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Friday, 2 January 2015

‘The Dark Meadow’ by Andrea Maria Schenkel



Published by Quercus,
7 August 2014.
ISBN: 978-1780877730

Germany, in the 1960s. A pub owner has problems with a drunk in his bar, a man who keeps talking about a murder just after the war that was never investigated. He leaves a newspaper cutting behind him, and the case is re-opened.

This short novel reminded me of Capote’s In Cold Blood. The story is told partly through third-person narration, partly through first-person memories of witnesses from that time. We get to know the rebellious Afra, who had an affair with a Frenchman in the war, and came home pregnant to her parents’ farm; her religious father, who is struggling with the onset of dementia; her patient mother. We’re shown the carelessness and bias of the original police investigation, and understand why the wrong person was blamed. The poverty and hard word of a small farm in the 1940s is vividly evoked. Gradually, the tagedy is unfolded, and the ending is chillingly callous.

An absorbing and moving novel.
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Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Andrea Maria Schenkel was born March 21, 1962 in Regensburg, Germany.








Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.




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