The Vanishing of Katharina Linden: A Novel by Helen Grant is difficult to categorize because it is equal parts charming and chilling, but since it involves solving the mystery of missing children in the town, I believe Mystery is the best category. Once again, I experienced this novel by listening to the audio version as preformed by Justine Eyre. Eyre has a very distinctive voice which was just right for this story. I missed out on this book when it was first released because Audible mistakenly has it in the SciFi/Fantasy category. It is a mystery. There are NO supernatural elements in this story at all. It does have some feel of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale, but it is NOT SciFi or Fantasy.
I have over 400 audiobooks, and this book easily makes my top 5. Although the main character Pia is young, this is not a children’s novel; however, older children not easily frightened might enjoy it. It has a strong element of mystery and suspense with the missing girls, but that is not necessarily the most significant aspect of the book. While the setting of the book is modern, the village of Bad Münstereifel has a definite touch of the Grimm brothers’ Germany, giving the entire story a bit of the feel of a fairy tale. Adding to this setting are the stories told to Pia by her neighbor. Each of these tales of Unshakable Hans would make a nice story on its own. The background for all of the more unusual occurrences is the story of Pia’s family. Seeing the whole story through Pia’s eyes puts the finishing touch on this story.
Adding to this wonderful novel is the narration by Justine Eyre. I almost bought this book in paper, but thought this would be a particularly nice book to have read to me. I am so glad that I made that call. Eyre’s narration is absolutely flawless. Each character is distinct, and her unique voice is perfectly fitted to this book.
If you only get one audiobook this year or are interested in trying out your first audiobook, I’d recommend The Vanishing of Katherina Linden.