Who killed Martin Friedrich? From award-winning writer Steven Carroll comes the first book in a series of post-war literary crime novels featuring Detective Sergeant Stephen Minter, with shades of The Third Man and Brighton Rock.

Cambridge, UK, 1947. Martin Friedrich, a German philosopher who is in Cambridge to give a series of lectures, is cycling through an intersection on his way to give a lecture when a speeding car runs through him and kills him. A grisly death for one of the finest minds of the age.

Shortly afterwards, Detective Sergeant Stephen Minter, an Austrian-born, cockney Jew, whose parents were interned during the war as enemy aliens, stands over the body of Friedrich contemplating the age-old question - who did it? Because Friedrich might be one of the finest minds of his age, but he's also problematic. A brilliant philosopher whose lectures attracted students from all over Europe before the war and is regarded as the founder of modern existentialism, Friedrich was also, in the 1930s, a member of the Nazi Party.

As Stephen is soon to discover, there is no shortage of suspects. Friedrich -arrogant, a womaniser dedicated solely to his own work over anything or anybody else - was hated by almost everybody, even those who loved him. Is there any sense to his death - a logic to the sequence of events that led to it - or was his death just a case of rotten, random luck?

Has the universe spoken, and, in this sense, should Friedrich be pleased with the nature of his death as it is, after all, confirmation of his life's observations on our indifferent, random universe? Or are there more sinister factors at work? From one of Australia's finest, critically-acclaimed writers, The Death of an Existentialist is a playful mixture of detective story, farce and literary fiction that examines the quite serious question of how to live a meaningful life in an indifferent, random, post-god world.


Steven Carroll

Steven Carroll is an Australian novelist. He was born in 1949 in Melbourne, Victoria and studied at La Trobe University. He has taught English at secondary school level, and drama at RMIT. He has been Drama Critic for The Sunday Age newspaper in Melbourne.

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Series: Stephen Minter

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