Murder, beautiful murder

On the radar — This week’s book report has a distinctly European flavour to it with all of our books focusing on crimes with their roots in the past. We start our travels in Germany with a modern day fairytale that’s every bit as dark as the story it’s based on. Our next three books bring us to the UK and Ireland on the trail of missing murder victims, and deadly secrets.

neuhausSnow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus
We start this week with a book that was actually released back in January but a copy has just arrived at CFL HQ for review. German writer Nele Neuhaus takes this classic story and turns it into a modern day police procedural. Going back 11 years, two 17-year-old girls called Laura and Stephanie disappeared from the little village of Althenhain, just outside Frankfurt. Young man Tobias Sartorius was convicted of killing both girls on purely circumstantial evidence. Having served his sentence, he has now returned home but his presence in the village is stirring up old, hidden secrets which residents would prefer stayed in the past. When the family is subjected to attacks, DI Pia Kirschhof and DS Oliver von Bodenstein are assigned to monitor the situation, but it soon becomes clear that the girls disappearance was more complex than originally imagined. When another girl goes missing, the duo are under pressure to solve the case before it’s too late.
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The Beauty of Murder by AK BenedictBenedict
Junior lecturer Stephen Killigan hasn’t been able to shake the chill since he took up his post at Cambridge University. Then he stumbles across the body of a missing local beauty queen, but when he reports his discovery to the police, the body disappears and Stephen finds himself being drawn into the murky, dangerous world of somebody called Jackamore Grass, and moving between the present and the 17th century, amongst tattooists, philosophers and cadavers. Killigan must find a corpse before anyone else goes missing. Is he on the verge of madness or an amazing discovery? The Beauty of Murder is out today.
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mcgowanThe Lost by Claire McGowan
When two teenage girls go missing along the Irish border, forensic pathologist Paula Maguire is sent back to her hometown and finds the local fearful that a serial killer may be at large. The deeper Paula digs, she begins to unearth possible links to two further disappearances back in 1985 and a town with old secrets that may hold the key to her own mother’s disappearance. As the truth begins to emerge Paula realises that its sometimes better to leave things unfound. The Lost is out on 11 April.
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Pilgrim Soul by Gordon Ferrisferris
Glasgow 1947, the worst winter on record, killers stalk the streets and Douglas Brodie’s past is coming back to haunt him. Brodie’s been approached by the local Jewish community to investigate a series of burglaries which the police don’t seem to want to take seriously. He accepts only because he needs the money. Things get complicated when Brodie finds the thief, only for the man to be killed mid-burglary, and the householder himself is subsequently murdered. As the body count grows, Brodie finds a blood trail leading back to the concentration camps and tainted gold, but will he be able to overcome the nightmares of the past and uncover the truth in the present before anyone else dies? Pilgrim Soul is out on 1 April.
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We end this week with brief mention of Sara Blædel’s novel Blue Blood, which has been released on Kindle and will be arriving as a paperback in June. It’s being published in the UK by Sphere. Some of our US readers may recognise this title as Call Me Princess, which we reviewed back in October 2011.

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