Munich in the 1930s. The times are hard for young women, nevertheless Kathie decides to leave her small village and to find a job in the close-by town and to live the life of the established and fashionable ladies she has seen when travelling there with her mother. She finds a place with a friend for a couple of days but is reluctant to really care for a job. Why not look out for a man to support her? While we follow Kathie’s first steps in Munich, the police interrogate Kalteis and witnesses report the last hours of many young girls who all were abused and then killed.
Andrea Maria Schenkel again, after the incredible success of “Tannöd”, basis her novel on real facts taken from police records. Just like in her first novel, she narrates the story not in chronological order – this time she even starts with the execution of the culprit – but in a tessellated ways where different characters report their memories in alteration with the protagonist’s story. It takes some time until the reader find his/her way into the novel. Too many characters and stories are interwoven and this makes it difficult to sort them out. The style fits quite well the characters, most of them having a Bavarian peasant background and thus using a rather plain and direct way of speaking. Also Kathie’s naivety is portrayed in a convincing way. Quite well chosen is the English title, which translates directly from the German original but adding the new aspect of the cold murder.
Nevertheless, the story lacks suspense and a character development. It lives from the eclectic way of telling the tale, but this is not enough to make a great novel.