My teacher recently told us that he has written multiple(?) mystery novels, but he won't tell us what it's called, and they're published under a pseudonym.

This is all I know about the book:

  • It was most likely written in German. (A student in his previous class presented it as a book report for German class, but wasn't aware his teacher wrote the book)

  • The main character is named Johann Friedrich von Solland (or something similar-sounding, because I don't know if it's actually written that way), but it might just be a name the character takes on temporarily, because I couldn't get any results from Google under that name.

  • Johann is a detective who used to work for the German intelligence agency

  • Johann has blond hair, blue eyes and is tall. He's also a stereotypical German (hardworking, nitpicky, etc.)

  • He lives/works in Great Britain and most of his cases are in manors

  • The plot takes place in the 1920-1930 (My teacher said the 20s - 30s, so it could also be 1820s to 1830s, but it seems unlikely)

  • Johann has two assistants, one of which is a lady and the other is a man (I think?). One of them is similar to Dr. Watson's role in Sherlock Holmes, as they are the one explaining what Johann does.

  • The last book that was published came out about six years ago.

I don't have much more information other than that. I'm just really curious to read his book, because I personally enjoy mystery novels, but my teacher won't divulge anything else.

1 Answer 1


This seems like the one. Except it doesn’t seem to be a pseudonym, as there is a biography and photo of the author available.

The ‘Allmen’ crime series by Swiss author Martin Suter focuses on the adventures of Johann Friedrich von Allmen. Written in German, with a couple available in English translation.

German titles and author photo can be seen at Amazon.com:

  • Allmen und die Libellen
  • Allmen und der rosa Diamant
  • Allmen und die Dahlien
  • Allmen und die verschwundene María
  • Allmen und die Erotik
  • Allmen und der Koi

English synopsis of the first in the series can be read at New Vessel Press:

Johann Friedrich von Allmen, a bon vivant of dandified refinement, has exhausted his family fortune by living in Old World grandeur despite present-day financial constraints. 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 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, pressured 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.

  • Thank you for your addition, but I have the feeling it's not the one I'm looking for. I came across this during my research as well, but the time the novels are set in seem to be different and I had forgotten to add that his last book came out almost six years ago. The author is definitely not my teacher, since Martin Suter is in seventies and my teacher is in his early thirthies. My teacher is also partly Swiss, but mostly German. I appreciate your help though! Dec 14, 2019 at 15:54

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