Friedrich Ani

The Fool and His Machine - A case for Tabor Süden

(German title: Der Narr und seine Maschine)
ca. 143 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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Tabor Süden started out as a policeman before moving into private detective work, becoming an experienced specialist in missing persons cases. What he really wanted was to walk away forever from investigative work after the last case in which one of his colleagues lost his life.

Süden plans to leave Munich with no goodbyes. However, when his boss catches him at the railway station, she persuades him to take on one final case: and a highly unusual commission it is. Perhaps Süden only agrees because one thing is clear: if he finds the missing man, he will be meeting his mirror image. The man who has disappeared is a writer of crime novels, something of a celebrity once. And he has vanished with no farewell. Whereabouts: naturally unknown.

In his dark new novel, Friedrich Ani has the life experiences of the detective and the writer running parallel: both are trying to swindle death and vanquish darkness awhile. Will it happen, this encounter between missing person and missing-persons’ sleuth, two men lost to the world?

Tabor Süden’s 21st case. The first 20 have been published in a previous series.


»Through the understated use of religious motives Ani manages to light a few humane candles in this dark world of the soul and in so doing wins the reader over to the side of his two detached men-of-pain who have forgotten how to smile.« Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»A touching, sad, and rather beautifully written novel.« stern

»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. His latest Tabor-Süden novel is once again proof and a sad and beautiful companion for the autumn-blues.« Nürnberger Nachrichten

»Friedrich Ani’s novel The Fool and His Machine pushes the envelope of the crime novel in an uncompromising and masterly way.« General Anzeiger Bonn

»With The Fool and His Machine Friedrich Ani has once again written a complex psycho-thriller with a highly unconventional approach.« Rhein Neckar Zeitung

»Süden has accompanied Ani and us since 1998 in over 20 novels. It would be nice for it to keep going a little while longer.« literaturkritik.de

»A book like the last rays of sun before autumn’s first frosts.« Nürnberger Zeitung

»This novel boasts all the classical features for which Friedrich Ani is known. And the quirky Tabor Süden is the ideal protagonist for this story. The decision to use him again was without a doubt the right one.« volksstimme.de

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

»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


Friedrich Ani reads from The Fool and His Machine

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)