellent twists, and great finale. I immediately bought all other detective novels he wrote."

Thanks, Mark! Likewise, all Frie
Ahmad Sharabiani
519. Der Richter und sein Henker = The Judge and His Hangman, Friedrich Dürrenmatt

The Judge and His Hangman is a 1950 novel by the Swiss writer Friedrich Dürrenmatt. It was first published in English in 1954, in a translation by Cyrus Brooks and later in a translation by Therese Pol. A new translation by Joel Agee appeared in 2006, published together with its sequel Suspicion, as The Inspector Bärlach Mysteries, with a foreword by Sven Birkerts. Together with Dürrenmatt's The Pledge: Requiem for
Unfortunately I guessed the killer very early. Nevertheless Dürrenmatt's tragic parable on the eternal conflict of good and evil in man, packed in a wonderful criminal story, made the book readable.
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Classy broads and dames (and those who love them)
Recommended to Robin by: lark benobi
I think I'm going to make up a new sub-genre. I'm going to call that sub-genre "classy noir". And I'm going to slap that label right on the front cover of this fantastic 1952 novella.

It's SO classy. No shabby P.I. leering at the "assets" of a bodacious blonde (I'm lookin' at YOU Raymond Chandler). No one gets hit with a "sap" (Chandler loves the sap). No one drinks themselves into oblivion alongside their half naked girlfriend like a couple of shameless barflies night after night (you know who y
Greg Brozeit
This is a perfect novella. Dürrenmatt wrote The Judge and his Executioner around the same time as the play The Marriage of Mr. Mississippi. Both stories revolve around the theme of two antagonists who are reunited by circumstances that occurred decades apart.

In 1948 a colleague of Swiss police inspector Bärlach is found murdered, shot and hunched over the steering wheel of his car on a rural highway in the Alps. As he takes up the case, Bärlach is near the end of his career and has a year to liv
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective
Generally I do not like the detective genre that much, but Dürrenmatt in this little book plays a nice game with the reader: it is unclear to the end who is judge and who is executioner. And he also likes to jump over the boundaries of the classic detective story: of course suspense is all around and keeps the attention going, but philosophical side-paths are also regularly followed, especially because the main suspect is the personification of the nihilistic evil. Occasionally the style was a b ...more
Many years ago in Istanbul, two men made a wager--one, that criminals always pay; the other, that he could get away with anything. Forty years later, in Switzerland, a young police officer is murdered, and Inspector Berlach finds he has one last chance to catch Gastmann, the one that got away.

Many good books are just the right length, but there are some out there that deserve to be longer. This is both. As a brief, well-plotted mystery novella detailing the end of one man's forty-year pursuit o
lark benobi
Terrifically entertaining. A good first novel for those studying German who are ready to tackle something longer. I have a copy published in the 50's where the publisher compared Dürrenmatt's style to G.K. Chesterton and Graham Greene, which at first seemed strange (since these three authors seem very dissimilar to me) but on reflection they all employ a subtle, wry humor that makes their sentences and meanings land in unexpected ways.
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: d, 2017

Inspector Barlach is dying. But not fast enough for his arch-enemy

When a member of the Bern police force is shot dead on a Swiss country road, the enigmatic Inspector Barlach and his colleague Tschanz are intent on tracking down the killer. But the ailing Inspector doesn't have time to lose. Soon the pair discover that the victim was murdered on his way to a clandestine party at the home of a wealthy power broker - so why was a local policeman socialising with some of Switzerl
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Such a good, satisfying read! It doesn't matter that it is blink-of-the-eye short. Of course I picked this up knowing it is a mystery novel, and although the murder is discovered on the first page, I almost didn't feel as if I should be trying to solve it alongside Inspector Barlach. Barlach knows things we don't, unlike many detectives in other novels. The specific details of what he knows aren't ever revealed, but the core of what he knows is peeled back so that we see the dirty underneath.

From Wiki:
The novel was once more made into a film in 1975, titled End of the Game, directed by Maximilian Schell, with screenplay by Dürrenmatt and Schell.[5] Jon Voight took lead billing as Walter Tschanz, with Martin Ritt as Hans Bärlach and Robert Shaw as Richard Gastmann. Jacqueline Bisset and Friedrich Dürrenmatt also appeared in the film, and Donald Sutherland played the role of the corpse of Ulrich Schmied. German silent film actress Lil Dagover made her last screen appearance before ret
Andy Weston
Friedrich Dürrenmatt (Swiss) was primarily known as a playwrite, but wrote several philosophical crime thrillers in which he stamped his own unique mark of how he saw the genre. He had a deep dislike for the predictable plot and formulaic structure of the detective novel.
I’ve only read two of his books, but I prefer this to his more famous The Pledge , probably more well-known as a corrupted version of it went on to be two successful films.
This is the first of his Inspector Barlach novels, an
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, fiction
The story glitters with a cutting intelligence bared as the story unfolds. A policeman has been murdered and solving the crime throws up enough questions, twists, moral conundrums, social observations to have made this a 1000 page book. All the more remarkable that in Durrenmatts masterful hands it is covered in 90 or so pages. Also written in the sort of simple German that makes it extremely easy for those whom German is a second language to understand.
Bodosika Bodosika
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read the Scholastic Edition, Though very small but a very very interesting book!
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nostalgia, 2-stars
it was very predictable but i do think the writing was very complex
It was really amazing!
Actually, I can make a list of favourite detective stories by now and the name of Hans Bärlach will be the frist in this list (ahead of Holmes and etc).
First of all, I was my first experience in reading german literature without using a dictionary very often or without any help from my teachers. To tell the truth, I'm proud of myself)
Secondly, it's my first german book about crime, detectives and police. I think it's great! Now I can use my new vocabulary from university
Emilia Barnes
Tense little mystery with a poetic turn and some satisfying twists and turns that came rather unexpected.
Mark Hebwood
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! This is a bit like taking the essence of detective novels and distilling it down to concentrate. Great plot, excellent twists, and great finale. I immediately bought all other detective novels he wrote. They're on next.
I'm so proud of myself for reading an entire novel in German. I didn't really pay attention to a lot of the style at first because I was so focused on translating the book but once I started to go back and reread it the style stood out. The way the author tells what's happening is so abstract and descriptive and I really enjoyed the style.Plot-wise, I just hated the ending of the book and threw it down when I was finished.
John Hatley
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an outstanding detective story and deserves the classification of being not just one of the best in the German language, but also one of the best in world literature.
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Friedrich Dürrenmatt was one of Switzerland’s leading writer-intellectuals, along with Max Frisch and much earlier Gottfried Keller. After studying art history, German literature, philosophy, and the natural sciences at the University of Basel, Dürrenmatt decided to pursue writing as a career and painting as an avocation.

Dürrenmatt is known not only for his plays, including The Visit (Der Besuch der alten Dame) and The Physicists (Die Physiker), but also for his detective novels, of which The J
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Pretty good. Terms such as justice or right are not as clear with Dürrenmatt's detectives as in other stories; chance plays one hell of a role; there are no heroes. Is it nihilistic? I don't know. It's good, though.
Kasa Cotugno
Vintage procedural put out by Pushkin Press -- eyeopening beginning in which a crime scene is totally compromised showing the difference in police tactics. Good, twisty, well written. I'll definitely read the others that have been translated so far.
More school-reading. This book has a the doubtful honor of being one of the few, if not the only book that I read in school that I remember nothing about.


not even who the teacher was that read this with us.

I guess that gets filed under "not remarkable"?
Nov 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun and interesting murder mystery. And it's a German classic as well. Nice.

#1 A policeman is dead and Inspector Barlach has a hunch about the murderer. Bernard Hepton reads Friedrich Dürrenmatt's novella.
Jan 13, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Full of surprises. I think I got a good idea of the story, but will have to read a translation to be sure!
Oct 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Not many words are needed to build a concise story, with a subtle gothic touch and an unexpected end.
Guy Cranswick
Dec 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this and other Durrenmatt many years ago. Liked it. It has a complete atmosphere with characters that were memorable and unusual.
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Size matters. Don't let overoptimiscally people or overconfident males tell you the contrary. True and tested. And with books too. One usually regards thick and long books as something to look up to read and go through it as some kind of competition, forgetting little short germs such as this book I am now reviewing. And more when it comes from a not-so well known Swiss Author.

Not the best start for the review, I know. Completely different from the one of this book, where its 160+ pages condens
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Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1921 – 1990) was a Swiss author and dramatist.

Dürrenmatt was born in the Emmental (canton of Bern), the son of a Protestant pastor. His grandfather Ulrich Dürrenmatt was a conservative politician. The family moved to Bern in 1935. Dürrenmatt began to study philosophy and German language and literature at the University of Zurich in 1941, but moved to the University of Bern af

Other books in the series

The Inspector Bärlach Mysteries (2 books)
  • Der Verdacht

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