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The Murder Farm by Andrea Maria Schenkel

The Murder Farm (2006)

by Andrea Maria Schenkel

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (22)  French (4)  German (4)  Swedish (2)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  All (34)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
From Amazon:

The Murder Farm begins with a shock: a whole family has been murdered with a pickax. They were old Danner the farmer, an overbearing patriarch; his put-upon devoutly religious wife; and their daughter Barbara Spangler, whose husband Vincenz left her after fathering her daughter little Marianne. She also had a son, two-year-old Josef, the result of her affair with local farmer Georg Hauer after his wife's death from cancer. Hauer himself claimed paternity. Also murdered was the Danners' maidservant, Marie.

An unconventional detective story, The Murder Farm is an exciting blend of eyewitness account, third-person narrative, pious diatribes, and incomplete case file that will keep readers guessing. When we leave the narrator, not even he knows the truth, and only the reader is able to reach the shattering conclusion.

My Thoughts:

A very short story, only 168 pages translated from the original German. For whatever reason, this book has been classified as "crime fiction". Technically, it is crime fiction, in that the story involves the brutal murder of a family on an isolated farm in post-WWII Bavaria. However, it is not typical detective fiction; rather, it is an insightful portrait of a remote, rural community in southern Germany in the 1950's. Many of the chapters are written as though they are transcripts of interviews taken as part of the murder investigation. Seldom do you read a book where one of the victims garners no sympathy from the reader, but that's what happens here. You feel that the husband/father/grandfather deserved what happened to him. Those that are looking for a typical "mystery/suspense story are going to be sadly disappointed but I would give it 3 stars for the authors efforts. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
1957, somewhere in the Bavarian countryside, on a remote farm, all family members are brutally killed: The father and his wife, their daughter and her two kids, and even their maid. The story is told in testimonies of the people who live in the small community interspersed with a few glimpses of their life just before the killing. The unusual format is very evocative of the time and the people that live in that community and help build the sense of oppressive dread that surrounded the farm. Nice read. ( )
  sushicat | Jan 14, 2016 |
posted at: http://wearewordnerds.com/murder-farm-andrea-maria-schenkel/
This book was provided for my consideration. The free copy did not influence my review.

My Thoughts:

The Murder Farm is a fictionalized account(s) of a real unsolved Bavarian murder. This book is told from multiple POVs, all retelling their accounts of the events leading up to and including the brutal murder of an entire family.

The story is set on a farm in the 1950s. With the recent flux of fiction featuring Amish, the descriptions of the people and rural settings in this story had me thinking it was an Amish community, rather than the German farm it actually was. The farm was large, isolated, and hand worked by “help” and family. The real crime was never solved.

The family consisted of an abusive over bearing father, an over religious mother, an angry daughter, a toddler, and their house and farm hands. All of which are brutally murdered with a pick ax.

The reader is led through this crime by multiple interviews of neighbors of the family as we try to find out “who did it”.

In Conclusion:

This book was just ok for me. The bouncing POV kept me from connecting to any one character. I would have preferred it to have been just a straight story. It was not scary, but was an excellent mystery. It is sad the original murders were never solved. I say pick it up if you like “true crime” or murder mystery thrillers.

Mom Notes:

Be warned this book does contain: incest, violence, poor treatment of women, and racism.

Interesting facts:

This book is a German Award Winner. Was also made into a German film in 2009
  BunnyCates | Jul 8, 2015 |
Fairly good book. I think I probably enjoyed it as much as I did because it was written so differently and I've been in a book slump lately. Being an avid reader for 40+ years I am starting to feel its all been done before and I am finding myself quite bored with books in general. As for the mystery part of the book it was easy to figure out early on which was somewhat disappointing. All in all it entertained me for a few hours. ( )
  flippinpages | Apr 30, 2015 |
I received an electronic copy of this book to review, but in no way does that have an impact on my views and opinion.

"The Murder Farm" is a fine example of how a thriller should be. I believe that goriness, as in buckets of blood and guts, is completely unnecessary. A thriller needs to have several parts that send your heart beating, and having you glance over your shoulder once or twice.

I highly enjoyed how the novel began, even though I thought I was reading a little excerpt from the author, but in reality it was part of the story...whoops. Every so often there would be a page or two with a part of a prayer asking all the saints and God to watch over the murder victims. I thought that was a unique touch that I as a reader doesn't see that much. I don't necessarily get uncomfortable when faith or God gets brought up in a novel that I am reading, but if it's thrown and shoved down my throat I will stop reading the book. However, Schenkel weaves this prayer intricately and beautifully throughout the novel. I would forget about the prayer while I was reading, and then at the perfect moment I would turn to a page with more of the prayer.

As far as the character development goes, there wasn't too much. The chapters were set up so that part of them was a character giving their account of what happened, and the other parts of the chapters was actually what happened. I loved that set up, because usually if a question arose while reading, the second part of the chapter supplied the answer. You just find out bits and pieces of each character while they give the information about the murders that they know or witnessed. This is definitely not a novel where you can form a relationship or connection with the characters.

Overall, "The Murder Farm" quenched my thirst for a classic murder mystery thriller. At times I felt that the writing style was a little too simplistic. However, I quickly got over that minor detail when the novel would send my heart racing. I would periodically catch myself glancing over my shoulder, and I'm sure I even jumped when another family member made a noise in the house while I was reading. I highly recommend this novel for those who are looking for a murder mystery that doesn't involve tons of blood and spilled guts everywhere. ( )
  mamelotti | Apr 24, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Murders have been committed on a farm in rural Bavaria a few years after the end of WWII. The book is the story of the murders and the people in the town. Each chapter is in the voice of a different person explaining how they knew the family and giving insight into the activities of the family.
added by Gremelkin | editAmazon, Lynne Nelson (Sep 10, 2014)
“The Murder Farm” (its title is “Tannöd” in German), has no detective — in fact there is no investigator at all. It consists of very brief chapters, many of them monologues of different villagers explaining to an unseen interviewer his or her connection to the slain family and to the day of the murders.
added by ozzer | editNew York Times, ALINA TUGEND (Jun 10, 2014)

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Andrea Maria Schenkelprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bell, AntheaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I spent the first summer after the end of the war with distant relations in the country.
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Book description
An entire family lies dead — a man, his wife, their daughter, her two children and their new maid — brutally murdered with a pickaxe at their remote home, now known as "the murder farm."

The papers are full of stories and rumours, but the police have no firm leads and seemingly no sense of how they might set about finding the killer. Then a former resident of the village returns home to see if they can succeed where outsiders have failed.

Andrea Maria Schenkel's debut is an unforgettable detective story in which neither police, journalists nor the narrator can find the solution — the reader alone reaches the shattering conclusion.
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In a German village in the aftermath of the Second World War, a family is found brutally murdered. Neither the police, journalists nor the narrator can solve the case: the reader alone must reach the shattering conclusion. This novel won numerous awards on publication in Germany.… (more)

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