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Snow White Must Die (Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein) Hardcover – January 15, 2013

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Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2013: Nele Neuhaus’s provocatively titled Snow White Must Die is already an international best-seller, and it’s easy to see why this mystery has been universally embraced. Set in a small village outside Frankfurt, Snow White works so well in large part because of how firmly it is rooted in place. The sense of claustrophobia grows with each turn of the page; the people living in this small town are enmeshed in complex relationships based on lies, blood, and shared history. Two detectives, both outsiders, investigating the disappearance of a local girl discover that the crime is connected to events from 10 years ago in a way that is more twisted and toxic than they could have predicted. Neuhaus’s seemingly formulaic procedural mystery (girls go missing, it ties together with previous murders, townspeople won’t open up) is actually a nuanced take on how deeply rooted misogyny is in society, the problems with groupthink, and the power of silence. --Caley Anderson

From Booklist

A 30-year-old man returns to his small German hometown of Altenhain after a decade in prison for the murders of two young women. He finds his father a broken man and his mother living elsewhere under a new name. When she is attacked and thrown from a bridge onto a busy highway, police inspectors Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein are drawn to seemingly quiet Altenhain, where the stolid burghers are actually hiding a roiling cauldron of secrets, enmities, scandals, infidelities, red-hot rages, and cold-blooded attacks. Snow White Must Die is the first U.S. publication for this best-selling German author, and she energetically piles up plot turns and revelations that have readers beliving that nearly every character is millimeters from emotional meltdown or violent rampage. Even the handsome, urbane von Bodenstein, the son of a countess, is nearly paralyzed by his wife’s apparent infidelity. For U.S. crime fans, the resurrection of the eighteenth-century notion of Sturm und Drang might seem a bit over the top, but the novel is still great, guilty fun. --Thomas Gaughan

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Product Details

  • Series: Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (January 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780312604257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312604257
  • ASIN: 0312604254
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (261 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #795,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nele Neuhaus is one of Germany's most widely read crime authors, thanks to her thrillers featuring the investigative duo of Oliver von Bodenstein and Pia Kirschoff, which were recently launched in English with Snow White Must Die. A longtime resident of the Taunus Mountains, her novels have been translated into twelve languages. To learn more about her, visit

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 70 people found the following review helpful By S. McGee TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
... or in this case, a village without pity, one not too distant from the big city of Frankfurt but that is just as tightly-knit and gossipy as the German town in the 1960s movie, and just as willing to dish out its own verdict and deliver its own brand of justice. When Tobias Sartorius is released after serving a 10-year sentence for the murder of two young women, both former girlfriends, he heads home to find his parents divorced, his father on the verge of financial collapse and the rest of the village all too ready to form a vigilante gang to toss him out. He wants to build some kind of new life, however narrow, and childhood friend Nadia, now a television actress and star, is eager to help him. But then his mother is brutally attacked, and another young girl vanishes...

This is all raw material for a very promising dark drama, but it never became one for me. Instead I plodded my way through this, bemused by each fresh plot element tossed into the mix until I came very very close to opening a notebook to keep notes so I could remember who was who; who is fighting against whom; what the various plot strands are, etc. This is ostensibly a thriller focusing on a man trying to prove his innocence not only of an original crime but of a second one, but there are so many distractions that reading this ended up feeling to me like a fairground ride that whips you from one side to another and leaves you dazed and confused. One minute, Tobias's mother is attacked; the next, a body is found; then there's a vigilante attack; then there's another crime. We lurch from medical malpractice to the banking crisis; there are multiple possible cases of older men getting involved with teenage girls; there are coverups of many different crimes.
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57 of 69 people found the following review helpful By PattyLouise VINE VOICE on December 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Snow White Must Die
Nele Neuhaus

My "in a nutshell" summary...

A ten year old crime comes to the surface again when the convicted man...Tobias... is released from prison and returns to his home.

My thoughts after reading this book...

OMG...what a fast paced thrill ride this book was. I never tell the story of a mystery. Mysteries are best left for the reader...the guessing, the action, the surprise, the fear...just the sheer joy of discovering who the real bad guy is...such lovely fun! This book began with a question and just sort of took off. There were great characters...tons of characters that you love to hate. There were so many people who were just hateful. The only thing I knew for sure was that Tobias had to be innocent...I was so positive of this but halfway through this book I began to doubt that! Pia and Oliver...chief detectives...are a likeable duo...each with their own issues. Oliver has marriage woes...
Pia has house issues. I loved the side stories of their respective relationships.

What I loved about this book...

I loved it is a big fat juicy mystery. Its pace is fast...its plot amazing...its characters fascinating. I loved Pia and Oliver as a team. Pia is persistent to the point of probably being annoying...but that makes the book ever so good!

What I didn't love...

The small minded people in this town. The idea that they stuck together and were so mean to Tobias and his father was annoying.

Final thoughts...

I found this book to be one of the best mysteries I have read in a while. It held my interest. It was a delicious fast paced book.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Utah Mom VINE VOICE on December 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Snow White Must Die was just the kind of thrilling mystery I was looking to read during a recent snow storm that left me housebound. Completely captivating, without too many grisly details, I was compelled to snuggle up and read all day.

Tobias has served his time for the murder of two girls, his former girlfriends, and is returning to the small village where his father still lives. Tobias has every intention of settling back into his quiet life but his mother is pushed from an overpass and is in the hospital. There are graffiti threats on his barn and the villagers taunt him wherever he goes. The police begin investigating the attempted murder of his mother and come across some inconsistencies in the original case. Did Tobias actually murder the girls ten years earlier?

Nele Neuhaus, the international bestselling author, is successful at creating the sinister situation and casting doubt on nearly every character in the village. Adept at sharing the right details, the characters and setting come alive and become more than just stock characters. Even the detectives are alive with details from their personal lives. Well plotted with just enough foreshadowing and clues to keep you guessing until the very end, Snow White Must Die is impossible to put down.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Brothers Grimm could not have come up with a darker tale than Nele Neuhaus's "Snow White Must Die," a thriller that is awkwardly translated from the German by Steven T. Murray. In 2008, thirty-year-old Tobias Sartorius is freed after spending ten years behind bars. Although the evidence against him was circumstantial, Tobi was convicted for murdering two seventeen-year-old girls, Laura Wagner and Stefanie Schneeberger, whose bodies were never found. His hostile neighbors in the small village of Altenhain do not welcome Sartorius back with open arms. On the contrary, they cruelly harass him and his downtrodden father, Hartmut. Tobi's homecoming turns out to be a catalyst for disaster when secrets that had long lain dormant gradually come to light. Ironically, Tobi may be one of the few innocent individuals in a town filled with selfish, hypocritical, greedy, lustful, cowardly, sadistic, and immoral men and women.

In addition to Tobias's reappearance, other developments set off a disastrous chain reaction. For example, forty-one year old Detective Inspector Pia Kirchhoff, of the Hofheim Criminal Police, is called to the scene when a backhoe operator finds skeletal remains in a dilapidated aircraft hangar that is scheduled for demolition. (Kirchhoff's boss, Oliver von Bodenstein is a good cop who is distracted by serious marital problems.) Pia decides to revisit Tobias's case, since she suspects that the wrong person may have been blamed for killing Stefanie and Laura. Violence erupts, another young girl disappears, and events begin to spiral out of control.
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