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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

Allmen and the Pink Diamond

Martin Suter

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To purchase Allmen and the Pink Diamond

Title: Allmen and the Pink Diamond
Author: Martin Suter
Genre: Novel
Written: 2011 (Eng. 2019)
Length: 202 pages
Original in: German
Availability: Allmen and the Pink Diamond - US
Allmen and the Pink Diamond - UK
Allmen and the Pink Diamond - Canada
Allmen et le diamant rose - France
Allmen und der rosa Diamant - Deutschland
Allmen e il diamante rosa - Italia
  • German title: Allmen und der rosa Diamant
  • Translated by Steph Morris

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Our Assessment:

B : pure froth, but good fun

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Les Echos . 15/5/2012 Ph.C.
FAZ . 27/6/2011 Felicitas von Lovenberg
Publishers Weekly . 4/2/2019 .
Die Welt . 6/7/2011 Elmar Krekeler

  From the Reviews:
  • "Martin Suter réussit le parfait dosage entre roman à énigme «vintage» et polar contemporain. (...) Le romancier suisse nous divertit fort, avec ce roman rose et noir qui stigmatise la finance folle." - Ph.C., Les Echos

  • "So liegt auch der Reiz von Suters neuem, heute erscheinendem Werk weniger in der Handlung (...) als in der Ausschmückung jener Welten, durch die Suter seinen Helden mit Einstecktuch und Schrankkoffer flanieren lässt (.....) (W)er einen Nachfahren von Ian Flemings Bond mit mehr Niveau als Action sucht, ist mit Suters Allmen allemal gut bedient." - Felicitas von Lovenberg, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

  • "(S)o-so (.....) Still, some fans of light crime novels will be satisfied." - Publishers Weekly

  • "Menschen, die Krimis der aktuellen Schnittfolge (rasend) und zeitgenössischen Blutmenge (rauschend) gewohnt sind, müssen -- kurz bevor sie einschlafen -- geradezu erschrecken ob der Langsamkeit, mit der Johann Friedrich von Allmen ermittelt und Martin Suter erzählt. Allmen und der rosa Diamant ist die Wiederbelebung des Kriminalromans der Grand-Turismo-Zeit. (...) So kommt noch ein bisschen Moral und Aktualität in die G'schicht" - Elmar Krekeler, Die Welt

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Allmen and the Pink Diamond sees the return of Johann Friedrich von Allmen, still living off the success of the case he solved in Allmen and the Dragonflies. He parlayed that into a small-scale detective agency, 'Allmen International Inquiries' (their slogan: "The art of tracing art"), which seems to have puttered along well enough but hasn't exactly been a roaring success. Now, however, there's a great opportunity: Allmen is hired by a man named Montgomery -- himself an intermediary for an unnamed client -- to assist in the search for a missing 'pink diamond', apparently worth tens of millions. Specifically, they've identified a suspect, a Russian IT specialist named Artyom Sokolov, and they want Allmen to find him; they would also prefer not to involve the authorities.
       The potential payout -- the finder's fee -- here is enormous. Indeed, Carlos Santiago -- the illegal immigrant who is Allmen's (silent) partner (and, essentially, butler) -- thinks they shouldn't accept the job: "Everything about it is too big", he warns. Of course, since the supremely confident Allmen has already spent a fair portion of the advance, there's not really much question of turning back .....
       Allmen sets off on the trail of Sokolov, sniffing around in the obvious places -- where he worked and lived, for example -- but he and Carlos find at each of the first stops that whoever they ask about the mystery man isn't all that surprised by the questions, telling them: "You aren't the only one who wants to know". Allmen and Carlos seem to be a step or two behind an Englishman, and an American, or a pair of each. Eventually, however, Allmen leapfrogs the others who are on Sokolov's trail and is the first to find him -- at a five-star hotel on the Baltic coast. Allmen books himself a room as well, and quickly makes the acquaintance of Sokolov -- though it's only so long before other interested parties, whose touch isn't anywhere near as light as Allmen's is -- find their way here as well.
       It takes a while, but Carlos finally realizes: "the pink diamond is not what we think it is". It is, however, of about the expected size -- i.e. small and very easily concealed -- and, as it turns out, even more valuable (to certain parties) than they had been led to believe. Unsurprisingly, however, Allmen and Carlos would indeed appear to be out of their league in the handling of the mystery-object, especially given the resources others are willing and able to expend in getting their hands on it. Nevertheless, Allmen and Carlos have a trick or two up their sleeves too, and if they don't quite end up with the hoped for riches, they manage to cleverly see to it that the company coffers are nicely filled up, enough to tide them over for quite a while.
       The mystery in Allmen and the Pink Diamond may be high stakes, but Suter is satisfied with proceeding at a low-intensity trot, the chapters short -- some only a single page long -- and quick. If there has to be a murder -- there does -- it's decorously handled well off-scene, and what more direct confrontations there are are handled quickly (if not entirely painlessly). The pleasure of the Allmen-mysteries comes in the attitude -- Allmen's -- and Suter has good fun with that.
       Allmen lives in rather humble circumstances, but that's because he can't help but live, whenever possible, beyond his means. Allmen is a man of supreme comfort, used to the better -- indeed, the very best -- things in life and always looking to be able to enjoy them yet again, even if and when (often) he can't afford them. He is also, admirably, anything but cheap, always tipping generously and, for example, splurging for the best champagne at a somewhat tatty nightclub (with the mournful name: 'Lonely Nights') where he's looking for information. He gets away with a lot by confidently (and very naturally) always assuming the air of absolute entitlement of the ultra-rich (and old, old money at that) -- such as when checking in at the five-star hotel before his client has transferred the funds that would allow him to actually pay for a room; asked for his credit card information, his retort is:

     "Credit card ?" Allmen asked in amazement. "I have never owned a credit card and will never own such a thing." He displayed his most charming of smiles. "But I take it you also accept real money ?"
       And of course they don't ask him to prove he actually has the requisite cash .....
       Spendthrift Allmen enjoys the comforts of high-life when he can -- but he is also a realist, and navigates the real world well enough (though almost always playing up his above-and-beyond-it-all attitude, usually to very good or useful effect). Ultra-frugal Carlos -- limited in what he can spend his share of any money they make on due to his illegal status, which requires him to stay off any public radar -- makes a good complement to Allmen. Helpfully, he doesn't mind playing butler -- while also having other talents that serve Allmen well. And he even gives Allmen an in-depth glimpse into the heart of the immigrant milieu, when the two decide it is wise for them to lay very low for the final part of their plan. (Admirably, Allmen gives a generous share of the proceeds to those who put them up for that time.) A woman who becomes Carlos' love interest is also a nice little touch on the story's edges.
       Allmen and the Pink Diamond is very light -- almost pure froth, really -- but also most enjoyable. Certainly, one might wish the really quite consequential 'pink diamond', and those interested in it (and the reasons for their interest) to feature more prominently, but there's something to be said for this light, unconcerned touch as well.
       Allmen and the Pink Diamond certainly goes down easily and well -- and lingers nicely as the lightest of wafts, leaving one also looking forward to the next meeting with the quite delightful Allmen.

- M.A.Orthofer, 8 February 2019

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Allmen and the Pink Diamond: Reviews: Other books by Martin Suter under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Swiss author Martin Suter was born in 1948.

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© 2019-2021 the complete review

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