Echoes of Germanic folklore and fairy tale abound in Helen Grant’s novel, the third in a series which focuses on the historical and mythical past of Germany’s Eifel region and, in particular, on the town of Bad Munstereifel. The contemporary setting, centering on a bakery business owned by the Nett family, is conveyed in attractive and mouth-watering detail, even to the extent that many readers may end up feeling that they have more knowledge of German bread and pastries than they will probably ever require. It is on teenager Steffi Nett and five of her friends that the novel concentrates: how, by the time the action has been played out has this apparently shy young woman come to feel herself responsible for, as she expresses it, ‘three deaths, a disappearance and a serial killer with a crush on me’? There are some extremely murky goings-on, some extremely repellent characters and friendship is shown to take some extremely devious turns, though perceptive young readers will almost certainly have identified the villain of the piece long before the final moment of revelation. The best of Grant’s writing is to be found in her depiction of atmosphere, especially evident in the way in which contemporary events are always shown to be occurring in the shadow of ancient bigotries and bloodshed. At times, however, the tone becomes too self-consciously melodramatic, displayed in an over-fondness for simile and metaphor. There is, for example, a sequence where Steffi finds herself having to fend off the predatory intentions of the ghastly Achim: within a few lines, ‘He reeled me in like a fish’… ‘the slobbery kiss that was being aimed at me with the soggy gracelessness of a water bomb’… ‘I felt as though I had walked through the back room in a butcher’s shop and a whole side of beef had fallen off its hook and landed on me’… And there is a lot more like this to come.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2011-07-01 00:00:512022-02-06 18:33:20Wish Me Dead