Stories within a Story
Today at lunch i finished The Vanishing of Katherina Linden by Helen Grant. I read a review by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings and decided i had to read this book. I loved it! While the book reminded Carl of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, it reminded me more of The Elegance of the Hedgehog. all have little girl protagonists, though Pia Kolvenbach of Vanishing is the youngest and acts most age appropriate. All the girls have their own trials or adventures and you want to protect them all.
Pia becomes a grade school outcast when her grandmother dies. She has the unfortunate fate of bursting into flames at the Christmas dinner table. Her only school friend is another outcast, StinkStefan, who doesn't seem to smell but just hangs about where he's not wanted. They spend their time visiting Herr Schiller, an older man who was a friend of Pia's grandmother. Herr Schiller tells wonderful stories about their town of Bad Munstereifel, especially about the Unshakable Hans, the man afraid of nothing.
When girls start disappearing, the town gossips think that Herr Duster, Schiller's reprobate brother, is involved. Pia and Stefan start their own investigation as small town life gets scary. Neighbors begin to turn on each other and Pia's own family begins to fall apart.
I give this one a 7. I really liked the book. The atmosphere is creepy right from the beginning. This book counts for the RIP challenge and for the 2010 Challenge.