The Murder Farm

Andrea Maria Schenkel

translated from the German by Anthea Bell
Quercus 2008
A book review by Danny Yee © 2010
Set in rural Germany soon after the Second World War, The Murder Farm tells the story of a horrific murder in which a farmer, his wife, their daughter, her two children, and a maid are brutally killed.

Half the story is told in limited third person narrative from multiple perspectives, describing events just before, during and after the murders. Interspersed with that are first-person statements from some time afterwards, as delivered to an investigator (who remains invisible outside a brief prologue).

There is no complex plot with multiple suspects, and the ending is no great surprise. But there's plenty of tension, the structure makes for easy reading, and the story is gripping: The Murder Farm can easily be — and may need to be — read in a sitting.

It also offers some memorable characters, both in the more fleshed out key protagonists and in some quickly sketched ancillary figures. And it provides a portrait of rural life, with glimpses at the treatment of prisoner-labourers during the war, the conservatism of local officials, and social relations more generally.

Schenkel has produced a striking and unusual novel.

February 2010

External links:
- buy from
- buy from or
- share this review on Facebook or Twitter
Related reviews:
- more German literature
- books about Germany + German history
- more historical mystery
%T The Murder Farm
%A Schenkel, Andrea Maria
%M German
%F Bell, Anthea
%I Quercus
%D 2008
%O hardcover
%G ISBN-13 9781847243669
%P 181pp