Quorren’s #CBR4 Review #52 The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant
During the great book search of last month, when I had to make absolutely sure that the mail thief had struck again and I hadn’t just misplaced The Golem’s Eye, I found out I actually had bought two copies on this book. What can I say, it’s the cat silhouette. And an intriguing back cover description.
Pia becomes a social pariah at her school in a small German town when her grandmother combusted while lighting the Advent wreath. Yes, the book starts with flambeed grandma. Pia is left with only Stink Stefan, the class loner, for a friend. She and Stefan begin to visit Herr Schiller, a friend of Pia’s dead grammy. He tells them vivid fairy tales of the town during their afternoon visits. Soon it appears the fairy tales are becoming real when a girl from the town goes missing. Other girls begin to vanish. Pia and Stefan sleuth through the town’s history in an effort to stop the evilness. Their research leads them to find another tragedy hidden in the town’s past, which has connections to the present vanishings.
Back when I reviewed My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, I wrote a bit about fairy tales in our modern world. With all of our science and technology, we, as a civilization, can still be driven by myths and superstition. When the girls of the town go missing, everyone is quick to point fingers are the crazy old guy, because crazy old guy is the modern day witch. While it’s a fact that most molested children will be assaulted by a family member, society Big-Bad-Wolf-erizes pedophiles. Because The Other is the real threat; things that aren’t us will harm us. While these lessons affirms a community, bringing we and we closer together, in the long run xenophobia and blithely ignoring issues in your own community to focus on attacking those that are different, has long term consequences.