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The Vanishing of Katharina Linden: 05/16/18
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant reminds me of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson in terms of tone and characterization. If you like Larsson's book, you will probably like this book. If you're like me and didn't, then you will probably like this book more than I did.
Pia is a British-German girl living in a small German village with her parents and grandparents. Everything is pretty humdrum until her grandmother dies at Christmas in a fiery blaze involving a careless candle and too much hairspray. Suddenly Pia is the outcast at school, not because she's British, but because she's bad luck or likely to explode.
Pia's bad luck though isn't the point of the book. Instead it's a lengthy, overdone introduction to the actual plot — the disappearance of Katharina Linden from the fall festival. She was dressed like Snow White when last seen and that fact inspires Pia and some of the other children to see ties to her disappearance with the unadulterated Grimms' fairytales.
But once you peel away the subterfuge of a small German town obsessed with the brothers Grimm, the actual plot is blatantly obvious. Getting to the conclusion — to the big rescue is laid out with neon colored breadcrumbs. Except the narrator — our eyes and ears on the scene — is too dim to see them until we've suffered through three quarters of the novel.