In Matto's Realm, Paperback
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


Studer investigates when the director vanishes and a child murderer escapes from an insane asylum in Bern, an environment Glauser knew all too well from personal experience.

Set in the 1920s, the novel explores the no-man's-land between reason and madness where Matto, the spirit of insanity, reigns.

Dubions psychological theories and therapies abound and the asylum darkly mirrors the world outside.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9781904738060



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Friedrich Glauser is a German writer who spent much of his life in psychiatric hospitals before dying at the age of 42. Glauser is also a classic crime novelist and Germany's crime fiction award is called the Glauser Prize.<i>In Matto's Realm</i> is part of a series involving Detective Studer, this installment taking place in a Swiss psychiatric hospital. The director and a patient have gone missing and Studer, who has been demoted and disgraced, has been sent there to discretely make inquiries. The acting director has requested him personally. What Studer walks into is a complicated web of close, but not always friendly, relationships, with each person hiding something, none more than the enigmatic acting director, a psychiatrist who alternates between seemingly sincere friendship and a smiling mask. First published in 1936, <i>In Matto's Realm</i> shows the living and working conditions in a supposedly modern institution. Glauser also says quite a lot about the difficulty the ordinary working man had in just making ends meet, and how that was often an insurmountable task. He has great sympathy for ordinary men broken by circumstance. In this, the book is interesting and an important memory of the past. On the other hand, the mystery itself was convoluted and required a lengthy explanation at the end of the book, which is where most of the action occurs. This is a worthwhile book if you're interested in Europe during the interwar years or in the history of the German mystery novel. Nonetheless, as a crime novel it falls short, although there are a few intriguing characters and Glauser writes with real empathy for the people at the bottom of society.

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