How Many Miles to Babylon

Doris Gercke, Author, Anna Hamilton, Translator Women in Translation $8.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-879679-02-3
German mystery writer Gercke's first novel to be published in the U.S. packs a powerful message but suffers from lackluster execution. Two men and a woman of the tiny village of Roosbach falsely befriend an outcast member of their community, encourage her to drink too much beer and rape her in a pigsty. The victim sees no recourse but to murder the trio who humiliated her, and she succeeds with two before shrewd, 50-ish Hamburg detective Bella Block arrives. Bella, set on relaxing at her inherited Roosbach cottage as she casually investigates the deaths there, finds the villagers uncommunicative and often downright nasty; however, she soon gets the facts from the smarmy and terrified tavern owner who is the sole survivor of the cruel threesome. Disgusted by the initial crime, Bella finds that her sympathies lie with the homicidal rape victim. The prose here is often stiff, and it is hard to identify with tough, opinionated Bella; still, the portrayal of Bella's inner struggle over rape, vengeance and professional duty accurately reflects current women's issues. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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