Publication Giveaway! Ferdinand von Schirach’s PUNISHMENT, tr. Katharina Hall (Germany)

Ferdinand von Schirach, Punishment, trans. from the German by Katharina Hall, Baskerville 2022

First line: Katharina was raised in the Upper Black Forest.

Well, this isn’t your standard Mrs. Peabody review, because for the first time in eleven years of blogging I’m the translator of the featured book! So here’s a bit about this bestselling German author and his work, followed by details of a scrumptious Punishment Publication Giveaway!

Some of you may already have read works by German defence-lawyer-turned-writer Ferdinand von Schirach. He came to prominence in the English-speaking world with his debut novel The Collini Case (tr. Anthea Bell), a gripping page-turner that asked some big legal and ethical questions of post-war Germany.

Alongside other novels, plays and TV dramas, von Schirach has also published three collections of crime stories, the latest of which is Punishment. I’ve always had a soft spot for von Schirach’s short stories, which (to a greater or lesser degree) draw on his own experiences and observations of the German justice system. He’s a master of the form, creating punchy tales based on fascinating premises and scenarios.

Punishment features 12 stories, 12 crimes, 12 punishments, each of which raises complex questions about morality, justice, and what it means to be human in extremis – whether you’re a young woman, defence lawyer, bereaved mother, lonely widower, school boy, supermarket manager, disgruntled wife or simply a devoted friend. By turns hard-hitting, moving and darkly humorous, these stories and fates will stay with you for a long time to come.

Six of the stories have just been adapted for TV by German channel RTL, and premiered at this year’s CANNESSERIES festival. These stills will give you a flavour…

And here are a couple of snippets from Christian House’s recent review of Punishment in the Financial Times ‘Best Books of the Week’ section:

I’m delighted the reviewer chose to highlight the humour of this particular story, as I think von Schirach’s talent for deadpan comedy often gets overlooked!

There’s also a lovely vlog review by Victoria Heldt – it’s a 10/10 from her…

AND NOW TO OUR PUNISHMENT GIVEAWAY…

To celebrate the publication of Punishment, Mrs. Peabody has three copies of the book to give away! If you are in the UK and would like to enter, just answer the following question in the comments below: what was the title of Ferdinand von Schirach’s debut novel?

The draw will take place on Saturday 27 August and winners will be contacted directly. Good luck! Viel Glück!

Finally, for those of you interested in the experience of translating Punishment, take a look at my piece over on Crime Time, which discusses the pleasures and challenges of the process!

The Giveaway competition has now closed 🙂

Summer smörgåsbord of crime

The big work deadlines have been met, so it’s time to wind down with some summer crime…

I recently treated myself to two crime novels from the wonderful selection at Orenda Books: Vanda Symon’s Overkill and Antti Tuomainen’s The Rabbit Factor (translated from the Finnish by David Hackston).

So far I’ve read the excellent Overkill, the first in Symon’s ‘Sam Shephard’ series, which is set in rural New Zealand. When young mother Gaby Knowes goes missing in odd circumstances, Sam, the police constable with sole responsibility for the small town of Mataura, is called in to investigate. After Gaby is found washed up dead on the river bank, things get very complicated, not least because Gaby’s husband is Sam’s ex. Now, as well as having to untangle what happened to Gaby, Sam has to prove that she had no involvement in events herself.

Sam is a really great character: down-to-earth, self-deprecating and smart as a whip (as is her long-suffering flatmate Maggie). I hugely enjoyed the novel’s depiction of small-town New Zealand life and its nature, and the resolution to the mystery was very satisfying as well.

Mick Herron has just won the 2022 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award for his thriller Slough House, the seventh in the ‘Slough House / Slow Horses’ series. It was actually Mick’s fifth shortlisting for the award in six years, so this must have been a particularly satisfying win, and was possibly helped along by the new TV adaptation featuring Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb. I’m a big fan of the series, which I always think of as an off-beat successor to John le Carre’s ‘Smiley’ novels. How funny that Gary Oldman has now played both Smiley and Lamb!

As it happens, I’ve just read Herron’s Dolphin Junction (Baskerville 2021), a wonderful set of stories starring both Jackson Lamb and the investigative duo Joe Silverman / Zoë Boehm. Highly enjoyable and perfect for lounging in the park on a warm summer’s day.

There’s another set of short stories out on 18 August from Baskerville: Punishment by German defence-lawyer-turned-writer Ferdinand von Schirach. The translator is my good self (as readers of this blog may know, I left academia in 2016, and have worked as a professional translator and editor since then). I can’t wait for Punishment to be out in the big wide world, and will tell you lots more about this unforgettable book on publication day. In the meantime, you can find out more here.

Wishing you all lovely summer days and happy reading!