From the Washington Post news section:
Woman suspected of killing doppelganger to fake her own death
By Victoria Bisset
January 31, 2023 at 10:18 a.m. EST
… The case of the German Iraqi woman living in the southern city of Ingolstadt, named as Shahraban K. by German newspaper Bild, has shocked many in Germany. Her parents had traveled from Munich to Ingolstadt to find her after she stopped answering their calls—and found her car and the body on Aug. 16.
Police began investigating and issued an initial statement about a homicide, saying it appeared the woman had been the “victim of a violent crime.” But doubts quickly emerged about her identity as DNA and fingerprint evidence from the victim did not match that of the missing woman, and as police heard “rumors” that the missing woman had been seen driving around the local area, police spokesperson Andreas Aichele said in an interview.
A day later, police determined “completely new circumstances” in the course of their investigation and arrested the missing 23-year-old, alongside a 23-year-old Kosovan man, on suspicion of homicide, police said in a statement.
The victim has been named in German media as Algerian Khadija O., also 23, whom investigators say looked “strikingly similar” to the missing woman.
At the time, authorities did not give a motive for the killing.
Now they believe that the suspects came up with a plan to find someone who could pass for the young woman, “who wanted to go into hiding because of a family dispute” and therefore decided to fake her own death, according to a statement released by the prosecutor Monday.
Police say they believe that the suspect “chatted with several young women” who looked similar to her online and attempted to lure them into a meeting through false promises.
On Aug. 16, the two suspects traveled to the Heilbronn area, in the neighboring state of Baden-Württemberg, to pick up the victim from her home, police said. They then took her to a wooded area and stabbed her multiple times before driving back to Ingolstadt, where they left the body in the back of the vehicle.
This is rather reminiscent of Nabokov’s 1934 Russian-language novel Despair, set in Germany, in which the narrator hires a homeless man whom he sees as his doppelganger to pretend to be him and then the narrator murders the hireling to collect his own life insurance money. As in Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky (whom Nabokov despised), the narrator thinks his perfect crime is a work of art.
But… spoiler alert… the narrator/murderer, who is not quite right in the head, is the only person in the world who thinks the bum looks like him. So when the cops find an unknown dead man dressed in the narrator’s clothes, they go looking for the narrator to ask him a few questions.
It’s something of a parody of Crime and Punishment. Nabokov, whose father was murdered, didn’t like murderers and didn’t think much of them, and didn’t like Dostoevsky going so deep into one’s head in C & P. But that’s kind of a self-defeating premise for a novel.
It’s an okay novel, but it’s clearly practice for Nabokov’s later flawed narrators in his English-language books, such as Charles Kinbote, a mad college professor who believes he is Charles the Beloved, exiled king of Zembla, in Pale Fire.
[Comment at Unz.com]