The Book An ambitious young procurator (magistrate), Hanno Stiffeniis, is summonsed to Königsberg in order to assist in solving a slew of murders, victims of which are all found kneeling with no visible wounds. Though he was banned from ever returning to the town, he knows that an opportunity to show his talent cannot go to waste. Leaving wife and children behind he is soon reunited with eccentric, and he notices, slightly more senile Immanuel Kant. Introduced to new theories and methods by the philosopher Stiffeniis finds himself entirely consumed by this seemingly unsolvable case. If answers were easy, everyone would have them, and soon he will be wishing he’d never returned to Königsberg where asking questions and seeking answers seems to be increasing the body count.
What I loved 1. I enjoyed the time frame it was set in. 2. I had no idea who the murderer was. I was second guessing everyone
What I didn’t love 1. There was an obvious shift in tone in the book, Steffanis seemed to alter in personality a little too often for my liking. Even the method of describing the town and other people seemed to alter. He would sway between being short tempered and frustrated to attentive and invested in his suspects. 2. Word usage – I found myself reading the dictionary almost as much as the book. I appreciate the opportunity to develop my knowledge, but do not enjoy having to divide attention the way I found myself doing.
While there were moments where I found myself highly engrossed in the book, overall it wasn’t what I had expected to be. It dragged in plot and the tone and characterization seemed to be a little too bipolar for me. When a character seems to be as mad as the victims and suspects he is chasing – I cannot help but thank the stars I was not reliant on him for personal safety.
The main motivating factor in me lifting this book was the mention of Immanuel Kant. I was anticipating a brilliant fictional demonstration of his philosophies at work, however we are given but a brief summary of his approaches and nothing that really makes the presence of his character a necessity in aiding Stiffeniis. Also, quite frankly, if one looks at his overall ‘performance’, Stiffeniis doesn’t actually seem to know what the hell he’s doing and is more intent on validating his theories with Kant than anything else.