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Meet Fahner, the retired small-town doctor who resorts to the garden axe when his patience with his cruel wife runs out. Or Patrick, so entranced by the sight of his sleeping girlfriend that he cuts a small piece out of her back, just to see what she tastes like. Or the silent assassin who calmly despatches two Neo-Nazi thugs on a railway platform. A nameless lawyer invites us to read an extraordinary dossier of violent and unspeakable acts. All the crimes have one thing in common: the guilty are never convicted in a court of law. But however heinous the crime, the narrator shows how the human circumstances behind events can tell a different story. Ferdinand von Schirach, himself a criminal lawyer, unveils a terrifying world where criminals elude justice, and the apparent innocents are perhaps the most dangerous of all. 'Guilt', writes von Schirach, 'always presents a bit of a problem'. In this nuanced and telling collection, guilt is indeed never as clear cut as the crime.
Chatto & Windus
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