Sunday salon: Reading The Sinner by Petra Hammesfahr

TSSbadge3 Ever since I read Fiona's review at Euro Crime, I've been very keen to read The Sinner by Petra Hammesfahr, published by Bitter Lemon press and translated from the German by John Brownjohn. So keen, in fact, that I bought the book on the basis of the review. I didn't begin it until this morning, and so far (85 pages in) it is living up to my expectations, and more.

The story is about desperate housewife Cora Bender, who is so depressed that she decides to kill herself, even though she has a nice(ish) husband, sweet young son, interesting job and pleasant home. Cora has some (as yet) unknown trauma in her recent past that is causing feelings of intense panic, desperation and despair. She has also had an awful childhood at the hands of a religious maniac mother, dying younger sister and caring but weak father. One day, Cora can't take it any more and decides to commit suicide by going to the lido with her husband and son and drowning herself while swimming – she plans it this way so that her death will not be considered suicide and, by not killing herself in the car or the house, causing minimal inconvenience to her husband. Once at the lido, however, events turn out very differently.

This book is brilliant so far, I can't wait to continue with it.

Petra Hammesfahr has written more than 20 crime fiction and suspense novels, and writes for TV and film. She has won numerous prizes for her work. The Sinner seems to be the only book of hers that is available in the UK in English (according to Amazon).

Publisher's website.

Review of The Sinner at International Noir Fiction, the blog of Glenn Harper.

Review of The Sinner at Mostly Fiction, by Tony Ross (includes brief author biography).