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.
©2006 English translation Copyright © 2008 by Anthea Bell. Copyright © 2006 by Edition Nautilus. (P)2013 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
"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)
"Andrea Maria Schenkel spins a clever whodunit out of her raw material, but the novel is not really meant as entertainment: it is an almost clinical demonstration of the way in which societies afraid of facing the truth can allow evil to flourish." (Jake Kerridge, The Telegraph)
"Both atmosphere and the roundabout manner of the telling, spiralling in from an almost documentary approach to the psychological and the hidden, almost chillingly mundane horror make this a curiously original literary European equivalent of The Blair Witch Project." (Peter Millar, The Times)
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