Review: Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus

@ Goodreads

 

Title: Snow White Must Die

Author: Nele Neuhaus

Publisher: Macmillan January 2013

Synopsis: Skin as white as snow, hair as black as ebony and lips as red as blood… But this is no fairy story… In a small town in Germany a boy is accused of murdering a beautiful girl. But does a “wicked queen” lurk in their midst? On a September evening eleven years ago, two 17-year-old girls vanished without a trace from the tiny village of Altenhain, just outside Frankfurt. In a trial based on circumstantial evidence 20-year-old Tobias Sartorius was convicted and imprisoned for the murder of his childhood friend Laura and his beautiful girlfriend Stefanie – otherwise known as Snow White. After serving his sentence, Tobias returns home. His presence in the little German village stirs up the events of the past. Events that the locals would prefer to remain hidden. When the Sartorius family is subjected to a number of attacks, Detective Inspector Pia Kirchhoff and DS Oliver von Bodenstein are tasked with monitoring the tense atmosphere in the tight-knit community. As the village inhabitants close ranks it becomes apparent the disappearance of Snow White and her friend was far more complex than imagined. Then history starts to repeat itself in a disastrous manner when another pretty girl goes missing. The police are thrown into a race against time. Will they be able to save her, or is she destined to die?

Status: Read from January 03 to 04, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy Pan Macmillan Australia}

My Thoughts:

Snow White Must Die is the first of Nele Neuhaus’s crime novels featuring the police detective team of Oliver von Bodenstein and Pia Kirchoff to the be translated from her native German into English, though the fourth in the bestselling series.

A complex and thrilling mystery, Snow White Must Die begins with the release of thirty year old Tobias Sartorius from prison after serving ten years for the murder of two seventeen year old girls. Convicted solely on circumstantial evidence, when the body of one of the young girls is unearthed just days after Tobias’s release, Pia begins to question the findings of the original investigation. As she probes the holes in the case, another teenage girl, last seen in the company of Tobias, goes missing and the townspeople is certain Tobias is to blame.

For Tobias the return to the community in which he grew up is difficult. He is devastated to discover his parents have divorced, his father’s life is in ruins and he quickly becomes targeted by vigilantes within the village. Only Nadia, his childhood best friend, and Amelie, a young stranger in the town, are welcoming. In defiance of the towns vitriol Tobias refuses to leave, determined to first help his father regain his footing and perhaps uncover the truth about the murders of which he was accused. But when Amelie goes missing he is once again the focus of the police investigation and the target of the townspeople.

Despite being told to leave the case alone, Pia is bothered by it’s inconsistencies, especially when Tobias’s mother is thrown from an overpass. It seems likely that the near fatal incident is related to Tobias’s return and when the townspeople of Altenhain close ranks against the police, Pia becomes convinced they are hiding more than the identity of the attacker. The multiple twists and turns of the plot are intriguing as the author connects the past and the present.

I did think the pacing was a little uneven. After a slow start it begins to pick up but midway the plot loses momentum, adding detail here and there to the story and characters, but not really moving towards a resolution. Yet as the threads finally do begin to unravel, I couldn’t put it down.

The translation, by Steven T Murray, is a little awkward at times but not unduly so. I have to admit that I was thrown on occasion by the unfamiliarity of German names, especially with such a large cast to keep track of.

Snow White Must Die is an elaborate, engrossing crime novel where greed, betrayal, fear and the instinct for self preservation all collide to create a multi-layered story. I really enjoyed it and I hope that Neuhaus’s previous novels in the series find their way into the English speaking market soon.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michael @ Literary Exploration
    Jan 09, 2013 @ 17:16:24

    I’m waiting for my copy but it’s good to know you enjoyed it

    Like

    Reply

  2. Daystarz Books
    Jan 09, 2013 @ 18:55:53

    I just love the title of this book!

    Like

    Reply

  3. notesoflifeuk
    Jan 10, 2013 @ 07:51:44

    Sounds interesting. I think I’ll look out for this oen. Thanks :)

    Like

    Reply

  4. Ashley Prince
    Jan 12, 2013 @ 05:34:01

    Oh my gosh. I want to read this!

    Like

    Reply

  5. Heidi
    Feb 01, 2013 @ 15:18:46

    Hi Shelleyrae, I am currently reading the next novel in the series, “Wer Wind Säht” (If You Sow Wind) – it also features Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein and continues on with their personal lives from where Snow White left off. I am loving it – Neuhaus really knows how to create tension. It’s not translated into English yet, but I do hope they will consider translating more of her books in the future. Very happy to be bilingual, as I intend on reading a lot more from this author.

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    Reply

    • shelleyrae @ Book'd Out
      Feb 01, 2013 @ 17:00:35

      That’s great Heidi, I guess its a just a wait and see game to find out if any more will be translated – and in what order!

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      Reply

  6. Trackback: It’s the end of the year as we know it… | book'd out

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