The Murder Farm
Andrea Maria Schenkel; Anthea Bell (translator)
Quercus, Jun 3 2014, $22.99
Several years after WWII ended, a mass murder in a German village left the Danner farm family and others dead. In a rage this unknown adversary used an axe to slaughter the farmer, his wife, their daughter, their eight years old granddaughter, their two years old grandson, and their servant; an itinerant Michael Baumgartner in the wrong place at the wrong time stumbles over the bodies in an attempt to escape.
Ludwig Eibl the postman and Kurt Huber the mechanic reported no one greeted them when they arrived at Tannöd. His baby stepbrother has Danner blood so teenager Hansl Hauer visited the spread and found the place eerily empty with no one around except the dog. He gets his widower dad and farmer Johann Sterzer to look around. They find corpses in the barn and the house.
The Murder Farm is a fascinating whodunit that combines sanctimonious testimony from the cops, people who knew at least one of the deceased and the student narrator as everyone tries to determine who and why; while readers know the answers. Not for everyone as the storyline feels more like a police report anecdotes of a horrible massacre than a typical investigation. Still fans who appreciate something different will want to read Andrea Maria Schenkel’s engaging 1950s German murder mystery.