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SNOW WHITE MUST DIE
by Nele Neuhaus and Steven T. Murray, trans.
Minotaur Books, January 2013
371 pages
$24.99
ISBN: 0312604254


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Convicted of the murder of two girls ten years earlier, Tobias Sartoriusis released from prison and returns to his home in the small German town of Altenhain. The townspeople have shunned his family, resulting in the closure of his father's popular restaurant; his parents have separated. The entire community treats him and his father abominably upon his return. The only person other than his parents who visited Tobi while he was in prison is Nadia von Bredow, a famous actress who went to school with him and has been infatuated with him ever since. A young woman from Berlin, Amelie Frohlich, who is visiting the area has also befriended Tobi.

What is the truth about what happened ten years earlier? It's uncontested that Tobi became jealous when his girlfriend cheated on him, and that he had not treated her predecessor well. The reality is that he got so drunk that he doesn't know what happened either. The circumstantial evidence is strong, but neither of the girls has ever been found. When one of the bodies is discovered, the furor erupts all over again. Detective Inspector Pia Kirchhoft is assigned to the case and soon finds that just about everyone in Altenhain seems to be involved in some kind of cover-up. When Amelie disappears under circumstances similar to the earlier incidents, Tobi is under fire once again.

Although initially interesting, Neuhaus tried to include too much into the narrative, and it really wandered far afield as the story progressed. There were multiple deaths, attacks, inappropriate liaisons with just about every character hiding something. The result reminded me of an overstuffed suitcase, with bits and pieces hanging out everywhere. The narrative was awash with red herrings, and there were at least three characters in addition to Tobi who were prime suspects. On the other hand, I was engaged enough by the situation to want to learn what really happened and how Tobi would fare.

SNOW WHITE MUST DIE is a huge international best seller. The premise of the book is a good one; it's too bad that the author felt a need to throw so much more into the narrative than what was required to build suspense and sympathy for the protagonist.

Formerly a training development manager for a large company, Maddy is now retired and continues to enable the addiction of crime fiction fans as owner of the online discussion group, 4 Mystery Addicts(4MA), while avidly reading in every possible free moment herself.

Reviewed by Maddy Van Hertbruggen, February 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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