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The Murder Farm [Paperback]

Andrea Maria Schenkel , Anthea Bell
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

8 Jan 2009

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, Marianne. Also murdered was the Danners' new maidservant, Marie, who was regarded as slightly simple. Despite the brutal nature of the killings and the small village where it has taken place, the police have no leads. Officially the crime is unsolved. And then a former resident returns home… The Murder Farm is an unconventional detective story. The author interweaves testament from the villagers, an oblique view of the murderer, occasional third-person narrative pieces and passages of pious devotion. The narrator leaves the village unaware of the truth, only the reader is able to reach the shattering conclusion.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (8 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847247652
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847247650
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 261,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


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 Murder Farm - Times Literary Supplement

The Murder Farm lingers on in the memory like an old tune, long after you've turned the final page - Sunday Tribune

A chilling little debut number… short, nasty and effective - Daily Mail

A fascinating, refreshingly short and laudably ambitious mystery' reviewingtheevidence website.

From the Publisher

Reviews for the Murder Farm:
Already an international bestseller, this superior German crime novel explores the murder of an entire family. The novel is a collage of various voices and testaments with no `drawing-room' expose at the end - the reader has to solve the case - Scotland on Sunday

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 Murder Farm...that this has been packed into such a short novel is a considerable achievement - The Times Literary Supplement --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Andrea Maria Schenkel-The Murder Farm 11 July 2008
By Simon Clarke TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This short novel is ideally suited to being read in one
sitting.It stays in the mind long after completion.Set in
rural 1950's Germany, the narrator returns to an isolated
community where a whole family and their maid have been
slayed.Nobody in the community knows who is responsible,
they have turned a blind eye just as doubtless they were used
to doing living under the Nazis.The investigation takes
the form of terse testaments from the villagers,and these
are interspersed in the book with Christian devotions,which
adds to the mood of inner bleakness.The reader can come to
their own conclusion regarding the murderer on the basis of
the testaments.
The Murder Farm is an immensely creative and unusual novel,
that deserves a wide readership.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Promising 5 May 2009
By jd
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very promising first novel, and indicates that Schenkel will have much to offer in future years.
The other reviews give a good indication of the content and style, so I'll confine myself to noting that the novel could be seen as an extended metaphor for the collective guilt often addressed in modern German literature, and the tendency of those embroiled in it to affect ignorance, incredulity and resignation. The multi-angled style of the narration is especially apropriate to this, and Schenkel is to be congratulated on a thoughtful and original contribution to the modern European novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Feanor
Andrea Maria Schenkel's debut novel The Murder Farm is an attempt at multiple perspective, and it succeeds in most part. A one-time resident of a little village in Germany returns home to investigate the gruesome murder of a family. It is scarcely a decade since the end of the second world war, and the village is riven by old rivalries and hatreds. Erstwhile Nazis are still in positions of authority and brook no investigation into the past. Meanwhile, the murdered family is loathed by almost everybody in the village, and various grim rumours circulate around village of their sordid predilections. The narrative is split into straightforward narrative, offering perspectives not available to the cast of characters, and interviews of various villagers who offer their own opinions, hesitant or antagonistic, puerile or appropriate. The story unfolds spine-chillingly and the reader soon discovers the grisly truth that has eluded both the police and the neighbours. And it's a pip.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Mysterious 27 May 2010
The story is a simple "who did it" but told in an unusual way. The local people tell their points through interviews mix that with the other bits of infomation given and you really get to play the detective. The atmosphere is dark and gives you a feel for post war rural Germany. It is a quick and easy read and ideal for a one sitting read.
As this was originally written in German some of the translation into english was poor but this did not effect the overall reading experience.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A new approach to a classic whodunit. 28 Aug 2014
The Murder Farm by Andrea Maria Schenkel was a fantastic novel, don't get me wrong, but it could have been so much more. A great whodunit that keeps you guessing until the very end, and the description of the landscape around the farm in Germany was fantastic, creating an eerie atmosphere throughout.
The style of the novel was very different too, all being done via interviews and diary entries as the main character, a journalist and the narrator of the story, tried to solve the crime. However, although this approach was different and intriguing, I felt that the author missed a great opportunity by writing from this viewpoint. By doing this, we got to find out very little of the narrator's viewpoints or world views, or indeed how the case was solved. For this reason I had to give it three stars, as it missed a lot of opportunity for the narrator to solve the crime.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, original work 30 Aug 2014
This was different, and I really think that is what made me like it. The different perspectives this book is told from made it more interesting than the average novel in this genre and I appreciated the crafty mind of the author from the beginning.

The characters--both those living and beyond made this a book that kept me turning pages. I liked the original concepts of the author and the way the story flowed. The mystery portions of the book were not easily solved and the language used was beautifully constructed.

Overall this was a great read with a lot to offer to the literature lover.

I would happily recommend it to those who are looking for something a bit different in the genre.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
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