The murder farm

Andrea Maria Schenkel

Book - 2014

"A whole family has been brutally murdered with a pickaxe at their remote farm home, now dubbed "The Murder Farm". The newspapers are full of stories and rumors about the sensational case, but the police have no firm leads an little sense of how to find the killer. The reader learns about the case when a former resident of the village returns home to collect evidence and attempt a solution to the case. Written as a collage of first-person recollections and third-person narrative, ...and based on the true story of an unsolved rural murder that took place in 1922 in Bavaria, [the author's] internationally bestselling, award-winning debut has been compared to Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. It is an unforgettable detective story in which police, journalists, and narrator alike are confounded until the novel's shattering conclusion."-- From dust jacket flap.

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Subjects
Genres
Mystery fiction
Published
New York : Quercus 2014.
©2008
Language
English
German
Item Description
"Originally published in Germany as Tannöd by Edition Nautilus in 2006"-- Title page verso.
Physical Description
168 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781623651671
1623651670
Main Author
Andrea Maria Schenkel (-)
Other Authors
Anthea Bell (translator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

In 1922, an entire family was murdered on their farm in Bavaria. This still-unsolved crime is the inspiration for German author Schenkel's 2006 novel Tannod, which is seeing its first U.S. publication now under a new title. Similarities to Capote's In Cold Blood are obvious: a rural setting, a murdered family, a novelistic approach to true events. But this is a much slimmer book than Capote's, and structurally it's quite different. Schenkel uses shifting points of view, first-person reminiscences (many years after the murders) of people who knew the ill-fated Danner family, intertwined with third-person narrative chronicling the events leading up to the crime. What's especially interesting is the author's approach to the subject: if you read between the lines of the statements made by people who knew the Danner family—sometimes not between the lines at all—you see that they weren't especially liked in their community. Nobody really wants to talk about them, at least not for very long, and if they don't quite believe the Danners deserved to die, it's clear they don't mind very much that they did. A chilling novel. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Stark as bare branches against a wintry sky, German author Schenkel's first novel stitches testimony from witnesses and other townsfolk into a suspenseful, immensely sad account of an entire family's slaughter at Tannöd, their remote farm. Based on an unsolved case in 1922 Bavaria but transported to the mid-'50s, the Danners' horrific tale unfolds through the voices of neighbors, a classmate of doomed eight-year-old Marianne, and even an itinerant worker planning to rob Tannöd. It quickly becomes clear that this odd, damaged clan—including the ironfisted, lecherous, skinflint of a patriarch and his beaten-down wife, who turns a blind eye to his abuse of their daughter and other girls—is a time bomb waiting to detonate. Compelling as a mystery, the story assumes a larger social dimension with the damning picture it paints of the survivors, smugly convinced of their own rectitude but unwilling to lift a finger even to save a child. (June) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A tale told through an eyewitness's account, pious diatribes and an incomplete case file follows a narrator's efforts to discover the truth about the grisly murders of an overbearing patriarch farmer and his family. By the award-winning author of Ice Cold.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"A whole family has been brutally murdered with a pickaxe at their remote farm home, now dubbed "The Murder Farm". The newspapers are full of stories and rumors about the sensational case, but the police have no firm leads an little sense of how to find the killer. The reader learns about the case when a former resident of the village returns home to collect evidence and attempt a solution to the case. Written as a collage of first-person recollections and third-person narrative, and based on the true story of an unsolved rural murder that took place in 1922 in Bavaria, [the author's] internationally bestselling, award-winning debut has been compared to Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. It is an unforgettable detective story in which police, journalists, and narrator alike are confounded until the novel's shattering conclusion."-- From dust jacket flap.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A tale told through an eyewitness's account, pious diatribes, and an incomplete case file follows a narrator's efforts to discover the truth about the grisly murders of an overbearing patriarch farmer and his family.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

The Times Literary Supplement said of The Murder Farm, "With only a limited number of ways in which violent death can be investigated, crime writers have to use considerable ingenuity to bring anything fresh to the genre. Andrea Maria Schenkel has done it in her first novel." The first author to achieve a consecutive win of the German Crime Prize, Schenkel has won first place for both The Murder Farm and Ice Cold.The Murder Farm begins with a shock: a whole family has been murdered with a pickaxe. They were old Danner the farmer, an overbearing patriarch; his put-upon devoutly religious wife; and their daughter Barbara Spangler, whose husband Vincenz left her after fathering her daughter little Marianne. She also had a son, two-year-old Josef, the result of her affair with local farmer Georg Hauer after his wife's death from cancer. Hauer himself claimed paternity. Also murdered was the Danners' maidservant, Marie. An unconventional detective story, The Murder Farm is an exciting blend of eyewitness account, third-person narrative, pious diatribes, and incomplete case file that will keep readers guessing. When we leave the narrator, not even he knows the truth, and only the reader is able to reach the shattering conclusion.