Book lover. Stephen King Fanatic. Will try anything once. General Lover of Fiction. Reviewer Everywhere. All views my own. Mostly.
Publication Date: 7th August from Quercus.
Source: Review copy provided by Publisher.
Translated from the German by Anthea Bell.
Bavaria, Germany, 1947
At the end of the war, Afra Zauner returns to her parents’ cottage on the edge of Mauther Forest. Unmarried, and pregnant. As she struggles to raise her child, her father’s shame, her mother’s fury and the loud whispers of the neighbours begin to weigh upon her. She doesn’t believe in her sin. But everyone else does.
And someone brings judgement down upon her.
Many years later, Hermann Müller is throwing a drunk out of his tavern. A traveller, who won’t stop ranting about a murder left unsolved, about police who never investigated. Out of curiousity, the file is reopened. And in the cold light of hindsight, a chilling realisation creeps upon the community.
A very evocative and cleverly written murder mystery novella – telling the story from several viewpoints we are inexorably led to the truth about a murder 18 years cold – this is not a police procedural or a traditional mystery/thriller, it is more a story of retrospection, looking back from a distance to realise that what was assumed was not actually true.
There are several themes running through the narrative that add to the overall ambience – the attitude of the day towards single parents, the understanding or lack thereof of dementia, a different world both in philosophy and procedure that leads to a murderer going free. As we learn about that day so long ago, interspersed with statements from various players in the present time, a remarkable and emotional tale comes into the light.
I was very taken with all the characters, the atmosphere and sense of place was magnificent, painting a picture for the reader as the story unfolded – a short but sweet read that will have you immersed into the tale throughout and awaiting the final outcome.
Overall an excellent book and one I would recommend especially to anyone who likes the mystery genre but are looking for something a bit off the beaten track.
Happy Reading Folks!