Amy Myers is known for her short stories and historical novels featuring Victorian chef Auguste Didier and chimney sweep Tom Wasp. Her contemporary series features classic car detective Jack Colby, and she is currently working on a new 1920s mystery series featuring Nell Drury, chef at Kent’s Wychbourne Court.
Andrea Maria Schenkel specialises in the short atmospheric crime novel built up through following the story through the role of several characters – including the victim – together with input from the police and press reports. Her debut novel in 2006, Tannöd, was an instant bestseller in her native Germany, closely followed with editions in many languages and published in Britain as The Murder Farm in 2008.
The Dark Meadow is in the same genre; well written, intriguing and well-paced, it delves into the story of Afra Zeuner, murdered in Bavaria in 1947. Afra was a free spirit, having left her parents’ home when she was fourteen. She made her own way in life – until she fell pregnant. She has returned to her parents’ home where she had to face her formidable father and live with her parents’ disapproval while she reared her baby son. But then someone murders her. The murder is solved to the satisfaction of the police, but years later a drunken man in a bar claims that the real murderer is still at large. The author expertly presents the evidence leaving the reader to draw his own conclusions as the novel builds up to its climax.
The Dark Meadow makes for satisfying reading, even though inevitably the short length and presentation of the story do not allow for close identification with the characters. That results in the ending coming with no great fanfare of surprise, but the novel leaves the reader with the sense of having read a memorable story.
Translated by Anthea Bell who has won the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for German translation four times. She was awarded an O.B.E. for her services to literature in 2010