I have started reading ‘The Vanishing of Katharina Linden’ by Helen Grant. I have read about two-thirds of the book and I am thoroughly enjoying the story so far. It is an enthralling novel with a gripping storyline; a book that’s very hard to put down.
Helen Grant has set this novel in a German town called Bad Münstereifel. Bad Münstereifel is a relatively small and normal village – where everyone one another. There is an awareness of family in the village, as Pia states, “I remember my hometown as a place with a powerful sense of community.” On the other hand, Bad Münstereifel is also known for its gossip, as is said, “small towns everywhere are rife with gossip, but in Germany they raise it to an art form.” This proves that gossip could have been a problem in the small town for many people.
The main protagonist is a girl called Pia Kolvenbach. She was an ordinary girl who led a normal life ...view middle of the document...
She was ready to solve any mystery that came her way and wanted to regain a good reputation.
The narrative structure of the story is very simple. The novel is written in first person, through the eyes of an eleven-year-old. This makes the readers able to relate to the story because they could have experienced what is happening to the characters in the story. For example Pia (the main character) has just started secondary school and is finding it difficult to make new friends, as she explains, “I’m still the girl whose grandmother exploded.” The readers can relate to this as some of them have also just started secondary school.
Mystery is an important theme in ‘The Vanishing of Katharina Linden’. This is because the plot of the novel is based around the disappearance of the town’s girls. There is also another mystery intertwined with this because the characters are also trying to find out who is responsible for the vanishings: whether the girls vanished, ran away or where kidnapped. Some people in the town believed that something supernatural is behind all of the bad occurrences, as Pia justifies with reference to Katharina, “How otherwise could she have been spirited away from under the very noses of her family, in broad daylight too, in a town where everyone knew everyone else?”
Helen Grant intrigues the reader with the references to the disappearances of the children. The author leads the story onto a different topic and dilemma and suddenly there’s another disappearance. For instance – in some places – the characters take a minute or two to work out what’s happening. Pia shows this, when she says, “It was several minutes before I worked out what must have happened. Another child had vanished.” This intrigues the readers because it surprises them when the incident does happen.
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the star of this engaging novel. It is a very interesting story that is full of suspense. The twist and turns in this novel is very exciting and the main plot of this story is quite dramatic. All in all, ‘The Vanishing of Katharina Linden’ is a very good read for any murder mystery lovers and I am looking forward to reading the rest.