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A Wolf in Hindelheim Hardcover – 16 May 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hutchinson (16 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091954029
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091954024
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 551,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jenny Mayhew has worked as a TV researcher, studied International Relations in Sri Lanka and written film screenplays on both contemporary and historical storylines. In 2003, she was nominated for a BAFTA special achievement award for her screenplay for To Kill a King. Jenny has a doctorate in English literature and has taught creative writing courses at Oxford, Bristol and Manchester. She now lives in Edinburgh. A Wolf in Hindelheim is her first novel.

Product Description


"A strong, atmospheric debut" (The List)

"Historical crime fiction is enjoying something of a golden moment and with her often ingenious and unusual debut, Jenny Mayhew adds significantly to the genre." (The Scotsman)

"Richly imagined ... A lusty tale of pre-war eugenics that cleverly pre-figures the historical horrors to come." (Independent)

"Mayhew can definitely write… with a richness and intelligence, and never a sense of showing-off... [A Wolf in Hindelheim has] a wide-reaching subject matter pinned down to a strong plot; and in every short chapter a sign that this is an author to watch." (The Bookbag)

Book Description

An atmospheric and gripping novel from an exciting new voice.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This debut novel is set in a remote German village in 1926. Constable Theodore Hildebrandt is called to the house of Heinrich Muller and his wife, Joanna. The couple live with Joanna's elderly mother, her doctor brother, Peter Koenig, and his young wife, Ute. Heinrich and Joanna have a young son and recently had a new baby daughter, who is missing. The suspected abduction of a baby is considered by Theodore and his deputy, (and son) Klaus as, frankly, a minor incident. When asked by Joanna about what he can do, the Constable has few suggestions and, in any case, he is more interested in his attraction to Ute Koenig than anything else. Ute herself feels, "as if someone or something wicked is playing a game on everyone here." Indeed, the small village is oppressive, isolated and there have been rumours that a wolf has been sighted...

When a young Jewish shopkeeper is said to have visited the Muller's house on the day the baby went missing, he seems a possible suspect. Constable Hildebrandt is not convinced, but then, as Klaus complains, he has, "the luxury of being an outsider." Klaus himself is married and his disgruntled wife is expecting a baby. Theodore is a man who has returned damaged from the trenches to find that things have changed and that modernity is beginning to intrude on the quiet corner of the world he previously called his own; there is a new road being built and a canning factory is being planned. When the ambitous Officer Zelinsky asks Klaus to accompany him on a visit to the Muller's, to pay a courteous visit and smooth feathers that Theodore has ruffled, he asks whether Klaus is for the new world or the old.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
I love books that try to do something a little different and whilst it seems quite popular at the moment to bring historical crime to the fore, readers will be taken on a hell of a journey of what seems early on to be a crime title set in Pre-World War 2 Germany. Its not, it’s a tale that explores the mind-set of not only the people concerned but of Germany itself at the time. It’s definitely something that really strikes the heart of the reader and whilst it’s something that could have been heavily overpowered in any number of ways, what Jenny has done is bring the tale to the fore with an emotional aspect leading from the fore with believable characters letting the reader get a fuller flavour.

It’s a stunning title and whilst perhaps not for everyone it’s a book that I did get a lot out of as it is something that really gets to the readers heartstrings as we can look back on the time period concerned with the beauty of hindsight. All round a great book with characters that not only draw you in but one that has been carefully crafted for maximum effect.
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Format: Hardcover
Rural Germany 1926. Set in an isolated small village, this story relates a series of strange events and the human irrationality and unpleasantness it prompts. The tale’s main character is a widower, Theodore Hildebrandt, the local constable severely disabled from war wounds, who is called upon to investigate some seemingly minor events in Hindelheim involving the Koenig household. Hildebrandt, a likeable character, has the talent for irritating and upsetting those around him, though he develops a crush on the zesty Ute Koenig, the wife of the village doctor. His researches and suspicions uncover some odd behaviour and eventually trigger mass-irrational interest in a so-called Wolf Man of the village - a young Jewish store-owner Elias Frankel, who escapes from the capture of Hildebrandt’s deputy. The cynical Hildebrandt eventually goes too far for the comfort of his superior officers, but he succeeds (we think!) in unravelling the train of circumstances.
Despite the remote location of Hindelheim, the growing anti-Semitism and belief in the benefits of eugenics that infiltrated 1920s Germany also found their ugly way to the village, and indeed, I wonder if the mass-hysteria over the so-called werewolf is possibly meant by the writer as an allegory of sorts to understand how the German people came to support the extreme doctrines of National Socialism.
This is a literate and enjoyable first novel, with some lovely descriptive narrative. Just at times, the characters seem to lack a little credibility or resonance, giving a little grit to the otherwise well-oiled machine of the novel’s authority for the reader.
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By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 1 Oct 2014
Format: Paperback
We are in Hindleheim in S.W. Germany, October 1926. A new road is being created which will replace the rutted pathways so that a new factory producing canned and jarred food can bring this little backwater into the industrialised world. Constable Theodore Hildebrandt, however, is investigating the disappearance of a very young baby (Marie-Theresa) at the farm of Heinrich Muller, the father of the missing child and Johanna Muller, who is the child’s mother. They have one son, Dirk, who is a deaf mute. Also living at the farm are newly-weds Peter and Ute Muller (Peter is a doctor) and the mother of Heinrich, Frau Wilhemina. There is also a Housekeeper who comes in during the day. There is a suggestion that Heinrich’s mother may have taken the child with her to an outhouse, and left the baby there without intending any harm, but where she was later found - dead. Frau Wilhelmina is semi-senile, and the event is being treated as an accident.

Heinrich and Johanna already have one child, a son, who is a deaf mute. A suspicion arises in the reader when we learn that Peter is follower of the new scientific discipline of Eugenics and the reader may well suspect that this second child has been deliberately killed. Could it have been just too much for Heinrich to contemplate raising another child with an abnormality? It is Peter who signs the death certificate, however. So complicity is suggested.

Constable Theodore, it soon transpires, is already a little in love with the beautiful Ute, but he resists any declaration. Then there is a strange accident involving their neighbour Elias, who is Jewish.
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