Author(s): Bernhard Schlink
Gerhard Self, the Sweet-Afton smoking, sambuca-swilling, most unlikely of PIs is back in a new tale of deception and intrigue, set against the backdrop of post-reunification Germany.
After a chance encounter with the owner of a prestigious private bank, the now septuagenarian detective is enlisted to delve into the institution's history, apparently in the name of a book to commemorate the bank's foundation. But his seemingly anodyne brief - to discover the identity of a sleeping partner from several decades before - throws up far more questions than answers. As it becomes clear that the sleeping partner is in no way the most mysterious aspect of the bank's history, Self begins to suspect his mission may have been but a ruse to lure him into the shady world of the bank's enigmatic masters - a certain Herr Welker and his steely Russian foster brother Samarin.
Trying in vain to extricate himself and his increasingly shaky heart from the web of deceit - and to work out who really is the baddie of the piece - Self is thrown headlong into a tale of money-laundering, murder and mafiosi.
But who is blackmailing whom?
Did Welker's wife really die in a tragic accident?
Bernhard Schlink was born in Germany in 1944. A professor of law at the University of Berlin and a practising judge, he is the author of the major international best-selling novel The Reader as well as several prize-winning crime novels. He lives in Bonn and Berlin.