Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Book 27: Snow White Must Die

Unfortunately, this is actually the fourth novel a mystery series, but it's the first one available in English.  Of course, if it had really bothered me, I could have simply read the first three in German, but let's be honest, this grabbed my attention because of the title, not because of anything I'd heard of the author.
Given that it is part of a series, Neuhaus refers to events from the past, but she does so in an unobtrusive way, quickly giving a new reader enough details to know the circumstances without revealing the plots of earlier novels.  The biggest thing might be that I now know one person who definitely wasn't the killer in a previous case, but since I don't know how much of a suspect he really was, that's not a huge spoiler.  The novel revolves around Pia Kirchhoff and her partner/boss Oliver von Bodenstein.  Oliver is rather distracted as he believes he may be facing some marital problems, and Pia has some minor personal issues of her own.  They are called on the case when a body is found in an old fuel tank in an airhanger.
Tobias has just been released from prison after ten years served for the murder of two girls.  Though their bodies were never found, there was enough circumstantial evidence to convict Tobias.  Though he has no desire to remain in his hometown, once he sees how his conviction and crime have affected his parents, he decides he must stay and somehow help his dad put the pieces back together, as the community's reaction to Tobias' alleged crimes led to the demise of the family restaurant and farm, and the collapse of his parents' marriage.  The village is already predisposed to look unkindly on Tobi's return, blaming him as they do, but when it turns out the dead body found belongs to one of the dead girls, tensions heat up.  Tobias actually can't remember what happened that fateful night, and above all would like answers.  A new girl in town takes a liking to Tobi, and begins ruffling feathers when she investigates the case on her own and asks a few too many questions.
It is obvious throughout that something is rotten in this village, and someone is either covering something up or hiding it.  For the most part, I really liked all the twists and turns throughout, though I think by the end, there may have been one twist too many, taking it from "I didn't see that coming" or "how clever" to "really, what else?"  Still, it was definitely an engaging mystery/crime novel, and I'm sure I'll pick up more by Neuhaus eventually.

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