“In this intelligent novel Hammesfahr has etched with precision the thoughts of a woman on the edge of madness.”—Der Spiegel
Cora Bender killed a man. But why? What could have caused this quiet, lovable young mother to stab a stranger in the throat, again and again, until she was pulled off his body? For the local police it was an open-and-shut case. Cora confessed; there was no shortage of proof or witnesses. But Police Commissioner Rudolf Grovian refused to close the file and began his own maverick investigation. So begins the slow unraveling of Cora’s past, a harrowing descent into a woman’s private hell.
Hailed as Germany’s Patricia Highsmith, Petra Hammesfahr has written a dark, spellbinding novel. At the top of the bestseller list, The Sinner has been reprinted sixteen times and sold over 760,000 copies at home. Translated into eleven languages, this is the first Hammesfahr title published in English.
Petra Hammesfahr, born in 1951, left school at thirteen, became pregnant by an alcoholic at seventeen, and began writing novels at the age of forty. Her first thriller was turned down 159 times, but eventually success arrived. Hammesfahr has written over twenty crime and suspense novels. She also writes scripts for television and film. She is married with three children and lives near Cologne.
Hammesfahr's darkly depressing yet engrossing crime novel, a bestseller in Germany, examines the price of survival for two young girls growing up in a small German community. Police commissioner Rudolf Grovian is assigned the case of Cora Bender, a young woman who murders an apparent stranger in a crowded park. The local constabulary deems it an open and shut case, but Grovian, intrigued by Cora's strange behavior, pursues his own investigation. Cora reveals the bizarre circumstances of her claustrophobic family life, from her mother's relentless blaming of Cora for stealing her life to Cora's own complicated relationship with her disabled younger sister. The mixture of both first- and third-person perspectives and the explicit discussions of religious and sexual obsessions set this work apart from standard psychological fare. Dubbed Germany's answer to Patricia Highsmith, Hammesfahr should win new American fans with this English translation.