Snow White Must Die

Nele Neuhaus, Author
Nele Neuhaus, trans. from the German by Steven T. Murray. Minotaur, $24.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-60425-7
Reviewed on: 11/05/2012
Release date: 01/15/2013
Hardcover - 469 pages - 978-1-4472-4540-7
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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 play10 years earlier, to underscore the grimmest of human emotions: white for icily plotted revenge, red for raging jealousy, black for homicidal madness. (Jan.)
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