Fresh Meat: Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus

Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus is the fourth in the  Oliver von Bodenstein and Pia Kirchhoff series (available January 15, 2013).


A small town holds many secrets.

When 30-year-old Tobias (Tobi) Sartorius returns to his small hometown after serving a ten-year prison term for double murder, those secrets start to fester and ooze.

Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus is the fourth (and most successful) in Neuhaus’s series featuring German detectives Oliver von Bodenstein and Pia Kirchhoff and it is the first to be translated into English. (One of Neuhaus’s stand-alone novels will be published in English this summer.)

Bodenstein and Kirchoff get involved in the small town’s business when a skeleton belonging to one of the dead girls shows up in a tank on an abandoned military base about the same time someone pushes Tobi’s mother over a bridge and into busy traffic.

Tobias claims he can’t remember what happened on the fateful night his two ex-girlfriends disappeared but someone knows who lies at the bottom of that empty fuel tank and someone knows where the body of the second girl has been all these years.

And everybody knows the identity of the person who pushed Rita Cramer into traffic but nobody’s telling.

On the surface Snow White Must Die is a Euro-Noir that unfolds in a leisurely fashion after a Gothic opening worthy of William Faulkner. (Think “A Rose for Emily.”) We’re introduced to Tobias and his father and many of the other inhabitants of Altenhain, most of whom are not happy to see the young man return to the scene of his crimes and most of whom are ready to help speed him on his way to anywhere else but there.

One of the few friendly faces in Altenhain is 17-year-old Amelie Frölich, a teenager banished from Berlin for her antisocial behavior. She becomes fascinated by Tobias and the 11-year-old murder case, much to the dismay of everyone in town, including her autistic best friend Thies, whose brother Lars was one of Tobi’s best friends before the murders.

Tobi’s father has given up fighting the other villagers and now just wants to be left alone. His son still has a fire in his belly, though, and does not shy away from confronting the local shopkeeper (and head gossip). 

“I’ve served my time and now I’m back,” he tells her, “whether you like it or not.”

She doesn’t like it, not one bit, but when her husband intervenes and tells her to let Tobias pay for the groceries he wants to buy, she clenches her teeth and obeys.

Snow White Must die is a Euro-Noir that has co-opted the tropes associated with cozy mysteries—the small village, the gossipy inhabitants, the family secrets—and used them to chilling effect.

Call it an “anti-cozy.”

Here the local watering hole is a place where villagers gather to drink and eat but also to scheme and plan and conspire. Amelie works at the Black Horse and keeps her eyes open and her neckline plunging (the better to attract tips) and forms her own opinions about Tobi from the gossip she hears.

Pia also has her own opinion about the long-dead case and those opinions put her at odds with Oliver and also with their boss who is working with limited resources and doesn’t want any of them wasted on investigating a case that was solved a decade earlier. Oliver, who usually trusts his partner’s hunches, is distracted during the case by personal problems and so is Pia, and that’s an aspect of the story that reminds us of cozies as well. Just as the small town inhabitants of Althain are connected by marriage and blood and shared secrets, the law and order world of Pia and Oliver has its own secrets too.

This book would make an excellent television series along the lines of The Killing, especially since it offers some respite from the darkness in the form of Pia’s loving relationship with the director of the local zoo. (She met him on a case.)

The characters in Snow White Must Die are solid and well-drawn, and the investigation—which gets a little over-the-top near the end—is still absorbing and engaging. You may very well guess the identities of the people involved in the murders and the cover-ups but you will not guess all the secrets this book holds.

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To enter for a chance to win one of three copies of Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus, make sure you’re a registered member of the site, sign in, and then simply leave a comment below.

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See more coverage of new releases with our Fresh Meat series.

Katherine Tomlinson lives in Los Angeles in an apartment where her TBR pile has its own bookcase. She writes dark fiction but has a soft spot for cozy mysteries, heroic fantasy, and horror novels where only bad people get killed. She is the editor of the upcoming anthology Nightfalls.

Read all posts by Katherine Tomlinson for Criminal Element.


  1. Gordon Bingham

    Am really enjoying the expansion of Euro noir translations…looking foreward to this one!

  2. shawn manning

    Looks might interesting.

  3. Susan Spann

    This looks fantastic. I love seeing translations of foreign language works – sometimes it seems like most of the translations go in the opposite direction, and I love the chance to read works by authors from other countries!

  4. L L

    Sounds interesting.

  5. Anne Muller

    This does sound good. First I’ve heard of it.

  6. erin f

    sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

  7. jason fiske

    Brings a lot of different things into this story. Specially like that a character is autisitc

  8. Deborah Dumm

    Sounds like a really good series of books.


    Sounds yummy!

  10. Jose Lavandera

    Ccan’t wait to read the rest!!

  11. Vivian T.

    Sounds like a great read.

  12. Marie-Louise Molloy

    [b][color=rgb(64, 224, 208)]Want to finish~PLEASE! [/color][/b]

  13. Elizabeth

    Sounds good. I’ll write a review after I read it and post to several sites on the Internet.

  14. Tina Myers

    Love what I read so far now I need to win it find out the ending..Thanks

  15. Anita Nowak

    Sounds like a great mystery I would like to read!

  16. kathleen eddy

    I don’t usually like translations, but this looks really good.

  17. Brianna Lee

    Sounds great! I would love to read and review this book!

  18. Eva Moller

    Haven’t read this series yet. Sounds very interesting.

  19. Joanne Mielczarski

    I am so anxious to read this book – I can’t wait for it to come out!

  20. Karl Stenger

    Being Geman, I would love to read this book

  21. Walt Nickell

    This is not my typical genre, but I am now officially intrigued. I’d love to win a copy, but even if I don’t, I WILL be reading this one.

  22. Diane Pollock

    Unique twist!

  23. William Hamilton

    I look forward to its publication and will definitely be reading this new entry into the U.S. market.

  24. Gary Anderson

    That is a great cover. The ghostly face in the snow scene really catches my eye. I will be looking for this cover when I make my trip to the bookstore later this week!

  25. AnthonyS

    Thank you

  26. Tricha Leary

    looks like a great read

  27. Rob Blake

    Looks like an interesting read. Hopefully the rest of the von Bodenstein and Kirchhoff sweries will appear in English soon.

  28. Desmond Warzel

    Count me in, please!

  29. Pam Howell

    Sounds great. And I love the title!

  30. ravensfan

    Looks like a fun read. I hope the rest of this series gets translated into English.

  31. Angela Dyrcz

    I love finding a new series and this look likes a great one!

  32. Irene Menge

    Small towns can be lovely, but I think most contain evil under the surface, human nature being what it is.

  33. Susan Pertierra

    I haven’t heard of this series but it looks interesting.

  34. Allison Moyer

    You had me at the title! Thanks for the contest.

  35. Barbara Bibel

    This sounds like a great noir. I want to read it.

  36. Micheal Camp

    This book will be one I will be reading this year

  37. Anne Joyce

    I like the idea that this is the first book but, only the fourth in the series from these German authors that has been translated into English…maybe more in the future?

  38. Sara Latta

    I’d love to read this book; you got me at “anti-cozy.”

  39. Robert Banning

    OOOOOHHH!!! Very interesting!!

  40. Andrew Beck

    So glad that more and more of the exciting new European thrillers are being translated into English and offered in American editions. This one sounds absolutely terrific! As long as the irreedemable chill of a wet winter forces writers’ minds to wander in such unseemly directions–and the summer gives them time to put thoughts to cyber document, then keep ’em coming!

  41. Kay Gornick

    Will this German translation be the southern Jo Nesbo or Henning Mankell?

  42. Barbara

    I’ve loved the Scandinavian thrillers; would love to read one from Germany.

  43. Patrick Coleman

    This sounds like a good weekend read

  44. john frost

    Soungs interesting. Having spent some time in Germany, would love to read this.

  45. MaryC

    Sounds great – wonder if the first three in the series will be published here.

  46. Lisa Kaiser

    This looks a super read. Would love to read a contemporary German novel by a German author.

  47. Taylor Duncan

    One word. Breathtaking.

  48. Cindi Hoppes

    What an interesting plot and characters…
    Thanks very much!

  49. Margot Core

    An anti-cozy that manipulates the tropes of a cozy, how yummy. I am just the gal for this book.

  50. Dariti Gale Albright

    I think most old fairy stories can be classified as “anti-cozies.” Stories for children are often blood-curdling and populated with ghoulish characters. For example, the witch wants to cook and eat Hansel and Gretel, Snow White’s wicked stepmother wants the girl’s heart cut out by the huntsman, and Beauty is held captive by a shape-shifting Beast because her father dared to pick a rose! I can well imagine that Snow White Must Die would be a very exciting read. I’d like to find out about Euro-Noir.

  51. Lynda L

    Look forward to reading the whole book!

  52. Pat Bassett

    can’t wait to go and get this book….couldn’t wait for the next paragraph…I lived in GE for 5 yrs, and could identify with some of the places mentioned….yummy book…..

  53. Annette Estell

    This is definitely on my to read list

  54. Sandra Hofsommer

    Have enjoyed the Scandinavian mysteries but am ready to read those written by top mystery writers from other countries. This book suggests a new experience and I am really intrigued by the suggestion of a Faulkner-like begining.

  55. Jeffrey Tretin

    Very interesting

  56. Joyce Benzing

    Sounds great.

  57. Gregory Sparks

    sounds interesting. Complex, but not to much to follow.

  58. Andrew Kuligowski

    I love the concept of an “anti-cozy”!

  59. John Clark

    Sounds ddictive as all get out to me.


    prince charming to the rescue

  61. christopher harner

    love this series

  62. Angela Bartlett

    Definitely count me in for this one!

  63. Kathleen Tyree

    I like the definition “anti-cozy”!

  64. Chris Wolak

    I’ve been looking forward to this one! Already a looong waiting list for it at the library.

  65. Karen Terry

    I love that title.

  66. Ellen

    You get more out of a book than just the mystery if it’s set in another culture.

  67. Phoenix

    I’ve heard good things about this series, but haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

  68. Cristina

    Sounds good. I read this is his first to translate to English although it is fourth in the series. I am wondering if there are plans for translating the whole series? I am interested in reading all of the series.

  69. Chris

    Love idea of anti- cozy and fascinated by snow white idea.

  70. alicia marie

    This is the first I’ve heard about this book, but it sounds really good!

  71. Vikki Parman

    The title is certainly eye catching, looks like a good read. Anti cozy is a new term for me.

  72. Darlene Slocum

    An “anti cozy” – Sounds like fun.

  73. Kelley Tackett

    Love the title and cover. I would read any book described as “anti-cozy.”

  74. Mary Ann Brady

    Sounds like a really good read!

  75. Joanna Hernandez

    I would love to win this!

  76. Susan Stokes

    Anything I have read From Abroad has been such a learning experience..And always Thrilling.. Great Description..TBR..Have All Winter..: )

  77. keith james

    Hope I win!

  78. keith james

    Hope I win!

  79. vicki wurgler

    A small town holds many secrets-that is true!

  80. Laura McLendon

    “Anti-cozy” for sure but still looks very intriguing and interesting too!!
    Thanks for the chance to read a new genre.

  81. Dale

    As an avid of European crime writers, a new one from Germany should be very interesting.

  82. janmaus

    I’ve certainly fallen for these grim tales–looking forward to this one!

  83. Janet Martin

    Trying again–logged in this time. Then I’m off to see if I can find translations of other books in this series.

  84. Lisa Richardson

    This looks good! Seems I’ve been reading a lot of grim and dark stories lately!

  85. Danica Watson

    can’t wait to read this book!

  86. susan beamon

    I have never heard of the “anti-cozy”, but it sounds facinating.

  87. Sharon Haas

    This sounds good for a dreary winter day!

  88. Shelley Over

    Sounds amaaazing!

  89. Carolyn Dileo

    Always looking for the next wonderful mystery!
    Thank you,

  90. Margie Young

    This looks like it will be a great read !!

  91. Angelica Hernandez

    Obsessed with Snow White and grim tales. I hope I’ll be lucky enough to win, if not will still probably read.

  92. Sherri Bailey

    Would love to have a chance to read this! Sounds intriguing!!!

  93. Tatiana deCarillion

    I’m happy that they have resurrected The Killing! I’m not familiar with this series, but the review has me adding it to the to-read list 🙂

  94. stanley johnston

    It looks interesting – arresting title.

  95. Vicky Boackle

    this looks great.

  96. Evelyn Matias

    I’m just dying to read this. Crossing my fingers!

  97. Joanne Mielczarski

    Looking forward to reading this book!

  98. Tarah Manning

    This books sounds like a page turner! I’d love to read it!

  99. evelyn J

    I would love to win a copy of Snow White Must Die!

  100. Lynn reads
  101. lynette barfield

    Would love a copy.

  102. cheryl wong

    would love to read this

  103. sarah perry

    I would love to read this book, winning a copy would just be the icing on the cake 🙂

  104. lynette thompson

    This sounds like a great book to read.

    Lynette Thompson

  105. runner


  106. Sally

    Looking forward to reading a new to me German author.

  107. Karen Cherubino

    This sounds like a great read; have added to the wish list.

  108. kathy pease

    Thank you for the great giveaway please count me in 🙂

  109. Joe Hauser

    It is funny to see how many names are in red and realize that none of them read the entry requirements

  110. tracey johnson

    sound like a good book

  111. Tricha Leary

    sounds like a good read

  112. DeeAnn S

    My kind of book. Guess I’ll have to read the series! 🙂 Thanks.

  113. Daniel Morrell

    sounds like a fun one!

  114. Candice Hull

    Sounds interesting. Thank you for the chance to win!

  115. Ed Nemmers

    I wolud love to read the work of Nele Neuhaus!

  116. Vernon Luckert

    Looks like the Germans have it out for Snow White – Ha. Looks like a very interesting read.

  117. Susan Smoaks

    this sounds like a great book

  118. Susan Smith

    Sounds great

  119. merry partridge

    can’t wait to read this one !

  120. Sand Lopez

    This sounds like a good book!

  121. Sheree Algie

    Sounds like a good book!

  122. Andrea Henry

    wow not your typical fairy tale

  123. Tim Moss

    This sounds interesting to say the least.

  124. Daniel Vice

    This looks great

  125. Edward Vandenberg

    This looks like a good well written book.

  126. tiffany lane

    This book looks really good…

  127. Lisa Pecora

    This sounds like a great book!!

  128. Jennifer Fajer

    I would love to read this. Thanks for the opportunity!

  129. Barbara Ryan

    This will be a terrific read and mystery to enjoy this winter. Thank you

  130. cassandra mccann

    this is a great book for me to win


    looks interesting

  132. Amy Taylor

    Looks like an intersting story and an entertaining read! Can’t wait!!

  133. Shaunterria Owens

    Looking forward to reading this 🙂

  134. Lisa Kaiser

    Am really egaer to read this!! Would love to receive a copy!

  135. judy oliver

    Seems a welcome thriller to add to my couch pile.

Comments are closed.