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Self's Murder: A Gerhard Self Mystery    by Bernhard Schlink Amazon.com order for
Self's Murder
by Bernhard Schlink
Order:  USA  Can
Vintage, 2009 (2009)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Even though he is now seventy, Gerhard Self has not given up his profession sleuthing. He also has trouble with commitment issues - about which his girlfriend Brigitte is not too happy.

Facing one of the most baffling and unusual cases of his career, Self can't resist. A man on the street hurriedly hands Self a suitcase full of money, then leaps into a car and promptly crashes into a tree and dies. Prior to this, Herr Welker (part owner of a German bank) approached Self to find his silent partner. No record of the person exists and Welker wants to write a history of the bank.

Self, in pursuit of this silent partner, travels to East Germany shortly after the fall of Communism, and there closes in on a money-laundering ring with close connections to the Russian Mafia.

Self's Murder is the third in the series. Self is rather a breath of fresh air in that he is not young, not a hunk or an intellectual, but an ordinary man with a great sense of curiosity and a compulsion to finish what he starts. He's just not ready to throw in the towel and retire completely. He is at his best while investigating, enjoying bringing the wrong-doer to justice.

Self is soft-spoken with the courage of his convictions. Rather, I suspect, like his author. The plot takes Self through East Germany with some beautifully written prose. His characters are personal and easy to believe in, with dialogue that I wish I could write.

Unfortunately, the author set out to write a trilogy, so Self will not return unless Mr. Schlink has a change of heart. I hope he does.

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