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Basel, a peaceful Swiss Village, finds itself in the midst of a bank robbery/murder scandal during the winter of 1933-1934. The police are scouring the area for two well-dressed men. Kurt Sandway and Waldemar Velte casually take a room in Basel and, essentially, hide in plain sight. The two befriend the shop girl, Dorly, and neither she nor anyone else has a clue about the true intentions of these two gentlemen. However, casualties pile up, when clues lead to the boarding house, and the two in question are on the run. With quirky, multi-layered characters and a bit of bumbling suspense, Capus cleverly presents the opposing traits of these uncommon criminals!
With brilliantly vivid irony, a mosaic of voices tells the true story of Switzerland's most notorious bank robbers: Kurt Sandweg and Waldemar Velte. As 1933 draws to a close, the pair arrive in Basel from Wuppertal, Germany. Rebels on the run, they are searching for an escape from the confines of a callously regimented society left impoverished by the Depression and the onset of Nazi power. However, their desperation leads them to a realm outside reality, on a destructive path of vengeance for the world's abhorrent lack of justice. Resolute on their doomed mission, neither expected to fall in love. Seen through the benign eyes of Dorly Schupp, the agonising humanity of their relationships are sharply juxtaposed against the reckless cruelty of their crimes. Yet in a world equally heartless and unremitting, who should shoulder the blame? Capus relates the portrait of these chillingly charismatic figures in a curious blend of documentary and narrative where precision of detail collides with an economy of emotion, and leaves the desolation of their situation stark and blindingly poignant. Suspended between the tragic and comic, Capus's novel mimics the absurd idiosyncrasies of life where often nothing but interpretation is left to determine the sacred from the profane.
About the Author
Alex Capus is a French-Swiss novelist who writes in German. His works of fiction and non-fiction that have been translated into English include Sailing by Starlight (2008), A Matter of Time (2009), Leon and Louise (2012) Almost Like Spring (2013) and Skidoo (2014).