Nele Neuhaus, Translated by Steven T. Murray
On a rainy November day police detectives Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein are summoned to a mysterious traffic accident: A woman has fallen from a pedestrian bridge onto a car driving underneath. According to a witness, the woman may have been pushed. The investigation leads Pia and Oliver to a small village, and the home of the victim, Rita Cramer.
On a September evening eleven years earlier, two seventeen-year-old girls vanished from the village without a trace. In a trial based only on circumstantial evidence, twenty-year-old Tobias Sartorius, Rita Cramer’s son, was sentenced to ten years in prison. Bodenstein and Kirchhoff discover that Tobias, after serving his sentence, has now returned to his home town. Did the attack on his mother have something to do with his return?
In the village, Pia and Oliver encounter a wall of silence. When another young girl disappears, the events of the past seem to be repeating themselves in a disastrous manner. The investigation turns into a race against time, because for the villagers it is soon clear who the perpetrator is—and this time they are determined to take matters into their own hands.
An atmospheric, character-driven and suspenseful mystery set in a small town that could be anywhere, dealing with issues of gossip, power, and keeping up appearances.
"...exciting and well-crafted... It has long been the fashion in police-procedural books for officers' private lives to be interwoven with professional duties. Ms. Neuhaus uses this pattern to greater effect than most, indicating parallels and contrasts between the cops' relationships and those of the villagers, and showing how the police's off-duty preoccupations complicate and distract them from work and even jeopardize their safety." -- The Wall Street Journal
"Snow White Must Die... has been a bestseller in Europe. It's easy to see why. Nele Neuhaus has a flair for the ominous and the ornate. Her primary setting, the village of Altenhain, makes those secretive villages in Agatha Christie novels seem as harmless as a collection of gingerbread houses. Altenhain is the anti-Christie town: Instead of quaintness, it offers decay; instead of Miss Marple, there's a spiteful populace of voyeurs whose curiosity stokes the smoldering embers of violence." --The Washington Post
"This novel is bursting with conspiracy and subterfuge and a raw exposition of the ugliness that can inhabit the human soul. Like detectives Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein, readers won't stop until the shocking ending is finally revealed."--USA Today
"With an entire town to populate and eleven years of history to explore, Nele Neuhaus had a monumental task ahead of her, one she tackled with impressive craft and style. Snow White Must Die is one mystery wrapped in a dozen others, startlingly capturing the long memory and insular nature of small towns everywhere."—San Francisco Book Review
"With more twists and turns than you can shake a stick at and a suitably over-the-top ending, Snow White Must Die is excellent poolside fare."—The Guardian