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…


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 🙂

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

  1. The Collini Case.
    Congrats Kath, we’ll done. I am intrigued by all these Katharinas – you, first sentence, and then there is the Katharina Code. That would have been a good question too!

    • Thanks so much, 4cities. And I know!!! I hadn’t read the first story when I accepted the translation, so imagine my surprise when I opened the book and the very first word was my name! Schicksal…

  2. Wow the book looks and sounds amazing…I enjoyed your Crime Time piece too, and the review by Victoria Heldt…Well done you! It would be amazing to read it!
    Debut Novel: The Collini Case…

  3. His debut novel was ‘The Collini Case’!
    Congratulations on the positive reviews and good luck with sales, Mrs P!

  4. Sorry if this has been left twice – I’m having a few issues with old WordPress! The answer is The Collini Case, which my book group read and loved!

  5. Verbrechen (“Crime”)…. and looking forward to “Punishment”Keep up the good workKind regards Alaster Rutherford

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

  6. Looking forward to reading this, Kat. The Collini Case tr. Anthea Bell (training myself to always put translator) was the debut novel.

  7. So pleased to read about the contents of the short stories in Punishment, Kat. I’m always interested in how the law operates-hangover from a past life- and enjoy reading on this topic, ( eg Women who kill by Alia Trabucco Zeran).Thanks

    • Thanks very much, Mandy – it is indeed a very rich collection in terms of interrogating the law. I didn’t realise you had a legal background. How intriguing…! And I will check out the Trabucco Zeran.

  8. I missed the draw (I suspect from the comments that the answer was The Collini Case).

    I do enjoy foreign crime fiction; it is (almost) like going on holiday.

    Do you think you could persuade somebody to let you translate Still by Zoran Drvenkar for me? I’d be ever so grateful 🙂

    • Hi James – Yes, THE COLLINI CASE! And I totally agree, there’s something about crime set in other lands that allows the mind to travel in a beautifully unfettered way (particularly welcome at the moment).

      I’ve just checked out STILL – it looks like a rollercoaster ride! Have you read his earlier novels, like SORRY? I haven’t as yet…

      • I have, both Sorry and You; I really enjoyed them, though beauty is in the eye of the beholder. He writes like a railway engine. I suspect it is even better in his native tongue, though I’m afraid that is beyond me.

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