The darkness in the mountains of Silvio Huonder Review

For years, had moved troops marauding through the country and the poverty-stricken inhabitants of the last crumb had robbed of their belongings. Here they make their home survival already difficult: narrow, impassable valleys, surrounded by tremendous rock. In summer, the sun penetrates only a few hours through the dense forests. The people here in Graubünden, all hungry Unfortunately, none foreign soul dare more about the way, and everyone has to fight for himself and in his own way around through.

“Deserters, displaced peasants, impoverished craftspeople, orphans, vagrants” unrestrained a break employ unconscionable wherever they suspect something useful. What are the rabble should shy away already? “Law was administered at will.”

After the turmoil of the Napoleonic wars since 1820 Chur the capital of the Swiss canton, talks in which one German, Romansh and Italian. Here the Swiss author Silvio Huonder us into his latest crime novel “The darkness in the mountains.” In the darkness is also some human abysses remain. Huonder told us a historically documented, but never fully enlightened murder case.

“What is what lies within us, murders, steals?” – This thoughtful quote by Georg Buchner, he presents the second part of his novel preceded

The obscure case appears to the documents before quite clear: Thus, the 52-year-old casual laborer Franz Rimmel entered the evening of July 11, 1821. Weihermühle in Bonaduz (while his two companions were waiting outside) and encountered there the miller and his two maids pregnant. They knew each other. Maybe that’s why let the miller, although one had quarreled after ample enjoyment of brandy, Rimmel sleep in the room.

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Driven by “anger, noise and money,” murdered Rimmel (with the participation of the other two men) at night the miller and the maids stole a few items and fled. Two days later, he was captured and confessed his crime. But to a clear legal clarification of his guilt did not happen, because one month after the five-time robbery Rimmel took his own life. His two accomplices were “condemned to lifelong imprisonment in chains”.

Huonder does not describe the course of events of the brutal murder, but deals with the people who are responsible for their reconstruction and education, as well as the lives of the victims and perpetrators and their families. He does this in concise and factual narrative passages that recall records and reports. The structuring in eighty-one small chapter as clear-cut film sequences provide quick perspective and change of location. For these parts, the parallels actions add together that lead the people to their common in destiny, the mill now and then apart.

The central figure is Baron Johann Heinrich von Mont, 33 years old. As “examining magistrate, chief prosecutor, police chief and head of the fish farm Sennhof” he is responsible for “order and security in the largest canton of Switzerland”. He firmly believes in the organizing force of the legislation, as their faithful servant he feels, is but aware that the ideal of justice here on earth remains out of reach. He conscientiously doing his best. But in addition to human error and the uncertainty of facts already inadequate resources limit its goals. So it is easy to escape from the Sennhof, the penitentiary in Chur. Just the other day, “two wenches” who “had indulged lust fee”, and a doctor who was operating without a license and the patient had bled to death after surgery, seize the moment had used as the guard for a moment had dozed off. Just twenty Landjäger secure the external borders and are on top of that to maintain order in a hundred and fifty valleys. Wrestling hands of Baron studied more assistants.

One night, climbed two burglars over the city wall and just landed in the prison yard. The chunk of money under her clothes makes them as a thief mob suspect. But it turns out that they are the sons of respectable middle-class families Chur Hostetter and smoke, have served as mercenaries in the Royal Netherlands Army in recent years and now wanted to return with their saved Sold to her hometown. but they did not know how times had changed in the meantime. The city gate now remains closed at night, the prison is new, and many laws regulate the lives of the urban population. For wagons traffic regulations apply, and “sledging mere pleasure” is forbidden, as “nocturnal wandering flocks and noise in the streets.” The two are understandable: “Laws are not written for fun.”

Meanwhile, an order of Baron has arrived: a hand-made, black painted body, “a team as there were no other in Grisons”, with ” barred compartment for the delinquent “and a” cushioned bench “in the” front compartment “. But the tour has barely begun, since hitting a breathless messenger with a letter of Landamman the court Imboden one: “In the Weihermühle … behind Bonaduz … a terrible story …”

Now the brave Baron must Mont as Commissioner take the first on-site investigations. The witnesses he interviewed burden unanimously Franz Rimmel as alleged killers, and that is long gone. Before they know it’s Hostetter and smoke to country hunters are appointed and take the official chase.

This fascinating book provides a dense atmosphere, the design of the novel is bright and clear. Huonder gives us detailed descriptions of wondrous people, rooms and scenes, and by the way flows a lot of interesting details in the plot one, about the tariffs for the executioner or the exchange rate between chunk, Gulden, Kreutzern, Franconia, pennies and farthings.

it is also interesting as far as the Graubünden province brought the nineteenth century meant the beginning of the modern age. When Baron Johann Heinrich von Mont studied the morning his “Neue Zürcher Zeitung”, we look over his shoulder and get the latest news from Switzerland and abroad. In Germany, you go to the Carlsbad Decrees rigorous action against the subversive Liberals and Fraternities. London illuminated his dangerous night streets and alleys now with a gas lighting. Switzerland also modernized; they invested spectacular sums and forces in their path network. Soon Chur will be connected to the world itself. Then there will be travel time, since “was a giddy”: “in 24 hours … in Zurich, … in 32 hours in Bellinzona”

At the end of your reading, you will hopefully enjoy as much as I I recommend you a little information leaflets of the city of Chur download [Informationsblättchen the city of Chur on Franz Rimmel”

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