The famous novelist Linda Conrads, 38, is a mystery to her fans and the media. She hasn’t set foot over the threshold of her villa on Lake Starnberg for more than eleven years, and yet she’s extremely successful. Her life, though comfortable, is highly artificial and her grip on reality is fragile. Only very few know that she is tormented by a dark memory.
When she was young, Linda found her sister Anna in a pool of her own blood and saw the murderer fleeing. His face haunts her dreams. So it is a tremendous shock for her one day when that exact face appears on her television screen — it belongs to the high-profile journalist Victor Lenzen. She decides to set a trap to catch Victor by writing a novel based on the death of her sister and promote the book through one interview —with Victor. But what actually happened that night many years ago?
Linda Conrads, the narrator of German author Raabe's suspenseful if flawed first novel, hasn't left her home near Munich in the 11 years since the stabbing murder of her sister, Anna. She actually caught a glimpse of a man leaving the crime scene, and when she sees journalist Victor Lenzen on TV, she's certain that he's the man who killed Anna. Linda, who's a celebrity author, begins to plan a trap that involves a new novel based on the murder. Interviews with her are in high demand, so she arranges for Victor to interview her, but as Linda and Victor engage in cat-and-mouse exchanges, she often second-guesses herself. Victor seems to be exactly who he claims to be: a successful journalist who's certainly no killer. Excerpts from Linda's novel give insight into the events leading up to the crime. The tension rises, but the final revelation is a letdown that diminishes the otherwise taut storytelling.