Review: Ferdinard von Schirach's second collection of short stories, simply titled Guilt, is a tautly written set of tales based on true-life crimes known to the author.
Most of these stories are truly short, some spanning less than five pages. They share a more-or-less common structure: a backstory in which characters are introduced and the crime committed or described; a first person account from the attorney — presumably the author himself, though that may not be a reasonable assumption to make — involved in the case that follows; and a final summary (or summation), often one that provides a personal observation or unexpected twist on the proceedings. Despite the brevity of the stories, the settings are frequently atmospheric and there's a surprising amount of character development.
The book's title suggests that all the stories share a common theme — guilt — and if so, it is one that comes with some subtlety attached to it; guilt is not always associated with, or limited to, the guilty. Indeed, a more obvious common thread to the stories might be ordinary people reacting to extraordinary situations.
The final tale, one not even three pages in length, provides a most entertaining twist on the collection as a whole. Guilt is a somewhat unusual collection of stories, one that clearly won't be to everyone's liking, but one that might cause readers to think a bit more about what the word means in a broader context.
Acknowledgment: Random House provided a copy of Guilt for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Guilt:
— ♦ —
Guilt by Ferdinand von Schirach — A Short Story Collection
Publication Date: January 2012
List Price: $24.00
— ♦ —
Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
Mysterious Reviews is a Division of
The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books
and a Business Unit of the
Omnimystery Family of Mystery Websites