Sunday, January 22, 2017

Thumbprint by Friedrich Glauser

(pb; originally published as Wachtmeister Studer in 1936. First book in the Sergeant Struder series.Translated from the German by Mike Mitchell in 1995.)

From the back cover:

"The death of a traveling salesman appears to be an open and shut case. Studer is confronted with an obvious suspect and a confession to the murder. But nothing is what it seems. Envy, hatred, and the corrosive power of money lie just beneath the surface. Studer’s investigation soon splinters the glassy façade of Switzerland’s tidy villages and manicured forests."


Thumbprint is a good, intriguing police procedural, punctuated with its lead character's intuitive flights of logic-driven fantasy -- one of Studer's idiosyncratic traits. It is these traits, along with Studer's patience, empathy and sense of justice, that lead him to flush out the whys of the novel's events and the motivations of the bad guys (who do not pretend to be otherwise). Good, sometimes chatty tale, this -- one worth reading -- from a writer whose personal life is equally (if not more) fascinating.

Followed by In Matto's Realm.


Wachtmeister Studer was released in Germany on October 13, 1939. It was directed by Leopold Lindtberg and scripted by Horst Budjuhn, Kurt Guggenheim and Richard Schweizer.

Heinrich Gretler played Jakob Struder. Adolf Manz played Burgermeister Aeschbacher. Bertha Danegger played Mutter Aeschbacher. Armin Schweizer played Gottlieb Ellenberger.

Ellen Widmann played Anstasis Witschi. Robert Trosch played Armin Witschi. Anne-Marie Blanc played Sonja Witschi. Robert Bichler played Erwin Schlumpf.

Hans Kaes played Polizist Murmann. Zarli Carigiet played Schreier. Rudolf Bernhard played Schwomm. Alfred Lucca played Gerber.


A remake, Kriminalassistent Bloch, was released in Denmark on October 22, 1943. It was co-directed by Poul Bang, from a script by co-director Grete Frisch and Axel Frisch (the film's star).

Axel Frische played Kriminalassistent Bloch. Elith Pio played Kriminalassistent Steffenson. Ellen Margrethe Stein, billed as Ellen Margr. Stein, played Jenny Frank. Sigurd Langberg played Redaktør Philipsen.

Asbjørn Andersen played Frugtplantagejeer Steen.Betty Vølund played Sonja Frank. Jens Asby played Otto Frank. Tove Bang played Berta.

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