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The Murder Farm Paperback – 8 Jan 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (8 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847247652
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847247650
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 404,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Simon Clarke on 11 July 2008
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 By jd on 5 May 2009
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 Go Book Yourself on 11 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback
Warning: I can't make up my mind as to whether this review is spoilery or not...read with caution

It was the blurb that mainly drew me to The Murder Farm. The first line is a real hook:

"A whole family has been murdered by a pick-axe"

That will certainly provoke an interest in most crime / horror fans.

Unfortunately this book is really better described as a novella. Its short. Really short. I don't mind a short read as long as it can keep me turning the pages. I kept waiting for a big reveal but it just never happened. This book has been translated from German so I wonder if perhaps something was lost in translation?

Apparently the book is based on a murder that took place in Bavaria in the 1920's. The book is written in a matter fact interview style (There's probably a better word for that but 6pm after a long work day so brain no work no good). The police are interviewing members of the community so we get a good picture of the family and their standing in the community.

My main problem is that it was just too one dimensional. Everyone was murdered....the end. This is what led to the spoiler confusion. I mean the author tells the reader in the first line of the blurb that everyone is dead! Does lack of a conclusion count as a spoiler? I just know I felt a bit deflated after reading it. I hate that "oh is that it" feeling when you finish a book.

Seriously this wasn't even a real review but anyway I can't really say I'd recommend this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Feanor on 17 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
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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By C. Bannister TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Mar. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After being thoroughly impressed with The Dark Meadow by Andrea Maria Schenkel last year I decided to treat myself to another of her slim novels. The Murder Farm is a recreation of a real crime in which the Gruber household were murdered in 1922. Having researched the details of this unsolved crime following my reading of the book it is clear that the author hasn’t strayed far from the known facts about the murders although she has chosen to set it in a slightly later time period.

In 1950’s Germany The Murder Farm was home to the Danner family which consisted of the stern patriarch and farmer and his equally stand-offish wife. Their daughter Barbara Spengler was also slain along with her daughter Marianne and her baby son, Josef. It wasn’t only the family who lost their lives that night, the brand new maid Maria was also killed. Scarily the alarm wasn’t raised until the inhabitants of the village realised they hadn’t been seen since the previous Saturday and so a couple of their neighbours went to investigate, the scene that awaited them defied belief. Despite being viewed as remote and odd, there was no obvious reason why someone would choose to slay the entire household, or was there?

Our nameless narrator returns to the village near the Black Mountains to try and discover what really happened.

The story is told in a similar format to that of The Dark Meadow, with excerpts from the villager’s recall of the events, so we get to hear from one of Marianne’s school friends, a former employer of the maid, her sister, Marianne’s school teacher, a mechanic, the shopkeeper, the local farmers and the priest slowly building a picture of the characters within the household along with some of the local gossip that they ‘reluctantly’ revealed.
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