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?
About the Author
Nele Neuhaus is one of the most widely read German mystery writers. More than two million copies of her books are currently in print. She lives near Frankfurt, Germany.
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Good read with good plot
I purchased this book as a gift. It was devoured by the recipient. She was delighted and reflected the enthusiasm of those who read the book in her book club.
this book starts off slow, however you need to stick with it as it gains momentum and becomes quite a thriller.
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.
."..[an] emotional page turner, fueled by unexpected plot twists."--"Kirkus Reviews" "German author Neuhaus makes her U.S. debut with this impressive multidimensional police procedural, which has already been published in 15 countries with more than three million copies in print. Convicted on circumstantial evidence of murdering two vanished 17-year-old girls, 30-year-old Tobias Sartorius returns home to Altenhain, a village near Frankfurt, after serving his 10-year sentence, to find his parents divorced and their lives as hopeless as his has become. The townspeople maintain a mafia-like code of silence to protect terrible betrayals past and present, even as the discovery of the skeletal remains of one of the missing girls leads Det. Insp. Pia Kirchhoff and Det. Sgt. Oliver von Bodenstein to suspect Tobias was innocent. Meanwhile, the two police officers get caught up in personal crises that realistically counterpoint the violence that greets Tobias's attempts to re-establish his life, when yet another girl goes missing and masked villagers nearly kill him. Again and again, Neuhaus inserts the old Grimm fairy tale refrain--"White as snow, red as blood, black as ebony"--that describes Snow White, the role of one of the original missing girls in a high school play 10 years earlier, to underscore the grimmest of human emotions: white for icily plotted revenge, red for raging jealousy, black for homicidal madness.--"Publishers Weekly (starred review") ."..[will]keep readers turning the pages up to the unpredictable ending...an addictively engaging mystery filled with suspects, confusion, love, and fear. Sure to intrigue and satisfy mystery fans, especially those who love international crime procedurals.--"Library Journal"""
Number Of Pages: 504
Published: 1st January 2013
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3 x 2.8
Weight (kg): 0.51