The Judge and his Executioner (Hangman) Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Judge and his Executioner (Hangman)

A man found dead in his car is discovered to be a policman, and the small town policeman who finds him is ill-equipped to investigate the murder. The case is given to the dead man's superior, a man named Barlach. Barlach's boss, Lutz, loves the new crime-solving technology that he saw while in Chicago, but Barlach wants nothing to do with such things. He tells his boss, right from the start, that he has a suspect in mind, but won't say who that suspect is to anyone, not even Tschanz, the young officer who has been assigned to help him. Politics gets involved in the case, as Barlach and Tschanz discover that their investigation is hindered by the fact that the politically conscious Lutz is tying their hands. There's more going on in this book than there first appears to be, and Barlach is sharper than he seems. This case ties in with a murderer from Barlach's past that he was never able to bring to justice. This book was originally written in German, but English translations aren't hard to find.
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The review of this Book prepared by Melissa Cookson

THE JUDGE AND HIS EXECUTIONER (Der Richter und sein Henker) is a novel published in 1952.

Police Detective Baerlach, suffering from a terminal disease, ends his professional career in the police department of the city of Bern, Switzerland. When one of his colleagues is found dead in his car in the mountains nearby, Baerlach decides to take charge of the case because he feels that his long-term personal enemy of 40 years may be involved in this case. In the company of inspector Tschanz, he will discover that the murdered policeman was spying, under a false name, the hosts, industrials and politicians, who were regularly gathering at Dr Gastmann's mansion.

The review of this Book prepared by Daniel Staebler

Chapter Analysis of The Judge and his Executioner (Hangman)

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 55%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 25%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   Dry-cynical    -   depressing/sad How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given    -   Challenging Time/era of story:    -   1930's-1950's What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   50%    -   nearly 100% Murder of certain profession?    -   lawmen Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   solving long-past murder Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, Foreign Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   politics Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes General Crime (including known murderer)    -   Yes Who's the criminal enemy here?    -   catching con-artist

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   60's-90's Ethnicity/Race    -   Swiss


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   Turkey    -   Switzerland City?    -   Yes Misc setting    -   fancy mansion

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Unusual forms of death    -   crushed    -   perforation--bullets Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Friedrich Durrenmatt Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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