The Arbogast Case

Written by Thomas Hettche
Review by Jetta Culpepper

Adults attracted to legal thrillers will find this highly recommended book a must read. It stands somewhat distinguished from writings of American authors. Hettche’s original work was in German, and he enriches the story with an international element. This is his first work to be translated into English.

In the fall of 1953 Hans Arbogast, employed as a traveling salesman in West Germany, picked up a female hitchhiker, a refugee from East Germany. The location recalls stories of the Black Forest and the poetry of Brecht. The plot moves quickly into erotic sex between these strangers, and suddenly the woman’s body is limp in death. She is found alongside the road, and Arbogast is convicted of murder. He is imprisoned for the next fourteen years until a curious investigative journalist and professionals from other fields set out to have the case reopened. Family stress, unfounded allegations, inadequate police work and a media trial give readers a thrilling fictional escape.