The Murder Farm
by Andrea Maria Schenkel
Review by Steve Sawicki
Quercus Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 1847243665
Date: 05 June 2008
On a small farm somewhere in the deep country forests of Bavaria a family toils to stay alive. The surrounding farms are much the same, worked by those who survived or were left behind from the war. But not everything is normal on this farm for in the middle of it all the family that lives on the farm is murdered, struck down with a pickaxe. No one has any idea of who could have done it although many have suspicions and the murdered family seems to have more than a few secrets.
This is a very short novel, and the story is told through a varying number of self-reports of individuals who had contact with the family or were otherwise involved. The reader learns about the family for most of the book and the murders happen near the end. By the time they do happen it's certainly apparent that they are going to happen so this is less about the suspense or even the act itself and more about all the disparate pieces that come together to make a story. Each piece is held by a different human being who had one set interaction with the property or the family or someone connected so.
Andrea Maria Schenkel tells an interesting story here although it's perhaps not as satisfying as a story than it is as a study in story construction. When reading one begins thinking about the various ways this story could have been told and the varying characters who were involved in the process. I don't think this novel is for everyone. On the other hand, it is a very short novel so if you are even curious then I would give it a shot.
This story is also based on a true story that occurred in 1922 Bavaria. That murder was unsolved while the murder in the book has a resolution, although I'll leave it to you as to whether it is a satisfying one or not.