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The Crimes of Josef Fritzl

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This notorious case of Josef Fritzl is billed on the back cover as 'one of the most terrible crimes of modern times.' It was certainly one of the most sensational, one that recently stirred up much media furore. This account of the discovery of the 'real' Josef Fritzl, a man who for seven decades was accepted as an ideal father and upstanding community member, but who had imprisoned in his basement an 18 year-old daughter on whom, after daily rapes and torture, he fathered seven children gives rise to extreme reader curiosity and a macabre fascination with the man's psychology.


Unfortunately the book is not especially rivetting. After a very slow build-up in which the Austrian macho obsession is outlined, followed by meticulously detailed accounts of Josef's progress in building the cellar in which his foul deeds will take place, the blow by blow accounts of how Josef was brought to trial and his heinous crimes make rather boring reading. How can a book crammed with sex 'n sensation be so dull? Well, tabloid fodder always is. We need imaginative spark to give us the real thrill. We need good writing, not just detailed documentation. Here is the material for a good novel, but fact is often not only stranger than fiction, but more pedestrian.

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