Friedrich Ani

Day Without a Name - A Case for Jakob Franck

(German title: Der namenlose Tag)
ca. 320 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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German Crime Fiction Prize 2016

Top Crime Novel of the Year 2015 (KrimiZEIT)


Detective Chief Superintendent Jakob Franck has been retired for two months and feels that he can now start to lead a life in which he leaves behind the dead - until a case from his past catches up with him.

Franck was the detective responsible for bringing the news of their relatives’ death to the bereaved, a task he carried out stoically, calm and collected. But twenty years ago, he comforted the mother of a dead seventeen-year-old girl, for hours, through the night, without saying a word. And as he begins to enjoy retirement, he is contacted by Ludwig Winther, the father of the girl and husband of the woman that Franck devoted so much attention to back then. Twenty years have passed, and Winther still doesn’t believe that his daughter killed herself, despite an unambiguous report by the medical examiner. According to him, his daughter’s death can’t have been anything but murder. Former police detective Jakob Franck begins to shed light upon the particulars of the young girl’s death, starts to »bring a dead case back to life«. In doing so, he follows his very own method of »Gedankenfühligkeit«, a sensory-conceptual abstraction of facts and thoughts guided by intuition - a method that is inimitable and unsurpassed when it comes to solving the most complicated and surprising cases.

This psychological crime novel is the start of a series revolving around the former Detective Chief Superintendent Jakob Franck. Multi-award winning author Friedrich Ani and his mastery in constructing common and simultaneously extraordinary criminalistic puzzles, Friedrich Ani and his prose that throws new perspectives, melancholically dissociated, from death onto life – Friedrich Ani and his art reach unforeseen dimensions in this novel.


»Full of tenderness and compassion – a bestseller. Without a doubt.« Die Welt

»More empathetic than Sherlock Holmes […] This understanding for and immersion into the crime contrasts with the procedure that Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot have taught the crime readers […] If you engage with Jakob Franck’s total empathy, you can learn a lot about people in their forlornness.« NZZ am Sonntag

»Great compassion with the suffering that never turns corny is what distinguishes Ani’s prose.« DIE ZEIT

»[H]is crime novel – that is so much more than that: it is great literature that can be read like crime fiction – is masterfully written. […] In the end, you close a book that you read, devoured in one go, in order to bow to Ani and embrace Franck.« Süddeutsche Zeitung

»Friedrich Ani is constantly referred to as the best German crime novelist. And yet, he still managed to improve on his own œuvre with his new investigator, Jakob Franck. This book hurts and delights at the same time, because it reads so authentic. […] And so this novel is a crime story, truly gripping, yet also a novel about isolation through pain, about comfort through intense closeness, but, at the same time, not without self-irony when a subtle humour shows through the character of Franck.« Bücher Magazin

»a truly wonderful novel […] The dread […] appears silent and ordinary and is all the more shocking for it.« Spiegel Online

»The strength of Ani’s story does not lie within the nail-biting thrill of suspense, but once again within the in-depth access into the emotional world of his protagonists.« Berliner Morgenpost Online

»... an intense, suspenseful journey into the darker realms of the soul.« Abendzeitung München

»This first case is intelligently constructed and heavy stuff – not because it draws its readers in with nerve-racking suspense or excessive action, but because it delves further and further into the depths of the human psyche on a high literary level.« Nürnberger Nachrichten

»an extraordinary criminal puzzle […] Where language is concerned, this crime novel towers high above the average of the genre.« Sächsische Zeitung

»It’s these intimate observations, those profound, casually annotated descriptions of mental states and a humour that sometimes shrouds the horror and makes it almost forgivable, that make Friedrich Ani a great author of crime fiction.« Hamburger Abendblatt

»Ani shows that beautiful prose, poetry, smashing mastery of dialogues, wisdom, accuracy devoted to the [description of the] present and the format of the crisp short crime novel aren’t mutually exclusive, and that there can be a legitimate successor of Dürrenmatt in this field.« Die Welt

»An entirely wonderful novel of great sadness and delicate lightness.« Frankfurter Neue Presse

»The abysses behind the façade of bourgeois life could be described in a better way than Friedrich Ani’s. And there is no better observer than Ani far and wide.« Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung

»[Day Without a Name has] a plot that beats the average crime novels, of which there is a dime a dozen, by far.« P.S., die linke Zürcher Zeitung

»Day Without a Name is a magnificent novel, a book that out of all German crime novelists could only have been written by […] Ani. Though and realistic, moving and carried by a sadness that makes it difficult for the reader to return to his reality beyond literature. No crime novel in the general sense of the term, but a journey to the margins – those of society, those of life, those of humanity.« Dietmar Jacobsen, TITEL kulturmagazin


Friedrich Ani reads from his crime novel Day Without a Name:

Other publications

Ermordung des Glücks/Killing Happiness - Novel (2017)

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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)

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Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (Hörbuch Hamburg)