Friedrich Ani

All The Empty Rooms

(German title: All die unbewohnten Zimmer)
ca. 500 pages
Friedrich Ani
Foto: Friedrich Ani
© Tibor Bozi

Friedrich Ani was born in 1959. His first novel was published in 1996, and since then he has gone on to write crime novels, poetry and YA-fiction, as well as writing for TV, radio and theatre. His books have received many prominent awards, among them the Bavarian Cultural Ministry’s Advancement Award for Literature and the German Crime Fiction Prize. So far, he is the only author ever to receive the German Crime Fiction Prize for three titles in the same year.

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For the first time with four inspectors: Polonius Fischer, Tabor Süden, Jacob Franck, and Fariza Nasri. All known from previous novels, now a team: Terrific.


In Friedrich Ani’s new novel, »the four« must spring into action: Polonius Fischer (the former monk), Tabor Süden (the returned missing person’s investigator), Jakob Franck (the former inspector, now retired, but still the deliverer of the worst news) and Fariza Nasri (the civil servant with Syrian roots, saved from her banishment to the provinces). All of them must employ their unique methods to solve the murder of a woman and the beating death of a police officer, incidents which receive great attention after igniting social and political debates (coming from the right) about the incompetence of the police, migrant children, east and west Germany, and »the system«.

And that is why in their fight to find the culprit »the four« must struggle with possible clues and witnesses who claim not to have seen anything, look for missing persons who could, in theory, help solve the crime and constantly deal with fake confessions. In the meantime, they are unable to prevent copycat crimes – until the various investigative methods of »the four« make chance discovery a necessity.

In his new mystery, Friedrich Ani beats a path through the thicket of our political and individual dispositions. In so doing allows a view from the edge of the abyss into the indescribable.

After All The Empty Rooms we must learn to look at literature, crime literature, writing about true and false, evil and (the ever unreachable) good, life and death, anew.


»With his novels that grab the reader not by means of inflated action but through subtle psychological portraits and a painfully warm melancholy, Ani is one of the giants of the whole genre of contemporary crime fiction.« Nürnberger Nachrichten

»Friedrich Ani writes with clockwork precision, in his unique, unconventional tone, sleek and sharp and still rich in atmosphere.« Sylvia Staude, Frankfurter Rundschau

»Ani has named his powerful and complex new novel All the Empty Rooms [...] One can also read it as an antidote to indifference.« Antje Weber, Süddeutsche Zeitung

»Ani has choreographed a ballet of touch.« Elmar Krekeler, Die Welt

»Ani’s novel makes clear just how important it is to preserve or even recover dignity and poise in times when dignity and poise are sorely lacking.« Marcus Müntefering, Spiegel Online

»Rather superb crime-literature.« stern

»[Certain] details and milieus can only be found in Ani’s books, books in which it is not the plot, but the detours and side routes that are important.« Peter Körte, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»The way [Ani] lets his various investigators from dozens of stories meet in this novel is a true dramatic and choreographic coup. And the spectacularly stages story […] is in no way inferior to that: Told incredibly complex from alternating perspectives; a plot with multiple narrative threads that still adds up to the smallest detail and remains surprising until the very end.« Ulrich Noller, Deutschlandfunk

»Friedrich Ani is a master at controlling the reins of the story line.« Sonja Hartl, Deutschlandfunk Kultur

»... an enjoyable read.« Jürgen Kanold, Südwest Presse

»Once more, Ani tells a dramatically coherent, suspenseful and movingly sombre story.« Andrea Gerk, MDR

»Crime-Poetry!« Angela Wittmann, Brigitte

»A gripping and deeply humanist book.« Iris Hetscher, Weser-Kurier

»Ani‘s new crime novel is brilliant.« Elmar Ries, Westfälische Nachrichten

»Friedrich Ani masterfully connects the different plot lines into a pattern. He shows the portrait of a society on the edge.« Ellen Beeflink, unsere zeit

»The psychological deficits of the perpetrators, suspects and the investigators illustrate how All the Empty Rooms assesses the societal changes towards a greater human coldness in a literary way. A complex tableau in which men may determine the plot but cut a horrifying picture.« Klenkes

Other publications

Ermordung des Glücks/Killing Happiness - Novel (2017)

Sold to:

English world rights (Seagull), Italy (Emons)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Hörbuch Hamburg), German Radio Drama (Deutschlandfunk Kultur)

Nackter Mann, der brennt/Naked Man Burning (2016)

Sold to:

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Hörbuch Hamburg)

Der namenlose Tag/Day Without a Name (2015)

Sold to:

English world rights (Seagull), Italy (Emons), Greece (Gutenberg)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Hörbuch Hamburg), German Entire Radio Readings (HR and BR)