“In the honorable vein of elegant, gentleman thieves, comes Allmen, the colorful protagonist of Suter’s beautifully observed, deliciously fun novel” (Noah Charney, author of The Museum of Lost Art).
Johann Friedrich von Allmen, a bon vivant of dandified refinement, has exhausted his family fortune. Forced to downscale, Allmen inhabits the garden house of his former Zurich estate, attended by his Guatemalan butler, Carlos. When not reading novels by Balzac and Somerset Maugham, he plays jazz on a Bechstein baby grand. Allmen’s fortunes take a sharp turn when he meets Jojo, a stunning blonde whose lakeside villa contains five Art Nouveau bowls created by renowned French artist Émile Gallé and decorated with a dragonfly motif. Allmen, seeking to pay off mounting debts, absconds with the priceless bowls and embarks on a high-risk, potentially violent bid to cash them in.
This is the first of a series of humorous, fast-paced detective novels devoted to a memorable gentleman thief who, with his trusted sidekick, Carlos, creates an investigative firm to recover missing precious objects.
“A rollicking good time . . . Bestselling Swiss author Martin Suter may have a classic on his hands in this contemporary crime novel, the first of a series featuring the memorable character of Johann Friedrich von Allmen, gentleman thief.” —The Winnipeg Free Press
“Suter combines sleight-of-hand suspense with stunning art and slightly worn Old World elegance to create a smartly entertaining read . . . A classy puzzler.” —Library Journal
“The dark charms of Suter’s novel are irresistible from the first pages.” —Joshua Max Feldman, author of Start Without**Me