The bestselling crime novel from the author of The Reader
Sixty-eight years old; a smoker of Sweet Aftons, a dedicated drinker of Aviateur cocktails, and the owner of a charismatic cat named Turbo, Gerhard Self is a somewhat unconventional private detective. During the war he was a Nazi state prosecutor, and he is still haunted by the memories of his misguided youth. His usual cases involve insurance investigations - such as the case of the ballet dancer who may or may not have deliberately broken his leg in order to claim compensation - and he shares them over games of Doppelkopf with his friends: a chess master, an ornithologist and a surgeon. So when Self is summoned by his long-time friend and rival Korten to investigate several incidents of computer-hacking at a chemicals company, he finds himself dealing with an unfamiliar kind of crime, and one that throws up many challenges for the computer-illiterate detective. But in his search for the hacker and his attempts to prevent a hazardous chemical leak, Self stumbles upon something far more sinister. His investigation eventually unearths dark secrets that have been hidden for decades, and forces Self to confront his own demons of guilt, responsibility and loyalty. Self's Punishment is a remarkable and an involving novel. It's a gripping detective story that has real depth, and it heralds the arrival of a complex, charming, spirited hero.
Here the crime novel becomes the vessel for a more raw, immediate and violent response to the demands of guilt and reparation than The Reader allows... strangely compelling. - SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY
crammed full of ideas - TIME OUT
Gerhard Self is a find. He is likeable, eccentric and on the lookout for women... He is tough without any macho attitude and feels guilt when it is appropriate. He also, without any seeming angst, takes the law into his own hands. I look forward to his next appearance. - SPECTATOR - Harriet Waugh
As in The Reader, the Nazi years cast their shadow and Self finds himself forced to decide matters of life and death. But the darkness of the plot is offset by Schlink's entertaining character with an appetite as he hears 70 for women, cocktails and Sweet Afton cigarettes. - DAILY MAIL
Bernhard Schlink was born in Germany is 1944. A professor of law at Humboldt University, Berlin, and Cardozo Law School, New York, he is the author of the major internationally bestselling novel The Reader, which became an Oscar-winning film starring Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes, the short story collections Flights of Love and Summer Lies, and several prize-winning crime novels. He lives in Berlin and New York.