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The Murder Farm

3.25  ·  Rating details ·  2,351 ratings  ·  328 reviews
A whole family has been murdered with a pickaxe. They were old Danner the farmer, an overbearing patriarch, his put-upon devoutly religious wife, and their daughter Barbara Spangler, whose husband Vincenz left her after fathering her daughter, Marianne. Also murdered was the Danners' new maidservant, Marie, who was regarded as slightly simple. Despite the brutal nature of ...more
Paperback, 181 pages
Published December 26th 2008 by Quercus (first published January 1st 2006)
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Average rating 3.25  · 
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 ·  2,351 ratings  ·  328 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
”The demon’s here in every one of us, and every one of us can let our demons out at any time.”

 photo Murders_zpskuz109xx.jpg

We’ve all felt that flash of anger that balls up our fists, raises our pulse rate, and makes something slithery coil up in our guts. We suddenly feel warm as our muscles expand and our brain, for just the tick of a second, quits thinking beyond the moment. We are prepared to hurt someone.

Then for most of us, reason kicks in, and maybe in a few seconds we can even laugh about the Spaghetti Western m
With so many horrible and brutal murders to keep track of that have happened in North America- The Gruber family/Hinterkaifeck Murders- was never on my radar. So when Ivonne suggested THE MURDER FARM as our monthly group read, I was unaware it was based on a true story.

A lot of people compare it to In Cold Blood, but other than the murder of an entire family taking place in a rural setting- I don't see a lot of common ground here. These murders remain unsolved- probably the act of one man- and t
this is a very slim crime novel based on an unsolved murder case that took place in bavaria in 1922. schenkel sets this book in the 50s which allows her to use the aftermath of WWII to further darken the mood, but other than that, the basic facts are the same: one night, in a rural locale, six people were killed: a farmer, his wife, their grown daughter, her two children, and a maid on her first night in their employ. all were killed with a pickaxe, and their bodies were found scattered about th ...more
Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*
This short novel, at 168 pages, contains almost every trigger I have.

Several years ago, when doing some housework, I was listening to CMT and a song called “Alyssa Lies” came on. I stood there in the centre of the room, duster in hand and sobbed as I listened to it beginning to end. To this day just hearing the opening bars to that song sends a chill down my spine and makes my blood run cold.

The greatest ally to abuse that exists is silence. The Murder Farm is jam packed with silence, unaccou
Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Murder Farm is a fictionalised account of a true story: the unsolved murder in 1922 of the entire Gruber family (farmer, wife, daughter, two children and a maid) on a remote Bavarian farm called Hinterkaifeck. As such, it’s drawn comparisons with Truman Capote’s famous work In Cold Blood, which explored the murder of the American Clutter family in 1959.

Hinterkaifeck farm

The novel opens with a short passage by the nameless narrator, who had previously spent some time in the village and f
Ivonne Rovira
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Here’s fair warning: Do not start The Murder Farm when you’ve got a lot to do. This riveting novel sucks you in so swiftly and implacably that you won’t get your tasks done.

Author Andrea Maria Schenkel based The Murder Farm on the true story of an unsolved murder from 1922 in which an entire family was axed to death at the farm in a remote part of Bavaria. Should that add to the frisson of reading Schenkel’s novel? I have enjoyed non-fiction books that purport to reveal the “truth” after all th
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: foreign-authors
This is the re-telling of an actual mass murder in 1922 in Germany. The murders are, to this day, unsolved. But with some literary licence the author gives us a likely killer and changes the time frame from 1922 to 1950. Apart from that the story is true account of the goings on at Hinterkaifeck, the farm in question.

The story is told in the form of interviews given by various members of the local community.
It’s the harrowing story of a domineering father, his wife, who turns a blind eye to eve
Diane S ☔
Jun 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A chilling, foreboding and dark book, as dark as the isolated farm house in Germany where unspeakable things happened. Although the time period was changed in the interest of the story, this is actually based on a true crime, that was never solved. Several people of the town, plus those who were in someway involved with those murdered give their opinions on what was happening on the farm even before the murders. In short chapters we hear from the people themselves, before they were victims and t ...more

Description: Andrea Maria Schenkel (Bunker; Ice Cold) has taken the real history of a brutal, remote murder and twisted it into something even more unnerving for this, her first novel (originally titled Tannod and now being published for the first time in the U.S.).

Based on an unsolved Bavarian crime committed in 1922, The Murder Farm is set in the wake of World War II, told by an unnamed narrator. It includes excerpts from interviews with friends and colleagues of the murder victims, and diatri
The Murder Farm is a different approach to a murder mystery. Set in Germany 10 years after World War II, it is comprised of interviews of town residents, prayers, the thoughts of victims in their last days, possible thoughts of a murderer. There is a bleakness that takes over immediately, a sense of place and setting and portent that lasts and lasts even when the snow and rain stop. I found myself reading and reading, compelled to finish. This will be too spare for some readers but not for those ...more
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
A whole family is murdered on a secluded farm but who did it and why?

This book is made up of witness statements from the villagers, farmers, family and friends that build perfectly to reveal the whole picture and it's terrible conclusion.

A quick read but very satisfying.
3.5 stars>
Left Coast Justin
Review in English here: (view spoiler) ...more
Alan Teder
Fictional Version of a True Unsolved
Review of the Quercus hardcover edition (2014) translated from the German language original Tannöd (2006)

The Hinterkaifeck Murders are a true unsolved cold case from 1922 at a farm nearby to Munich, Germany. Schenkel takes the known facts of the case and transposes them into a post-World War II time and changes names in order to fictionalize the circumstances.

The book proceeds as if the anonymous writer was interviewing various neighbours, witnesses and public
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a chilling book that I read in a single sitting. So grabbed, I could not put it down. I even forgot the Bears game was on and missed the first half.

It's stark and direct as a forensic report read. There's no extra information, it's all pertinent. We hear an entire series of over 10 characters (family, servant, neighbors) tell what they saw, what they did, who they spoke with and when. The hearsay they've heard, in the Bavarian town or while at the Dunner farm or near to it. It's been te
May 22, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book quite a bit.. I did find some
parts a little hard to follow.. it was translated from German, Which could be why. It takes place after the 2nd world war in Germany in the 1950's. A whole family was murdered in their farmhouse. the book is laid out very uniquely of statements to the police, prayers, and the story. who did it? and why?
I did not expect the ending at all!!
Nice quick read, very intriguing and compelling! I'm giving it a 3 only because some parts I found hard to fol
This was chosen as our monthly read by a member (Iridescent Ivonne, does that work, of my book club. I took it home from the library, sat down and read it cover to cover in about an hour and a half. Not only is it suspenseful and interesting, I don't think I have ever read a book with this type of format. A lean 166 pages, no chapter is over 5-6 pages. Told from several different viewpoints of the villagers in the German town the murders take place, I have to applaud the author ...more
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: great-escape
Gripping! If I didn't have a little person who drains my energy and refuses to nap, on occasion, I would have finished this in one sitting. In fact, many ladies in my book club DID read it in one sitting.

I loved how the chapters were laid out; an interview with different people from the village reflecting on interactions with the family who lived on the Murder Farm.

Apparently, it is loosely based on a family murdered in 1922. Hhmm, must google...
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is more of a 4.5 star read for me. I loved how the author used the different members of the community to tell the story through an interview style writing. I found it to be very unique. I liked the twist at the end. This is an easy, one sitting read that was intriguing to me. I'm shocked it's rated such a low star. I enjoyed it. ...more
Amy Yingling
The Murder Farm by Andrea Maria Schenkel is a little piece of fiction (168 pages) that is based upon a true story of an unsolved rural murder that occurred in Bavaria in 1922. Creepy is not the word! I lived on a farm until I was 11 years old and have been freaked out in the past by the eerie isolation that living on 100 acres in Western Maryland can bring with it, but it compares nothing to the overwhelming isolation that Andrea Maria Schenkel describes in amazingly stark detail.

The brutality o
Chris Wolak
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm always on the look-out for German crime novels translated into English and was thrilled to find The Murder Farm on Edelweiss.

This is Schenkel's first novel. It was a best-seller in Germany, selling over 300,000 copies, and was also made into a movie directed by Bettina Oberli.

Murder Farm is based on a real-life 1922 murder of a family on their farm in Bavaria, Germany. Schenkel moves the crime to the post-WWII time period, which creates more tension for contemporary readers.

This is one of th
Rob Kitchin
May 07, 2013 rated it liked it
The intrigue of The Murder Farm is created through the whodunit storyline and its telling. Taking a relatively novel approach, Schenkel tells the story through the voices of a number of people connected to the farm - the classmate of one of the children, the sister and former employer of the maid, local farmers, the shopkeeper, the local priest, and so on. Each has a distinct voice, with the text being a transcript of their account given to the faceless narrator. In tandem is the account in a di ...more
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is originally titled, Tannod, and is apparently based on a true story. The author however has drawn her own conclusions on the reason and the person responsible for the murders. It is set out in the form of testimonies from residents of the town near where the murders took place, neighbours and family of the deceased and it is indeed a creepy tale. The events took place in an isolated farm in the 1950's, not long after the end of WW2 in Tannod, Germany. The Danner family and their new ...more
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Murder Farm begins with an introduction from the narrator, noting how the peaceful village he once stayed at after the war suddenly became famous due to "the Murder Farm". He travels to the village to learn more about what happens and interviews various individuals and what they knew of the victims from the farm.

This was originally published in German and translated into English. The story is told in sparse prose, very in
Flora Smith
This is a fictional account of a true story and is told in an unconventional way. Interviews are given to people who live near where a gruesome murder has taken place. Chilling accounts are given as we hear from the friend of the little girl that was murdered as well as other friends and neighbors of the family. The story gradually unfolds as we learn the fate of the entire family and their maid.

Its a short read but one that packs a punch. I was pulled in right from the beginning and couldn't p
Janet Lynch
Oct 29, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 A short, well written little mystery. Translated from German it is a gripping read. More than half the book takes the form of interviews and recollections of different townspeople after a gruesome murder at a rural farm.
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads
SETTING: Germany
WHY: A horrific set of murders has occurred at a remote farm in rural Germany. An entire family, including children and their maid, have been killed with a pick axe. We learn more about the dynamics of the dysfunctional family through a series of interviews with the locals and relatives. Who would have had so much anger towards them? Most of the book is narrated through the interviews, with a few sections told from a third person point of view. A different approach tha
This is a very short crime novel based on an unsolved murder case that took place in Bavaria in 1922. The author sets the book in the 1950's which allows her to use WWII and it's aftermath to darken the mood somewhat, but other than that, it seems as if the basic facts of the original case are the same: one night, in a rural farming district in Bavaria, six people were killed: a farmer, his wife, their grown daughter, her two children, and a maid on her first night of her employment. They all we ...more
Sep 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, european, signed
On a remote farm in Germany, the Danner family and their maid are found brutally murdered with a pickaxe. Old man Danner was a cruel and overbearing man who ruled his family with an iron fist. His wife, a deeply religious woman, was cowed by his brutality. Their daughter Barbara, also a victim of his abuse, had a daughter from a brief marriage. Several years later she gave birth to a son and although she never revealed her son’s paternity, a neighbouring farmer has always claimed he was the fath ...more
Book Review originally published here:

The Murder Farm is based on a true crime, a murder on a family and their madservant in a rural, quiet community, which was never solved. The reader crawls into the mind of the detectives, who talk to several witnesses and people of the community and try to figure out what happened to the family, and who murdered them.

I decided to pick up this book because it was inspired by true events, and I like reading about unsolv
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